There was a period of time at the end of her high school days where Sarah Plumb couldn't decide what she wanted to do. Two paths leading in separate directions that could change the course of her life, and she was standing at the crossroads.
At the end of each was a highly-touted women's collegiate lacrosse program that had heavily recruited the Wellesley, Mass., native. It came down to Duke and Dartmouth.
Plumb chose green over blue.
One of the best decision makers on the field, this was nothing like staring down the opponent's defense and finding the path to the goal. This was a life decision.
"I was really stressed out over the whole process," Plumb said. "I was conflicted and when Amy (Patton) came to my house on July 1 I told her I had to go to a camp at Duke at the end of the month before making my decision.
"After everything was said and done and I had gone to the camp, I decided that I was going to commit to Dartmouth. It was a place that fit my personality the best and I knew it was somewhere that I would fit into the community," Plumb continued. "The atmosphere on the team was so amazing when I visited and that was something that really stuck with me when making my choice."
No one has looked back on the decision with regret as head coach Amy Patton has a player that is a leader both on and off the field for her team, while Plumb is on the doorstep of graduation with countless memories, friends and records to her name.
"Everyone at Duke was great, but Dartmouth seemed very familiar to me, being more of an outdoors kind of place which reminded me of family trips to the Adirondacks when I was younger, so there was a level of comfort that I loved," Plumb remarked.
Now, with just a few games left in her collegiate career, the senior midfielder is truly rewriting the record books and leaving her mark on the Dartmouth women's lacrosse program.
She broke the single-season mark for draw controls when she picked up her 54th of the year against Penn on April 14. Since then, she is now the lone player in program history to have more than 60 draws in a season, a stat that reflects the importance of possession in the game. Two days after setting the season standard, Plumb broke the career mark and moved to within just a handful of the Ivy League record.
However, draw control records, 100-career points and ground balls, and all the personal recognition means little to Plumb as she is focused on getting Dartmouth back to the top of the Ivy League and beyond in her final stint in Hanover.
"Coming in, I also chose this program because I knew it was one of the best in the Ivy League. Where we are now is where I knew we could always be. When my class came, it was not at the same place it had been in previous years. Throughout those early days, we always knew where we were headed," Plumb said.
"Winning the Ivy League outright is something this class has been working toward since we first got here as freshmen," she added. "Seeing where we are now is a really great feeling because we understand that we're not quite there yet, but we are getting closer to that goal we first set for ourselves."
In moving closer to that objective, Plumb has stepped up when her team needed a leader most. Three times this season, she has taken the game into her own hands in the waning moments.
Against Yale in the Ivy opener, Plumb broke an 8-8 tie with the winner in the final minutes. She did the same against Penn in the final league home game of the regular season, slashing through the Quaker defense to score her third of the day and second of a four-goal run that completed the team's second-half comeback.
But knowing the background, Plumb's goal against Duke at Scully-Fahey Field on March 17 may be the most clutch of the season.
Taking on the No. 3 team in the country, the Big Green were forced into overtime after the Blue Devils mounted a comeback bid in the second half. After a scoreless first OT period expired, the teams headed for a sudden-victory session. Plumb wasted little time in scoring the winner less than a minute in, setting off a celebration on the home team's sideline that led to her presence in the middle of a mass of jumping, hugging teammates.
"I think that goal and that moment right there really showed me that I made the right choice in coming here."
She may have scored the winner and grabbed the headlines, but Plumb will also be the first to tell you that Hilary Smith's draw control to start the possession or the pass that set her up, or her teammates moving in front of the goalkeeper made the play and the goal was just a result of those actions.
A selfless deflection of attention to the team as a whole.
An ideal that Plumb picked up as a young player at Dartmouth that she has taken with her reflects her understanding that doing the right thing is often done when no one is watching. She will email underclassmen after a game to let them know they played well or they did something that day that was an improvement to their game. She said that it made her feel good when she was a freshman and the older players took notice of her game, so she wants to pass on that ideal.
It doesn't seem like too many people have failed to notice Plumb on the field since first donning the Green and White. (Pat Salvas)
Sarah's recruiting trip to Hanover was made possible by the generosity of the late Allen S. Brush '35 and William G. Morton, Jr. '59 through the Dartmouth Athletic Sponsor Program.