Gators Chomp Into Dartmouth’s Streak
Dartmouth defender Bailey Johnson attempts to split Florida opponents Colby Rhea, left, and Gabi Wiegand yesterday during the Big Green’s 14-9 loss to the Gators. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College women's lacrosse coach Amy Patton exhorts her team during a second-half timeout yesterday against Florida. The No. 13 Big Green lost 14-9 to the No. 2 Gators. Assistant coach Christine Anneberg is in the background. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — The Dartmouth College women’s lacrosse team lost at home for the first time in 17 regular season games yesterday. The Big Green, however, can’t be accused of ducking tough competition after its 14-9 setback to No. 2 Florida.
Dartmouth led, 3-1, before surrendering the next four goals and 10 of the next 11. Florida, which hadn’t trailed during its previous six games, improved to 9-0 while dropping the Big Green to 4-1 and leaving coach Amy Patton mulling her team’s inconsistency.
“We can play with anyone in the country; we just can’t have the lapses we did today,” the 21-year bench boss said. “We can be a top-five team, no question, but we have to play the way we did in the first 20 minutes. The letdown we had, a team like (Florida) is going to capitalize on.
“It was mental breakdowns on things we had practiced knew they were going to do. You’ve got to make them earn goals and there were about five we didn’t. They’re deflating and you could see it in our team’s body language.”
Dartmouth rallied by scoring the game’s last three goals and four of the final five.
“We were moving the ball, one-touching it and getting some goals,” Patton said. “It was like, OK, offense, where was that before?”
The Big Green used 19 players, and Patton said that although senior standouts such as attacker Hanna Bowers, midfielder Kelsey Johnson and defender Courtney Bennett return from last year’s starting lineup, creating chemistry is an ongoing process.
“We’re a really young team experience-wise and we’re trying to gel,” the coach said. “There are a lot of people who have to get used to playing with each other, which is different than in years past.
“The team isn’t happy though, because we know we can play with (Florida) and that we should have defended this field a lot better than we did.”
Dartmouth’s leading scorers were Liz Calby and Lindsey Allard, who each had two goals and two assists. Bowers had two goals and Johnson, Gabbey Starkey and Jaclyn Leto also scored. Kristen Giovanniello made six saves while helping her team deny the Gators on 5-of-9 free-position shots. Florida held a 29-20 shot advantage.
Notes: Dartmouth last lost a regular season home game in April 2010, a setback to Pennsylvania. … Patton coached the game with her left hand heavily bandaged, a lingering souvenir of a sideline collision during a March 2 victory at Yale. The coach also battled severe pneumonia earlier this season and had to miss the Big Green’s season-opening victory at Oregon on Feb. 23. … Florida brought a radio announcer on the trip to broadcast the game’s play-by-play action. … The Gators coaches and many of their fans wore heavy jackets despite temperatures that climbed into the low 50s. … Word in the press box was that a graduate of both Florida and Dartmouth had set up the team’s postgame gathering at a nearby fraternity. … This is the 40th season of Dartmouth women’s lacrosse. The first campaign featured just a four-game schedule.
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.