Big Green Grabs a Thriller
Dartmouth Battles Back for Another One-Goal Win
Dartmouth College’s Jaclyn Leto leaps into the arms of Sarah Byrne yesterday, moments after Byrne scored the winning goal with 13.8 seconds remaining in the Big Green’s 8-7 defeat of visiting Brown. Dartmouth improved to 5-1 this season in games decided by a goal. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College's Hana Bowers slices through the Brown defense yesterday during the Big Green's 8-7 defeat of its Ivy League rivals at Scully-Fahey Field. Bowers had two goals and an assist as Dartmouth rallied from a two-goal deficit at halftime and improved to 5-1 this spring in contests decided by a goal. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Dartmouth College women’s lacrosse coach Amy Patton has endured a rough spring. “The General,” as she’s affectionately known around the athletic department, first suffered a nasty bout of pneumonia, then hurt her wrist in a sideline collision with players at Yale. Now, the Big Green’s bench boss is enduring heart stress with seemingly every game.
That trend continued yesterday, when freshmen Jaclyn Leto and Sarah Byrne combined to produce the winning goal with just 13.8 seconds remaining in Dartmouth’s 8-7 victory over Ivy League rival Brown. It was the Big Green’s fifth victory in six games this season that have been decided by a lone tally.
“We were in a hole,” said Dartmouth attacker Hana Bowers, whose team trailed 4-2 at halftime after surrendering a goal with two seconds remaining in the opening stanza. “That we were able to come back from two goals down against an Ivy team was huge.”
With an announced Scully-Fahey crowd of 803 on its feet, Leto embarked on a lengthy run through midfield, somehow maintaining possession as she weaved through an elongated pack of Bears defenders and approached the net. Before moving closer, however, the New Jersey native dumped a pass off to her right, finding Byrne, a Connecticut product who then beat goaltender Kellie Roddy.
“She protected her stick well, because there was a lot of traffic in there,” Patton said of Leto, who has played every game, but didn’t start yesterday for the first time this season.
Said Bowers: “It’s amazing that we’ve fostered enough confidence in our underclassmen to have such great composure at the end. That’s what we’ve been working on since day one.”
Dartmouth not only appeared rattled, but was outworked during the first 30 minutes, a half Patton said was the worst she could remember her team playing in years. The Big Green is committing 14 turnovers per game on average, but had 18 yesterday and 21 Wednesday during an overtime loss to visiting Vermont.
“When we don’t play well, it comes down to the basics of passing and catching,” Bowers said. “It makes it hard to move on and run your plays well or move the ball up the field with conviction. It shows a lack of confidence and then we all go inward.”
Dartmouth scored the second half’s first three goals to take a 5-4 lead, but Brown answered with a three-goal run of its own and was on top, 7-5, with 14 minutes remaining. The No. 15 Big Green stiffened, however, holding the Bears scoreless the rest of the way while getting two goals from Bowers to forge a 7-7 tie with four minutes on the clock.
The Bears had possession with 90 seconds remaining and appeared content to let time wind down for a last-second shot. Patton, however, called for her defense to double-team the ball carrier and with 30 seconds to go, Bowers stripped Grace Healy of the rock, which moved upfield to Leto and Byrne, who shot inside the far post while a defender was draped on her back.
In recent seasons, Dartmouth has relied on several star players to carry much of the offensive load, but not this year.
“The scoring is all spread out and every single person on the field just has to do their job and do it well,” Patton said. “In the past we had people who could put the game on their back and we don’t have that this year, but that’s OK, because we have a lot of talent and we’re subbing a ton.
“There are a lot of people in and out of the game, and it’s just taking us a little longer to get used to playing with each other.”
Bowers finished with two goals and an assist and Byrne and Liz Calby also had two goals. Leto and Courtney Bennett notched the other goals, with Leto adding two assists. Goaltender Kristen Giovanniello stopped seven shots for Dartmouth, which hosts Cornell next Saturday before traveling to Pennsylvania and Maryland for its next two games.
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.