Women’s lacrosse to face Syracuse
By Olivia Durr, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, May 11, 2012
After a hard-fought 6-4 win against the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy League Tournament championship game last weekend, the Dartmouth women’s lacrosse team will begin NCAA Tournament play on Sunday with a game against Syracuse University at the Carrier Dome. The Big Green (12-4, 5-2 Ivy) will look to build on the success of its first Ivy title since 2005 and avenge the team’s loss to the No. 4 Orange (16-3, 8-0 Big East) earlier this season.
On April 9, the two teams met in Syracuse, where the Orange handed Dartmouth a demoralizing 22-4 defeat, the Big Green’s biggest loss of the season. Though the team rebounded with a pair of wins, Dartmouth dropped its final two regular season games before pulling out a pair of victories in Philadelphia to claim the Ivy title. Defenseman Dana Brisbane ’12 said that the Big Green’s play last weekend is more indicative of its ability than the loss to the Orange in April.
“We’re definitely not the same team that played Syracuse a month ago,” Brisbane said. “We feel like we haven’t peaked yet and that we’re just hitting our stride now, when it counts the most.”
The team has been focusing on attack sets during practice and has also worked on its defensive awareness, according to Brisbane. She said she is impressed with her team’s desire to improve, even so late in the season.
“What’s most exciting is that there is still a hunger to get better,” Brisbane said. “It’s awesome knowing that we all want to improve because it tells me that we as a team believe that we have a ways to go.”
The team certainly does have a ways to go, as a trip to Syracuse is no short journey. The Big Green earned the berth by virtue of its victory in the Ivy Tournament championship game, while the Orange was one of eight at-large teams selected nationwide. After dropping two of its first three games, Syracuse found its groove, winning its next 15 in a row, including a perfect regular season in the Big East. The Orange was upset, however, by Loyola University Maryland in the Big East Tournament championship game in the Carrier Dome. Dartmouth will look to pull off a similar feat on Sunday.
In an interesting twist of fate, Loyola will face Ivy League regular-season champions Penn in another first-round matchup.
Recently named Ivy Player of the Year Sarah Plumb ’12 said that the loss to Syracuse was not the team’s most impressive showing of the season.
“I think that we know we didn’t play our best game earlier this year, so we’re excited to show how much we have improved that last game,” Plumb said.
The game will take place indoors in the Carrier Dome, and the indoor turf provides a different atmosphere for play. The team struggled with the foreign environment in the first game, but Brisbane said that having played at Syracuse already this season should prepare the team well for this weekend’s encounter.
“Playing indoors is always a little difficult because the ball can get lost in the stands,” Brisbane said. “It’s also pretty cavernous in there, making communication difficult. But we’ve already played there this season, and I don’t expect any of those obstacles to be a huge factor in the game.”
This is the Big Green’s 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, 12 of which have come under head coach Amy Patton. Last year, Dartmouth lost to the State University of New York at Albany, 10-7, in a first-round matchup. This year the Big Green hopes to extend its tournament run beyond the first round. Brisbane has high hopes of traveling home to Long Island for the Final Four, which will be played at Stony Brook University.
Plumb, however, is looking more toward the immediate future.
“The team is in a really positive spot coming off our first Ivy Tournament win, and having the chance for a little redemption at Syracuse is an awesome opportunity,” Plumb said.
The game is set to start at 4 p.m. on Sunday.