Women’s lacrosse sits at No. 19 in national rankings

by Jake Philhower | 4/2/18 2:15am

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Women’s lacrosse is currently 7-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play.

by Evan Morgan / Evan Morgan

With an overall 7-1 record thus far, the Dartmouth Women’s Lacrosse team has been on fire. As the team reaches the midpoint of the season, it is ranked 19th in the nation — the first time it has been within the top 20 since 2013 —  and is recently coming off of two big wins against Ivy League rivals Princeton University and Harvard University.

On March 24th, the team had just navigated a tough two-game road trip and was headed to New Jersey to play a tough opponent in Princeton. The Big Green knew this matchup with the Tigers would be a challenge, as Princeton was just coming off of a one goal win against No. 18 Pennsylvania State University. However, Dartmouth was able to execute in the early stages of the game and jump out to a 4-1 lead with Elizabeth Mastrio’s ’19 third goal of the game.

With pressure mounting, Princeton responded with three goals of its own, tying the game at 4. This swing of momentum brought Princeton to a tie for the first time since the opening minutes, but Dartmouth refused to be out-worked. The Big Green offense found the back of the net three more times prior to the halftime horn, securing a 7-4 lead going into halftime.

In the second half, the teams traded goals back and forth, but the Big Green slowly began to extend their lead. Two-thirds through the second half, Dartmouth led the Tigers 13-7, and managed to hold their lead despite a furious late push from the Tigers that brought them within three goals of the lead, 15-12.

“We didn’t have a ton of time to turn around after heading north from Florida,” Claire Marshal ’21 said. “But our adjustments showed a lot of coachability, mental toughness and confidence in ourselves. It was a surreal moment at the end of the game and it really felt like we were playing for something bigger than ourselves.”

In pulling out the win, Dartmouth erased its six-game regular season slide against Princeton and earned a spot in the national rankings.

“The top moment of the season thus far was definitely beating Princeton,” defenseman Hailey Ricciardi ’21 said. “No one on the team currently had beaten them and the energy during the game was truly amazing.”

Hot off the big win against Princeton, the Big Green wanted to prove its worth amongst the top teams in the nation with a matchup at Harvard. In the opening half in Cambridge, both teams battled back and forth in a very tight matchup, with neither team gaining a lead of more than two points. At the half, Harvard was leading 9-8.

However, after an early goal from Hannah Keating for Harvard at the start of the second half, the Big Green answered with five unanswered goals to take a 13-10 lead. Lasting over seven minutes, this run proved to be the turning point of the game, as the Big Green would not let go of the lead for the remainder of the game. Dartmouth ended up coming out on top with a crucial 18-14 win.

The Big Green has had plenty of players lighting up the stat sheet so far this season, such as Ellie Carson ’20, who leads the team with 27 goals and 38 total points. However, there have been plenty of other key contributors not as noticeable on the stat sheet who have been vital to the team’s success.

“Lauren D’Amico [’19] is a defender who has stepped up huge[ly] for our team,” Ricciardi said. “She is great at limiting her shooting space violations and is the best 1v1 defender on the team. She is filling a massive role with our captain Sophie Davidson [’18] being injured and is doing a great job.”

This team has been firing on all cylinders, and it shows with their 7-1 record. At the halfway point of the season, they are playing their best lacrosse of the year with both offense and defense clicking. 

“The best feeling is seeing the cheek to cheek smile when someone scores,” veteran midfielder Larson Bennett ’18 said, adding that the constant communication in defense has inspired its lockdown of opponents.

In addition, one of the keys to the team’s success is that it is a very tight knit group with a clear, focused goal.

“Truthfully, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for each of my teammates, both on or off the field,” Bennettsaid. “I think that our great relationships off the field translate to our playing style and success on the field.”

With much tougher competition on the horizon, such as Boston College, the No. 2 team in the country, the Big Green must continue to raise its game. Dartmouth plays its next match on Saturday against the University of Pennsylvania, which is ranked No. 6.