Big Green almost finer than Carolina
The North Carolina Tar Heels proved that in lacrosse, it doesn't take long to win a game.
The second-ranked Tar Heels entered Chase Field for the first time ever, and were nine seconds away from overtime with the fifth-ranked Big Green when Lori Pasquantonio netted her third goal of the afternoon over the left shoulder of backup netminder Ellie Leahy '01 to allow North Carolina to escape Hanover with a 13-12 victory.
Dartmouth climbed back from deficits of 8-5 and 11-8 to ultimately tie the game at 12 on sophomore Jacque Weitzel's career-high seventh goal of the afternoon with just 33 seconds remaining.
The Big Green had held the nation's longest winning streak in the nation at 11 before the Tar Heels gave Dartmouth just their second loss of the season.
"I think that this game showed us that we have the ability to beat any team that we play," Emily Fenwick '00 said.
Pasquantonio was a thorn in the Big Green's collective side all afternoon as she opened the scoring for the Carolina blue with a pair of tallies and assisted on Tricia Cummings' score to put the Big Green down 3-1 just 6:13 into the contest.
But, a quick burst with goals from Kate Graw '00 and Weitzel knotted the score.
North Carolina then went on another 3-1 run to make the score 6-4 with the only Big Green goal scored by Melissa Frazier '00.
After Weitzel put a quick-stick shot past goaltender Debbie Castine, North Carolina rebounded with two straight goals to claim their 8-5 intermission lead. Castine was stellar all afternoon in between the pipes recording nine saves.
Dartmouth continued to be "comeback kids" as Fenwick and Weitzel cut the lead to one.
Once again, though, UNC pulled away with goals from Erin McGinnis, Kristin Off and Meghann Mahler. Only another goal from Weitzel kept the Big Green within striking distance at 11-8, as the Big Green used play 32, a play to free Weitzel up on the left side of the net, to perfection.
Then the large Chase Field crowd became involved as the Big Green scored three times in 42 seconds as Fenwick drilled a free-position chance into the upper right corner of the net before Weitzel took two straight draw wins down the field and deposited them behind Castine as the crowd rose to their feet.
Mahler scored her third of the afternoon with over four minutes remaining but the Big Green answered again as Weitzel took a pass from Jen Greene '98 and quick-sticked it in with a low shot from the left side. That set the stage for Pasquantonio who spun twice before scoring the game-winner.
The Big Green close their season Sunday, hosting the Ancient Eight's only winless team, Columbia, for the first time as the Lions are fielding a squad for the first time ever. Dartmouth is looking to clinch the outright Ivy title this weekend. Princeton, who sits a game behind the Big Green defeated Columbia 17-1.
The Big Green will not take the Lions lightly though.
"One sign of a great team is being able to play your game even when your competition might not be quite up to your caliber," Fenwick said.
After Sunday's game, the Big Green will learn their NCAA tournament fate as the top four teams will earn a bye and begin play on Friday, while the second echelon of teams, those seeded five through eight, hosting the first round games and teams seeded nine through 12.
Dartmouth was fifth entering the week and will probably remain there. A win yesterday probably would have secured a bye but the Big Green still have a shot at it, depending on the outcomes of other games. Nonetheless, Dartmouth's win against Duke will, in all likelihood, earn them a home game next Wednesday within the friendly confines of Chase Field.
While Dartmouth emerged with a loss yesterday afternoon, they showed the Tar Heels a lot, certainly doing more than just earning their respect. After yesterday, they do not want to see Dartmouth paired with their name anytime next week. Should the two meet, Carolina will certainly remember the scare at Chase Field yesterday.