Christian paces women's laxers in win over Terriers
The Boston University women's lacrosse team journeyed to Hanover, N.H. on Thursday night where it met a fiery Dartmouth squad coupled with a boisterous home crowd in a first round NCAA tournament match.
The game displayed the type of end-to-end action and intensity that one would expect to find in such a situation with everything on the line for both sides. In the end, however, it was a game in which the Big Green never trailed.
Though the Terriers battled back furiously at times, the stingy Dartmouth defense and the vocal crowd on hand at Sculley-Fahey Field proved to be too much to overcome as the Big Green women held on for a 9-7 victory.
The seventh-ranked Dart-mouth team jumped out of the gates early, scoring the game's first two goals. Boston University was quick to respond, tying the match with two goals of its own, all within the first five minutes of the first half. The frantic pace of both sides' offense looked to be ready to produce a rather high-scoring affair before the game began to settle down.
Thanks to four first-half goals by speedy midfielder Katieanne Christian '05, Dartmouth was able to take a 5-2 lead before the Terriers closed the gap and went into the half down a goal at 6-5.
It was Christian's elusive style, darting between and ducking defenders that sparked the Big Green and kept them in front through the half.
"It was a tough battle through the whole game," Christian said of the first-round victory. "It didn't feel like we were in the lead the whole time. I think it was just a close game and both teams worked hard, but we just out-hustled them in the end."
On the defensive end, the Terriers were forced to be patient in their attack through the half, slowing the pace of the game and keeping possession around the perimeter of the Dartmouth end. Erin Osborn '05 anchored an impenetrable defense, blocking many passes sent into the danger area and helping to frustrate the Boston University attack.
The play of Kate Killen '04 was also integral in providing pesky resistance to the Terrier offense as she forced numerous turnovers, many coming at crucial moments when Boston University had finally begun to sustain some success in their attack.
Freshman netminder Devon Wills also came up huge with many saves coming at point-blank range, devastating the Terrier offense and often breaking the momentum they were gradually able to build at times.
The game remained in Dartmouth's control throughout, though to Boston University's credit, it was not easy to do so. The game saw Dartmouth string some intricate passing together, producing a few spectacular goals.
In the first half, Killen retrieved a long arching pass in full stride over her shoulder, and raced into Boston University territory. She then split defenders with a beautiful pass to a cutting Lana Smith '04 who tucked the ball in the left lower corner with a quick-release shot, giving Dartmouth a 6-5 lead.
In the second half, after the Terriers had begun to surge back with two goals late in the game cutting the deficit to one goal at 8-7, it was Casey Hazel '06 who sealed the win for the Big Green.
Sarah Sanborn '05 hit her in stride with a perfect, penetrating pass that was collected and put away with three minutes to go in the contest. The goal proved to be the final tally of the day.
But while the game possessed a few moments of brilliance, it was largely characterized by the gritty play and full concentration displayed on both sides.
"I don't think it was one of our best games of the year, but I think it came down to the mental battle out there," head coach Amy Patton said of her team's effort after the game.
The Dartmouth women will be forced to win the mental battle once again as they have earned themselves a rematch with the Maryland Terrapins this Sunday. The women travel to Maryland for this second-round NCAA Tournament fixture where they will attempt to avenge a 9-2 loss suffered early in the season.