Maine edges Big Green field hockey
In a tight defensive struggle, Dartmouth field hockey fell 1-0 to visiting Maine at a cold and windy Scully-Fahey Field on Sunday.
Maine consistently threatened Dartmouth keeper Lauren Balukjian '06 at the end of the first half. Balukjian made two of her five saves after a penalty corner with about a minute left. After she dove right to stop one shot, she stood up and blocked another at point-blank range.
Maine's offensive pressure continued as the low-scoring contest's only goal came with less than one second left in the first half when Maine's Joanna Fernandes connected with teammate Kim MacDonald, who found the back of the cage.
Seconds before the half ended, Dartmouth was penalized, giving Maine a penalty corner. Even though time had expired, the officials allowed play to continue because the penalty had been called.
The half ended as soon as MacDonald scored. It was her second game-winning goal in as many games.
"It was a bummer," said Dartmouth head coach Amy Fowler, "They had a break, and they made the most of it."
Dartmouth outshot Maine 12 to 11, but was unable to cash in on any of its opportunities.
Among the missed chances was a failure to capitalize on any of their eight penalty corners, normally a major part of the Big Green's offense. Last week's Ivy League Player of the Week Whitney Waugh '08 is the offensive target on penalty corners, but Maine held her to three shots, only one of which was on goal. Unable to score, Waugh loses her streak of three consecutive games with a goal.
Dartmouth's best chances were indeed products of corners, but they came from different offensive weapons.
Audrey Knutson '07 had a shot pass Maine's keeper Rebecca Giroux, but Fernandes was there to keep it from crossing the line.
Later in the game, Dartmouth ran a trick play off a penalty corner, and it almost paid off. While most of Dartmouth's offensive players huddled together apparently talking about the play, Nina Fulmer '06 stood apart from them to receive the corner pass from Lindsay Gossage '06. Fulmer shot and nearly missing off the post.
After scoring eight times last weekend, Fowler said she thought her team was out of its drought, but when the weather lightened up a little on Sunday, Dartmouth's scoring dried up with it.
"Their goalkeeper played relatively well," Fowler said, "I'm just disappointed that we couldn't put the ball in the net."
Maine squandered some opportunities too. About 20 minutes into the game, Kristen Healy nearly scored when she hit Balukjian's side post.
Jessica Saraceno '06 hurt her shoulder after slipping and falling on it in the second half. Fowler said she re-dislocated her shoulder and was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for x-rays and other tests. Doctors had to examine her in the dark for a little while, because Hanover's power went out near the end of the game.
The outage turned off the scoreboard with about ten minutes left to play, and the officials had to keep the time on the field.
Maine only plays four out of their eighteen games at home this season, and a lot of their players' fans and families made the relatively short trip to Hanover to watch their team play to victory.
With a better record and having beaten Dartmouth last year, Maine felt like they should have run away with the game.
During a timeout with a little under 10 minutes to play, Maine head coach Terry Kix yelled to her players, "We should be killing this team."
The 1-0 loss to Maine was Dartmouth's fifth one-goal loss of the season, lowering their record to 5-7. Maine improves to 10-5 with a 7-5 road record.
Dartmouth will play UMass on Wednesday at Amherst at 5 p.m. They next play at home in their homecoming game against Columbia at 12 p.m. on Saturday at Scully-Fahey Field sending the ball out of danger.