Men's lax drops heartbreaker to UPenn in overtime

by Stephen Preefer | 4/7/08 3:18am

It took two full quarters for Dartmouth's men's lacrosse team to overcome a six-goal deficit and push the University of Pennsylvania into overtime, but it took less than 30 seconds for the Quakers to end the Big Green's comeback bid and Dartmouth lost the Saturday afternoon heartbreaker, 9-8.

The second consecutive conference loss for the Big Green could hurt the team's chances for a possible NCAA tournament berth and also puts Dartmouth at a disadvantage in the race for an Ivy League championship.

Penn (5-3, 3-1 Ivy) had been ranked among the nation's top 20 for most of the season, but dropped out just last week.

The Dartmouth men(4-5, 0-2 Ivy) were disappointed with their performance, but felt that the team played well in the second half to position themselves to gain a potential conference victory.

"We played well as the game went on," co-captain Doug Rendall '09 said. "At the beginning our defense was a little shaky, but we began to play really well in the second half. It was tough because we went down 7-1, but it definitely shows that we have a lot of heart to come back, but it's really tough to win a game down by that much"

Just after the fifth minute, Brian Koch '09 started the game with a goal assisted by Jon Livadas '09, giving Dartmouth an early 1-0 advantage. The lead was short-lived, however, and Penn scored one minute later, starting a 7-0 run for the Quakers.

The first goal of the streak was scored by Penn's Alex Weber with 9:01 remaining in the opening period. Weber had a hat-trick during the Quakers' run.

In that time span, Penn's star attack Craig Andrzejewski, an honorable mention All-American and second team All-Ivy last season, scored two of his three goals in the contest.

Penn then chipped in three more before the end of the first period.

Penn started off the second period with three straight goals in the first eight minutes, mounting a formidable 7-1 lead.

But soon after, the game's momentum suddenly shifted and the rest of the contest belonged to the Big Green. Livadas started the Big Green's 7-1 run with an unassisted man-up goal with just under three and a half minutes to play in the second period.

The next fifteen minutes belonged to Gillam, as he scored a hat-trick of his own, bringing Dartmouth within striking for the first time since the first period.

Gillam's performance shows why he has the most impressive statistics on the team thus far in the season. Gillam has a 60 percent shot-to-goal ratio, whereas the next highest by a regular player is 37.5 percent.

Two of Gillam's three goals were on man-up opportunities and two were also assisted by Koch. Gillam's last two goals were the only points put on the board in the third period.

At the start of the fourth period, Penn struck back with its last goal of regulation, creating a three-goal deficit for the Dartmouth men.

Ari Sussman '10, Dartmouth's leading scorer, responded with his only goal of the game less than a minute later to bring the Big Green back within two goals.

With just under three minutes to play, Jimmy Mullen '09 scored, assited by Livadas, giving Dartmouth a chance to take the game in regulation.

Forty-five seconds later, Tim Daniels '08 scored on his first shot of the season, bringing the game into overtime.

Penn gained a significant advantage heading into overtime. In the final 30 seconds of regulation, Penn won a face-off, called timeout and took three shots, but only managed to put one on-goal, which was saved by Big Green goaltender Mike Novosel '10.

Penn's Justin Lynch won the face-off from Chad Gaudet '08 and immediately the Quaker sideline called a timeout.

Ten seconds after play resumed, Weber made a run to goal and Novosel made another save for the Big Green. As the ball rolled on the turf from the rebound from the initial shot Andrzejewski passed off to Garvey Heiderman, who put the ball home only 28 seconds into the extra frame.

For the contest, Penn held a 38-32 advantage in shooting while the two teams were tied with 25 ground balls apiece. The Big Green held a slight advantage in face-offs, winning 11 of 21.

Dartmouth capitalized on man-up opportunities for the first time this season, converting three of seven attempts.

The Big Green will continue its Ivy season in the coming weeks with a schedule that will become increasingly difficult.

Next weekend, the team will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., to take on the No. 7 Cornell. The Big Red sit atop of the Ivy League standings with a perfect 3-0 conference mark, followed by Brown and Princeton.

A loss to Penn early in the Ivy campaign will put more pressure on Dartmouth down the stretch.

"It was definitely not a good game for us to lose in terms of Ivies," Rendall said. "We have three tough games coming up, but if we play complete games they're all winnable. But that being said, they are all really good teams."

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