Baseball and women's lax set to face Cornell in Ivy playoffs

by Taylor Malmsheimer | 5/3/12 10:00pm

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The Dartmouth baseball team will take on Cornell University in the Ivy Championship Series this weekend in Ithaca, N.Y.
by Christina Chen and Emily Leede / The Dartmouth

Dartmouth women's lacrosse is currently ranked No. 16 in the country and will take on No. 13 Cornell in the Ivy semifinal on Friday. If Dartmouth wins, the team will play on Sunday against the winner of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University matchup for the conference title.

In the teams' only meeting this season, the Big Green triumphed over the Big Red, 12-10. The teams matched up evenly from the opening whistle and entered halftime tied at 5-5. Dartmouth used a burst of energy to score seven of the first eight second-half goals, but Cornell responded with a furious rally while trailing 12-6 with 13 minutes remaining in the game. The Big Red tallied the final four goals of the game, but Dartmouth held on for a two-goal road victory.

Kirsten Goldberg '12 led the Big Green offense with five goals and six points in the game. Hilary Smith '12 had a career-high seven draw controls and Kristen Giovanniello '14 recorded 10 saves between the pipes.

Captain Sarah Plumb '12, who was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Year on Wednesday, stressed the importance of playing consistently throughout the game.

"Against Cornell, we started out the first half really slow last time," Plumb said. "We just have to play our game from the beginning. It clearly worked in the second half, so we're focusing on coming out strong and maintaining that throughout the game."

The Big Green and the Big Red ended the season tied for second along with Harvard in the Ivy League standings with identical league records. Plumb said that the team's entire season has prepared it to win the game.

"I think that we've had a lot of really great and not-so-great games," she said. "There have been moments in every game where we did and didn't do well. We're focusing on the moments in which we've struggled and making changes quickly."

Dartmouth has appeared in every Ivy League Championship Tournament since its inception during the 2009-2010 season. The Big Green, however, has yet to come away with a title.

On Saturday, the Dartmouth baseball team will begin the best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series against Cornell. The teams have the same record in the Ivy League and have dominated their respective divisions. The Big Red won the Lou Gehrig Division of the Ancient Eight while Dartmouth topped the Red Rolfe Division.

The teams met for one doubleheader earlier in the season, and Cornell swept the two games by scores of 2-0 and 5-2, respectively. The Big Green was no-hit in the first game by Big Red sophomore Connor Kaufmann. Dartmouth players, however, said that the team has grown a lot since that early season match up.

"We've changed a lot since we've played them," captain Joe Sclafani '12 said. "We're a completely different team with a lot more confidence. We didn't hit much down there."

Because the Big Green played against the University of Hartford on Tuesday, the team has only three days to prepare for Cornell. Pitcher Kyle Hunter '13 said that the mid-week game helped the team prepare for the weekend series.

"We're not preparing any different than any other week," Hunter said. "We're just doing our fundamentals in practice."

With the team's offensive troubles in its last matchup against Cornell in mind, Sclafani said the team has worked to fine tune all aspects of its game, but has focused especially on batting.

"We know how they will pitch us, so we've been talking about that," he said. "We want to have timely hits on offense and not try to do too much. Other than that, we're focusing on our fundamentals. We're trying not to change our routine."

Many of the Big Green's primary contributors were a part of the squad that won the league title two years ago. The veterans have emphasized the importance of getting off to a good start, especially to the younger players.

"We're just trying to get through everyone's head a sense of urgency," Sclafani said. "We only have two games and one more on Sunday if need be. It's important to get off to a good start."

The Big Green lost to Princeton University in the Ivy League Championship Series last season in three games. Dartmouth last won the title two seasons ago when the team defeated Columbia University in the Championship Series.

The first two games of the series will start on Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Game three, if necessary, will be played on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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