Women’s lacrosse surges in second half, improves to 2-0

by James Handal | 2/25/16 7:12pm

The Dartmouth women’s lacrosse team played the second game of its 2016 campaign against fellow Granite State rival University of New Hampshire at Fahey-Scully Field Tuesday and was victorious 11-10 after a strong second period. The Big Green are now 2-0 overall, with the five wins in a row. UNH falls to 1-2. With the win, Dartmouth now owns a 24-16 lead in the series.

“It’s a really big rivalry every year as we both are the big teams in New Hampshire and it brought back the history of the Big Green program,” Charlotte Wahle ’19 said. “All of my teammates really worked together well and stayed composed until the very end of this close game.”

Jaclyn Leto ’16, who recently reached the 100 goal milestone, led the Big Green, adding five more goals and an assist. Taryn Deck ’17 picked up three goals and two assists, while Courtney Weisse ’17 also added two assists in a strong team display.

Strong plays by freshman Elizabeth Mastrio ’19 and Kierra Sweeney ’19 resulted in critical goals by both players. Sweeney’s goal in the first half was Dartmouth’s first tally of the game, while Mastrio’s unassisted goal extended Dartmouth’s lead to 9-7 midway through the second half.

“The team was really able to push the ball in that second half and despite coming close in the end we had more grit and confidence within ourselves, which then gave us that last surge of energy to keep the lead and preserve the win,” Mastrio said.

Mastrio added that the team is “extremely excited” about the start to the season so far and for what is to come in the next few games.

In the first period, both the Big Green and the Wildcats were fairly equal with each team capping spells of strong play.

UNH opened quickly with two goals from Marissa Gurello and Krissy Schafer before Dartmouth called a timeout and regrouped to tie the game 2-2 with goals from Sweeney at 21:16 and then Leto at 16:53.

Towards the end of the first period, UNH regained the lead with a pair of goals from Carly Wooters to strengthen the Wildcats winding down the period. Leto, who played well all night, scored her second goal less than two minutes after to bring Dartmouth within a goal near the end of the first period.

With less than a minute remaining, the pace of the game quickened, resulting in the two teams trading goals. Rebecca Sennott of the Wildcats and Deck scored 15 seconds apart, and Dartmouth headed into the break down 5-4.

“In the first half, the team was not executing our game plan at all and we were lucky at half time to have the score as close as it was,” head coach Amy Patton said. “Going into the second half, everyone had to take a deep breath and erase what just happened.”

Patton added that the team couldn’t afford to dwell on the first half and needed instead to play the way “we know how” and execute the game plan that the team started with. As the second half started, Patton said, the team got more aggressive on both defense and attacking and got a lot more people involved.

“The team started working harder and got in attacking mode all over the field,” Patton said.

The Big Green took control of the game in the second period thanks to Leto’s offensive playmaking and Wahle’s excellent goalkeeping.

Wooters scored an early goal at 28:21 to gain some momentum for the Wildcats, but Deck responded with two quick goals at 27:11 and 26:08 to bring her tally to six goals through the two games played.

Following another Wildcat tally, Leto added a pair of goals for the first tie of the game at 21:37 and then to take a 8-7 lead at 18:50. Following a Mastrio goal, Leto scored her fifth of the night at 14:31 to give the Green a 10-7 lead.

Strong play by the Wildcats towards the end of the game scoring three goals in the final twelve minutes, but Sophie Davidson ’18 scored the difference-maker at 11:39 to give Dartmouth the 11-10 win.

“The game against New Hampshire this weekend was a great challenge for us to get the chance to play against some really strong competition,” Mastrio said. “The team has worked incredibly hard in the months leading up to the season and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished so far versus UMass Lowell and UNH.”

Wahle, who played her first game in net last weekend against UMass Lowell helped work for the win against UNH, recording seven saves with 10 goals allowed. Wahle has faced 35 shots in the past two games and recorded a total of 12 saves.

Patton said the team’s passionate freshman class is determined to improve individually, with players early to practice and “working great.”

Patton said the Wahle is a “really coachable kid.” The coach has been impressed with Wahle’s progress.

Wahle credits the defense in front of her as what keeps the team in the game.

“I know that with my teammates I have great help in front of me and I have such a strong defense this year,” Wahle said. “The wide support of my teammates gives me so much confidence knowing they are going to do anything to stop the ball so that the opponents can only get a low angle.”

Currently, Leto leads the team in goals (10) and points (11) and Deck leads the team in assists (4) with Weisse and Mastrio each close behind at three apiece.

In the game, Dartmouth had a 13-14 advantage in turnovers, while both teams were quite physical with five yellow cards assessed to UNH and six to Dartmouth.

The Big Green outshot the Wildcats 29-24 and led draw controls 14-8.

The Big Green travels to Gainesville, Florida to take on No. 3 University of Florida at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27. Florida is nationally recognized in college women’s lacrosse as a perennial powerhouse, and the Big Green are winless in all four of its matchups against the Gators.

Patton believes Florida will be a great experience to test the determination of the team.

“Florida is a really polished team,” Patton said. “As we enter the game, if we focus too much on them, we lose sight of what we are trying to do. Every game we try to focus on what we need to do better and we need to work on things to do better. Florida is incredibly quick and have great shooters and we are only going to get better from playing them.”