Field hockey falls to Princeton, beats UMass Lowell in overtime
The Big Green came back strong on Sunday to defeat UMass Lowell in overtime, 4-3.
On Saturday, the field hockey team matched up against No. 10 Princeton University in its first game of Ivy League competition this season and walked away with a 4-0 loss. The next day, the Big Green responded in force with a 4-3 overtime win against the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
The Big Green started its season with a tough regional non-conference schedule, matching up against a top-25 team in No. 17 Boston College along with Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, and currently sits 3-5 on the season.
Last season, the Big Green went 6-11 overall and 2-5 in Ivy League play, setting the team up for a sixth-place projected finish in the Ivy League preseason poll. The difference between a 3-5 record and being 5-3 this season, however, is a matter of just a few goals — of its seven games this season, the Big Green has taken three to overtime and one to double-overtime.
The first of these games, played against UMass, was a stalemate in regulation before the Minutemen netted the game’s lone goal five minutes into overtime. Against the College of the Holy Cross, after a 1-1 tie in regulation, Katie Spanos ’20 found the goal in overtime to give the Big Green its first win of the season. Dartmouth took the University of New Hampshire to double-overtime before the Wildcats put in the deciding goal. These close games, especially the losses, will make the Big Green hungry to improve and come out with wins.
“Even if we have a good game, the next game we want it to be even better, so [the goal is] sort of to never be satisfied and always try to learn and improve,” said Carmen Braceras ’20.
For the remainder of the season, veteran attackers will lead the charge — in Spanos and Katie Persin ’20, the team has two out of three of last year’s goals and points leaders back for their senior seasons. Braceras contributes additional veteran firepower, and currently sits atop the team’s offensive stat line with four goals and nine points.
Behind these offensive forces stands a younger backfield, which is led by three sophomores and a junior. Isabella Santucci ’22 took over this season for Hailey Valerio ’19 in goal and has shown veteran poise thus far — she has a 73 percent save percentage, putting her at 29th in the country for that statistic. She also recorded 20 saves against BC, which is the first time a Dartmouth goalkeeper has done so in 10 years.
On Saturday against Princeton, the Big Green’s defense was in good form while the Big Green’s offense struggled to get going. Princeton managed to fire off 25 shots, 16 of which were on goal, but Santucci and the Dartmouth backfield gave up just four goals. On offense, the Big Green struggled to penetrate Princeton’s notoriously strong defense — in their non-conference matchups this season, the Tigers played all top-25 teams, and gave up an average of just over two goals per game. The Green and White managed to get off just four shots, two of which were on goal, in its scoreless outing.
The next day, the Big Green came back from a 3-1 deficit against UMass Lowell, with Holley Cromwell ’23 scoring her first career goal late in the game to tie it up and Spanos providing the game winner just over four minutes into overtime.
Next weekend, the Big Green will head to Providence to play Brown University and Providence College in a mix of conference and non-conference play. Last season, Dartmouth beat the Bears, and will look to do so again to even its conference record before it faces some historically tougher Ivy League challengers. After taking on Brown, the Big Green will face the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University on the road.
“I don’t necessarily see us as a big underdog going into any of the Ivy League games, just because even though historically we may have more losses against a particular team, on any given night I think either team could really win,” Braceras said.