PRINCETON, N.J. -- The quest for the 2011 Ivy League Women's Lacrosse Tournament title begins Friday, May 6 at Penn's Franklin Field as No. 1 Penn, No. 2 Dartmouth, No. 3 Harvard and No. 4 Princeton battle it out for the League's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Quakers won the inagural tournament title one year ago after cruising through the League's regular-season schedule with an unblemished 7-0 record.
This year's tournament should be a battle as each of the four teams suffered at least one loss to other members of the tournamnt field during the regular-season. Rematches of those games appear in Friday's semifinal match-ups, with opportunity for repeat results or revenge.
The No. 2 seed Dartmouth and No. 3 seed Harvard open tournament action at 4 p.m. on May 6. with a rematch of their League finale on April 29. The Big Green clinched that match-up, 14-7, earning a share of the regular-season Ivy League title in the process. The second semifinal game, set for 7 p.m., features the top seed Quakers in a rematch against the team that stopped their Ivy win streak at 34 straight games -- No. 4 seed Princeton. The Tigers won the first meeting this season, an 11-7 final back on April 20.
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No. 1 seed Penn (11-4, 6-1 Ivy)
The Quakers opened the 2011 season with a six-game winning streak, including a 10-7 upset of then No. 3 North Carolina, before dropping a 10-6, non-conference game to Johns Hopkins. Their only other losses on the season came at the hands of ranked opponents, falling to then No. 1 Maryland, then No. 2 Northwestern and then No. 15 Princeton. Penn clinched its seventh all-time and fifth consecutive Ivy League regular-season title on April 23 with a 12-5 win at Brown. The only blemish to the 2011 Ivy season was an 11-7 loss at Princeton, which the Quakers will look to avenge in the opening round of the Ivy League Tournament. The team is riding a high note entering tournament play, coming off a 13-10 upset of then No. 4 Duke on April 29.
Team Notables: While the Quakers average just 9.27 goals per game, seventh among the eight Ivy schools, they rank atop the League in goals against average at 8.07. Penn also tops the list in team turnovers at just 10.93.
Individual Notables: Junior attack Erin Brennan leads the Quakers with 31 goals and 13 assists for 44 points. Her 2.07 gpg rank No. 2 in the Ivy League while her 0.87 apg are No. 3. Six additional players have double-digit goals on the season, as the Quakers display a balanced attack. In goal, Emily Leitner is tied for the League low with an 8.09 goals against average. Leitner also ranks fourth in save percentage (.447).
No. 2 seed Dartmouth (11-3, 6-1 Ivy)
The Big Green are riding high into the Ivy League Tournament, winners of their last three and eight of their last nine games. Dartmouth's most recent three victories have each been significant. On April 23 it topped Princeton, 15-10, to keep Ivy League title hopes alive. On April 29, the Big Green faced Harvard, with a share of the Ivy League title on the line, and came away with a 14-7 win. Finishing 6-1 in League play secured Dartmouth a share of the Ivy title along with Penn. Just two days later, the Big Green earned arguably the biggest win in program history, clinching a 9-8 overtime victory over defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Maryland, 9-8.
Team Notables: The Big Green average 11.14 goals per game and ranks second in the League with 4.79 assist per game. They also rank among the best defenses, ranking No. 1 in ground balls (17.64 per game), No. 1 in save percentage (.538), No. 2 in goals against average (8.09), No. 2 in saves per game (9.50) and No. 3 in caused turnovers (8.43 per game).
Individual Notables: Dartmouth features four players with 20+ goals this season, led by Kat Collins with 32 and Greta Meyer with 27. Collins ranks No. 7 among all Ivies with 2.07 gpg, while four Big Green players rank in the League's top 10 for assists per game. Goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello is having an outstanding rookie season, leading the nation in save percentage (.538) while also sitting in a tie for No. 1 in the Ivy League with a 8.09 goals against average.
No. 3 seed Harvard (9-5, 5-2 Ivy)
Harvard enters the Ivy League Tournament winners of five of its last six games after going 4-4 to open the season. A 9-8 upset of the No. 12 Princeton on April 16 pushed the Crimson into the No. 3 seed position where it will face No. 2 Dartmouth in a rematch of a 14-7 loss on April 29. Harvard has played some of its best lacrosse against its best competition, dropping three games against top-20 opponents by just a single goal (18-17 vs. then No. 13 Stanford, 9-8 vs. then No. 4 Penn and 19-18 vs. then No. 7 Virginia).
Team Notables: Harvard has one of the most potent offenses in the Ivy League, leading the Ancient Eight with 12.43 goals per game. The Crimson scored in double figures 10 times this season, including five games of 15 goals or more. Harvard also ranks No. 2 in draw controls per game (12.29), shot percentage (.472) and turnovers per game (11.07).
Individual Notables: Sophomore attack Jennifer VanderMeulen leads the League in both goals (45) and goals per game (3.21), tallying five goals twice and four on three other occassions. Classmate Danielle Tetreault adds 2.57 gpg, ranking fourth among all Ivies.
No. 4 seed Princeton (9-6, 5-2 Ivy)
The lone Ivy team to take down Penn in five seasons, the Tigers will use that as motivation headed into their Ivy League Tournament opener. All but one of Princeton's losses this season came against top-15 teams, while it also picked up two wins over top-15 teams. The 11-7 win over then No. 8 Penn came on April 20. The Tigers closed out the regular-season with a huge 19-10 win over then No. 13 Penn State -- also the Tigers' highest scoring output of the season.
Team Notables: Princeton ranks No. 3 among the Ivies in goals per game (11.53) and No. 1 in assists per game (4.87), which combine to also lead the League in points per game (16.40). The Tigers also top the standings in shot percentage (.473) while ranking second in caused turnovers per game (9.47).
Individual Notables: Team leader Lizzy Drumm ranks third among all Ivy players with 2.60 goals per game. The senior midfielder had her best offensive performances against the Tigers top competition, scoring a career-high six goals against then No. 4 Duke and five each against then No. 1 Maryland and then No. 13 Penn State. Other top-ranked Tigers include Lindsey deButts, holding the No. 2 for ground balls per game (2.27) and Erin Tochihara with the No. 2 save percentage (.479).