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May 13, 2012

Penn, Dartmouth Fall in First Round of NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship

Photos and stories courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics Communications and Penn Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Ivy League women's lacrosse season officially came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship, as No. 11 Penn fell to No. 6 Loyola (Md.) in overtime, 10-9, while No. 9 Dartmouth lost at No. 4 Syracuse, 15-5.

Loyola (Md.) 10, Penn 9 (OT)
BALTIMORE -- Penn had the lead six times in the game, taking one with 4:32 to go in regulation and again in the first overtime after Loyola rallied to tie the game in regulation. However, the Greyhounds truly beat the buzzer before time ran out in the first three-minute period of overtime -- scoring on a free position with 0.3 seconds left before the switching of sides -- to knot the game at 9-9 and then ran their only fast break of the game in the final 20 seconds to again score a goal near the buzzer -- this time with 3.8 seconds to secure the win.

Practically every stat category was even, Penn leading in shots (24-23), ground balls (19-16), draw controls (11-10) while Loyola had an edge in turnover (13-15) and saves (10-5).

Loyola's last lead of the game came in the waning seconds - off the stick of Hanna Schmitt. The freshman scored with 3.8 seconds remaining in overtime to break one last tie in an extremely close game. The goal for Loyola came after Penn's Meredith Cain was denied on a shot with 20 seconds remaining - her look was great and the shot was well-done, but Kerry Stoothoff's 10th save of the game came on a diving play back across her body to deny the Quakers.

The game was tied, 9-9, at that point thanks to a Kerry Burke free position goal with 0.3 seconds left in the first three-minute period of overtime. The Quakers had taken the lead to start overtime on a goal from Cain with 2:39 into extra time, but Loyola won the draw and a foul on Penn with 2.8 seconds left led to Burke's free position attempt.

Penn again won the draw to start the second three minutes of overtime, and held the ball until there was less than 30 seconds left. Penn had the play it wanted, with Erin Brennan finding a cutting Cain, but the shot wasn't meant to be.

Penn was the only team to hold a lead in the second half, pulling ahead by a goal on four different occasions. Much like the first half, scoring was plentiful in the early moments of the second stanza, with five goals in the first 7:37 of play. Courtney Tomchik scored an unassisted goal to give Penn a 7-6 lead at that point, which was cancelled by Kara Burke's goal for Loyola with 17:17 left to play.

Loyola, as it had done all game, answered Penn's goal with one of its own. Sydney Thomas scored 50 seconds after Bunting did, knotting the game at 8-8. The Quakers won the draw control, and Erin Brennan drew a free position with 2:35 to play. Loyola goalkeeper Stoothoff made a stop on the eight-meter from Brennan - the 'Hounds' fifth save on a Penn free position in the game. Loyola had one more chance in regulation, but Thomas' shot with seven seconds left sailed wide.

Bunting finished with three goals for the Quakers, while Erin Brennan capped her Penn career with two goals and an assist. Cain matched Brennan with her two goals and an assist, adding a pair of caused turnovers. Freshman Meg Markham led the defensive effort with three caused turnovers, three draw controls and four ground balls while Maddie Poplawski led Penn with four draw controls. Emily Leitner had five saves, including one free position stop and a caused turnover as she made big plays to deny a high powered Loyola attack which was held to 10 goals for the first time since April 14 at Cornell.

Penn finishes its season with a 9-8 record and a sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship. Along the way, Penn won a sixth-straight Ivy League regular season title.

Syracuse 15, Dartmouth 5
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Sophomore goalkeeper and Ivy League Tournament Most Outstanding Player Kristen Giovanniello did all she could to help her team against the Orange, stopping 11 shots, including six in the first half when the two teams were locked in hotly-contested match.

It was in those first 30 minutes that Dartmouth played an even game with the home team, heading into the locker room tied at three apiece after senior co-captain and Ivy League Player of the Year Sarah Plumb found the back of the net with six seconds remaining for her 37th of the spring and the 98th of her career.   

Early on, the Big Green's game plan of slowing down the potent Syracuse offensive attack was affective. Dartmouth scored the opening tally 4:03 into the game after controlling the initial possession for that entire period. Senior Kirsten Goldberg was the one to put Dartmouth on top with that first marker, the result of a free-position shot after getting fouled inside the arc.

A back-and-forth affair followed as Syracuse would take a one-goal lead only to see Dartmouth pull even soon thereafter.

Junior attacker Hana Bowers scored two goals on the afternoon, including the first of the second half for the visitors to make it 5-4 with 18:03 left.

The Big Green's defense held off the Orange for several more minutes, but key draw controls allowed Syracuse's offense to set up and put the game away with the clock dwindling down.

The appearance in the NCAA Tournament was the second in as many years for Dartmouth after earning the conference's automatic berth last weekend with the program's first Ivy League Tournament Championship, beating Penn, 6-4, in the title game.