The women’s lacrosse team’s 6-10 loss to a very physical Dartmouth squad Saturday dashed any hopes of qualifying for the Ivy League Tournament. Though the Bears (7-7, 1-5 Ivy) have proven that they can play on par with the best teams — most notably in their two-goal loss to a competitive No. 11 Penn team — the ability to win Ivy games has consistently eluded them.
While the Bears never held the lead against the Big Green (2-11, 2-4), a tight first half highlighted both their strong defensive and offensive skills.
“We were composed throughout the game — it was probably the most physical game that I’ve coached in in my career,” said Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00. Though Dartmouth is known for its physical style of play, the physicality was more intense than the Bears had expected, McDonald said.
Dartmouth scored first, less than two minutes into play, but Janie Gion ’15 quickly retaliated to tie the score. The Big Green took the chance to pull ahead, scoring twice more to take a 3-1 lead. Emma Dahle ’18 responded with her first of three goals for the day, capitalizing on a free position shot to pull the Bears to within one of Dartmouth. The Big Green found the back of the net again shortly after, but Dahle was persistent and notched her second goal to narrow the margin to one, with Bruno trailing 3-4 at the half.
The back-and-forth scoring of the first half did not carry over to the second. Only one new player scored for Bruno after the break, demonstrating the Big Green’s defensive pressure. Dartmouth’s Jessica Frieder made only one save in the second half, letting in three shots. Bruno successfully limited many of the Big Green’s top weapons, but she was not able to shut down their offensive unit.
“They have two really big offensive threats, number 23 and number 20. … Our team executed a really great game plan against them,” McDonald said. “We definitely limited their top kid to lower than they’ve scored all season long, so that was a big cause for us.”
Dartmouth kicked off the second half with its fifth goal of the game. Abby Bunting ’15 brought the Bears back within one of the Big Green for a score of 4-5. The one-goal deficit was the closest Bruno would get for the rest of the day. Following Bunting’s goal, Dartmouth went on a scoring spree, notching four goals in the span of six minutes. The offensive burst dug a five-goal hole for the Bears from which they could not escape.
“We played a lot of defense at the beginning (of the second half),” McDonald said. “There were a couple key turnovers in the midfield that I think translated directly to their goals that we would like back for sure.”
Gion responded to Dartmouth’s offensive campaign with her second goal of the day to narrow the gap to four, but Dartmouth’s Jaclyn Leto finished her hat trick a few minutes later to regain their five-goal margin. With less than two minutes remaining, the lead was virtually insurmountable for the Bears. Dahle completed her own hat trick in the last minute of play, cementing a final score of 10-6 for Bruno’s fifth Ivy loss of the season.
Kellie Roddy ’15 was solid in net, blocking 10 of the 20 shots she faced. Her season save percentage of 47.4 percent ranks third in the Ivy League. The Bears also won more draw controls than the Big Green and took a relatively even number of shots. But their 12 second-half turnovers revealed some of their offensive struggles, while their second-half clear percentage of 37.5 pointed to some defensive shortcomings.
“We grinded it out until the end for sure and were aggressive, stuck to the game plan and stuck with each other for the entire 60 minutes,” McDonald said. “I was definitely proud of the effort overall from top to bottom from the team. … It really does take a lot of mental, physical, emotional strength to battle a team like that.”
Bruno wraps up its season next week with a contest against conference powerhouse Princeton. Last year’s victory over Princeton broke a 23-year losing streak older than most of the squad’s players. The Bears are looking to repeat history Saturday and end their season on a high note with a win over the Tigers.