HANOVER, N.H. – Sarah Plumb scored a goal to lift No. 17 Dartmouth to 9-8 double-overtime victory against No. 10 Duke. It was her second of the afternoon and 16th of the season and it came at just the right time.
“This was a game that means so much to our program and to win it after these last three years is so special to the seniors and the entire team,” Plumb said following the game.
“I don’t think there was ever a point where we lost our composure even though unexpected things come your way over the course of a game like this,” the senior co-captain added. “You just have to roll with the punches and our heart, determination and grit really showed in this win.”
The Big Green, ranked 17th in the most recent coaches’ poll and 10th by the media, have now knocked off a top-5 team at home in overtime in each of the last two seasons after taking down No. 1 Maryland in the regular-season finale in 2011. The Blue Devils came to Hanover ranked fourth by the coaches and third by the media.
“I was impressed by the team’s demeanor on the field all day,” head coach Amy Patton said. “You didn’t see them lose confidence at any point, even when we were turning the ball over. That’s a giant step for us because we were in it to win it, not just play Duke, but play them to win.
“We could have easily caved, but we didn’t. We kept after it and you saw them turn the page to the next play and what had to be done throughout,” Patton continued. “I was very proud of the team today.”
Like it has in each game this season, Dartmouth jumped out to an early lead, taking a 6-3 advantage into the half.
After each team scored twice to open the second half, Dartmouth had an 8-5 lead 10 minutes into the second period and were looking to put Duke away for the first time since the 2003 season, a span of seven games.
The Blue Devils showed why they are one of the top programs in the nation this season, fighting back to tie the game with 4:35 left in regulation on a Taylor Trimble marker to force the extra session.
That’s when an already tense game was amplified to an even greater extent as those in the stands began to sit on the edge of their seats in anticipation of a winner coming at any moment.
In the first overtime period, Duke won the draw control and stalled for nearly three minutes in waiting for the perfect opportunity to take the final shot. However, Plumb’s defensive read of a centering pass knocked the ball to the turf and the Big Green were able to hold off for the horn.
The second three-minute segment of the overtime period produced more back-and-forth play, but neither team was able to score and a sudden-victory second overtime would be needed to determine a winner.
Picking up one of her season-best five draw controls on the afternoon to open the second overtime, senior Hilary Smith gave Dartmouth possession, something that proved crucial in the game’s final outcome.
After junior Courtney Bennett hit the crossbar, sophomore Liz Calby collected the rebound from out of the air behind the net. Calby moved to her right and found Plumb with a pass to the top of the 8-meter arc, sending the senior midfielder cutting towards the goal.
Plumb’s shot to the top right corner beat the outstretched stick of Duke’s Mollie Mackler and sent the Dartmouth sideline racing onto the field in jubilant celebration, an emotion that was felt twice after a check of Plumb’s stick by the officials confirmed the game-winning goal 1:47 into the fourth period of the day.
At the other end of the field, sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello was up to the task yet again, stopping nine Duke shots in the game. Fresh off a career-high 17 saves against Vermont at home on Wednesday, the Dartmouth keeper has now gone the first five games of the season without allowing an opponent to score double-digit goals in a contest in 2012.
She also added a game-high four ground balls, several as a result of her key saves to keep the home team in position to compete and win.
In all, eight different players scored Dartmouth’s nine goals on the afternoon with Plumb leading the way with two goals and two assists. Junior Hana Bowers and sophomore Lindsey Allard each added a goal and an assist in the win.
Duke outshot Dartmouth, 22-17, and played a far more aggressively on defense, but was whistled 35 times for fouls, while the Big Green only committed 14.