Dartmouth wins first NCAA tournament game in seven years vs. Boston College
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The threat of inclement weather moved up the start time two and a half hours, but that did little to mess with Dartmouth's game-day routine as it took on Boston College in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon.
When the final horn sounded at the SU Soccer Stadium, the Big Green (11-7) had punched their ticket to the second round with an 11-8 victory. For Dartmouth, the win sets up a meeting with host and fourth-seeded Syracuse on Sunday.
A mixture of youth and experience proved to be the right combination for the Big Green as freshman Jaclyn Leto and sophomore Sarah Byrne posted career highs with four goals each and junior goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello turned aside a season-high 12 Boston College shots in the game.
“Our defense played stellar [on Friday] and Kristen [Giovanniello] had a phenomenal game, her best of the year,” head coach Amy Patton said. “We have to be better on the draws, but when we had it on attack we were getting really good looks at goals and were finishing.
“The difference for Sunday, and moving forward, is we have to be cleaner with our turnovers and do a better job on the draw.”
For Patton and the program, it was the first win in the NCAA tournament in nearly seven years, dating back to a 14-8 national semifinal victory against Notre Dame on May 26, 2006 that sent the Big Green to the title game against Northwestern.
“In the pregame speech, I told the team that we had set our goals for the year and this was the last one left. We didn’t win the Ivy League championship, we didn’t host the league tournament and we didn’t win the Ivy tournament,” Patton said. “This was one of our goals, not only get into the NCAA tournament, but to win NCAA tournament games. [Friday] was special for our seniors who didn’t want to leave without having accomplished any of those goals this year.”
Despite five tallies from sophomore Covie Stanwick, the Eagles (12-8) were unable to overcome the timely offense and swarming defense of the Big Green on the grass field of Syracuse’s soccer teams.
The result was nothing new in the all-time series between the two programs as Dartmouth continues its dominance of Boston College, improving to 19-0 with Friday’s three-goal victory.
The attack usually runs through the sticks of junior Liz Calby and senior Hana Bowers, but with the emergence of Leto and Byrne on this day, the two upperclassmen were not the main focal point in the offensive end. However, Calby did manage to score twice and assisted on two Leto goals, while Bowers netted her 49th of the season midway through the opening half.
After Penn scored five of its 10 goals on the free-position shot last Sunday in Philadelphia, the Green and White responded with an outstanding job of defense with BC on the eight-meter arc.
“All we’ve been doing the last week is working on eight meters and that has helped [Giovanniello's] confidence as she has been pelted with a lot of those shots,” Patton remarked of her team’s job limiting the Eagles to just a 3-for-10 showing with the open look.
Dartmouth will now move on to play Syracuse, a team that eliminated the Green from the 2012 NCAA tournament with a 15-5 victory last May. It will be 364 days later, but Patton and the Big Green will look to improve on that effort with another shot at the Orange.
“Some of the things we didn’t do well [on Friday] will need to be better on Sunday,” Patton said. “They have a lot of weapons and a lot of speed. They’re a great team, but we have been able to beat great teams before. When we have won those games, we’ve played really clean and that’s what we have to do again if we want to have a similar outcome.”