PHILADELPHIA -- A back-and-forth battle between two of the best teams in the nation ended with a defensive stand in the final seconds of play.

No. 13 Dartmouth held off No. 9 Cornell, 9-8 in the first semifinal of the 2012 Ivy League Tournament on Friday.

Leading by a goal with under 30 seconds remaining in the game, the Big Green (11-4) needed a last-ditch defensive stand to prevent the Big Red (11-5) from getting off a shot in hopes of tying the game and forcing overtime.

The game began in the late afternoon with temperatures in the low 80s, making it difficult for both teams in the early goings.

Like the weather, Dartmouth started hot going on a 4-0 run in the first seven and a half minutes. The Big Green's defense may have been the story of the game by the end, but the beginning was defined by the offense pushing the lead to 6-1 midway through the opening period.
The 2012 Ivy League Player of the Year, Sarah Plumb, scored twice in that opening run.

Plumb, already the owner of the Ivy League and Dartmouth records for draw controls in a career (151) and a single season (77) set a new league tournament record with six in Friday's semifinal victory. It was a total-team effort on the draw, though, as the Big Green's 15 on the afternoon tied a tournament record (15-4).

Cornell answered throughout with runs of its own, scoring four consecutive goals in a stretch that spanned 19:07 from the first half and into the second.

Three Dartmouth goals followed in a period of three and a half minutes to make it a 9-5 game and proved to be crucial as it would not find the back of the net again in the final 21:43 of the game.

Hana Bowers scored her second of the game to start the run. Kirsten Goldberg and Sarah Parks added the other two.

Cornell scored the final three tallies of the contest, including two from Courtney Salisbury in the last seven minutes to pull her team to within one, 9-8.

But that's when the Dartmouth defense, which had stood tall all day long, played even better. The Big Green's collection of defenders made it seemingly impossible for the Big Red attackers to get inside the arc. When they did, they were met by goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello.

She finished with eight saves on the afternoon. However, she was not called on in the waning seconds as the defenders in front of her held Cornell to the outside and did not allow a shot on goal, sending the Dartmouth bench onto the field in celebration as the clock expired.