The Penn women’s lacrosse team was in complete control early in the championship game of the Ivy League tournament Sunday.
For the second straight game, the Quakers scored the first three goals and were dominating Dartmouth on both ends of the field.
But unlike Friday’s semifinal game against Harvard — which Penn won, 9-5 — the Big Green were able to take the momentum back from the Quakers.
Dartmouth scored the next six goals to take a 6-3 lead. The Red and Blue were able to get one back in the final minutes of the game, but it was too late as they fell, 6-4.
“We panicked, I think, once the momentum changed to their favor,” senior attack and co-captain Erin Brennan said. “We lost it today … We weren’t converting and doing our job on attack.”
Senior goalie Emily Leitner kept Penn in the game. She stopped all six of Dartmouth’s free position shots in the first half and finished with nine saves.
But the Dartmouth offense was too much for Penn’s young defense and the Red and Blue’s attack could not get into a rhythm.
The Big Green (12-4, 7-2 Ivy) took eleven shots in the second half, while Penn (9-7, 7-2) took just five.
Dartmouth midfield Kirsten Goldberg had nine shots on the day and finished with two goals, including the one that tied the game at three.
Midfield Sarah Plumb put Dartmouth up for good with 19 minutes remaining in the game.
“On the attack, unfortunately, we just didn’t create many opportunities, and I think we got a little frustrated and were shooting things that weren’t really good options,” Penn coach Karin Brower Corbett said.
A major point of contention for both teams was the officiating. Dartmouth coach Amy Patton complained to the sideline referee early in the second half for “inconsistent” calls. Later in the game, Corbett complained to the same ref about the calls not being “50-50.”
Penn had 36 fouls compared to Dartmouth’s 15. The Red and Blue averaged just 20 fouls per game during the regular season, while the Big Green had 19.13.
Corbett said that she spoke to all the referees before the game and asked them for “consistency.” She clearly didn’t believe the calls were equal for both teams, as she spoke to the officials again after the game to express her frustration.
While the coach by no means blamed the refs for the loss, she was visibly angry about the number of fouls called on her team.
“We’re not a team that fouls a lot. For us to have 36 fouls versus 15 is interesting,” she said. “In the end, we have to do what we need to do on the attack side, but for a team that typically doesn’t foul, it seemed like no matter what we did, it was a foul today.”
Despite the loss, the Quakers earned an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament Sunday night. They will travel to No. 6 Loyola (MD) next weekend. It will be their sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.