Thursday, December 20, 2012

Game 1: Dartmouth vs. Australia

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Another beautifully sunny day Adelaide set the stage for our first of three matches against the Australian National Team.  In the final stages of their World Cup selection process, the Aussies showed strong connection on the field as many of their current players are veteran World Cup participants.

The Big Green took the field for the 6pm game after a successful morning practice, shopping in town and a rousing "Secret Santa" team gift exchange.  With our game goals of executing what we've been practicing all week: different attack sets and new team defenses, we were eager to test it versus the Aussies.

Dartmouth opened the game decisively with Kelsey Johnson '13 firing a free position shot high right of the Aussie goalie.  Draw controls proved to be a real battle in favor of the Australian squad however, as Dartmouth did not get back on the scoreboard until Hana Bowers '13 found the net twice off a fast break and crease roll.  In the second half, Johnson again proved herself too much for the Aussie keepers and recorded two more goals.  Samantha Schiff '15, Sarah Byrne '15 and Liz Calby '14 also netted goals in the game, including a few absolutely beautiful assists and dodges around multiple defenders.

Kristen Giovanniello (KG) '14 saw heaps of shots in net for the Green. With a total of 11 incredible saves, KG along with Courtney Bennett '13 and Ellie Clayton '13 worked hard organizing the defensive unit. As part of our defensive focus was to mark up certain Australians, noteworthy past World Cup players such as Jen Adams and Hannah Neilsen, Bennett and Clayton were tasked with them.  Throughout the game, Bennett successfully held Neilson scoreless, while Ellie was pivotal in our midfield transition.

After halftime, the 12-2 score in favor of the Australians was too large of a deficit for Dartmouth to overcome.  The Big Green did make changes to start the second half and played at a much higher level, exchanging goals with the Aussies till time ran out. However, the Australians dominated the draw, 25-8, which had the Big Green playing defense most of the game.

Overall, the experience Dartmouth Lacrosse is gaining from playing against such a high level team will prove to be incredibly helpful as they embark on the 2013 season. With each game Dartmouth hopes to make adjustments to continue gaining confidence that will pay off at the end of February, when the 2013 season commences.