No. 8 Penn Nips No. 16 Dartmouth on Late Goal

PHILADELPHIA In a battle between a pair of teams which entered the weekend tied atop the Ivy League women's lacrosse standings at 4-0, No. 8 Penn relied on its backbone in goal to make sure the Quakers came out on the winning side.

Emily Leitner tied her career high with nine saves and added six ground balls and a caused turnover to hold off Dartmouth and give her offense a chance to turn a one-goal halftime deficit into a 10-9 final score in favor of the Quakers.

With the win, Penn improves to 9-3 overall and 5-0 inside the Ivy League while the Big Green slip to 8-3 in 2011 and 4-1 in Ancient Eight play.

In addition, the win is Penn's 34th in a row in Ivy League play, extending the Red and Blue's conference winning streak, which is now the longest active streak in the country and third-longest in NCAA history (Northwestern's 38-game ALC winning streak which was snapped on Thursday).

The Red and Blue scored three times in the first 4:58 of the second half to erase the halftime deficit, but the game was not ultimately decided until Caroline Bunting's second goal of the game with 3:01 to play broke a 9-9 tie. And really, the game wasn't finally sealed up for Penn until Emily Leitner's hustle play to get to the ball first after a Kat Collins shot with 44 seconds left had gone wide.

The final three minutes saw five turnovers between the two teams as Penn fought to hold the ball and Dartmouth was forced to move quickly in an attempt to tie the game. In fact, a late Penn turnover in the final 10 seconds gave Dartmouth one final grasp at scoring, but a long pass from the goalkeeper was picked off by Bunting to the delight of the Penn faithful.

In the opening moments of Saturday's game, chances of extending the streak seemed dim as Dartmouth scored four of the first five goals to take a 4-01 lead midway through the opening half. However, after head coach Karin Brower Corbett called timeout following the fourth goal, the Quakers scored twice to climb back in the game.

Giulia Giordano scored just 28 seconds after the Big Green took the three-goal lead, netting her second of the game with 14:27 left in the first half on a nice pass from Meredith Cain. The play took no time to develop, with Maddie Poplawski winning the draw, finding Cain on the run for the entry which led to Giordano's score. Just under a minute after Giordano's second goal, Lindsey Smith struck for the Quakers, who turned one of Leitner's free position saves into a positive on the scoreboard.

After the Big Green retook a two-goal lead with 12:16 left in the first half, Cain scored her first of three in the game off a Tory Bensen feed with 10:43 left in the opening stanza. A little under six minutes later, Caroline Bunting connected on a free position to tie the game for Penn. It looked as if the game would head to halftime knotted at 5-5, but Sarah Parks scored on a low shot with four seconds left to give the Big Green a 6-5 edge at the break.

The opening five minutes of the second half was all Penn as the Quakers scored three times to take an 8-6 lead. First up was Erin Brennan who converted a possession started by a turnover off the stick of Dartmouth keeper Kristen Giovanello 21 seconds into the period. Carolyn Pollard scooped up the ground ball, cycled it to Brennan and Penn's leading scorer netted her 25th of the year to tie the game once again only 37 seconds into the period.

Cain took care of the next two goals, scoring 1:45 into the second half off a feed from Bunting and recording her first collegiate hat trick 4:58 into the period on an unassisted goal off a restart following a Dartmouth foul.

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