#13 Dartmouth Holds on to Nip #20 Cornell in Ivy Semifinals

Sunday's championship game will be the second appearance in the league title game in three seasons for the Big Green as they also advanced in 2010 after knocking off Cornell, 10-8, at Penn's Franklin Field.

Friday's win marked the second time this season that the Big Green defeated the Big Red, doing so as well in the regular season meeting between the two in Ithaca, 12-10, on April 7.

Harvard and Penn are playing the second semifinal match-up Friday evening for the right to move on and play Dartmouth for the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

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PHILADELPHIA With 22 seconds left in the game, Cornell had a chance to complete a four-goal comeback against Dartmouth in the Ivy League semifinal. But after sprinting to get the ball into the offensive zone, the Big Red could not get a shot away, and Dartmouth held on for a tight 9-8 win on Penn's campus Friday evening.

Cornell (11-5), eliminated from the Ivy League tournament, now awaits its NCAA Tournament fate. The team could make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection, and will find out during the NCAA Selection Show on NCAA.com at 9:00 p.m. Sunday.

"We've got to wait it out on Sunday," said head coach Jenny Graap. "I've got to keep our spirits high, and we've got to hope for the best. It's been a great season. I would love to continue this season if the opportunity comes in the NCAAs."

Dartmouth (11-4) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the game and had a huge 15-4 edge in draw controls, limiting the Big Red's offensive chances after it scored.

With 2:45 to go and trailing by two, junior Caroline Salisbury completed her hat trick with a low shot past Dartmouth's Kristen Giovanniello. But Dartmouth, as it had 14 times prior, won the next draw and killed more than two minutes off the clock.

"We certainly couldn't get the draw control," Graap said. "That certainly encapsulates it. Sarah Plumb, the Ivy League Player of the Year [six draw controls], singlehandedly made the difference in the game."

Cornell got possession back when senior captain Cacki Helmer caused a turnover and Cat Thomas picked up the ground ball after getting fouled. With 22 seconds showing on the clock, Thomas passed to senior captain Katie Kirk.

Kirk sprinted up the right side of the field, got the ball behind the net to Olivia Knotts, and Knotts found Salisbury at the top of the fan. Spinning into the middle of a prime scoring area, Salisbury was unable to put a shot on goal as the final buzzer sounded, and the Big Green rushed the field to celebrate their berth in Sunday's tournament championship game.

"Getting the ball in the hands of Salisbury was great, but they were just clogging the middle," Graap said. "[Kirk] had a lot of heart and hustle getting that ball and tracking it down the sideline under pressure. It was exciting, and we were hoping that we could convert on that last possession."

In the teams' previous meeting this season, Dartmouth bested Cornell 12-10 in Ithaca. This game proved even closer, as Cornell twice stormed back from four-goal deficits to bring the game within one at 6-5 and 9-8. But the equalizing goal never came despite the Big Red defense holding Dartmouth goalless for stretches of eight minutes, 20 minutes and the final 21 minutes of the contest.

The game truly was a game of runs, as Dartmouth had the first four goals, Cornell had four consecutive goals from the end of the first half to the start of the second, Dartmouth scored the next three and Cornell got the final three of the evening with the sun beginning to set over the Philadelphia skyline.

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