Dartmouth Upsets No. 9 Penn to Claim the Ivy Championship

The Quakers needed to score quickly to come back and needed the ball to do so. Penn forced the issue on defense while looking for turnovers, but had no luck gaining true possession. Maddie Poplawski scored on a free position for Penn with 0:43 remaining, but it wasn't enough.

Penn struggled all game to walk the fine line between good defensive plays and fouls as Penn finished the game with 36 fouls called against to just 15 on Dartmouth. The Quakers drew just a pair of free position attempts to nine for Dartmouth.

Leitner finished with nine saves and two ground balls, helping to limit Dartmouth to just two free position goals on those nine attempts. Allie Martin had two ground balls and one caused turnover, while Meg Markham added three ground balls, one draw control and one caused turnover as the Quakers were again without Lydia Miller on defense.

The Quakers sit at 9-7 overall and will await Sunday evening's NCAA Selection Show to see if their challenging schedule and sixth consecutive Ivy League regular season championship will earn them an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Selection Show starts at 9:00 p.m. on NCAA.com.

Notes: Erin Brennan, Meredith Cain, Maddie Poplawski and Courtney Tomchik were named to the All-Tournament Team ... For Brennan (2010) and Cain (2011) this marks their second All-Tournament selection ... Emily Leitner tied the Tournament Record for saves with 19 over her two games ... Leitner's nine saves also tied the record for most saves in a championship game.

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PHILADELPHIA – The weather during the first half of Sunday's Ivy League championship game was cold and cloudy. The second half at Dunning-Cohen Champions Field at Penn Park was a much different story as the sun broke through the clouds and the temperature at field level increased.

During the overcast period, top-seeded Penn held a 3-0 lead on its home field, but when the skies broke and the sun finally reached the turf, the second-seeded team from Dartmouth began a comeback that eventually culminated in a 6-4 victory.

A part of each of the three league postseason tournaments, the title was the first for Dartmouth. After dropping six straight to Penn over the last half decade, the Big Green exacted revenge on its Ivy foe, taking two wins from them this season, including Sunday's title contest.

The Quakers may have scored the game's opening three goals, but a methodical Big Green attack and a composed defense was the defining factor for the final 40 minutes to earn the championship and the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament next weekend.

“I said to the team at halftime that I was happy we were down 3-1,” head coach Amy Patton said. “With how we were playing, to only be down two goals, I felt we were in a good position. That worked the team up because it seemed like they were down on themselves a bit at that point.

“Hats off to our defense. To hold a team like Penn to only four goals is pretty spectacular,” Patton added. “Kelsey (Johnson) was own fire and Georgia (Bird) showed why she is our leader on defense, but our whole defense played really well today.”

One of those players on the back end that played well was sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello (Old Brookville, N.Y.), who earned Ivy League Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors with 16 saves on the weekend, including eight Sunday.

Despite Dartmouth dominating possession and dictating the tempo of the game early on, it was unable to get anything going offensively that translated to success on the scoreboard. On the other hand, Penn scored three goals in the first 15:30 on far fewer possessions.

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2012-05-06



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