#8 Dartmouth Downs #7 Irish, 14-8, in Semifinal

BOSTON, Mass. - The Dartmouth women's lacrosse team reached its first NCAA championship contest with a solid victory over Notre Dame, 14-8. The Big Green broke out to a quick 4-0 lead just eight minutes in and never looked back, advancing to Sunday's final against Northwestern.

"I think the kids played an incredible game out there and they came in with a belief today," head coach Amy Patton said. "I think we took the field and the kids executed well and had great poise and played with a lot of heart. And I just thought we set the tone from the beginning of the game."

In the history of Dartmouth athletics, Big Green teams have won only four recognized, NCAA-sanctioned titles -- golf in 1921, football in 1925 and skiing in 1958 and 1976. There have been other national banners -- 21 in all -- but the only women's was the AIAW Ski Championship in 1977.

Junior Whitney Douthett (Newton, Pa.) had six points for Dartmouth, including four goals. She opened the scoring less than a minute into the game on a free position attempt to put the Big Green on top, 1-0.

Classmate Sarah Szefi (Pittsburgh, Pa.) doubled the lead at 5:42 with an unassisted tally following a loose-ball scramble around the goal. Douthett made it a three-goal game just 40 seconds later off a feed from Senior Kristen Zimmer (Alexandria, Va.), who also finished with six points on three goals and three assists. Her first tally came at the eight-minute mark to put the Big Green up, 4-0.

Notre Dame fought back, scoring two goals 36 seconds apart to cut the lead in half, 4-2, but it was all Dartmouth after that.

The Big Green scored twice in the final eight minutes of the half to lead at the break, 6-3. Following halftime, Dartmouth scored a trio of goals in the first five minutes of the second frame to make the score, 9-3. Douthett was credited with her third of the game and Zimmer notched her second, sandwiching a goal by sophomore Kristen Barry (Duxbury, Mass.).

The lead was cut to four, 9-5, by two Notre Dame goals over the next five minutes, but the Big Green scored five of the next six goals and the rout was on with Dartmouth leading, 14-6. The Irish scored two goals in the final 30 seconds to account for the final margin.

Senior Devon Wills (Denver, Colo.) made four saves to hold Notre Dame to single digits for the first time this season.

In earlier action, the defending champion Wildcats survived in overtime against top-seeded Duke, 11-10. The Big Green and the Wildcats met last year in the semifinals, with Northwestern winning, 8-4.

Dartmouth and the Wildcats meet at noon on Sunday at Boston University's Nickerson Field.

"As far as tomorrow's game with Northwestern, we just need to focus on ourselves," Patton said. "We're not just settling for the final game, we're playing to win."

- - - -

Boston, Mass. -- The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team got its first taste of NCAA Championship action on Friday night at Boston University's Nickerson Field with the Fighting Irish falling to the Dartmouth Big Green, 14-8, in front of a crowd of 3,701 in the NCAA semifinal round.

The tough loss ends the finest season in the program's 10-year history with a 15-4 overall record. The win sends Dartmouth (14-5) on to the NCAA finals on Sunday afternoon versus Northwestern in a 12:00 noon game. The Wildcats advanced to the finals with an 11-10 overtime win earlier in the evening against Duke.

Notre Dame was paced by All-American and Tewaaraton Trophy candidate Crysti Foote who had three goals and two assists in the final game of her brilliant Irish career. Caitlin McKinney chipped in three goals of her own with an assist and Heather Ferguson rounded out Notre Dame's offensive attack with a pair of goals.

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2006-05-27



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