Swooping down from the north like nomadic tribesmen, the Dartmouth field hockey team pillaged and plundered the Crimson stickwomen Saturday at Soldiers Field, absconding with a 4-1 victory and first place in the Ivy League.
The Big Green , which is undefeated in Ivy play, controlled the game from the outset. Junior Alison Hibbert led the attack, recording two goals and an assist, as the swift, aggresive Dartmouth forwards forced the play into the Harvard end.
From there, Dartmouth capitalized on the absence of the sparkling Crimson defense that had punctuated its four game winning streak and converted its slight edge in firepower into offensive domination.
"Their forwards are fast, and they really move well to the ball," Harvard coach Edie MacAusland said. "But, at the same time," she added, "I don't think our defense played very well. We've had better days."
Holly Burks opened the scoring with 29 minutes remaining in the first half when she trickled a shot past Crimson goalie Betty Ippolito. For the remainder of the first half, the Big D stood for defense as Dartmouth sealed off its end and stymied the first-rated Crimson offense.
The pace quickened in the second half. Repeated Dartmouth pressure on the Crimson net led to a penalty stroke which Annabelle Brainard duly slapped past Ippolito at 26:40. And like the harried Roman Empire, the once-tenacious Crimson defense began to collapse.
"We held them the first half," Crimson forward Kate Martin said. "But, I guess we panicked a little after the penalty stroke."
Martin notched the lone Crimson tally with 12:50 remaining, but, clearly the momentum was with the Green. Hibbert scored her first of the day with just over eight minutes remaining, and hit the back of the net again six minutes later.
"I was very pleased with our forwards," Dartmouth coach Mary Corrigan said. "We were wary of Harvard, despite their youth because we heard they had been playing good hockey. However, our forwards played much better games than they had been playing."
Dartmouth outshot Harvard 17-8 and held a 13-3 edge in corners. Only another strong effort from Ippolito held the margin to three goals.
To win the Ivy title, the Crimson must now rely on a Dartmouth loss. The Big Green stands at 3-0-1 in the conference, while Harvard drops to 2-1.