Vitkus Scores Three Second-Half Goals as Bears Upset #20 Dartmouth, 8-5
March 29, 2008
PROVIDENCE, RI - Junior leading scorer Lauren Vitkus (Skaneateles, NY) scored three goals in the decisive second half to help lead the Brown women's lacrosse team (4-5, 1-1) to an 8-5 upset over 20th-ranked Dartmouth (4-4, 1-2) on Saturday afternoon at Brown's Berylson Family Fields. In addition to Vitkus' three goals, junior Krystina DeLuca (Hillsborough, NJ) added two, while junior Kelly Robinson (Marlton, NJ) had a goal and an assist. At the other end of the field, Brown's defense played a solid game, with junior Noelle DiGioia (Pittsburgh, PA) earning six ground balls, Robinson causing three turnovers, and senior Melissa King (Pepper Pike, OH) making nine saves.
The Big Green wasted little time in grabbing a 1-0 lead, as Kristen Barry scored an unassisted goal just 1:32 into the game. However, after nearly 10 minutes of scoreless action, Brown reeled off three straight goals to grab a 3-1 lead at 18:59 of the first half. DeLuca scored back-to-back goals 1:47 apart to open the Bears' scoring. Her first one completed a clear attempt in which she collected the ball from DiGioia just inside the 50 and ran the ball in, before beating Julie Wadland stick-side. Her next goal came off a feed from Robinson, who hit DeLuca with a pass from outside the 12 and DeLuca shot it over the Dartmouth keeper for the 2-1 lead.
Dartmouth would get goals from Eliza Bennett and Kat Collins in the final 2:47 of the half, as the two teams headed into the break knotted at three.
Brown came out with urgency to begin the second half and after DeTolla won the opening draw, Robinson's second goal of the year gave the Bears the lead for good, 4-3. The Big Green appeared to have answered the goal three minutes later, but a crease violation set up a clear from King to freshman Paris Waterman (Newark, DE). Waterman ran the ball up the field, drew a Dartmouth defender to her inside the 12, and dished the ball to Vitkus, who was stationed on the left pipe. Vitkus turned and fired the ball past Wadland to increase Brown's lead to 5-3 just 4:09 into the second half.
Dartmouth cut the deficit to 5-4 with Barry's second of the game at 16:33, but back-to-back free position goals from sophomore Molly McCarthy (Scituate, MA) and Vitkus 49 seconds apart increased Brown's lead to 7-4 with 8:35 remaining in the game.
The Big Green nearly scored to make it a two-goal game 1:11 later when Abigail Holden was all alone right in front of the Brown cage, but King made a save on Holden's bounce shot to hold on to the three-goal advantage for the Bears. Dartmouth was able to cut their deficit to two 2:14 later when Kate Labrum fed Bennett for her second of the afternoon, but that was as close as the game would get.
Robinson was the ensuing draw, but the Big Green were able to come up with the ball again. However, King was up to the task and made a save on the reigning Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week, Greta Meyer to keep it a two-goal game. Brown was able to clear the ball and in its last efforts to get the ball back, Dartmouth pulled Wadland out of the cage to help double the ball. Wadland ended up outside the 12 and Vitkus completed the hat-trick when she scored into the open net with 1:12 remaining.
Following the goal, Vitkus also came up with a critical draw control and the Bears were able to hold onto the ball for the remainder of the game, earning their first victory over Dartmouth since a 9-8 win in 1997.
The game was close throughout, with Dartmouth holding a 17-15 advantage in shots and an 8-7 advantage in draw controls. However, in the second half, Brown was much stronger, holding an 11-6 advantage in shots and a 5-3 advantage in draw controls, including winning four of the final five. For the game, Brown also had 15 ground balls to Dartmouth's 14, and was 2-2 on free position shots, compared to Dartmouth's 0-5.
Having won two in a row, the Bears will look to continue their momentum next weekend when they travel to New York to face Columbia in a 1:00 p.m. Ivy League contest on Saturday, April 5.