As time ran down in the first overtime period, Molly Garrett took an open shot in front and missed wide. She immediately went down with an injury.
Less than 5 minutes later, the junior midfielder was back on the field. Forty-eight seconds into the second overtime period, she had the same opportunity, but this time she converted for her fourth goal of the season, breaking the tie and giving the Michigan women’s lacrosse team (4-0) an 11-10 win over Dartmouth (0-2).
“I was kind of just putting my head down saying ‘This one’s mine, this one’s for the team,’ ” Garrett said.
While Garrett’s heroics decided the game, the Wolverines seemed to pull away with 15 minutes left in the second half. They came out of halftime strong, scoring five goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take a 10-7 lead. Sophomore attacker Caitlin Muir was a big reason for this, scoring one goal and assisting on two early in the half thanks to her stellar play behind the Dartmouth goal.
Additionally, Michigan’s play in the draw circle greatly improved in the second half. After controlling just four of 11 draws in the first half, the Wolverines controlled the first five of the second half, and only lost one in the first 15 minutes. When they were winning draws, they were at their best.
“Draw controls were huge,” said Michigan coach Hannah Nielsen. “The Dartmouth draw girl is extremely talented and we won the battle 15-10 there.”
After a strong start to the half, Michigan let Dartmouth back into the game but could have put them away with better offensive play down the stretch. The Wolverines led by three with less than nine minutes to play in regulation when a turnover by senior defenseman Gabby Burns and a foul by junior defenseman Quinn Melidona led to a Dartmouth goal on the advantage, cutting the lead to 10-8.
Michigan’s defense recovered after the goal, but its offense never did. In the final eight minutes of regulation, the Wolverines turned the ball over three times, committed four fouls, and earned two yellow cards. Senior goalkeeper Mira Shane and the defense bailed them out, making big saves and forcing Dartmouth turnovers, but eventually, the sloppy play caught up with them. The Big Green scored on two free position shots in the final 1:47, tying the game at 10-10 and forcing overtime.
“I think it was just youth and inexperience in close games from our offense,” Nielsen said. “We had times where our defense was getting us back the ball and we were taking the first option or just taking less than 90-plus percent opportunities.”
Even though Dartmouth came back, the Wolverines showed resiliency in overtime. They continued to play hard so they wouldn't lose a game that they seemed to have control of late in the second half, culminating in Garrett's game-winner.
Now 4-0 after two wins this weekend, Michigan is off to its best start in the history of the program. While there are still improvements to be made, winning close games like this will be extremely beneficial as the season progresses.
“I think it shows how mature we are and how we’ve grown as a program and how we’re able to handle that and have those people out there to keep each other calm, cool, collected,” Garrett said. “We can handle it.”