The loud clang of ball hitting goalpost reverberated through a hushed Johnson Field. The groans of anguish that erupted from the Dartmouth bench a second earlier instantaneously were transformed into a collective sigh of relief.

The Big Green (3-2, 1-0 Ivy) knew that mere inches and a stroke of fate saved their 8-7 victory over the women’s lacrosse team (5-2, 1-1) Saturday.

“It was definitely heartbreaking,” captain Clarissa Clarke ’03 said. “It was a great drive, and she had some great moves. It was unfortunate that it hit the outside of the post and not the inside.”

Yale’s come-from-behind run was furious but late. Trailing 7-3 with 8:20 left in the game, Yale scored three unanswered goals within three minutes of each other to pull within one. But Sarah Queener’s ’03 equalizer shot with less than five minutes left glanced off the right goalpost. The lucky break fortified the Big Green’s resolve, and Yale never threatened the rest of the game.

Clarke initiated Yale’s comeback run, finding the back of the Dartmouth net with 8:20 left in the second half. Queener followed two minutes later, scoring from just outside the eight-meter arc.

Dartmouth won the ensuing draw but just seconds later, the stiff Yale defense forced a turnover from Big Green midfielder Kate Killen. Bulldog midfielder Miles Whitman ’04 came away with Killen’s bad pass and found a slashing Clarke for Yale’s third consecutive score.

“I’m happy that we did not give up and put on a fight at the end, but we should not have been in that position in the first place,” Yale head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “We can’t rely on a game-tying shot with a couple of minutes left in the game. We really have to take care of it before that.”

The game started with both teams jostling for the upper hand. Yale scored first when midfielder Katie Sargent ’05 scored off a feed from Katie Brownson ’05 three and a half minutes into the game. Dartmouth responded with back-to-back goals from Whitney Jamison and Molly Jenkins to go up by one with 18:38 left in the first half.

After the two teams traded scores, Dartmouth went on the offensive, launching six shots on goal in three minutes. But the Big Green were kept scoreless during the shooting frenzy. Yale defenders forced two shots wide, and goalie Amanda Laws ’03 had four saves.

Then, Yale countered. After Laws stymied Killen on a free possession shot, the Bulldog midfield caught Dartmouth’s defense napping in transition. Sargent found Queener inside the eight-meter arc for a score, tying the game at three apiece.

Dartmouth did not give the Elis a chance to capitalize on what would otherwise have been a momentum-shifting goal. Less than a minute later, Jenkins scored the second of her three goals of the day off a pass from teammate Lana Smith. The 4-3 Dartmouth lead remained at halftime.

In the second frame, Dartmouth came out firing again, with exactly the opposite result from their first half assault: the Big Green notched three unanswered goals. A pair of goals 11 seconds apart put Dartmouth up 7-3 with 18:02 left.

“Momentum is a huge part of the game,” O’Leary said. “In the second half, they got three quick goals, and that put us on our heels a little bit. We sat back a little too much and waited a little too long. When we did get back into it, it was too little too late.”

A scoring drought compounded the Elis’ woes. The Bulldogs went scoreless for over 17 minutes. During that period, Yale took nine shots, five of which went wide.

“We had spurts of very good drives, but our attackers did not play well together,” Sargent said. “Obviously, when you’re down, you feel pressured to score. We were forcing more shots and rushing passes than we should have.”