By Georgia Travers
After finishing third in the Ivy League last year, Dartmouth’s women’s soccer team had high hopes for this season. With eighteen strong players returning from last year’s squad, including six starters and ten with starting experience, the team appeared to be a force to be reckoned with. After suffering some major setbacks early in the season, the squad finished with an impressive record of 4-2-1 Ivy.
The beginning of the 2010 season was full of ups and down and it was uncertain if the Indians would be able to uphold or surpass the third place rank (4-3) in the Ivy League that they earned last year. The team was on a rollercoaster, experiencing a mixture of exhilarating wins and disappointing losses.
Dartmouth’s first regular season faceoff was with the number seventeen ranking team, University of California, San Diego. This nail-biter went into double overtime after sophomore Kim Ross headed in the Indians’ only goal – this was also Ross’s first collegiate goal. It was not until the last seven minutes of the game that UCSD was able to score a goal, tying up the game. After two overtimes, the game ended in a tie, which was a solid start for the squad, based on UCSD’s high rank.
The next highlight was the Pennsylvania State match in which the Indians prevailed with a single goal. This win came after two upsetting but affordable losses to Pepperdine and Quinnipiac, which did not affect their all important Ivy record. When the Dartmouth women beat Penn State – ranked thirteenth nationally at the time – on their home field, it was one of the greatest victories in Dartmouth women’s soccer history. Midfielder Katie Davis ’11 explains that the team stepped on the field with a specific game plan: “to deal with the speed, strength, and skill of their offensive players and capitalize on the opportunities that came to us.” She believes that the Indians’ execution of this plan “frustrated their team to the point of ineffectiveness.”
The Dartmouth women continued to reign victorious in their first Ivy League challenge against Brown. With five saves by junior goalkeeper Colleen Hogan and a goal in each half, the Indians came out of the 90 minutes with a 2-1 win.
Not only was this a major confidence booster, but it was also a promising start to Ivy League play.
In spite of their success against Brown, however, the Indians initially experienced a short dry spell of losses. First came a 2-1 loss to the Princeton Tigers. The team did not have the advantage of playing at home, and head coach Angie Hind stated the team simply “didn’t come out sharp enough.” Dartmouth’s only goal came from freshman standout Marina Moschitto. The women were shut down again in their following game against Yale. Despite having an early lead, the Indians fell to the Bulldogs 3-1.
Davis argues that the real turning point in the team’s season came when they played Boston University. Even though they lost 1-0, the team really came together, played hard, and fought to the finish. “This game marked a departure from the inconsistency we saw in the first half of the season, and after [Boston] we went undefeated for the remainder of the season” said Davis.
The Indians squad graced the Columbia Soccer Stadium for the Lions’ Homecoming game and Senior Day. Even with all of the excitement from these celebrations, the Indians remained cool and collected and slew the Lions 2-1. Davis said that the team went into the game with a good understanding of Columbia’s technique: “Columbia has a unique style of play with which they excel that centers mostly around their physical attributes of strength, speed, and size.” Dartmouth responded to this by battling it out and threatening the Lions offensively while maintaining their strong defense. Davis added, “ It was great to beat them on their home field on Homecoming and Senior Day.”
Dartmouth’s own Homecoming game was also a triumph. After losing to Harvard last year, the Indians put the high and mighty Crimson in their place, defeating them 3-2. Harvard was also last year’s Ivy League champion, so the Dartmouth Indians “were out for revenge,” Davis said. The team capitalized on three great chances, and successfully warded off the Crimson’s threats, leaving the soccer squad and the audience of Dartmouth students energized.
The season ended on a high note when the Indians took down the Big Red at Cornell 1-0 last weekend. It was not until the 67th minute that junior Aly O’Dea pounded the ball into the back of the net. This closed the Indian’s season out with a 4-2-1 record in the Ivy League – sending them to a second place finish, tied with Princeton. The women’s soccer team should be very proud of their accomplishments this season. Davis wrapped up, “This season we took teamwork, competitiveness, and unity to a whole new level, and it really paid off.”