In 1947, the St. Louis Browns baseball team recruited its announcer, the retired ballplayer Dizzy Dean, to pitch the last game of the season. The field hockey team will take its final game a little more seriously on Sunday when it faces Dartmouth at home. The Red (6-9, 3-3 Ivy) will look to end its season with a winning record in the Ivy League when it faces a struggling Dartmouth squad that has lost its last eight games.
“[A winning record in the Ivy League] is always important,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “We have a young team, and that would be a really positive result for us. It would give us a good foundation to build on for next year.”
Dartmouth (3-13, 1-6) has struggled this season after finishing last year second in the Ivy League. Its three wins came in a four-game span sandwiched by a four-game losing streak to begin the season and its current eight-game skid. The Green has been shut out in four of its last six games, including an 8-0 loss to Wake Forest and a 7-0 loss to Boston University. The Green is led by junior forward Lizzie Bildner, who leads the team with nine goals, tying her for the most in the Ivy League. Also, her 19 total points leads the team and is good for second place in the Ivy League. She was named second team All-Ivy in 2005. The Red will also have to deal with junior defenseman Whitney Waugh, who has 10 total points this year and was named first team All-Ivy last year. Cornell will have to score past junior goalie Ashley Heist, who has posted a 4.37 goals against average and a .694 save percentage in 11 starts this season.
“You have to look at a team’s schedule,” Hornibrook said. “One of the things about Ivy League teams is that they are surrounded by a lot of competition. [Dartmouth] finished second in the conference last year, so they are a good team. If you look their opponents, they have played a really ambitious schedule.”
Cornell will look to rebound after losing its last game, 3-2, in double overtime to Colgate. Despite a career-high 12 saves by sophomore goalie Shannon Prescott and goals by sophomores Abbi Horn and Brenna Gulotta, the Red gave up the game-winner to Colgate’s Natali Plesniarski in the 92nd minute.
Cornell will try to avenge last season’s heartbreaking, 3-2, overtime loss to Dartmouth. In that game, sophomore Katlyn Donoghue scored the team’s first goal with four minutes left in the game and classmate Belen Martinez scored the second goal as time ran out in regulation. The team’s jubilation was short lived, however, as the Green’s Lindsay Gossage scored the game-winning goal less than two minutes into overtime.
Dartmouth has dominated the all-time series with Cornell, going 20-6-1 against the Red over the years. Cornell has lost eight straight to Dartmouth, with its last win coming in 1997.
Because it is the final game of the season, the match has some important implications. A Cornell win and a Penn loss would give the Red a share of second place. It also would guarantee Cornell a winning Ivy League record for the fifth time in school history.
“We are taking the same approach with this game that we are taking with every game,” Hornibrook said. “We want to give it our best effort.”
The game with Dartmouth will also be the final game for seniors Sarah Miller and Lindsay Moyer, who have been the team’s co-captains this season.
“It would be great to walk off the field with a win because it is my last game ever,” Moyer said.