November 3, 2006

W. Soccer Seeks to Close on High Note Against Dartmouth

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After a season that felt its share of ups and downs, the women’s soccer team looks to end on high note as it welcomes Dartmouth (11-4-1, 5-1 Ivy) to Berman Field tomorrow in the last game of the season for both squads. The Red (3-12-1, 1-5-0) will look to play spoiler against a Green squad that needs to win and receive some help, in the form of a Columbia loss or tie, to claim the Ivy League title.

“While this game doesn’t mean a lot in terms of our place in the league,” said interim head coach Gretchen Zigante, “It means a lot to the league as a whole if we can step up and show that we can play with anybody that we go against.”

Dartmouth has consistently been one of the top teams in the league, winning four league titles since 1998. Against tough competition, which the Green will likely present, the Red has generally stepped up its game. Against league-leading Columbia on Sept. 22, Cornell dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker; hopefully this time, the Red can come out on top. A year ago the Red lost to Dartmouth, 5-0, in Hanover, N.H., in the season finale.

[img_assist|nid=19577|title=wsoccer|desc=Junior midfielder Mariye Wick (10) breaks up field during Cornell’s 1-0 loss to Princeton last Saturday on Berman Field.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=64]
“Dartmouth is traditionally very challenging,” Zigante said. “We play our best against solid teams and we are very up for this game. We know that we can play well.”

The Green is a defensively oriented team, and, among Ivy League teams, it has allowed the fewest amount of goals this season. Offensively Nicole Cameli leads the Green attack with nine total points. In all, 14 players have scored at least one point for this season for Dartmouth, which is ranked No. 21.

“They play an aggressive fast game,” Zigante said. “They are also very well-organized.”

Zigante knows that her team’s chances of pulling off the upset hinge on going after Dartmouth from the get go and creating some discomfort in the Green end of the field.

“We can’t just sit back and defend,” she said. “We need to play an attacking game and force them to deal with us all over the field.”

For the Red, it is the final game for seniors Kaitlin Dufton, Whitney Hughes, co-captain Mira MacLennan, Katrina Matlin, Alison McKeown, Caitlin Oliver, Jessica Schindler and Jessica Snyder. The group, the first freshman class that Zigante helped recruit, has not lost a single member since they came to East Hill in 2003. This senior class is yet to beat Dartmouth, losing two and tying one in three meetings.

“They are a very special group,” Zigante said. “They have been extremely dedicated to this program. [Tomorrow] will definitely be an emotional game, but I also expect to see them play their best game.”

Zigante will also expect a big game out of her younger players, who will hope to keep improving the program in the coming years.

“This team has a lot of potential for the future,” she said. “The talent is already here.”