Women’s soccer enjoy early success, discuss championship hopes

by Emma Sklarin | 10/3/16 12:05am

2016 is looking like a big year for the Dartmouth women’s soccer team. With six wins already under their belt — and only two wins away from matching its 2015 overall record — the women are proving their strength as a team this fall.

Women’s head coach Ron Rainey has high hopes and challenging goals set for the team.

“I know our players value the Ivy League season and want to do as well as they can for the program and for the school,” he said.

This is the third year that Rainey has been coaching. He said that the team has always had a culture of impressive work ethic and of players giving their best to every practice and game out of respect for each other.

The team’s defense has proven very strong this season. Rainey credited the team’s ability to limit their opponents to six goals in the 10 season games thus far to the work the players put on the field.

“Some of the strengths of our team have been how the whole group has stepped up to play well, not just senior...but also juniors and sophomores, and even some of our freshman have stepped up,” he said. “But I think the big thing has been how the team has kind of fallen in battle for each other and how that’s helped us in this first half of the season.”

This is especially noteworthy considering how close the scores have been for the Big Green in its games so far. In its opening game, the women beat Marist College, 1-0, in double overtime. They followed that performance with another win against Iona College, which yielded the largest win margin for the team with a 3-0 shutout.

Freshman Charlotte Esty ’20 has been a key contributor to the team’s success on the offensive side. She has scored three goals this season, two of which were game-winning tallies against Fairleigh Dickinson University and Gardner-Webb University.

As someone who has played for most of her life, Etsy said competing for the Big Green is a unique experience.

“It’s amazing to be around a group of people that always want to work harder, always want to get better, and always want to push each other,” she said.

A large part of the team’s defensive success has been goalkeeper Casey Cousineau ’17, who is currently ranked 10th in the NCAA Division I for save percentage with a statistic of 0.902. In shutouts, she is currently tied for 21st with five shutouts this season.

Cousineau said that she loves being tested in goal because that’s the heart of soccer for her. She said that over her past three years on the team, the culture has stayed the same.

“A lot of our players have maintained the same dedication for the sport, respect for the D and just 100 percent commitment 100 percent of the time, so that’s really special,” she said.

Cousineau said it is important that everyone on the field knows that they have an impact on the team, and that they are all working together throughout the season toward one common goal: winning the Ivy League title.

It is a goal that Esty believes the team can achieve. The games they have played may have been close, but she has a lot of confidence in the team and knows they will need to work hard for every win moving forward.

Esty had to sit out in the game against Brown University because of a concussion, and she said that watching her teammates play was incredibly inspiring.

“Everyone showed so much grit and so much passion, especially toward the end, which was unbelievable to watch” Esty said. “You saw everyone go into sixth gear and play like they’d never played before. If we can do that in every game and show up from the start and play like that, I think we’re going to do really well.”

Despite dropping the first two contests in Ivy League play against Brown and Princeton University, both players remain optimistic.

As a veteran on the team, Cousineau alluded to the team’s past success in creating a competitive atmosphere, ensuring that none of the players take wins for granted.

“It came down to the fact that we played every game game-by-game and spent a lot of time focusing on each and every opponent” she said. “I think that’s what’s created a winning record.”

Rainey said that his biggest goal for the team is for the women to improve each day over every week of the season.

“With all 29 players accepting their roles and working hard at practice, then I think the team can progress through the season and we can take a lot of pride in how the team does through this year,” Rainey said.

For Cousineau, her biggest goal for the season, she said, is for the team to be recognized for its achievements.

“In the past, we haven’t really lived up to our potential,” she said. “I hope that’s what we do this year. I hope that we go out and show everybody that we are a force to be reckoned with.”