Field hockey ends successful season

by Brad Parks | 11/3/93 6:00am

A relatively short amount of time has passed since first-year coach Julie Dayton arrived in Hanover to try and salvage something -- anything -- positive out of the 1993 field hockey season.

There were some who had all but written off the season before it even began. Sure, the team had the talent to go stick-to-stick with anyone in the Ivy League, but it also had acquired enough baggage to fill the cargo bay of a 747 thanks to the antics of departed coach Mary Twyman.

For a while, it looked like that all that baggage was simply too much for the team to lug around. The Big Green's attitudes were immeasurably improved, but the results were not. After winning their first game, a 2-1 overtime thriller against Rhode Island, the women stumbled through a five-game losing streak.

"It was hard to pin-point any one problem," Dayton said of the losing streak. "There were so many intangibles. The majority of those games we won in every aspect but the score."

Soon, the team started winning there, too.

Dartmouth pulled a 180-degree turn in the second half, compiling a 5-3-1 record over its last nine games and finished the season with a four-game undefeated streak.

But really, the story of the 1993 women's field hockey team goes beyond the win-loss column. As far as the team has come in the few months since its virtual re-birth in early September, you can bet all the pleated skirts in Scotland that the team will travel even further in 1994.

Although the defense will sustain some losses to graduation next year, the offense and much of the midfield remains intact and stocked with talent.

That talent manifested itself throughout the season, and therefore the second-half reverse course wasn't all that surprising. Although the team did lose five straight games, all of those games were one-point losses -- including two the team dropped in overtime. In fact, of the team's eight losses on the season, only one -- a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of national top five powerhouse University of Massachusetts-- was by more than one goal.

"I think the biggest difference was that couple of people we had that were able to score gained confidence," Dayton said.

Probably the only player who had all the confidence she needed to knock the ball past opposing goalies all season long was likely All-Ivy selection Sarah Devens '96, whose nine goals and one assist put her fourth in the league in scoring.

Devens was the focal point of the Big Green attack and will likely dominate the league in coming years with her superior sticks skills and quick, elusive moves.

But what made the second half a much more win-saturated affair was the emergence of Amy Coughlin '96 and Kathleen Hickey '96.

Coughlin picked up five goals and two assists, an effort that put her among the leaders in Ivy League scoring as well. Her finest day, and, indeed, the most prolific day for any Dartmouth goal-scorer on the season, was the hat trick she collected in a 3-2 win over Springfield. Hickey was third on the team in scoring and solidified an all-sophomore front line for Dartmouth.

Defensively, the Big Green were not as late-blooming. With Lauren Demski '96, who had the league's second-best Goals Allowed Average, in the box, Dartmouth gave up more than two goals only twice the entire season and both times to nationally-ranked teams.

Much of the defensive success came because of the play of senior co-captains Ashley Bowen and Beth Breckenridge.

"Ashley and Beth were the dynamic duo in the backfield," Dayton said. "They played spoiler for so many teams. The were so good all season long. The contributions they made never show up on the stat sheet, but we never would have would have won six games without them."