Abrupt end for lax

by Rebecca Oettinger | 5/11/94 5:00am

Don't ask the women's lacrosse team about a sure bet. After a stellar season, the best in recent memory, Dartmouth was surprisingly overlooked for a bid to the NCAA Tournament Monday by the selection committee.

"The NCAA gave a blow to New England lacrosse by selecting the fourth ranked southern school [the College of William and Mary] over the second ranked New England school," Coach Amy Patton said. "I felt we were really deserving of the bid and it was tough to swallow."

By losing to Harvard this weekend, the team put the decisive powers into the hands of others, which they never wanted to do. But according to the coaches' poll, the sixth-ranked Dartmouth squad should have received the bid.

"Not receiving the bid was definitely a huge disappointment. It's hard to end a season not on your own terms," captain Margaret Field '93 said. "Our game against Harvard was a hard way to finish such a great season. We really wanted another shot at them, and believing that the outcome [of a rematch] would have been very different makes the committee's decision hard to take."

Patton does not believe William and Mary is a stronger team and sees the lost bid as a missed opportunity to really contend with the nation's other top teams. "Unfortunately the team, and especially the seniors, did not get the chance to prove just how good we were this year," Patton said. "We would have had a shot at making a real statement in the final four."

Dartmouth ended the season with a 4-2 Ivy record, 11-4 overall. Three of the team's four losses, including both Ivy disappointments, came from the nations top teams, second-ranked Princeton University, fifth-ranked Harvard and sixth-ranked William and Mary. The loss to 10th-ranked UVM was Dartmouth's only unexplainable flaw in a well played season.

The team's highlights were its wins over the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State and the University of Virginia, and its record breaking nine game winning streak.

The team came from behind to beat a tough Penn team which kicked off the season's big winning streak. "Our win over Penn showed us what we were made of and that we were tougher than we had recognized," Field said.

The 8-7 win against ninth-ranked Penn State midway through the season helped maintain Dartmouth's reputation as a powerhouse and gave the team added confidence. The team proved that last year's first-ever win over Penn State was not a fluke.

Dartmouth's standing was further enhanced by their 12-10 victory over third-ranked Virginia. It was the first time Dartmouth has ever beaten Virginia.

"The win was tremendous. We played so well against a team with a history as a lacrosse power," Patton said. "It showed the south that lacrosse in the north is strong."

The team believes playing Virginia at the end of the season makes for a more skilled competition and may have been a factor in the Big Green win. Virginia has been replaced in next year's schedule by the defending national champions and first-ranked University of Maryland. Patton hopes the end of the season game will again prove Dartmouth's caliber against the nations best teams, and hopefully help them receive an NCAA bid.

The Big Green opened the season with two victories and three losses in its first five games but finished the year with a school record for most consecutive wins.

Graduation for five seniors will strongly affect next year's season, but with new recruits and a strong bench to add to key returning players, the team is looking to improve upon this year's successes.

Dartmouth will lose an All-American and four year starter when senior captain Ellen Bruce graduates this spring. As a defender, Bruce was the team's fifth leading scorer with 13 goals and seven assists.

Field leaves her fourth season as a starter with 20 goals and five assists. "Margaret is a natural leader on the field, and off as well," Patton said.

Goalie Kim Cohen '94 and Captain Jana Friedman '94 have each had major impacts on the program as three year starters for the Big Green.

Three of the four top point-scorers this year will return. Lauren Holleran '95 ends the season with 50 goals and 13 assists. She is the school's record-holder for points in a game with seven against the University of Massachusetts two weeks ago. Holleran also holds the record for career goals with 170.

Sarah Devens '96 recorded 25 goals and 17 assists, breaking the school record for most number of assists in a season. Wally Cook '95 also finished a strong season with 17 goals and six assists.

Patton will look to replace Cohen with goalie Kirsten Prettyman '95. "She has been in a tough spot playing a specialized position behind one of the nation's best goalies but I have a lot of confidence in her for next spring," Patton said.

Other key returning players include Mya Mangawang '95, Jenny Edwards '95, Maura Schneider '97, Andrea Krumholz '97 and Kim Mendelson '97.

"My hat is off to the team for making this one of the most tremendous seasons I have coached," Patton said.

"The greatest decision I made was sticking around for the extra year. Every season has seemed like it couldn't get any better, but this team was really special," Field said.

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