Women's soccer falls 2-1, loses chance for title
The last thought that entered the minds of the women on the soccer team was that Wednesday night would be their last game of the 1994 season. Unfortunately this nightmare came true for the Big Green in the form of a tight battle against Brown.
In a playoff match which would allow the winner to travel to Hartford this weekend to compete in the NCAA regional semi-finals, Dartmouth fell 2-1 to Brown, the 1994 Ivy League Champions.
"What is hard is that we thought we could advance further," Coach Steve Swanson said. "The last thing we considered was losing, so it kind of takes the wind out of your sails. It just leaves you standing blankly."
Dartmouth, which took an early 1-0 lead midway through the first half from a shot by Betsy Dobbin '98, had an early momentum going but failed to step up to Brown's later challenge.
"Brown knew they would step up the pressure in the second half and they did," Swanson said. "They are a physical team and they play hard and go after you. We tried to move the ball quickly, but we didn't switch the field as much as we would have liked to."
As the second half began, it became obvious that Brown had decided to pick up its pace and this became evident when the Bears took their first goal only about 10 minutes into the half. Shortly afterward, with their aggressive play, they took the lead 2-1 with a shot inside.
"We knew that if we wanted to win we would have to get more than one goal," Swanson said. "Brown is tough to beat and they are effective at what they do."
Although the Big Green were leading after the first half, they were somewhat disappointed at missed scoring opportunities given to them late in the half. In the second half, minimal opportunities were given at all, leaving Dartmouth behind by one point.
"I think we had better opportunities in the first half," Swanson said. "It's tough to be perfect against them. The best thing you can do is score more than once to get the pressure off your defense. In the second half we didn't come away with really good chances in the box or outside. That's what you look for, but it just didn't happen."
Like the players have been saying all season, the Big Green played with tons of heart, but this just wasn't good enough against the strong Brown squad .
"You have to give them credit," Swanson said. "They do a tremendous job on the free-kicks and throw-ins. They like to get on the ends of things. They are effective at what they do. They are tough to beat because they put a lot of pressure on you."
With Wednesday night's loss, the Big Green ended their season with a 10-4-1 record, which is impressive, but at the same time disappointing for the defending Ivy League Champions.
"Because of last year's success the expectations were high," Swanson said. "Overall though I would have to say that it was a tremendous season. I think when we look back on it in perspective, we'll realize just how much we really accomplished."
For a season plagued with injuries, the Big Green performed remarkably at times, with the highlight of the season being a trip to the University of Hartford where they tied the number four nationally ranked team.
Not only did the Big Green face a tough schedule, which included less than two months of extensive play, but they had do so without captain goal keeper Michelle Conroy '95 and partially without All American Melissa McBean '97. Conroy, who was out with a crushed kneecap since the season opener against the University of Connecticut, was not just an outstanding goal keeper, but also a leader on the field, while McBean, who missed the first half of the season with a knee injury, was missed for her quickness on the field.
"It's tough to end like that," Swanson said. "They all worked so hard and it was a fun season. I think they all stuck together all year. They care about each other and that's a good sign to see in your team."
The Dartmouth women will take a much needed break for the remainder of the quarter before they begin off-season workouts in January.
"Right now I think they need to rest," Swanson said. "They need to catch up and focus on their studies and work hard for finals. We'll have individual meetings and hopefully finish off the season on a good positive note."
Brown will travel to Hartford Saturday to take on the University of Connecticut, while on the same day Hartford will battle the University of Massachusetts which defeated Harvard last Wednesday. On Sunday the winners will play each other and the overall champion will travel to the NCAA final four tournament the next weekend.