The 1996 women's soccer team will always be remembered as a team who went down fighting. "Giving up" was never part of its game plan. The name of the game for the Big Green was simple. Just play hard -- and play hard until the end.
And this much they did -- right through to the end.
Yesterday, the Big Green closed out a stellar 11-3-1 season as they fell 1-0 to the UConn Huskies in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Storrs, Conn.
But hold the tears.
Sure, it's never great to end a season with a loss. But yesterday, the Big Green showed the world that if they had to go down, they'd go down in style, as they held the nation's fourth ranked team at bay for 85 minutes.
"We came out hard and we were fighting the whole way through," co-Captain Kate Andrews '97 said. "We don't have anything to be disappointed about."
"It was a big game for all of us and I think we're all pretty happy about closing out the season this way," Meg Owens '96 said. "We gave an unbelievable team effort out there and I couldn't think of a better way to go out."
Both teams hit the ground running yesterday as they clashed in the midfield. Dartmouth tried to force the ball into the Husky zone by putting a 5-1 offense up front. UConn did the same, putting their two All-American forwards on top and hoping for the breakaway.
But tight defenses on both ends kept the ball out of the nets through 85 minutes.
"Our defense was very solid," Owens said. "[UConn] pressured us hard but we just shut them down."
Coming off a 0-0 draw at halftime, the Big Green tried to grab the lead as Melissa Roth '00 and Jessica Post '00 led an attack in to the Husky box. Post carried the ball down the left flank and chipped it high in front of the goal. Kurowski connected with a header, but the UConn goalie, Jen Traw wouldn't let it fall.
With five minutes left in regulation, Connecticut's Kerry Connors, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, broke through the Big Green ranks and sank the goal winner of a one-on-one against Dartmouth's Annie Eckstein '98 in goal.