The Big Green field hockey team finished their regular season with an impressive 6-0 victory over Ivy League foe Columbia. The game marked the third straight shutout for freshman goalie Brittany D'Augustine '01, a feat which equals Lauren Demski's three game shutout streak which finished the team's 1995 ECAC Championship season.
Head coach Julie Dayton notes that the streak is more impressive given that D'Augustine was the team's only goalie.
"Typically, a Division I team will have three goal keepers. That we only had one added pressure to an already difficult position. Brittany's had a really impressive freshman year," she said.
Though the Big Green is used to playing on the grass surface at Chase, the transition to Columbia's artificial turf provided no problem. This smooth switch to a different surface was a result of intensive practicing on the new surface as well as weather conditions.
"The fact that it was raining during the game made it easier to play on the turf. Normally, the ball moves faster on artificial surfaces than it does on grass, but the rain really slowed it down," Weze Shorts '99 said.
Forward Lauren Scopaz '00 began the scoring blitz by sinking the ball with 28:37 left in the first half. Tri-captain Sarah Sedgwick '98 provided the assist, the 12th of her career. She finishes her Dartmouth career tied for third in all-time assists. Dayton praised Sedgwick along with fellow seniors Amy Yost and Amber Morse.
"They all gave strong performances in Sunday's game and throughout the season," she said.
Sedgwick provided a goal of her own in the first half along with midfielder Kristen Scopaz '00 and Shorts. The commanding 4-0 lead coming into the second half was a departure from the pattern of closely matched first halves which had marked the team's performance in their last few games.
"We came out strong and focused from the start of the game. Our passing combos worked and were able to convert that to goals," Lauren Scopaz said.
Forward Kristen Leadbeater '00 added two goals in the second half, completing Dartmouth's unstoppable scoring streak. The six goals of the game were especially satisfying to a team that had not previously been able to see its ball domination carry over to strong leads.
"Sunday was a great team effort. It's very impressive that all of this games goals, and most of those this season have been assisted," Dayton said.
Midfielder Lauren Worley '99 was pleased with the strong pressure her team kept on Columbia.
"Our forwards and midfielders did a great job of finishing the play and getting the ball in the cage, and our defenders worked hard to keep the ball on our offensive half throughout the game," Worley said.
In addition to this strong technical play, the team felt it exhibited an extra intensity which was sometimes lacking in earlier games "We really felt the urgency of our last regular season game," Shorts noted, "We hadn't been able to get the ball in the net and completely cream our opponent. Unlike last weekend, we were able to capitalize on our scoring opportunities to really dominate Columbia."
Dayton notes, however, that the game did not mark a drastic departure in the team's performance.
"The nature of field hockey means that it's not that unusual to take 30 shots and only get one goal," Dayton said.
"Now that midterms are over, I can really see the effect on the team."
Sunday's win boosts the team to an 11-6 overall record (5-2 Ivy). This record ties the 1995 team's record number of wins in one season and places the team as No. 2 in the Ivies, second only to Princeton, which is one of the top teams in the nation. Princeton beat the Big Green, 1-0.
The team's strong finish puts it into contention for an ECAC tournament berth. However, competition for entry is fierce, as any team from Virginia north can apply for the four available spaces.
"Being second in the Ivy league and coming off a three game shutout streak, our chances are good," Scopaz said.
The team will not find out whether they have been admitted into the tournament until the NCAA decisions have been made on Wednesday. However, Dayton feels confident that the Big Green will be included.
"Though we've received no official word, we've been told to keep preparing for the tournament," Dayton admitted.
If Dartmouth does make the tournament it could provide an opportunity to earn the Cornell win which eluded them in regular season.
"I really hope they make the ECAC with us because we're ready to crush them," Shorts said.