Women's soccer faces Bulldogs

by Lou Scerra | 11/20/98 6:00am

The Dartmouth women's soccer team knocked off Big Ten power Wisconsin last Sunday by a score of 1-0 on Chase Field to earn a spot in the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament Round of 16.

The Big Green (15-1-2) will look for a repeat performance as they tangle with SEC-power the University of Georgia Bulldogs this Sunday at Chase Field for a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals and a likely date with the top team in the country, the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Bulldogs (15-5-1) shocked the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville by defeating them in penalty kicks after both regulation and overtime ended in a 2-2 draw.

"It doesn't really matter who we play," Co-captain Chrissy Castro '00 said of Georgia's defeat of Virginia. "We have to concentrate on us, not on them. We have done that all season long and we have come away with wins."

Dartmouth's victory over Wisconsin was the first-ever NCAA Tournament win for the Big Green as their previous trips (1993, 1995 and 1996) all resulted in first round losses. A year ago, Georgia was blanked 1-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament by the Clemson Tigers.

Last week's victory over the Badgers eliminated one of the Big Ten's five teams and a win Sunday would finish off a squad from the tournament's most decorated conference -- the Southeastern Conference -- who had six sides invited to the 48-team field.

Not only does this weekend mark the first meeting between the Big Green and the Bulldogs, but Georgia has never even tangled with an Ivy League club.

Despite the fact that Georgia and Dartmouth have both been national powers this season, the two schools do not have a single common opponent on their schedules this season, making comparisons difficult.

On paper, though, the Bulldogs' offense will test the Big Green defensive backfield as Georgia has scored four or more goals in 10 of its 21 contests.

But, after the Wisconsin performance, one must believe that the Dartmouth fullbacks will answer the call. Seniors Allison Thornbury and Mandy Aiken figure to be the duo which will bring the firepower this weekend as the pair comes to Chase Field with over 130 points.

The fast and physical Bulldogs also have a tendency to win clutch games when they need to as they did a week ago in Charlottesville.

But, a year ago when a fast Boston University men's team tangled with the Big Green men on a muddy Chase Field, Dartmouth used the weather to their advantage to gain a 5-1 victory.

The temperature is Athens yesterday was near 70 ... the lower the temperature drops this weekend, the more of an advantage the Big Green will possess. Game-time highs are expected to be around 35.

"It will be a tough game, but if we play to our strengths we will come away with the victory," Castro predicted.

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