Cheeseheads beware: Green off to Wisconsin
When Dartmouth appeared onscreen during the NCAA bid announcements yesterday afternoon, 24 players, three coaches and a large group of supporters screamed in relief. After the agony had been drawn out as long as was humanly bearable, Dartmouth (9-4-1) was one of the last eight teams out of 64 to be announced.
Among the crowd charged with energy in the moments following the bid, three players in particular had a little more to celebrate than the rest.
Dartmouth's bid will take the team to Marquette University in Milwaukee this weekend to face Wisconsin-Milwaukee (15-4) in the first round. The flight will take the Big Green far from Hanover, but relatively close to the homes of Katherine Kannenberg '05, Anne Peick '04 and Laura Ashley '03.
The Dartmouth squad is made up of players from such varying geographical origins as California, Washington state, Florida and New York. With a schedule composed primarily of New England area matches, these players rarely find the chance to play in front of family and friends from their hometowns.
Peick and Ashley, both Minnesota natives, along with Kannenberg, who hails from Whitefish Bay, Wis., can expect to see some familiar faces in the stands in what promises to be a huge hometown crowd.
This year marks another in a long line of NCAA at-large bids for Dartmouth. Coach Erica Walsh takes great care in the months leading up to preseason to put together schedules challenging enough to gain recognition.
Looking at its record alone, this year's squad may not appear quite as successful as some of the outstanding teams of the past. However, further attention to the tough opponents and the scores of the four defeats reveals a number of overtime losses and a trend of low scoring, hotly contested matches to nationally ranked teams. Strength of schedule paired with a share of the Ivy Title this year was enough to get Dartmouth on the road to the December Final Four in Dallas Texas.
Traveling across the country to play teams they have never before faced, in front of Milwaukee crowds loyal to the local teams, the Dartmouth women enter this weekend looking to secure a spot in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. As Senior co-captain Jamie Lang asserted, "the fact that we get to play teams that this program has never seen makes it that much better, as it allows us to just go in and play without having to think about previous match ups."