Kannanberg's goal lifts women's soccer in NCAAs
MILWAUKEE -- Women's soccer at Dartmouth has been nothing this year if not exciting. And to the great relief of its many fans, this fall's squad will continue to entertain for at least another match.
In a hotly contested match Friday night at Marquette University's Valley Fields, the Big Green took the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers through two sudden-death overtimes before freshman Katherine Kannenberg, a Wisconsin native, netted the game winner late in the second extra session to lift the Big Green to 1-0 triumph, disappointing the hometown crowd and securing a spot in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Big Green will face Michigan, 1-0 winners over host Marquette, Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT at Valley Fields.
Laura Randolph '05 earned a start as one of four defenders in the NCAA opener, filling out the imposing zonal four that kept Dartmouth's postseason hope alive all season. The physical play of Meaghan Kelly '03, senior co-captain Shannon Agner and freshman standout Claire Dewalt succeeded in frustrating the offensive efforts of the Panthers for nearly 120 minutes.
UWM's hit-and-run style of play increased the wear and tear on the defense, often resulting in one-on-one sprints to chase down balls sent over the top of the Dartmouth defensive line. Dewalt tracked countless marks deep into her own territory, averting disaster after disaster with hard, successful tackles and impressive hustle.
Echoing the sentiments of her fellow marking backs, Dewalt said, "The entire Wisconsin offense seemed to be based around a kick-and-run style of play. It was frustrating in the beginning because we felt like we were constantly chasing, but after we adjusted our marking, the speed of play picked up and we were able to contain their counterattacks more effectively."
A key factor in containing the long ball game of the Panthers was the aggressive play of goalkeepers Julia Shields '04 and Ann Marbarger '05. Shields handled duties in the first half, while the freshman went the rest of the way.
Pushing the defense up past midfield during Dartmouth attacks, both keepers collected any clearances that fell around the top of the 18-yard box, preventing the potentially dangerous Wis.-Milwaukee counterattacks.
From the opening whistle, Dartmouth's offensive intensity led to a number of chances. The chilly Midwest weather had little effect on the Big Green, as the visitors' first real opportunity to put points on the board came only three minutes into the match with a nice touch into the box from Laura Ashley '03 to junior center Midfielder Mary McVeigh, whose shot was deflected out of bounds by a Panther defender.
Another near goal by Hanna Putnam '03 came off a cross from Devon Haskell '03 just minutes later. After the frenzy of the first 20 minutes, Dartmouth settled into its desired style of pass-and-move soccer, building attacks from the back four up through the midfield.
"We managed to maintain our style of play better in this game than we have all season," said senior attacker Katie Price.
The game-winning play started when the speedy McVeigh charged through the midfield, finally chipping a pass to Kannenberg. Kannenberg, who starred at Whitefish Bay High School in Milwaukee, dribbled into the box with one defender to beat. She cut past the defender and sent the ball off the inside of the near post, and a good deflection gave the Big Green an uplifting triumph at the 112th minute.
"It came out of nowhere," UWM coach Michael Moynihan said of the gamewinner. "I thought our defense was solid all game, not giving up chances. But we got isolated one-on-one, and that was it. It wasn't a bad goal, but it was just very unexpected."
Dartmouth's consistent play will serve it well in its matchup Sunday against Michigan, ranked 20th nationally. Michigan's athleticism and direct physical play differ greatly from the Big Green's style of possession and finesse.
"We need to make sure we maintain our style of play. If we keep utilizing our team dynamic and the diversity of our personnel, we should be able to compete with any team we face in this tournament," Hanna Putnam '03 said.
Coach Erica Walsh celebrated her birthday Friday with a first-round NCAA win. Shields, the netminder, hopes for a similar birthday present when she turns 20 on Sunday.