Tournament Time: Strangers Come to Town
Don't even think of telling the Dartmouth field hockey team it's only the ECACs. This team wants a trophy, and it wants it bad. The Big Green will get its chance as the top seed in the tournament it is hosting for the second consecutive year. Less than a week after defeating Brown, Dartmouth goes for the Providence sweep in their semifinal contest (11 a.m. tomorrow at Scully-Fahey Field) when the Big Green (13-4, 5-2 Ivy) squares off against Providence College (11-7, 1-4 Big East).
Expect Dartmouth to take advantage of its postseason experience when it takes the field against the Friars, who are making their first postseason appearance since 1990. Providence is led by junior forward Jennifer Chin, who paces her team with nine goals on the season, and first-team All-Big East midfielder Katie Willet. Against common opponents this season, the Friars have compiled a 4-2 record compared to Dartmouth's 6-0. Providence posted impressive wins against Massachusetts and Holy Cross but fell to Harvard and Boston College. Despite the common opponents, the Friars remain a team Dartmouth knows little about, a fact that excites the team.
"It's nice to face a team we don't normally get a chance to play," said Carolyn Steele '03. "We get to go in with clean slate and just play our game and play hard."
Dartmouth will make no special adjustments in preparing for the unfamiliar Friars but rather will continue to rely on the hard-nosed efforts that have succeeded all season long. Playing Providence for the first time "will enable us to just focus on ourselves and playing our game," said Kate Alexander '02.
Penalty corners have been a big part of Dartmouth's season-long success. The Big Green has been especially lethal on corners recently and will need continued execution to get past Providence. Besides strong individual defense, Dartmouth will need another big game from goalie Kirsten Anderson '02. Anderson has seven shutouts on the season and is allowing 0.94 goals per game.
Dartmouth also has the intangibles on its side. Although they face three new teams, it would be hard to believe that any of the three plays with more heart and determination than the Big Green. After enduring a roller-coaster ride for the first half of the season, Dartmouth has rallied to run off seven straight wins. They also have the advantage of playing on their home turf. "It's a huge advantage," said Steele. "Not only do we have one of the best facilities in the northeast, but we'll also have great fan support behind us."
"There is no sign of any of us slowing down," said Alexander. "We have our eyes set firmly on our goal of winning the championship and it is going to be pretty hard to stop us now."
In the other semifinal, second seeded Georgetown (10-5) will face the three seed, Drexel (10-10). The winner will face the Dartmouth-Providence winner Sunday afternoon at 1p.m.
ALL-IVY: Dartmouth was well represented when the Ivy League released its postseason awards. Carolyn Steele '03 led the way as a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection. Steele was joined on the first team by goalie Kirsten Anderson '02. Forwards Lauren Welsh '03 and Rebekka Stucker '04 were both selected to the second team.