Women's Soccer Playing for Seeding, Possibly Home Field
After a dramatic overtime thriller against Cornell last weekend, the Big Green women's soccer team looks to continue its winning ways against Brown. The team joins a large Dartmouth contingent heading down to Providence this weekend, but its game is especially important: the result of Saturday's match will play a crucial role in determining what seed, if a bid does come its way, the Big Green will get for the post-season NCAA tournament.
The win against Cornell, their last home game of the season, raised the team's record to a solid, but not spectacular, 8-4-1. As it leaves the friendly confines of Hanover and hits the road, the Big Green hopes to continue the success it has had in the past seven matches. Over that stretch, Dartmouth has come away victorious six times. The only defeat was an overtime heart-breaker at the hands of perennial powerhouse UConn.
The key is to maintain an even keel. Despite the excitement of the upcoming tournament bids, Dartmouth is taking it one game at a time, and trying its best not to look past the last regular season match-up.
Junior center midfielder Mary McVeigh is focused on the match this Saturday and confident of a post season bid.
"We are definitely not looking past Brown on Saturday," the Big Green stand-out said. "To ruin the strong showing we've had the second half of the season against Brown would be a huge letdown going into the tournament."
The momentum is certainly on their side, but, this late in the season, nothing can be taken for granted. A win Saturday is crucial for any chance the Big Green has of getting a home field advantage, an honor awarded to the top 16 seeds, in post-season play.
Assistant coach Ben Landis recognizes this strategic advantage but also realizes, like McVeigh, that Brown should not be overlooked: "By taking care of our own business, i.e. defeating Brown, we give ourselves a better chance to contend for a home game in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
"Regardless of who or where we play, we look forward to utilizing our experience from past success in the NCAAs coupled with how we've played this year over the last seven games, to be a confident and competitive team in this year's tournament."
Certainly, the program's past history of post-season success helps. Dartmouth, in general, has been there before and many of the players on the roster know what it takes to perform when it counts. Still, what happened in the past does not win games today. Nothing should be taken for granted, but things are looking good for Dartmouth.
Confident after their consistent play towards the end of the season, heavy with players experienced in post season play, and well rested from a week without matches since last Sunday's game, everything is aligned for the team to do well. The Dartmouth women will head to Rhode Island this weekend to take care of business before turning hopeful gazes toward a postseason bid in next week's NCAA draw.