Women's soccer battling Penn for Ivy title at home

by Keil Hur | 11/8/02 6:00am

While the end of the regular season means the end of the year -- and a farewell party for the seniors -- for hundreds of women's college soccer teams around the nation, Dartmouth faces a different kind of a game in its regular-season finale against University of Pennsylvania on Saturday.

With a victory against Penn (6-6-3 overall, 2-1-3 Ivy League), the Dartmouth women's soccer team, standing 12-3-1 overall and 5-1-0 among the Ancient Eight, has a chance to win the Ivy League crown, which it would share with the Princeton Tigers (13-2-0 overall, 6-1-0 Ivy League) who have already clinched at least a share of the title.

Penn has allowed an average of 1.76 goals per game and its goalies have stopped only 71.1 percent of shots on goal.

Penn's offense, however, has been strong throughout the season, led by the stellar performance of sophomore Katy Cross, who has a commanding lead on the Ivy League scoring chart with 13 goals and 30 points in 14 games.

This is a repeat performance of last year's incredible rookie season for Cross, leading the Ivy League in points (34), goals (12) and assists (10) in the 2001 campaign, all three marks a school single-season record. For that performance, she was crowned the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a second-team All-American.

To become the Ivy League co-champions, the Big Green will have to capitalize on Penn's weak defense. The defense, however, will have to be cautious of the Katy Cross-Jenna Linden combination, who have assisted on each other's goals on five occasions this year alone.

Linden, a freshman midfielder, ranks second on the team behind Cross with 10 points, and anchors the Penn offense with six assists from the field.

Penn's season has been a very disappointing one. With a strong returning cast from last year's 13-2-3 season and a team that went to the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Quakers were poised to make a run at the League title.

With a five-game winning streak early in the season, they were certainly in position for another strong season. However, following that streak, they have played seven matches without a victory, compiling a record of 0-4-3 in that span.

The winless streak was only ended last Saturday with a 2-0 win over Brown. Dartmouth will have to end Penn's heartbreaking season with a heartbreaking loss to claim the coveted league title.

This will be the final tune-up for the Big Green before the beginning of the NCAA tournament, for which the team has been preparing all year. With one of the strongest squads in recent years, as well as an incredible winning-streak and the momentum that goes along with it, the Dartmouth women's soccer team looks to another strong post season.

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