Women's soccer bound for NCAAs, will play BC Friday
When the Dartmouth women's soccer team left the field after Sunday's commanding 5-0 victory over Ivy rivals Cornell, none of the players or coaches knew for sure whether their 12-4-1 overall record and 5-2-0 conference marks would be enough to get the Big Green back onto the field and into the NCAA Tournament.
That question was answered with an emphatic "yes" yesterday afternoon when ESPNEWS announced the brackets revealing that Dartmouth had indeed made it to the dance for the tenth time and the seventh time in eight years.
The Big Green will take on the No. 12 Eagles of Boston College in a first round match up on Friday at the University of Connecticut's Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn.
Kick off time was yet to be determined at press time and should be announced later in the week.
"We're delighted to be in the field," head coach Angie Hind told reporters.
"I had hoped we would get someone lower in the rankings for a first round game, but I'm not surprised."
Should Dartmouth advance, they will take on the winner of the game between the UConn Huskies and Boston University Terriers.
Elaborating on the competitiveness of Dartmouth's immediate draw, Hind said in a press release, "Having Boston College and UConn in the same group is tough. We're up for a battle and I think our team has proven that it can compete with anyone."
The Eagles are coming off a regular season in which it finished 11-5-2 overall with its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference yielding a 5-5-1 record against conference opponents.
BC's season was very much a tale of two halves. After opening the season with a nine-game unbeaten streak, it proceeded to lose five of its final nine games. That stretch ended last Thursday when the Eagles took the field in Cary, N.C. and suffered an opening round loss in the ACC Tournament against the Duke Blue Devils.
Boston College's recent woes do not fool the Big Green players into thinking they will have an easy time on Friday. On the contrary, goalkeeper Amanda Webb '08 told the media, "I'm from Boston and I know they're a strong team."
Dartmouth and BC have played one another 13 times with the Eagles leading the series 8-4-1 to date. However, the last time these teams played was in 2001 when the Big Green triumphed 3-0, the third win in five matches for Dartmouth against its Bostonian opponents.
That doesn't provide much of a preview of what can be expected in Friday's showdown, but should Dartmouth prevail, it's possible it could face a more familiar opponent should Boston University advance. Of the 64 teams in the tournament field, BU is one of four teams (including Ivy champs Yale) that have faced the Big Green this year.
That game on Oct. 12 was one of the most exciting of the year with the two teams playing into double overtime, only to remain tied 1-1 in the end. In this single elimination tournament, it is assured recent history cannot repeat itself.
Should Dartmouth make it out of Storrs alive, it is likely it will have to take on either or both of the two seeded teams in the bracket -- the UC-Santa Clara Broncos (14-4-2) and the Penn State Nittany Lions (19-0-1). (In the women's soccer tournament, only two teams in each bracket receive offical seed numbers, unlike the NCAA basketball tournaments.)
But if the Big Green has any hope of using Cinderella's glass slipper to kick their way to the national semifinals in College Station, Texas, the team will have to do it right away to pull off the upset against Boston College.