Women's soccer topples Cornell in Ithaca with 3-1 victory

by Jennifer Yu | 11/6/06 6:00am

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Women's soccer finished the regular season in style, beating Cornell 3-1.
by Kawakahi Amina / The Dartmouth

Despite the Big Green's 6-1-0 record in Ivy League play, the women in green (12-4-1) had to settle for second place in the conference by a one-point margin after Columbia (10-4-3, 6-0-1 Ivy) claimed the league title with a 1-0 win over Harvard on Saturday morning. The Lions claimed their first-ever Ivy League championship title with a 6-0-1 record in Ivy play despite being ranked lower than Dartmouth in national polls.

"We are disappointed that we did not win the Ivy championship," said Megan Wijas '06, one of three Big Green senior captains. "It is rare for a team to be 6-1 and not win or tie for the Ivy League."

"Columbia got the results they needed to win. However, I think if we played Columbia again it would be a different game. We struggled the day we played them so I think if we got another chance, we would have a different result," she added.

Dartmouth, which climbed as high as No. 13 in the NSCAA/Adidas poll earlier in the season, has often been regarded as the top team in the Northeast region throughout the season and should have no trouble making the field of 64 in the NCAA tournament.

"We are going into the selection with at least a number 21 ranking," Emily Tracy '07 said. "Because 64 teams are selected for the tournament, I think our chances are very good to get a bid."

Against Cornell (3-13-1, 1-6-0 Ivy), the Big Green, despite a 9-2 advantage in shots in the first half, did not find the back of the net until the 42nd minute. It was then that Tracy, upon receiving a headed pass from teammate Colleen Kelly on a corner kick, lofted a ball high into the corner of the Cornell net, over the reach of Big Red goalkeeper Taylor Hendren.

The Big Green held a slim 1-0 advantage when both teams retreated to the sidelines at halftime.

Dartmouth scored its second goal in the 60th minute on a well-orchestrated play. The ball was won by Whitney Douthett '07, crossed into the box by Ali Hubbard '10 and finished by Monica Martin de Bustamante '08, who slid into the penalty box for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

In the 80th minute, Alison McKeown scored the Big Red's lone goal on a contentious penalty kick that was awarded to Cornell after a sideline referee called a handball on a Big Green player after she had been "hacked down," in the words of a teammate.

"The referee initially called a foul against the other team," Tracy explained. "But then the sideline ref called a handball on one of our players while she was on the ground."

"There was a foul in the box before the 'handball' happened," Wijas agreed. "The Cornell player took one of our players down by hacking her. That is why, if there was a handball, our player was on the ground in the first place. The initial call was not a handball. Instead, the referee gave us possession of the ball."

"The whole thing was just kind of crazy," the senior captain added.

Unfazed by Cornell's first goal, Dartmouth responded quickly and scored its third goal of the game less than three minutes later. Wijas won the ball in a scramble and fired a shot into the back of the Cornell net to record Dartmouth's final goal of the win.

Dartmouth outshot Cornell 16-8 and edged the Big Red 5-3 in corner kicks in the game, while Big Green goalkeeper Amanda Webb '08 and Hendren each recorded five saves.

"We didn't play our best soccer against Cornell today," Wijas said. "In every game there is improvement but it was glaringly obvious that we need to work on some things for our next game. Against Cornell, we never found our rhythm so the whole game was a battle, which is both frustrating and tiring."

The NCAA Women's College Cup selection show, which will reveal the Big Green's NCAA fate, will air live on ESPN News between 3 and 4 p.m. today.

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