Women's soccer awaits NCAA fate

by Taylor Malmsheimer | 11/4/12 11:00pm

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11.05.12.sports.wsoccer
by Tracy Wang and Tracy Wang / The Dartmouth

As the match kicked off, the two teams appeared fairly even, with neither team gaining clear momentum. But as the game wore on, Dartmouth's skill won out, as the Big Green set up shop in the Big Red (1-14-1, 0-6-1 Ivy) half, recording a season-high 31 shots. Dartmouth's offense slowly built up its intensity in the first half, beginning two minutes into the game. Emma Brush '13 took the first of three quick shots, forcing Cornell's goalkeeper, junior Tori Christ, to make some big saves.

In the 13th minute, Dartmouth's attack struck again when Brush fired a shot that bounced off the post. In the final minutes of the first half, the Big Green amped up its pressure, recording three shots. Tasha Wilkins '15 took two of them, forcing Christ to make two saves before Lucielle Kozlov '16 had a shot go wide in the final minute.

At halftime, Dartmouth discussed settling down and playing its style of soccer.

"We made a couple adjustments in how we wanted to attack them," head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. "We came out much more relaxed in the second half."

Just one minute into the second half, the Big Green's adjustments became apparent when Marina Moschitto '14 crossed the ball to Chrissy Lozier '14. Lozier received the ball with a soft touch and turned behind her defender before placing the ball past Christ to give the Big Green a 1-0 lead.

"We've been working on doing the same thing throughout the season getting the ball wide and getting crosses in," Lozier, whose eight goals on the season lead the team, said. "I was lucky enough to get a good touch and beat the defender."

Twenty minutes later, Dartmouth struck again, this time off a cross from Kelly Brait '14. Tasha Wilkins '15 volleyed the cross into the back of the net for her fourth goal in three matches, putting the Big Green up 2-0.

"Our goals were quality finishes today," Romagnolo said. "I think it was going to take that because Cornell made a lot of really big plays with our other opportunities."

Dartmouth secured the win in the 84th minute when Moschitto added a third goal, unassisted. Consistent with previous performances, the Dartmouth back line was solid, limiting Cornell to just seven shots compared to Dartmouth's 31.

"Defense has been a huge part of our success," Moschitto said. "Our defense was winning balls, and our defense controls our attack."

Dartmouth's attack was balanced, with eight Big Green players recording shots. Brush led the team with 10 shots, while Lozier had six.

"Our team has such an attacking mentality," Moschitto said. "As soon as we got one goal, it seemed like it didn't stop coming."

The Big Green ended the regular season with 13 wins, the team's most since the 2000 season, when Dartmouth finished 14-5 after winning the Ivy League championship and advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. After winning just four games last year, Dartmouth has improved immensely in Romagnolo's second year.

Romagnolo said she is proud of the team's physical, mental and emotional improvement.

"I'm especially proud of our willingness to put ourselves out there and take a chance," Romagnolo said. "This is a team that put themselves on the line every day, and they feel good about a win or loss at the end of the day."

Lozier said that Dartmouth's season has been "absolutely amazing."

"We're playing the best soccer we ever have," Lozier said. "None of us want it to end, but we left it all on the field."

Moschitto said that the Big Green is incredibly close as a team, which translates into its play on the field.

"We could not be more proud of each other and more happy with how the season went," Moschitto said. "I don't want this season to end I want it to keep going as long as possible."

The NCAA Selection Show will be streamed live on NCAA.com at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon. A committee will determine whether the Big Green will receive one of 34 at-large bids to the tournament.

"We believe we're a team that should be in it," Romagnolo said. "At this point, it's out of our control."

Dartmouth ranked 29th in the most recent Ratings Percentage Index rankings, and a tournament berth would be the program's first since 2005.

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