The Big Green Weekend Primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 2/5/15 6:01pm

02.06.15.sports.womens basketball_Weijia Tang

After a week of midterms and never-ending snow, the three-day celebration of Winter Carnival is finally upon us. In addition to the excitement of the polar bear plunge and ice sculpting contests, many of the Big Green teams will compete this weekend for their own share of Carnival glory. The basketball teams will face off against tough Ivy League competition in an attempt to return to their early-season winning ways, and the skiing team will look to break through for a historic top finish.

Men’s and Women’s Skiing — Dartmouth Carnival (Friday and Saturday)

This weekend marks the lone home competition for the Dartmouth ski teams for the season. The team has had a consistent showing this year, with second-place finishes in the first three carnivals of the season. Only one team — Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association rival the University of Vermont — has bested them, finishing more than 50 points ahead of Dartmouth in each competition. The Big Green, who recently moved up a spot to fifth in the national SYNC Ski Coaches Poll, will have to fight off the elite Catamounts squad — ranked fourth in the nation by SYNC — if they are going to bring home their first Dartmouth Carnival title since 2010. The team has been bolstered by solid performances from across the team. Last weekend at the St. Michael’s College Carnival, Fabian Stocek ’17 took home a win in the 10K classic. He competed in place of Patrick Caldwell ’17, who had won the 10k at the Bates College and UVM Carnivals but was off competing at the Under-23 World Championships. In alpine, Dylan Brooks ’17 managed a second-place finish in the men’s giant slalom, while Foreste Peterson ’18 grabbed third place in the women’s slalom to provide the key points needed to pull away in the second day. The Dartmouth Skiway and Craftsbury Outdoor Center always make for exciting venues, but the thrill of a home race likely won’t be enough to get Dartmouth over the hump and back into the top spot.

PREDICTION: Dartmouth — Second place

Women’s Hockey vs. Yale University (Saturday 4 p.m.)

The women’s hockey team (10-10-2, 6-8-2) looks to break its four game winless streak at home this weekend in a critical matchup with Yale (10-12-1, 7-9-0) in Hanover on Saturday. The Big Green and the Bulldogs are currently tied in the Eastern College Athletic Conference for seventh place with 14 points, making this matchup an important contest for post-season seeding. After hosting Brown University, who sits in the ECAC cellar tied for last, on Friday, Dartmouth will look to take revenge on Yale for a 5-1 defeat earlier in the season in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale comes into the weekend after a split last week, defeating the defending national champions Clarkson University but coming up short against Saint Lawrence University. Special teams will be critical as the Big Green will need to see continued production from its power play unit — which leads the league with a 29.4 scoring percentage — while also improving on its penalty killing percentage where it currently ranks 10th in the ECAC. Both teams have a chance at taking this game, which could be a key indicator of the Big Green’s position for the stretch run in the ECAC.

PREDICTION: Dartmouth 4 – Yale 3

Women’s Basketball vs. Yale University (Friday 7 p.m.)

Also looking to get back into the win column after dropping three straight to Ivy League foes, the women’s basketball team (10-8, 1-3 Ivy) welcomes league-leading Yale University (10-8, 4-0 Ivy) to Leede Arena on Friday. The Bulldogs enter the game as one of two remaining undefeated Ivies, but have seen three of their wins come against Brown and Columbia Universities, who are currently two of the bottom teams in the league. One of Dartmouth’s strongest weapons has been its three-point shooting led by Katie Vareika ’17, who sits on top of the Ivy League with a 51 percentage from behind the arc, while Yale is dead last in the Ancient Eight, shooting only 25.3 percent from three. Yale has been effective on the offensive boards, reeling in a league-leading 14.2 offensive rebounds per game, but the two teams match up similarly in regards to statistics, which should lead to a closer game than their records might suggest. In what should be an extra-excited atmosphere thanks to the Carnival weekend and the team hosting a celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, this is as good of an opportunity as ever for the Ivy League’s leading scorer Fanni Szabo ’17 and the Big Green to return to the winning track.

PREDICTION:Dartmouth 68 - Yale 65