Women’s soccer ends season with first Ivy League win

by Max Kanefield | 11/11/15 6:01pm

In its season finale this past weekend, the women’s soccer team notched its first win in Ivy League play, defeating Cornell University 1-0 at Burnham Field. On a brisk Saturday afternoon, the Big Green (8-4-4, 1-3-3 Ivy) put together a complete performance that the team struggled to find early in this season’s conference play, controlling the pace and possession of the game from the outset and generating chances early and often. A goal scored by Lucielle Kozlov ’16 in the 60th minute was all the Big Green needed to grab a win over Cornell (9-4-4, 2-4-1 Ivy) and move ahead of Yale University to finish seventh in the Ivy League standings.

Before the game got underway, the team took time to honor its four seniors — Jill Dayneka ’16 as well as co-captains Jackie Friedman ’16, Corey Delaney ’16 and Kozlov. All current starters on the team, their careers with the Dartmouth soccer program outstrip current head coach Ron Rainey by two years.

“I’m happy that we won,” Kozlov said. “I thought we played a good game as a team. It is obviously bittersweet as a senior [because] this is my last game ever at Burnham, ever with this team, ever playing soccer. I have had such a happy journey with this team.”

Kozlov took full advantage of her last time out on the pitch, creating numerous scoring opportunities for the Big Green. Kozlov’s strong attacking play ultimately contributed the game-winning goal 15 minutes into the second half after a scoreless first.

Kozlov received a pass from Lauren Lucas ’19 on the right wing, beat a defender with a dribble move and streaked up the right side of the penalty box before burying a shot in the bottom corner of the net’s far side. The score was her 11th tally of the season, a number that leads her team and places her second in the Ivy League for goals scored.

“[Kozlov’s] goal was a goal scorer’s goal,” Rainey said. “She picked her head up, saw where the keeper was and played it past her.”

Kozlov’s shot was just one of the 16 that the Big Green generated that day against the Big Red. Dominant possession of the ball allowed Dartmouth to maximize opportunities against a Cornell team that mustered just two shots in the first half and nine in the game, failing to pressure a stout Dartmouth defense.

“We have done a very nice job the last two weeks — against Harvard [University] and against Cornell today — limiting teams’ chances, and we did a nice job of winning balls and stopping attacks,” Rainey said. “When you create chances, the odds go up that you are going to score one.”

It was fitting that a senior and a freshman linked up for the last goal of the season and the game’s winning goal. The leadership of the senior class has had a strong impact on the other members of the team, particularly the freshman, Remy Borinsky ’19 said. Lucas, who leads the team with six assists, set up Kozlov for the game-winner. The positive rapport between the seniors and freshmen has been an important factor in the team’s success all season, and the celebration of the seniors before the game helped inspire the team in their final game of the season, Borinsky said.

“As a freshman, I could not have asked for better seniors, they were amazing,” she said. “I think everyone today played for them — I know I did. We just wanted to get that win. We hadn’t won [in the Ivy League] for them, I think everyone came out like, ‘Let’s go and do it.’”

Rainey echoed Borinsky’s praise for the four seniors, citing their work ethic and dedication to the team over their four years with the program.

“You know I think the senior group is special,” Rainey said. “I’m a little sad that I was only around them for two years because I know the amount of work they put into the program. The pride that they have in the program is special. What we have seen is a good example for our juniors, sophomores and freshman of what they have got to do moving forward. [The seniors] have done an excellent job for Dartmouth and for the soccer program.”

Having just finished the final game of the team’s season, the Big Green’s victory represents a highlight for the team as they head into the offseason. The team features six strong juniors who should help the Big Green build on this season and improve next year.