The Big Green field hockey team struggled offensively at home on Saturday in its 6-0 loss to No. 18 Princeton University. With the loss, the Big Green are now 4-7 on the season and winless through three conference games.
Princeton’s offense was strong from the start of the game, with the Tigers pressuring the Big Green defense and leaving Dartmouth with few offensive opportunities. Princeton took advantage of several penalty attempts — three of the Tiger’s six goals came from penalty shots.
Defender Sara Faulkson ’22 said that Dartmouth entered the game knowing that upsetting the Tigers would be a tall task.
“Princeton is traditionally an extremely skilled team, and so we knew going into it that it was going to be a battle,” Faulkson said.
Midfielder Bronwyn Bird ’24 said that the final score did not tell the whole story of how the Big Green played.
“Our defense was really strong and I think we’ll take this game, look at the score, and know that we played our hearts out,” Bird said. “We played with more heart than we did last week when we played at [Brown University].”
Bird led the Big Green with two shots. Forward Holly Cromwell ’23 added a shot on goal, and goalkeeper Goalkeeper Hatley Post ’23 helped Dartmouth with five saves, all within the fourth quarter.
Despite the Big Green’s struggles, Midfielder Meg Barnes ’23 said that the team remained composed and supportive of one another.
“I would rather lose 20-0 and be a part of a team who supports each other through battles like this rather than having a team who is winning yet still does not support and champion each other on,” Barnes said.
Two seasons ago, the Big Green did not win a conference game and went 4-13 overall. After last season’s cancellation, the team was eager to get back on the field and improve.
“A year away from field hockey showed me how much I love the sport and what a big part of my Dartmouth experience it was,” goalkeeper Isabella Santucci ’22 said. “Coming into this season, I knew it was a gift, since it was taken away from us last year, and I’ve just been more grateful everyday, especially since it’s my senior year.”
The Big Green started this season strong with a narrow 2-1 win on the road against the University of California at Davis. The Big Green then dropped its next two games on the road at University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University. Santucci said the early-season road trip was “really awesome” and credited the travel experience to the field hockey team’s new coaching staff.
“It solidified a lot of team bonding, and it was awesome to get to play West coast teams because we don’t get a lot of exposure to those since they are so far away,” Santucci said.
After returning from California, Dartmouth won three out of four games at home. The Big Green has not since found the win column, with losses to Northeastern University as well as conference opponents Cornell University, Brown University and Princeton.
Despite dropping the first three conference games, Santucci believes that the team can compete with the Ivy League’s best.
“As a senior, I want to get some Ivy wins on the board,” Santucci said. “With our dedication and our mindset, that it is entirely within our grasp.”
Faulkson said that the Big Green has improved as a team over the last few weeks.
“If you were to sit in on our team circle, it was nothing but pride and positive things coming from our performance because we trusted each other in [Saturday’s] game in ways we’ve been trying to do and work on since our previous games,” Faulkson said.
Next Saturday, Dartmouth will travel to play against No. 13 Harvard University. In 2019, Harvard beat the Big Green, and Dartmouth will look to earn its first conference win since 2018 and upset the highest-ranked team in the Ivy League.