Women’s soccer continues to build momentum despite conference loss to Harvard

The Big Green women’s soccer team has defeated Yale and Cornell, tied Columbia and UPenn, with their only Ivy League loss to Harvard.

by Efe Kilic | 10/16/23 1:15am

by Courtesy of Chloe Broeker / The Dartmouth

Dartmouth women's soccer — after finishing an honest 8-7-2 and 7-7-1 during the 2022 and 2021 seasons respectively — seemingly shot out of a cannon into this season. The Big Green hit the ground running, starting the season undefeated over their first 10 games, suffering their first and only loss of the season to Harvard University. 

The apparent defensive effort has been spearheaded by senior goalkeeper Emily Hardy ’24. Hardy is a large reason why Dartmouth has secured seven shutouts over the course of their games. Hardy emphasizes how the defense is rooted in camaraderie, toughness and trust.

“The coaching staff has emphasized and reviewed the different phases of the game in detail and we’ve spent a lot of time watching film to look for ways to improve as individuals and as a team and everyone bought into developing a new style of play,” Hardy said.

It was this attitude that allowed the team to snatch two back-to-back Ivy League wins against Yale University and Cornell University. The Big Green opened up conference play in a 70-minute 0-0 deadlock during a rainy night in New Haven, playing a gritty defensive game. 

Dartmouth warded off the Bulldogs’s 20 shots throughout the course of the game, not breaking defensively while playing a clean game with only one foul. The Big Green offense finally struck back as a ball down the left wing pushed by Mary Lundregan ’26 made its way into the possession of Audrey Marin ’26. The second-year forward beat out the Yale defense to find space down the sideline to play a low cross into the box where forward Hannah Curtin ’25 was there to bury it into the back of the net. 

Curtin’s first goal of the season could not have come at a better time. The goal sealed a 1-0 Big Green victory against their conference opponent. This has been a theme throughout the season as the Big Green hasn’t piled up aggressive statistics, but the team has made opposition feel every single minute of the full 90 with their defense. The Big Green relies not just on their forwards, but their entire team to step up and serve their defensive efforts justice on the offensive end. 

It is safe to say that they have. The Big Green goals have been spread across the roster with a lot of cohesive assistance. The team moves as a unit, as Hardy credits the team's unity to their trust in one another.

“We are 27 players strong and everyone has stepped up into their roles and helped us win those tight games,” Hardy said. “We’ve been committed to attacking and defending as a team and it has paid off in the tight games.”

Dartmouth — able to snag the away conference win — came back to Burnham Field in Hanover with strong momentum against Cornell. The game started as expected and similar to Yale, a deadlock at 0-0 for the first 80 minutes. With only three total shots taken in the entire first half, the game was characterized by midfield as each team fought for possession looking for opportunities to open up through any mistake. 

Cornell’s goalkeeper was the victim of this inevitable mistake, as a throw-in received by midfielder Daisy Granholm ’24 finds its way through the Cornell backlines to Curtin. Hailey Rorick ’26 later struck it down the middle to give the Big Green the lead and a few minutes later, the 1-0 final score. Rorick found the back of the net not just for the game and her first collegiate score. These back-to-back conference wins have contributed to setting the culture that the team has striven for.

“I would say our culture has shifted to one that is 100% bought in,” Curtin said. “During the offseason, the coaching staff really pushed us both on and off the field to be more intentional about the type of team we want to be. Collectively, we have a better grip on our tactics of play and the types of values we want to embody.” 

With the unfortunate 0-3 loss against Harvard, the Big Green regrouped and rallied when they went to play against Columbia the following Sunday.

“Harvard was a tough loss, but we were able to shift our mindset by using the game as an opportunity to expose and learn from our weaknesses,” Curtin said. “We entered the game very defensive-minded and have now pushed ourselves to have more trust in our ability to attack.”

Since the loss to Harvard, women’s soccer has tied with both Columbia University 1-1 and the University of Pennsylvania 1-1 with goals by Granholm and Aleena Seales ’25 respectively. The Big Green needs two more conference wins — hoping to defeat Princeton University and Brown University — to cement their position in the Ivy League playoffs.

“We are excited,” Granholm said. “We have put ourselves in the position to reach our season goal of making it to the Ivy League Tournament. Now it's time to handle business and come out with a result on Saturday.”

While the path to securing a playoff seed won’t be easy, the Big Green players have proven they are more than capable of closing out the season strong and making a hopeful run in the postseason. 

Dartmouth will face off against the Tigers this Saturday, Oct. 21 on Burnham Field.