For the first time in school history, the Dartmouth men's soccer team was seeded in the NCAA tournament and received a first round bye. The Big Green (10-2-5), which earned the Ivy League's automatic bid into the field of 48, was seeded 16th and, as Dartmouth Life was going to press, was scheduled to face the winner of the Nov. 18 St. John's-Marist game, with Dartmouth's match coming Nov. 22.
"It has been a season full of exciting moments and thrilling outcomes and this tops them all. It is a very rewarding feeling to have the NCAA committee recognize us as one of the seeded teams in the tournament," said Dartmouth Head Coach Jeff Cook.
"There aren't a lot of teams in the country with just two losses. I think we're very deserving of the seeding and hopefully we'll prove it," added senior co-captain P. J. Scheufele.
Dartmouth made its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and its ninth overall. The Big Green has compiled a 4-7-2 overall record in NCAA tournament competition. In its last NCAA appearance in 2004, Dartmouth tied Boston University, 2-2, but the Terriers advanced to the next round on penalty kicks, 4-3.
Dartmouth has played four of the other teams in the tournament field: Brown, Cal State Northridge, Rhode Island and Yale.
The Big Green and St. John's have met once before in the NCAA tournament and Dartmouth came away with a 1-0 victory in Hanover in 1992. Dartmouth and Marist have never faced each other.
The men's hockey season began back on Oct. 29 in Cambridge when the Big Green took on Harvard, but the party is just beginning. This year marks the 100th season of men's hockey at Dartmouth, and the celebration will continue throughout the year at Thompson Arena.
Festivities began in earnest at the home opener on Nov. 11 against Colgate. Before the game, the 1941-42 national championship team was honored with a ceremonial puck drop. Several members of the team attended, including Ed Roewer '44, the legendary Jack Riley '44 and Duke Dushame '43.
"I can't begin to say how excited I am to be the coach during this special time," said Head Coach Bob Gaudet. "It's going to be an honor to witness this historic season. As a team we often talk about the importance of representing something bigger than ourselves and we strive to embody the Dartmouth spirit each time we don the Green and White. This centennial celebration is a perfect vehicle for our players to further appreciate the rich history associated with our program."
Harvard and Dartmouth will meet again on Dec. 16 in Thompson Arena in the College Sports TV (CSTV) game of the week. A ceremonial puck drop featuring Walter Bush '51, former president of USA Hockey, is on the agenda.
All these events point toward a celebration on Jan. 27 and 28 when Union and Rensselaer come to the Hanover Plain. The weekend will involve countless alumni, family and friends. The two games will focus on honoring Dartmouth's All-Ameri7cans, Hall of Fame members, Final Four teams and Olympians. On Saturday afternoon the annual Alumni game will take place at Thompson Arena. On Sunday, Jan. 29, an invitation-only brunch will honor all former and current men's hockey players and will include a video commemorating the Big Green's hockey past.
It seemed as though the white singlets, emblazoned with a bold, green "D," converged on the finish line all at once.
Ben True '08 thundered toward the tape, victorious in 24:36.2. Just four seconds behind was Alec Wall '07, fourth in 24:40.5.
Then co-captain Dave Burmham '06 was sixth in 24:48.0, followed immediately by Ian Marcus '07, seventh in 24:49.0. Then Harry Norton '08 was 12th in 25:12.1, concluding a dominating performance by the Big Green.
Although second-place Princeton put together its best race of the year with 47 points, it wasn't enough to catch pre-meet favorite Dartmouth, which lived up to the expectations with 30 points, the fewest since the 1994 Big Green totaled 23. Dartmouth regained the championship for the first time since 2002 and earned its conference-record 16th title.
"We were just really excited about this race," said True, who finished two seconds ahead of runner-up Owen Washburn of Brown. "We wanted to show the Ivies what we can do. We've been moving up in the rankings and the national poll the whole year."
True added, "I wasn't really going after the individual at all. I was just trying to help the pace of the team, and it just happened that we were all up front at the very end, so I just kicked for it."
"We ran really well," said Harwick, "and we needed to because Princeton had their best race of the season. Our guys responded incredibly. I said all along it was close, and Ben True is a ferocious competitor. I think everybody in the League saw that our guys did a great job."
The runners will look to continue their success as cross country season winds down and the indoor track season roars to life following winter break. The Big Green will kick off the winter season with the Dartmouth Relays from Jan. 6 through 8.
The squad will then host four more meets at Leverone Fieldhouse during the frigid New England winter, but none bigger than the Indoor Heptagonals on Feb. 25 and 26, where the Dartmouth men and women will have a chance to compete on their home track.
The Big Green women's hockey team kicked off its season in October with a 4-3 win over a fledgling Boston University program. Coming off a school record-tying 27-win performance in 2004-05, this year could be seen by many to be a rebuilding campaign, though supporters of the team are hoping the squad merely reloads.
Despite the arrival of eight freshmen, the team is still short on depth this year with only 18 players on the roster. While some of that is due to graduation, the Big Green has been hit especially hard with national team commitments as countries prepare for the XX Winter Olympiad in Torino, Italy this February.
"For us, it's very close to home," said Caroline Ethier '07, this year's assistant captain. "It's tough to lose such a large part of our team to the Olympics."
All told, there have been six players with Dartmouth ties competing with either the American or Canadian national squads this fall as they prepared for Torino. Four of them have collegiate eligibility remaining, including Gillian Apps '06, Cherie Piper '06 and Katie Weatherston '06, all of whom are with Team Canada.
The fourth, Sarah Parsons '09, was to have begun her Dartmouth career this season but deferred her enrollment after being selected for the U.S. National Team back in August.
"In one way, we're really going to be hurt by that," Head Coach Mark Hudak said. "But at the same time, it's going to give the newcomers a lot of ice time and a lot of responsibility."
The current team may be short on numbers, but even without the Olympians there is still plenty of talent on the ice this year. Along with the freshmen, Dartmouth is also aided by the return of seniors Danielle Grundy and Alex Zagaria, who both took last season off.
"The freshmen are proving to be a talented bunch ready for a challenge," Ethier said. "We also gain experience with the return of Grundy and Zagaria, who look like they haven't lost a step. We know there will be some bumps, but they'll only make us stronger as a team."
And you can be sure when the Olympics do finally come around this winter, this year's team will have all eyes glued to the television watching their friends compete for the gold.
"There's going to be a lot of talk around the locker room," said Ethier. "They're definitely impact players, and they've earned this opportunity. We're very happy for all of them."
Men's basketball coach Terry Dunn will be among friends on New Year's Eve when the Big Green heads to Boulder, Colo. to ring in the new year with a matchup against the Buffaloes. It will be the first time Dunn has faced Colorado since leaving there to take over as head coach of the Big Green.
"It'll be good to see some friends and people I worked with, but it's a business trip," Dunn said. "The intent is to prepare for the Ivy League and hopefully find out more about our team."
The team will head to Albuquerque for the Lobo Classic just after Christmas, then make the stopover in Colorado on the way back to Hanover.
"It'll be a good experience for the kids to play teams from the Mountain West and Big XII," Dunn said. "Plus, we've got alumni out there, so they'll get a chance to see us as well.
By BENJAMIN FLICKINGER '04
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Last Updated: 5/30/08