Big Green Booters Start Strong

Both soccer teams have jumped out of the gate this season as the men lead the Ivy League with a perfect 3-0 slate with the women just a single step behind at 2-1.

The men have fashioned their fast start via the youth movement.

Already, Dartmouth has had three freshmen earn Ivy League rookie of the week honors.

Damien Quinn (San Diego, Calif.) became the third member of the Big Green's Class of 2004 so honored. Quinn notched his first career marker and added an assist on the gamewinning goal in Dartmouth's 2-1 win against Boston College. With five assists, Quinn has matched the freshman record set by the Big Green's all-time scorer, Vladica Stanojevic '90.

Overall the rookies ­ Dartmouth's most prolific offensive freshman class ever ­ have accounted for 59 percent of the team's output. Matt Labarre (Amherst, N.H.) leads the Big Green in scoring with 4-4­12, followed by Rob Daly (New Port Richey, Fla.) with 3-1­7 and Quinn with 1-5­7.

Sophomore Tom Billings' (Stratford-upon-Avon, England) name is synonymous with winning games. He had the deciding markers against Penn, Boston College and Yale. Defensively, junior goalie Ben Gebre-Medhin (Cambridge, Mass.) has been solid in net, putting together an 8-3 record with a .807 save percentage, three shutouts and a goals against average of 1.51.

The Big Green, ranked fifth in New England, plays three of its final six games at Chase Field, including key Ivy League matches with Harvard and Brown.

"We've had a terrific first half of the season. Several different players have come up big for us," coach Fran O'Leary said. "We need to continue to work hard as a unit in order to put a special season together."

The Big Green women are getting it done with balance. A total of 17 players have scored at least one point. Only last year's team with 19 different players has been more balanced offensively.

Leading the way is Jessica Post (Northridge, Calif.) with 4-5­13, followed by junior Jamie Lang (La Canada, Calif.) with 3-2­8 and sophomores Mary McVeigh (Northhampton, Mass.) and Laura Trouille (Evanston, Ill.) with 3-1­7, respectively.

Senior goalie Kristin Luckenbill (Paoli, Pa.) continues to add to her all-time shutout record. With blankings of BU, Penn, Syracuse and Richmond, Luckenbill now has 31 for her career.

"We are off to a great start due to strong team chemistry and leadership. We have found the 'magic' as the team would say, at least temporarily, and are working very hard on and off the field to maintain it. We'll know after our next three opponents exactly what we are made of, and they will only help us in preparing for the second half of our Ivy League schedule," said coach Erica Walsh.

Dartmouth, sixth in the Northeast region, still has games with four teams ranked ahead in the region, Hartford (1), Connecticut (2), Brown (4) and Harvard (5). (Mike King)