Penn's women's soccer team faces Dartmouth in search of an Ivy win. Both teams speak with elite bravado, casting a guise of repeat success. Dartmouth calls its loss at Rhodes Field last season a "horrible day," while many Penn players continue to refer to the Quakers as the Ivy team to beat. But for both the Penn and Dartmouth women's soccer teams, an Ivy League championship remains elusive. Harvard has run away with the past three championships en route to national prominence, leaving the Quakers (7-1-1, 0-1-1 Ivy League) and Big Green (6-1-1, 2-0) fighting for second fiddle in an elite orchestra tomorrow in Hanover. For nationally No. 10-ranked Dartmouth, tomorrow's game in New Hampshire provides a chance to rise above the pack. A win would improve them to 3-0 in the Ivies, enhancing the plot for the Big Green's October 31 showdown with Harvard. "Right now with our ranking, we're not too concerned about making NCAAs," Dartmouth goalie Kristin Luckenbill said. "We just now want to win the Ivies." For Luckenbill and the Big Green to control their own destiny, they must beat Penn. The Quakers, however, see Saturday as of at least equal significance. A loss would drop Penn to 0-2-1 in the Ivies -- making even an NCAA bid questionable. With 48 teams earning a trip to the NCAA tourney, second-place would earn them plane tickets; third should not. With identical 5-2 records in the Ivies last season, Penn heads to Dartmouth for what should be a down-to-the-wire contest. Penn had the upper hand last season, beating the Big Green 2-1 at Rhodes Field. The Quakers this season arrive at Dartmouth with the same potent offense in front of Annie Kluetmeier, who has emerged as the Ivy's best goaltender, averaging a league-low 0.46 goals per game. The only blemishes on Kluetmeier's record have come in the last two games. Seton Hall scored twice on the junior, while Harvard also netted a deuce. Before the game with the Crimson, Kluetmeier had accumulated 660 consecutive scoreless minutes. But Dartmouth rides in on the tail of a 6-1 annihilation of Brown, which saw sophomore Jen Murray score a hat trick for the second week in a row. The Big Green have the league's one-two scoring punch in senior Melissa Roth and Murray, who have seven and six points respectively. In addition, Big Green forward Jessica Prairie is ranked fifth in Ivy scoring, with four points in two games. At least one member of the Big Green writes off last season's Red and Blue victory as a fluke. "We at the time played absolutely horribly," Luckenbill said. "We hadn't gotten into our groove." While on paper Dartmouth's offensive attack is a three-woman show, first-year Big Green coach Kelly Blasius-Knudson doesn't see her strength in just the trio. "One of our main things is depth," Blasius-Knudson said. "We're not a team if we only have strong athletes at every position on the field. We also have a strong bench." Dartmouth already has 11 goal scorers and 13 players contributing points this season. In addition, Blasius-Knudson has allowed backup goalie Annie Eckstein to occasionally spell Luckenbill in net. The reserve has made the most of her time, only allowing three goals. But with the importance of tomorrow's game, it is unlikely the reserves will make it across the sideline. At 2:30 p.m., a pair of teams that both believe themselves the better will see if last season's results replicate. The result will determine which of the two has a more legitimate claim on bragging rights.Comments powered by Disqus
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