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Men's Soccer Travels to No. 4 UConn to Open 2012 Campaign

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By Mark Washburn
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Friday, Aug. 31 -
at No. 4 UConn (Storrs, Conn.), 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 2
- Holy Cross (Burnham Field) 3:00 p.m.

The Dartmouth College men's soccer team opens the 2012 season with a showdown with regional foe and fourth-ranked UConn on Friday (Aug. 31) at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. The Big Green will close out the first weekend of the regular season with a home contest against Holy Cross on Sunday (Sept. 2) at Burnham Field at 3:00 p.m.

Live Stats/Live Video
             Live Stats          Live Video ($$)
Holy Cross         Live Stats          Live Video ($$)

Lets Get it Started - The Big Green open its 96th year of men's soccer this weekend. Dartmouth owns a 503-460-111 program record entering the 2012 campaign. Last season, the Big Green reached the 500-win mark, becoming one of four Ivy League schools with 500-plus victories. Dartmouth has played 1,074 games through 95 years of intercollegiate play.

For Starters - Dartmouth season-opener against No. 4 UConn marks the second consecutive season the Big Green have opened the season on the road. In 2011, the squad traveled to Worcester, Mass., for a match with Holy Cross to open the season resulting in a 0-0 (2OT) tie. Dartmouth is undefeated in its last five season-openers and is looking for its first win since the 2010 season when they defeated Holy Cross, 4-1.

Home Sweet Burnham Field - The Big Green will christen Burnham Field for the first time in 2012 with its home opener against Holy Cross on Sunday (Sept. 2). Dartmouth is looking to get back on track in home openers after falling, 2-0, to Boston College last season. The Big Green has a 4-2-1 record in its last seven home openers.

Cook Approaching Milestone - Dartmouth head coach Jeff Cook enters the 2012 season with 97 career wins as Big Green head coach and is just three wins shy of the century mark.  Cook is poised to become just the second coach in Dartmouth men's soccer history to reach the 100-win plateau. Thomas Dent, Dartmouth's longest tenured coach, is Dartmouth's all-time winningest coach with 143 career wins in 35 years.

New Faces All Around - This season the Big Green welcomed a six-member class of 2016. The following freshmen will be donning the Green and White for the first time: Emory Orr (Charlotte, N.C.), Samuel Rosen (Branford, Conn.), Alberto Gorini (Incisa Valdarno, Italy), Elijah Soko (Harare, Zimbabwe), Stefan Cleveland (Dayton, Ohio) and Sten Stray-Gundersen (Frisco, Texas).  Welcome to the Dartmouth men's soccer family!

Chad Riley and Emmett Rutkowski Join Soccer Staff - Not only did the Big Green bring in new players, they added a few new staff members in the offseason.  Assistant coach Chad Riley continues the Dartmouth-Notre Dame pipeline, joining the Big Green staff after spending the last six seasons in South Bend at his alma mater, Notre Dame.  Riley helped the Fighting Irish to a 71-37-21 record with five NCAA appearances and two Elite Eight appearances. Emmett Rutkowski, who will serve as an assistant coach and director of operations, comes to Hanover from Frostburg State, where he served as a graduate assistant for two years.  Rutkowski mentored three All-CAC players and the 2011 CAC Player of the Year.  He spent his collegiate career as a goalkeeper at Mary Washington from 2006-10. Rutkowski was a three-year starting goalkeeper and earned first team All-Conference and All-Region honors. 

Captain, My Captain - Seniors Kevin Dzierzawski (Oakland Township, Mich.) and Teo Larsson-Sax (Kalmar, Sweden) will wear the captain's armband for the Big Green this season. Dzierzawski is coming off an outstanding 2011 season where he led the team with seven assists and earned first team All-Ivy honors as well as ECAC All-Star second-team honors. Larsson-Sax is a stable in the Big Green backfield and in 2011 started 15 games for the Big Green. He showcased his offensive skills with one goal and four shots, two of those shots reaching frame. It will be the first time Dzierzawski or Larsson-Sax has been a captain. Keep up-to-date with all the things that are happening with the Dartmouth men's soccer team with the Captains' Corner blog. You can access it HERE.

International Flavor - The Big Green roster is littered with players from across the globe this season. Dartmouth's roster sports players from six countries including Sweden, England, Bulgaria, South Africa, Italy and Zimbabwe. Sweden is well represented, with both senior co-captain Teo Larsson-Sax (Kalmar, Sweden) and Robin Alnas (Gothenburg, Sweden) hailing from the Scandinavian country. Freshman Elijah Soko (Harare, Zimbabwe) continues the Zimbabwean tradition for the Big Green soccer team as he is from the same country as Dartmouth's all-time leading scorer, Lucky Mkosana who graduated in 2012.

Strong Non-Conference Slate to Prepare Big Green for Run at Ivy Championship - Fresh off its ninth Ivy League Championship in 2011, Dartmouth has again put together a tough non-conference slate in 2012. The Big Green will take on six teams that participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, highlighted by UConn, which advanced to the quarterfinals and enters the 2012 season ranked as high as No. 4 in the country. Dartmouth will host SMU (Sept. 7) and Colgate (Sept. 9) at Burnham Field and will travel to face UConn (Aug. 31), New Mexico (Sept.17) and Boston College (Oct. 10). The Big Green will host Brown in the regular-season finale on Nov. 9, in a rematch of last year's Ivy League Championship game.

TV Time - Dartmouth's final regular-season game against Brown (Nov. 9) will be broadcast to a national television audience as the Fox Soccer Channel Game of the Week.  The game will be Dartmouth's lone TV contest of the season and marks the second time the Big Green have appeared on Fox Soccer Channel. Dartmouth last played in a televised game in 2008 when they also took on the Brown Bears, earning a 2-0 victory.

Looking at No. 4 UConn  -- Friday's meeting will be first meeting between the Big Green and the Huskies since the 2009 season. UConn leads the series 23-16-2 and has won each of the last 10 meetings between the teams on its home field. Dartmouth last won in Storrs during the 1978 season, a 3-2 win. The Huskies, NCAA quarterfinalists in 2011, enter the season with a No. 1 preseason ranking from Soccer America and a No. 4 ranking from the NSCAA Coaches Poll. In their season-opener against St. Francis (NY) on Saturday (Aug. 25), the Huskies prevailed 1-0 on a penalty kick in front of a sold-out crowd.

A Glance at Holy Cross - Sunday's meeting between Dartmouth and Holy Cross will be the fourth overall meeting between the teams and the third consecutive meeting between the regional foes. Dartmouth owns the 2-0-1 series advantage after a double overtime, 0-0, tie in last seasons meeting. The Crusaders, picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League preseason poll, open the 2012 season under the direction of first-year head coach Marco Koolman. Holy Cross opens its season on Aug. 30 against Quinnipiac.

Keep Up With the Big Green -- Stay current with everything going on with your Big Green by following Dartmouth men's soccer on twitter (@DartmouthMSoc) and "liking" the Big Green men's soccer team on Facebook.

Friday, Sept. 7 -- vs. SMU (Burnham Field), 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 9 -- vs. Colgate (Burnham Field), 2:00 p.m.