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Dan Freeman and Kelly Hood Tabbed Dartmouth Athletes of the Week

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Kelly Hood and Dan Freeman     By Dartmouth
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Athlete of the Week Archive

Each week, will spotlight two outstanding student-athletes - one male, one female - as Dartmouth's Athletes of the Week. Student-athletes may be chosen based upon their efforts both on and off the field of competition.

A tournament champion and a record breaker highlighted a full weekend of events, as tennis' Dan Freeman (Chatsworth, Calif.) and field hockey's Kelly Hood (Berlin, N.H.) have been named the Dartmouth Athletes of the Week for Nov. 3. Freeman won both a singles and doubles title at the Harvard Invitational and Hood broke a ten-year-old school record en route to two Big Green victories.

Dartmouth Male Athlete of the Week:
Dan Freeman (Chatsworth, Calif.), Men's Tennis, Senior
Dan Freeman (Chatsworth, Calif.) had great success in the final tournament of the fall season as he won both a singles and doubles title at the Harvard Invitational last weekend. Freeman and sophomore Andrew Malizia (Chapel Hill, N.C.) got the best of sophomore Chris Ho (Los Altos, Calif.) and freshman Mike Jacobs (Oak Park, Ill.) 8-5 to capture the doubles title. Singles play wasn't any different as he continued his dominance with a solid win over Harvard's Michael Hayes 6-3, 6-4. He was broken only one time the entire match serving at 5-2 in the second set but served it out at 5-4 to preserve the win. Freeman did not drop a set on his way to the title.

You didn't drop a set all weekend at the Harvard Invitational. What was the secret to your success?
I went into the weekend feeling very confident with my game and served exceptionally well. I only dropped one service game the entire weekend (singles and doubles).

What is it like facing a teammate in these tournaments?
It was actually very strange facing a teammate, which was something I had not yet experienced in my first three years on the team. We did a very good job of focusing on the match and concentrating on our own games rather than who was on the other side of the net.

With the fall season coming to an end, what do you do for the coming weeks before spring season kicks off at the end of January?
The two months from the end of the fall season to the beginning of the winter season is really the only break that we have the entire year. During this time it is important to stay healthy and fit, and also use the time to isolate specifics that you want to work on before the heart of the competition kicks off again.

Do you believe this was a successful fall season for yourself and the Big Green?
This was an unbelievably successful season for both me and the team, consisting of three tournaments over the last month. Personally, I won two of them and defeated the #1 player in the region in the other. Other members of the team had successful tournaments as well and beat a lot of tough Ivy League opponents, which is very encouraging for the upcoming season. Overall we enjoyed more success in the fall tournaments than in years past and are ending the season on a very high note that will hopefully carry over to the winter season and Ivy competition.

Dartmouth Female Athlete of the Week:
Kelly Hood (Berlin, N.H.), Field Hockey, Sophomore, Forward
Kelly Hood (Berlin, N.H.) led the Big Green to two wins last week with one coming against #19 UMass and a Ivy victory over Harvard on Saturday. She posted two goals and added an assist in the 6-3 impressive win over the Minutewomen on Wednesday. Hood followed that up with a record-breaking performance at Harvard in the 5-3 win for the Big Green. Hood eclipsed the school record for points in a season in the first half on her 17th goal of the year to give her 42 points. The record of 41 was held by Kim Jenkin '02 and Lauren Scopaz '00, which came back in 1999. Also with her 17th score she is one goal away from tying Jenkin for most goals in a season. For her efforts last week she was named Ivy League Co-Player of the Week.

The Big Green has had an impressive season with one game to go. Dartmouth is 9-7 overall and 4-2 in Ivy League play. Hood is quick to say that the team is playing well as a unit and they deserve a lot of credit for her success. The Big Green has six players with double-digit points and four with 20 or more points on the season.

Four wins in Ivy play this year and nine wins so far. What is the key to the team's success right now?
Our team is successful because we work together and trust each other both on and off the field. We work hard every day at practice and we support one another. Our team is also very young, so as the season progresses we are gaining more confidence and experience. We are looking to carry our success into our last game of the season against Cornell and also into next season.

Breaking a school record is always a great achievement. How does it feel to have your name at the top of the list?
To be perfectly honest, breaking a record means very little to me. As long as my team is playing well and we come away with a victory at the end of the game, then it doesn't matter who puts the ball in the net. My teammates deserve every bit of recognition that I receive, and I want nothing more then for their names to be on the list as well. They are always there to pick me up when I am not playing well, and they support me when I am frustrated.

Did you know you were getting close to the record?
My coach mentioned to me that I was getting close to the record, but that didn't change the way I prepared for our next game. I told myself that as long as my team continues to be successful, then I will be happy - record or no record.

Being the primary option on penalty corners, what goes through your head prior to the play?
I always look at the corner of the net that I am aiming for, and then I tell myself that the ball is going into the net. My success on penalty corners depends on my ability to focus mentally.

How would you describe playing collegiate field hockey? For example, you're talking to someone who has no idea about the sport.
It's funny, I never know how to answer that question when people ask me to explain the sport of field hockey. There are so many rules and whistles that a person watching the game for the first time must be really confused. I guess it's kind of like soccer, but with sticks and a smaller ball. Each team has ten field players and a goalkeeper. One of the major rules is that you can only use the flat side of your stick. Also, collegiate field hockey is often played on astro-turf, so the ball travels really quickly, and the game is played at a very fast pace.