No. 12/12 Dartmouth (0-0) vs. Oregon (0-0)
▶ Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 ▶ 3PM (ET) ▶ Eugene, Ore.
▶ Pape Field (1,000)
▶ All-Time Series: 1-0-0 (2nd Meeting)
▶ Last Meeting: Mar. 23, 2011 (Hanover) - W, 12-10
▶ Streak: 1-0-0

Saturday afternoon marks the start of the 2013 season for the Dartmouth women's lacrosse team as it travels west to take on the Oregon Ducks in Eugene. The Feb. 23 start date is the earliest season opener in program history for the Big Green as it begins play at 3 p.m. ET (noon local).

When Saturday's game gets underway it will be more than just the beginning of 2013 for the Dartmouth women's lacrosse team. It will also mark the start of the 41st season of play for the women's lacrosse program. The team's first season came back in 1973 and featured just a four-game schedule.

Leading the way this season for the Green and White will be a trio of seniors. Hana Bowers, Courtney Bennett and Kelsey Johnson will serve as the three captains picked to lead the team back to its third straight NCAA Tournament.

Junior goalkeeper Kristen Giovanniello is back in the circle for the Big Green in 2013 after earning All-Ivy League Second Team recognition last spring. In addition to her regular season honors, Giovanniello was the top player in Dartmouth's postseason run, earning the 2012 Ivy League Tournament Most Outstanding Player honor in early May in Philadelphia.

In addition to Giovanniello, Bowers and Johnson also return after being named to the 2012 Ivy League All-Tournament Team. Bowers scored twice in each win against Cornell and Penn, including the eventual game-winner against the Quakers that gave the Big Green their first postseason title in program history. Johnson was a key member in holding the two top offensive teams in the league to a combined 12 goals in the two outings.

A defender in each of the last two seasons, Johnson will make the transition back to her natural position of midfield for her senior campaign. Making the move back to defense will be Bennett, who will also play a role in the team's draw control after losing two of the nation's top draw specialists in Sarah Plumb and Hilary Smith to graduation last year.

Losing a combined 76 goals between Plumb and Kirsten Goldberg, the Big Green's top returning offensive players are Bowers and junior Lindsay Allard. Both players tied for third on the team in scoring last season with 29 points. Bowers scored 22 goals and added seven assists, while Allard had 19 goals and tied Goldberg for second with 10 assists. Junior Liz Calby was fifth with 25 points (20g-5a), but her 20 goals ranked fourth.

Once again Dartmouth will play one of the most challenging schedules in the country this season. Non-conference games against three teams ranked in the preseason top-10 highlight the 2013 slate as the Big Green will square-off with No. 3 Florida (March 9), No. 4 Maryland (April 14) and No. 7 Duke (March 17) this spring. In addition, the team's Ivy League schedule is no easier as Penn and Cornell are ranked No. 11 and No. 16, respectively, in the IWLCA Poll. Harvard is No. 16 in the Inside Lacrosse DeBeers Media Poll as well.

Saturday will be just the second meeting all-time between these two programs. The Ducks made the trip to Hanover during the 2011 season for a March 23 match-up that saw the Big Green come out with a 12-10 victory.

The Ducks were picked second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Preseason Coaches' Poll released last month. Oregon is coming off a 2012 campaign that saw the team claim both the conference regular season and tournament titles and advance to NCAA Tournament Play-In Game. Overall the Ducks were 14-5 last season, setting a new program record for wins, while posting a perfect 7-0 mark in league play. Junior Nikki Puszcz is the team's top returner from a season ago with 57 points (39g-18a), while junior goalkeeper Caroline Federighi is back after posting a 9.15 goals-against average and a .502 save percentage in 19 games played (14-4) in 2012.

Head coach Amy Patton is back on the Dartmouth sidelines for her 21st season in 2013. Patton has led the team to nine Ivy League titles and 12 NCAA Tournaments in her time in Hanover. The all-time winningest coach in program history (221-103, .682 Win%), Patton has led the team to 10 or more victories in 16 seasons, including 12 last spring.

Patton has added two new assistant coaches to her staff this season. Morgan Kelly will serve as the program's recruiting coordinator and top assistant after two years in a similar role with George Mason. She is a 2010 graduate of James Madison where she was a nationally recognized goalkeeper. Whit Hagerman comes to Dartmouth after a five-year playing career with Virginia from 2005-10. Most recently, Hagerman held the position of lacrosse and field hockey assistant coach at Choate Academy in Wallingford, Conn. Also added back on staff in a volunteer role is former assistant Christine Anneberg.

The 2013 Big Green roster features a solid balance of 14 upper and lowerclassmen. In fact, all four classes feature seven players apiece for a team roster size of 28.

The Green and White will once again look to get back to the NCAA Tournament in 2013 after qualifying in each of the last two years. Over a nine-season stretch from 1998 to 2006, Dartmouth failed to make the national postseason just once (2002), putting together two separate streaks of four consecutive appearances. Those two runs of excellence (1998-2001 and 2003-06) mark the only time the team has gone to the NCAA Tournament in three straight years.

The Big Green were a perfect 7-0 last season at home at Scully-Fahey Field. In 2011, the team was 8-0 on its home field during the regular season, but lost to Albany in the NCAA Tournament on May 15. The last regular season home loss for Dartmouth was April 17, 2010 against Penn.

Following the season opener with the Ducks, the Green will return home to face in-state rival New Hampshire Wednesday (Feb. 27) at home. Game time with the Wildcats is set for 3 p.m.