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Dartmouth Men's Soccer Opens NCAA Tournament at Providence

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By Vladimir Cherry

Thursday, Nov. 17 - at Providence (NCAA Tournament First Round), 1:00 p.m.

Fresh off a share of the 2011 Ivy League Title, the Dartmouth men's soccer team will travel to Providence, R.I., to take on the Providence Friars in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Dartmouth is making its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and claimed its ninth Ivy League title and first since the 2008 season last weekend.

NCAA Tournament Bound -
The Big Green will be making their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this week after winning the Ivy League automatic bid on the strength on their play during the Ivy League slate. Dartmouth closed the regular season with a tie at Brown and needed a Cornell win or a Columbia and Cornell tie to secure the league's automatic bid. The Big Red and Lions tied 1-1 giving the Big Green the league's automatic bid. It is the eighth NCAA automatic bid for the Big Green.

Ivy League Title - By virtue of a Cornell and Columbia tie on Saturday (Nov. 12) the Dartmouth men's soccer team clinched its ninth Ivy League title and its first title since the 2008 season. The 2011 title is the fifth title during head coach Jeff Cook's tenure.  

Back to the Dance - The Big Green, who will be making their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, are looking to head back to the Sweet 16 for the third time in the last four seasons. Dartmouth has reached the NCAA tournament six times under Cook and last season came one goal away from reaching the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in program history.  

Hittin' The Road - The Dartmouth men's soccer team hits the road for the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. In Dartmouth's 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, the Big Green has started NCAA Tournament play on the road in eight instances. The Big Green last hosted an NCAA Tournament game during the 2007 season.  Last season, Dartmouth won two road NCAA games for the first time in program history.

California Dreaming - Should the Big Green advance to the NCAA second round, they will travel to the West Coast to take on UC-Santa Barbara. If Dartmouth should travel to take on the Gauchos it will be the second consecutive season the Big Green have played a team from California in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Dartmouth took UCLA to double overtime in the Sweet 16. Dartmouth last traveled to California during the regular season in 2009 when they played in the University of San Diego Tournament.  

The Big Green Are Streakin' - After a challenging preseason slate, Dartmouth has been impressive since the start of Ivy League action. In its last 11 games, the Big Green has a 7-2-2 record and is undefeated in its last five Ivy League contests. Dartmouth's lone blemish in Ivy League action is a loss at Yale (Oct. 8). Dartmouth also fell to New Hampshire (Nov.1) in non-conference action.    

Rare Air - With its selection to the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the Big Green make their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Big Green is one of 12 teams in the country to have reached the postseason five consecutive seasons. Dartmouth joins the likes of soccer powerhouses, Virginia, UCLA and Indiana and is the lone Ivy League squad with the distinction.

Cohen is Dartmouth's Brick Wall - Dartmouth sophomore goalkeeper Noah Cohen (Johannesburg, South Africa) has been quite impressive in goal for the Big Green this season, but especially as of late. Cohen earned Ivy League Player of the Week on Oct. 31 for his efforts in Dartmouth's win over Colgate and tie at Harvard. In the last six contests he has played in, he hasn't allowed more than two goals and has recorded three shutouts. For the season, Cohen has a 1.00 goals against average and has made 69 saves and is tied for No. 6 on Dartmouth's single-season shutout list.

Lucky Makes His Mark - Senior forward Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) became Dartmouth's all-time leading scorer with his goal against Cornell (Nov. 5) in the 89th minute of action. Mkosana, who entered this season with 24 career goals, broke a record that stood since the 1950s. Additionally, the senior captain broke Dartmouth's points record and with his 79 career points is now Dartmouth's all-time points leader.

Cook Approaching 100 Wins  -- Head coach Jeff Cook entered the 2011 season with 89 career wins as Dartmouth head coach and 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. Currently, Cook is sitting at 97 all-time wins at Dartmouth. The earliest Cook can reach the 100-win mark is by advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Dzierzawski On A Roll - Junior midfielder Kevin Dzierzawski (Oakland Township, Mich.) picked up his fourth goal of the season against Cornell (Nov. 5).  Dzierzawski has scored in two each of Dartmouth's last three Ivy League contests and leads the team in assists with seven. The junior midfielder has tallied points in five of Dartmouth's seven Ivy League contests. 

Big Green Pick up Win No. 500 - The Dartmouth men's soccer team picked up the program's 500th victory with its 2-1 win over Penn (Oct. 15). Currently, the Big Green has a 503-448-111 all-time record. Dartmouth is one of four Ivy League schools with at least 500 program wins.  

Big Green Players in the Ivy League Rankings - Senior forward Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) and junior midfielder Kevin Dzierzawski (Oakland Township, Mich.) are both ranked in the Ivy League rankings. Mkosana leads the league in goals (10), goals per game (0.62) and ranks second in points (21) and points per game (1.38).  Dzierzawski leads the league in assists (7) and ranks second in assists per game (0.44). Goalkeeper Noah Cohen (Johannesburg, South Africa) ranks second in saves (69) and saves per game (4.31) while ranking second in shutouts with six.

Lucky and Dzierzawski in the National Rankings - Senior forward Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) ranks No. 22 nationally in goals per game (0.63), No. 40 in points per game (1.30) and is tied for 32th in total goals (10). Junior midfielder Kevin Dzierzawski (Oakland Township, Mich.) is also in the national rankings and is ranked No. 23 in assists per game (0.44) and is tied for 36th in total assists (7).

Captain My Captain - Seniors Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) and Nick Pappas (Scottsdale, Ariz.) have been named captains this season. The duo will wear the captain's armband for the Big Green throughout the season. 

Looking at Providence - The Friars enter the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a 10-7-1 record after dropping a 5-0 contest to 2010 NCAA College Cup Finalist, Louisville in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament. The Friars and Big Green are meeting for the 15th time with Dartmouth holding a 11-2-1 series advantage and winners of the last two meetings. This will be the first meeting between the teams since the 2001 season. Providence, who sports a 5-3 home record, closed the season with wins in four of its last six contests. Marcos Ugarte leads the Friar offense and has a team-best 15 points on six goals and three assists. Joining Ugarte with double- figure points are teammates Greg Davis with 14 points on six goals and two assists and Marc Cintron with 10 points on three goals and four assists. Goalkeeper Jhojan Obando leads the Providence defense with a 10-7-1 record with a 1.30 goals against average.  Obando has made 56 saves and posted six shutouts on the season. The Friars are making their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

A Glance at UC-Santa Barbara - The Gauchos enter the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a 14-6-1 record after falling to UC-Irvine in the championship game of the Big West Tournament. Prior to the UC-Irvine loss the Gauchos had won five straight games. Should the Big Green advance to play UC-Santa Barbara, it will be the first meeting between the teams. UC-Santa Barbara has a 9-2-1 record at Harder Stadium this season with its only losses coming to UC-Irvine and UC-Davis. The Gauchos tied Villanova, 0-0, as well. Senior forward Luis Silva leads the offense and has 41 points on 16 goals and nine assists this season. The Gauchos also have four other players with double-digit points including Sam Garza (20), David Opoku (18), Dom Sarle (14) and James Kiffe (10). Junior Andre Grandt leads the defense and owns a 14-6-1 record with a 1.33 goals against average. He has made 60 saves on the season and sports a .674 saves percentage. The Gauchos played host to the 2010 NCAA College Cup and won the national championship in 2006.

By The Numbers
Dartmouth vs. Providence - 11-2-1
Dartmouth vs. UC-Santa Barbara - First Meeting
Dartmouth in the NCAA Championship - 6-10-4
Dartmouth in the NCAA Championship on the Road
- 3-12

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.

Sunday, November 20 - at UC-Santa Barbara, (Santa Barbara, Calif.), 5:00 p.m. (PT) (2nd Round)
Sunday, November 27 - NCAA Third Round (TBA)