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Lucky Mkosana and Madeline Baird Named Dartmouth Athletes of the Week

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Madeline Baird (left) and Lucky Mkosana (right)     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.

Two sophomores led their teams to Ivy victories, making a soccer striker, Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe), and a volleyball spiker, Madeline Baird (Austin, Texas), the Dartmouth Athletes of the Week. Mkosana scored both goals in the 17th ranked Dartmouth men's soccer team's 2-1 overtime win at Yale. Baird recorded two double-doubles in a split weekend with Columbia and Cornell, including 23 kills in the win over the Lions.

Dartmouth Male Athlete of the Week:
Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe), Men's Soccer, Sophomore, Forward

Sophomore Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) stepped it up when his team needed him the most, scoring both goals in a 2-1 comeback overtime victory at Yale. The win moved the Big Green to 2-0 in Ivy play and 7-2-1 overall. The reigning Ivy League player of the year turned it on against the Bulldogs, moving his season goal total to five. Trailing 1-0 midway through the second half, Mkosana knotted the score at 1-1 in the 63rd minute, firing from 15 yards out off a feed from Daniel Keat (Wellington, New Zealand). With less than a minute to play in the first overtime and playing his 100th minute, Mkosana raced past his defender to pick up a thru ball from Pumi Maqubela (Andover, Mass.). Mkosana scored easily on the breakaway goal to give the Big Green the OT win.

Talk about the team playing behind and getting the comeback win on the road at Yale?
We definitely didn't start off well in the first half, and we conceded a goal. The second half was different as everyone worked hard and we managed to get the equalizer. After the first goal, we had a number of chances and I think the most important thing was the hard work and dedication that everyone showed to get the win.

How are you adjusting this season to being a known player with defenses focusing on shutting you down? How are you still able to produce?
It's very difficult sometimes, but I think the most important thing for me is not to think about being a known player, but focus on the game and try to utilize every chance that I do get.

What is the mindset of the team heading down to Penn - the only Ivy team to beat us last year - this weekend?
Our main focus is to get an early goal and play with high intensity from the start to the end. It's not going to be an easy game but we have to stay together all the time.

Dartmouth Female Athlete of the Week:
Madeline Baird (Austin, Texas), Women's Volleyball, Sophomore, Outside Hitter

Madeline Baird (Austin, Texas) helped the Big Green win its third-straight Ivy League game in a thrilling 3-2 defeat of Columbia on Friday. She recorded a season-high 23 kills and a career-high 27 digs in the five-set match. The next night against Cornell she again had a double-double with 18 kills and 15 digs. She hit .277 for the weekend, adding one service ace. Baird currently leads Dartmouth in kills with 199 (3.69) and is second with 164 digs (3.04). Baird has also added nine service aces and 13 total blocks this season. She now has seven double-doubles for the year.

You played Columbia in five and then have to drive to Cornell to take on the Big Red. How hard a trip was that?
Playing Columbia was a really good challenge for our team because it was our first five-game victory since our season opener against Rhode Island. We were definitely tired from our match against Columbia but I think that we were mentally prepared for Cornell. It was a tough drive and trip but I think we just got outplayed and weren't as together as much as we needed to be in order to win the match.

What have been some goals that you've set for yourself this season?
My main goals for this season are to utilize experiences from last year, work hard and improve each practice, and to take the season week by week. As a team this year we are constantly refocusing on our season goals and working to keep team unity

Now that you're in your second year with the Big Green how have things changed and are you more comfortable with your role on the team?
This year is different for me simply because I am much less overwhelmed with everything being so new as a freshmen. I don't really feel as if my role on the team is different simply because we try to keep everything about the team and keep everyone on equal standing.