April 15, 2010

By Amy Farnum

Dartmouth women's lacrosse player Greta Meyer has really come into her own this season.

The junior from Denver, Colo., was a starting midfielder in her first two seasons with the Big Green, and was fairly successful at it. She was third in scoring on the squad both years, collecting All-Ivy second team and honorable mention recognition along the way.

Meyer was all set to reclaim her position again this season, but head coach Amy Patton had a different idea.

"I had every intention of playing her there again this year," said Patton. "But, I'm a coach that year to year looks at our strengths and where we have depth. I move players around. Greta's got great hands and she's a great shooter and really understands the game. When we lost one of our senior captains who was normally the point person running the offense, I felt like I needed to move someone into that spot. She's really come into her own on attack as our leader down there."

The Big Green (9-1) has reaped the benefits of moving Meyer to the low attack. She is the team's leading point scorer with 45 points on 26 goals and 19 assists for a squad that has reeled off nine straight victories, including three wins against ranked opponents. Meyer has even been named as one of 25 Tewaaraton Award nominees, which honors the top player in women's lacrosse.

"It was definitely a big move to move to low attack and to just concentrate on offense, but I was really excited about it and knew that if (Coach Patton) wanted me there, there was a great reason for that," said Meyer. "It's worked out well ever since."

"Greta is an incredible athlete," said Patton. "She was one of the top recruits of her class. Honestly, I could probably play her at any position but goalie on the field. She's really gifted and has a really high lacrosse IQ. She has a really great sense of the game."

Despite her innate knowledge of the game, Meyer still had to work on making a smooth transition to her new position.

"Usually, the midfielders come into the offensive zone and it's not really their responsibility to run the attack - they are just part of the attack," said Meyer. "The biggest transition was organizing the attack and getting everyone on the same page and into flow. The lucky thing was we have so many experienced attackers on the field this year that it really wasn't a huge transition - I just had to step into the role as the vocal leader."

Dartmouth's consistent offense and stingy defense will be tested in a match-up of Ivy League unbeatens when the No. 7 Big Green host No. 6 Penn on April 17. The Quakers have won the last three games of the series, including a 7-6 overtime victory last year.

Although Dartmouth has been one of the traditional powers in women's lacrosse for many years, the Big Green has failed to advance to the NCAA Tournament since 2006. Patton believes that this team's athleticism, depth and passion will get them back in contention for a postseason bid.

"We have struggled the last three years although Dartmouth has historically been one of the top teams," said Patton. "We've had a couple unlucky seasons with an injury here or there and we just couldn't fill that spot. This year we have been able to sustain that a little bit better. You practice more than you play, and the biggest difference is that in practices the girls have been really focused and our learning curve is a little quicker this year."

"There's a different vibe this year," said Meyer. "I think we've really matured and the past few seasons have helped us get to this point. Everyone was really anxious to start doing well again. This is the first time in awhile there is more experience on the field, and that is the biggest difference. It feels so much better this year."

Winning this weekend's contest against Penn will bring the Big Green one step closer to the program's traditional level of success.

"I think that the Ivy League has become so strong in the last five years, we've been burned in the last couple years because we didn't bring our "A" game and did get beat some of the other Ivy League opponents," said Patton. "Every Ivy League game is big, but yes, this may feel a little bigger in the sense that we are both undefeated in the league. It's going to be a hard-fought battle. We have a lot of respect for Penn and we're really excited to play."

The two squads will face each other on Saturday, April 17 at 12 p.m., in Hanover, N.H. Follow the game live here: http://www.dartmouthsports.com/liveStats/liveStats.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=11600&DB_LANG=&KEY=&DB_OEM_ID=11600&KEY=.