Ever since the coaches’ preseason poll was released, the women’s hockey team has been clamoring for respect.

Yale (9-18-2, 5-11-0 ECAC, 2-8-0 Ivy), picked to finish eighth in the ECAC, exceeded expectations when they sealed sixth place Saturday with a 1-0 win over Vermont.

“Hopefully, we’ve earned the respect of coaches around the league,” Wallis Finger ’04 said. “They picked us to be in eighth. We’ve shown we belong in the middle of the pack.”

Suzanne McGoey ’06 beat Catamount goaltender Tiffany Hayes at 10:55 in the first period for her sixth goal of the season. The Elis held their 1-0 lead the rest of the game — barely.

“There were some scary moments,” Natalie Babony ’06 said. “We had a few lapses, but we stuck it out.”

The Elis did not have one of their finer performances of the season, but their ability to win is more laudable than lackluster.

“We didn’t have our best game, but we got the win,” Finger said. “To do that is a step in the right direction.”

Sarah Love ’06 recorded 14 saves for her second shutout of the season.

During the first intermission, Deanna McDevitt ’03 was honored as a finalist for the NCAA Hockey Humanitarian Award. Athletics Director Tom Beckett, Senior Associate Athletics Director Wayne Dean and head coach Hilary Witt presented McDevitt with a plaque recognizing her selection as one of 15 finalists for the award, which distinguishes college hockey’s finest citizens. The winner will be announced in Buffalo, N.Y. April 11.

Yale returned to the ice Sunday to close the regular season against ranked No. 4 Dartmouth. The Big Green outshot the Elis 56-18 en route to a 5-1 win, but the Elis were pleased with their play.

“We had our systems together and tried to show that we belong on the same ice,” Finger said. “We wanted to make a statement.”

Yale stuck with Dartmouth in the first period, but the Big Green pulled away with two goals in the first five minutes of the second period to go up 3-0.

Babony scored Yale’s lone goal at 4:41 in the third period.

“We played relatively well against Dartmouth,” Babony said. “We took more shots than last time we played against them, and Dartmouth had a couple lucky bounces.”

Yale lost to Dartmouth 8-0 Jan. 31. This time Yale fared better, continuing a season-long trend of improving in the rematch.

“We played tremendously hard and with our hearts,” Finger said. “We hope to take that into next weekend.”

Yale next faces ranked No. 9 Princeton in the first round of the conference tournament, which begins March 7. The Elis split the season series with the Tigers. Yale lost at Princeton 6-2 Feb. 14 before winning the Feb. 15 nightcap 3-1 in New Haven.