The Big Green Season Primer

by Blaze Joel | 9/14/14 3:49pm

As the new school year comes to Hanover, we at The Dartmouth wanted to acclimate you to what should be an exciting slate of sports action this fall. In this season primer, we’ll introduce you to some fall teams and offer our thoughts on what the season has in store.

Football

After two consecutive third-place seasons, the Big Green was picked to take bronze once again. This year’s prediction, however, was the team’s highest rank since 1997. The Ancient Eight seems to be a three-team race this season, with Harvard University, Princeton University and Dartmouth vying for the title.

Coming off last season’s 5-2 League record, Dartmouth is poised to either repeat or surpass its performance. Both of Dartmouth’s losses last year cut deep: a four-overtime thriller at the hands of the University of Pennsylvania and a three-point loss at Harvard. All but two of the Big Green’s games (a 56-0 thumping of Columbia University and a 34-6 win against Cornell University) were decided by one score, and in those eight contests, Dartmouth posted a 4-4 record.

Despite the loss of several of the team’s stars — particularly running back Dominick Pierre ’14, linebacker Michael Runger ’14 and safety Garrett Waggoner ’13 — the Big Green returns talent on both sides of the ball. This starts at the quarterback position with Dalyn Williams ’16, who ranked in the top five for rushing and passing yards last year. He will be helped on the offensive side of the ball by the return of Ryan McManus ’15, Victor Williams ’16 and Kirby Schoenthaler ’15 at wide receiver, all of whom missed time last year. On the defensive side of the ball, expect cornerback Chai Reece ’15, linebacker Will McNamara ’16 and safety Stephen Dazzo ’15 to be impact players.

Cross Country

The women’s and men’s cross country teams got their fall campaigns off to strong starts by winning Saturday’s Dartmouth Invitational. The women are the defending Ivy League Heptagonal champions, but suffered a major loss with the graduation of Abbey D’Agostino ’14, now running with former Big Green coach Mark Coogan and New Balance in Boston. Dana Giordano ’16, Saturday’s winner, Sarah DeLozier ’15 and Reid Watson ’16 are poised to help fill the void, and a standout performance by Ellie Gonzalez ’18, who placed third, will help. This team’s depth will be its strength as the season progresses, and the extra experience should help the Dartmouth women be a force to reckon with once again come championship time — both in the Ancient Eight and on the national stage.

The men’s team lost some firepower as well, as All-American Will Geoghegan ’14, Henry Sterling ’14, Steve Mangan ’14 and John Bleday ’14 all graduated. The runners’ strong performance on Saturday was keyed by first- and second-place runners Curtis King ’16, who made the 5,000-meter national championship race last season for outdoor track, and Silas Talbot ’15, who will fill the void. A strong recruiting class and remarkable depth in the lineup should bolster the team’s chances moving forward as it defends its third-place finish at last season’s Heps.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s team returns to the field after a disappointing season in which it went 1-6 in the Ivy League. In his sophomore season with the Big Green, head coach Chad Riley is looking to improve on his first campaign and has the Big Green playing a tough non-conference schedule. The team currently sits at 1-2, but played No. 2 University of Notre Dame and No. 12/17 Indiana University tight in two games in South Bend, Indiana. Sten Stray-Gundersen ’16 and Emory Orr ’16 should bring some experience to a back line that lost standouts Colin Skelly ’14 and Justin Rosner ’14. In the first two games, James Hickok ’17 and Stefan Cleveland ’16 split time in the net, and both are viable options for Riley’s squad. Last season, Hickok went 4-4-2 with 1.05 goals against and Cleveland posted a 2-3-2 record while allowing 1.34 goals per game. Gabe Hoffman-Johnson ’14, Alex Adelabu ’15, Stefan DeFregger ’15 and Colin Heffron ’15 should provide the spark for this team as it moves into the Ivy schedule in early October.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team is coming off a strong season in which it went 8-6-3 and 4-3 in the Ancient Eight. New head coach Ron Rainey is hoping to guide the Dartmouth women to the team’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005. In order to do that, the team must continue its dominance at Burnham Field, where it went 7-0-1 last season. The biggest challenge for the Big Green will be on the offensive side of the ball, as half of last season’s offense — Emma Brush ’13, Chrissy Lozier ’14 and Marina Moschitto ’14 — graduated last year. Corey Delaney ’16, Lucielle Kozlov ’16 and Tasha Wilkins ’15 will have to carry the weight on the offensive side of the field while Jackie Friedman ’16 and Jill Dayneka ’16 will anchor the Big Green back line. And a bonus — star Tatiana Saunders ’15 is returning in the net for the Dartmouth women. This young team could be poised for greatness if the offense finds the net consistently.