Lacrosse players earn Ivy honors

by Jasper Bingham | 5/10/15 6:32pm

Across both the men’s and women’s teams, five Dartmouth lacrosse players earned All-Ivy recognition this season, with two securing positions on the vaunted first teams. For the men, midfielder Phil Hession ’15 and defenseman Robert Osgood ’15 were placed on the first and second teams, respectively. On the women’s side, Jaclyn Leto ’16 landed on the All-Ivy first team, and Frances Bird ’15 received second-team recognition. Sarah Byrne ’15 was one of four All-Ivy honorable mentions.

“It was nice, it was really humbling,” Hession said of his All-Ivy recognition. “Because I haven’t paid any attention to it before, I didn’t really realize how few people made the first team. It’s really only one starting lineup for each guy, each division. It was just really cool to see my name next to their names.”

In its first year under head coach Brendan Callahan, the men’s lacrosse program showed signs of a positive trend in their performance. The men (5-8, 1-5 Ivy) had not reached five wins and one conference win since 2012. With Hession and Osgood’s recognition, the men saw a player selected for both the first and second team All-Ivy for the first time since 2010.

“It is clear that coach Callahan’s vision for the program is basically culture-oriented, and he did a great job of instilling his values in the team really since the first week,” assistant coach Tucker Kear said. “The values are focused around building a championship culture. We want the guys to be students first, athletes second, and [Hession and Osgood] both did a great job in leading us that way.”

Hession was the crucial cog in the Big Green’s midfield line all season long. He managed 14 points from six goals and eight assists, collected the most ground balls on the squad with 101 and led the team in faceoffs, going 140-for-224 for a .625 record. These last marks put him at second and third in the Ivy League, respectively. Perhaps his most memorable performance was in the monumental double-overtime game on March 23 against Harvard University. There, he went 20-for-24 in faceoffs and corralled a team-high 15 ground balls, making him the Ivy League Co-Player of the Week as well as the Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week and leading the team to their first victory over the Crimson in four years.

“It was all about his competitive spirt,” Kear said. “You could coach for four years and not see another kid like him. His particular skill set as a lacrosse player was less than your typical Division I athlete, but he’s such a good competitor, his attitude is so tenacious that he was able to out-compete his opponents on a weekly basis.”

Osgood, who made the honorable mention team last year as a junior, formed the backbone of the Big Green’s defensive line for the second season in a row and was tasked with marking top players week in and week out. Osgood was second only to Hession in the team’s ground ball race, picking up 54. On Senior Day, when the team faced Brown University, Osgood scored his only goal of his career and also forced 13 turnovers.

“Osgood’s the most talented pole I’ve ever seen play,” Hession said. “Literally the best stick skills for a long pole I’ve ever seen or ever played with. He’s also like my best friend, so it was cool for us to both get some recognition after all we’ve done and gone through being members of the team for four years and having the season not work out the way we wanted it to.”

On the women’s side, Leto is no stranger to the All-Ivy club, seeing her name on the first team for the second consecutive year despite only being a junior. She led the team in goals, points and assists, with 43, 47 and four, respectively. More astonishing, though, was her dominance relative to the Ivy League. Leto was the top performer on free-position shots, going 22-of-39, collecting 13 more goals on the set play than the next-best player in the conference. She also led the Ivy League in goals per game with 3.07.

“[Leto] is absolutely phenomenal, passionate, hardworking,” Byrne said. “It’s not surprising that she got it again because she’s just so talented.”

Bird was noted more for her talent on the defensive end. Bird, the team’s captain, was often found tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player. In addition to her role on defense, Bird contributed seven goals over the course of the season, finishing first on the team in caused turnovers with 15 and second in ground balls with 23.

“[Bird] has been our unsung hero for the last four years, she does all the things behind the scenes, not just scoring goals,” Byrne said. “I’m really excited for her to get this accolade.”

Byrne contributed strongly both in scoring and in draw controls. She was second on the team in goals, with 21, and hauled 46 draw controls, which topped for the Big Green and came in as fourth in the League. She also set the program’s single-game draw control record with nine in one contest.

“I was excited and very surprised just because I didn’t think that I had that phenomenal of a season,” Byrne said. “I was happy that I could be another Dartmouth player on the team and show how good of a program we have.”