Defense is an often overlooked position in athletics, but it is nonetheless an irreplaceable part of sports that inevitably lift average teams to greatness.
This past football season, defensive linebacker Zack Walz '98 proved just what a defender can mean to a team, as he became an inspiration to the Big Green on the field.
"He is a very enthusiastic player, and I think that fed off of the other players," Coach John Lyons said. "He and the other linebackers were very close. They worked hard in games and in practice, and I think that's a big reason why we were so successful this fall."
With a total of four fumble recoveries, five quarterback sacks and 104 total tackles, Walz received due credit yesterday as he received first team All-Ivy recognition. Walz was one of three sophomore selections.
"It's well deserved," Lyons said. "In talking with several other coaches, they were truly impressed by Zack's skills."
At 6-5, 210 pounds, the lean defender from San Jose, Calif., managed to control his somewhat tall, and slightly small linebacker frame.
"He's not very bulky," Lyons said. "He knows how to bend down though and deliver. He runs well and he's a very good overall athlete."
Walz was a letterwinner last season, when he played second string behind Hunter Buckner '95 and also played on some special teams. Despite limited playing time as a freshman, Walz demonstrated much potential. With the new, more aggressive defense the Big Green used this season, Walz could key in on his abilities.
"In watching him last year, we felt he had a lot of ability," Lyons said. "The new defense fit in well with his abilities. He became a definite impact player this season. He had an outstanding season."
His dominance in games also earned Walz the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week three times.
With two years remaining at Dartmouth, Walz, a huge factor in this year's run for the Ivy Championship, will play an instrumental role in Big Green's future.