No Ivy titles, but plenty of glory for Big Green sports this year

by Jonathan Lee And Eric Petitt | 6/9/96 5:00am

Maybe this was not the Big Green's year for bagging Ivy crowns. But there is still plenty to look back and smile upon from this whirlwind year in Dartmouth sports.

This was the year for dazzling victories and milestone triumphs. This was the year for moving mountains.

All things considered, the 1995-96 season was speckled with spectacular moments we will remember long after senility strikes us.

Field hockey

Perhaps no group of Dartmouth athletes has dealt with so much adversity, and responded with such excellence as this year's women's field hockey team.

After losing Sarah Devens '96, a devoted and talented teammate, the team pulled together, struggling to make the best of a no-win situation.

"Right from the beginning, it was a test" All-Ivy League Player Allison Pell '96 said. And the players passed with flying colors, winning the first ever ECAC Championship Title in Dartmouth College history.

Against the Bulldogs of Yale in the championship round, the Big Green fell behind 2-0 in freezing weather before climbing back to tie the score 2-2 in regulation.

Then, on a lunging stab by Weze Shorts '99, Dartmouth won in sudden death overtime, 3-2.

Football

For the Dartmouth football team this year, 10 games, countless practices and one coveted Ivy League crown came down to just a few painful moments.

With seconds remaining in the last game of the year at Memorial Field, the Princeton Tigers spoiled Dartmouth's bid for a piece of the 1995 Ivy League title with one swift kick through the uprights.

The Tigers tapped in the game-tying field goal with four ticks left on the game clock tying Dartmouth, 10-10, to win the 1995 Ivy Crown outright. Never had a tie felt more like a season of 10 defeats.

But if the Big Green had listened to the naysayers going into the year, they should have known that something like this was going to happen. Dartmouth, picked to finish last in the Ivies this season, was supposed to be weak on defense and possessing an inferior backfield, the experts said.

After losing its first two games, the Big Green caught fire, taking the next seven wins, including a crushing 35-14 homecoming celebration at the expense of Colgate. With only seven starters lost to graduation and 41 Dartmouth men hungry to vie for those spots, the naysayers would do well not to underestimate the Big Green again in 1996.

Men's basketball

Dartmouth 54, Penn 53. What more can be said about the big guys in Green this season. It was awesome. It was spectacular.

The heart-stopping come-from-behind victory not only broke the Quaker's 48-game conference win streak, but also hoisted the Big Green into the crow's nest atop the Ivy League standings. It was nothing short of a Kodak moment.

The hoopsters followed that big win with some disappointing road loses to Princeton and Penn in the closing weeks of the season. But with clutch wins over Yale and Columbia, the Big Green finished third among the Ivies with a 16-10 overall record, 9-5 in the league.

All in all, it was the squad's best league performance during coach David Faucher's tenure at the helm of hoops.

Next winter, the hardcourts will see four of this year's five starters return as seniors. With the offensive firepower of two-time leading scorer in the Ivy League, Sea Lonergan '97, and the clutch three-point shooting of P.J. Halas '97, the guys in green will be a tough squad to beat next year.

Women's basketball

The women's basketball team showed strength throughout the year as they overcame some tough Ivy losses to finish with a strong 17-9 overall record.

Senior playmaker Jen Stamp '96 was the heart and soul of this team from start to finish. As captain, she led the Big Green in scoring with 12.6 points per game, while averaging 2.64 assists and 6.6 rebounds. Then, even after she broke her leg in a collision during the final seconds of a Penn game, Stamp's pride and strength held the team together for the tail end of the season.

As she ended her last season prematurely, Stamp left behind a legacy of hard work and an on-the-court enthusiasm that will carry on to next year's ballhandlers.

Sally Annis '97 and Bess Tortolani '98, who averaged 10.8 and 7.8 points per game respectively, are expected to sink even more baskets for the squad next season. Add to this the return of All-Ivy rookie duo Erin Rewalt '99 and Nicci Rinaldi '99, and the future of the Big Green hoopsters is promising indeed.

Men's ice hockey

There's no doubt about it, the men's hockey team takes the cake as the never-say-die team of the year. Here was a team that, with a 4-14-1 ECAC record, was all set to be iced for the season.

Then, with their backs against the wall, they decided it was time to turn up the heat.

First, to even have a shot at making the playoffs, the skating stickhandlers had to fend of the Yalies in a nail-biter that literally came down to the final seconds.

Down 2-3 with two ticks left on the clock, Jon Sturgis '98 pulled off the miracle play of the year as he nailed net for the game-tying goal.

The Big Green followed that performance with a clutch sweep of Harvard and Brown to secure a spot in the playoff picture. Despite losing their first round ECAC tournament matchup to Renseallar Polytechnic, this team certainly came a long way since opening their 1995-96 campaign with a 0-9-1 record.

The squad looks to improve next season with the return of eight out of 10 top point-scorers.

Women's ice hockey

Coming off a sensational 1994-95 season which ended with an Ivy championship, the women's hockey team was all set to do it again. But this time, despite posting big wins over Princeton and Yale, the Big Green had to settle for second behind a fast, high-scoring squad from Cornell.

The second place finish aside, perhaps the finest performances for the women's team came in the postseason, where they matched their best performance ever with an advance to the ECAC semi-finals.

In the quarterfinals, it took a late third period game-tying goal and a sizzling double OT to top the Huskies of Northeastern. Then, in a valiant battle in the semis, the women rallied to a 1-1 tie before falling to the number two ranked UNH Wildcats in overtime.

Dartmouth coach George Crowe was named ECAC/KOHO Co-Coach of the Year for leading his team to a new team record for the most wins in a season.

The team returns to Thompson rink next winter with star goalie Sarah Teuting '98, who was named to the ECAC second team this season. First team All-Ivy player Amy Coelho '97 will once again pin down the stonewall defense, while Sara Hood '98 looks to ignite the frontline scoring.

Swimming

The men's and women's swim teams fared well this season placing ninth and sixth, respectively, at the Eastern Championships. But the real highlight of the season came on the women's side as they boasted the first ever Eastern Champions for the Big Green.

Andrea Hill '97 outstroked the competition in the 200 breastroke, while her teammate Karyn Bysshe '96 notched top honors in the 200 butterfly. Katherine Sterling '98 looks to fill Bysshe's slot as the butterfly queen next season as she finished second in that event this year.

During the regular season, the men's squad bested Ivy rivals Brown and Columbia to finish 3-7 overall, 2-7 in the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming League.

Next season, the women's squad will miss the outstanding coaching efforts of two-time Olympic swimmer and former world-record holder, Betsy Mitchell. After joining the program six years ago and uplifting a team that had yet to notch an Ivy League win, Mitchell leaves to pursue graduate studies at Harvard.

Tennis

The Big Green tennis teams had starkly contrasting seasons. While the men's squad pulled through with a spectacular season record of 17-5, 7-2 in the EITA, the women's team struggled all season long to finish 0-8 overall, 0-7 in the Ivies.

The men owe much of their success to the awesome performances of two rookies -- Gabe Sauerhoff '99 and Erich Holzer '99. Sauerhoff led the team with 42 wins on the season, 25 from the singles side and 17 playing tandem. Holzer tallied an impressive 35 wins for the team.

The team came together at the tail end of the season to clinch some huge wins over perennial powerhouses Princeton and Yale. Both matches were decided by 4-3 margins. Depite these victories however, the Big Green was denied a post-season spot in a controversial decision by the EITA.

Seniors Jim Rich and Holden Spaht, who have scored key points in the singles slots for the past four years, will be missed. But coach Chuck Kinyon says he is confident that the depth of his underclass lineup will prove potent in next season's match-ups.

On the women's side, the lone loss of senior Trudy Muller bodes well for the upcoming seasons as the top four point scorers on this year's squad were all underclassmen.

Baseball

After an "educational" 0-7 start on their spring trip to the Oakland As' spring training facility in Arizona, the Dartmouth Nine turned their luck around and almost grabbed their first-ever Red Rolfe Division Pennant ever this year.

The Big Green took their chances for the title into the eleventh hour, coming up just short in a four game season finale against Harvard. Despite slipping in the final weekend, the season was still full of highlights, including their three wins in four games over Red Rolfe's historically strong team, Yale.

Senior All-Ivy co-captains Greg Gilmer and Jake Isler led this year's club at the plate. Gilmer, who batted over .300 in all four of his Dartmouth seasons, wrapped up his career in style, with a .321 average.

Isler, the team's third baseman and clutch cleanup batter for the last three years, continued to terrorize the opposition with a .369 overall average.

Softball

With a new head coach, a spanking new field, and a new fully funded varsity status, this year's women's softball team lacked only one thing: A few more new wins to celebrate.

The youthful team continued to grow in its first season with full varsity status, compiling a 6-34 season record. With seven of the 16 players first year students, the team is looking for continued improvement in years to come.

Captains Karen Hersey '96 and Lauren McQuade '97 led the club, with third baseman McQuade batting a respectable .300 this year.

Freshman Liz Teusch '99 is only one of the bright young stars looking to lead the team in the future. Teutsch tore up opposing pitchers with a .479 average this year.

Outfield slugger Bess Tortolani '98 was among league leaders with three home runs.

Women's volleyball

The womens volleyball team spiked only their second varsity season ever with a number of impressive milestones this year. After going 2-16 last year, this year's group jumped to 17-13 overall, their best record in school history.

The year was chock full of highlights. In the first ever Dartmouth Invitational, Dartmouth succeeded to the championship round before falling to a strong St. John's squad. On October 24, the team beat Vermont 3-0 (15-3, 15-9, 15-6) to rewrite the school record for the most wins in a season.

Men's volleyball

The rags-to-riches team of the year was clearly men's volleyball.

As a club sport with little funds and no professional coach, this 15-man team outperformed and outshined their varsity rivals with their spikes, blocks and kills. But perhaps most notably, with little fan support and meager publicity, this team played every game with only one incentive: Pride.

They first proved to the world just how good they were early on in the season with a dominant sweep of Harvard on Crimson turf. Then, just to set the record straight once and for all, they went on to beat up Harvard twice more before the season was through.

The team then hit national stardom late in the season when they travelled westward to Toledo, Ohio to compete in the nationals. There, they capped off a stellar 35-7 season with an unprecedented fifth place finish among the nation's best.

Rowing

The Big Green crews rounded out their seasons on a high note this year with some impressive races at the year-end Eastern Sprints championships.

The lightweights stole the show with an astounding victory on the first freshmen level and a third place finish on the second varsity level.

It was the first time since 1991 that the lightweights won the gold in the freshmen race, while this year marked the first Sprints medal ever for the lightweights on the second varsity level.

The first freshmen boat cruised to an open water victory over Princeton to finish the season undefeated.

It was their way of sending their coach, Chris Schmidt, out in style after highlighting his final season with an unprecedented double victory over Harvard. After five years of coaching the Big Green, Schmidt leaves the boathouse to head westward to Oregon.

The heavyweights also showed tremendous strength at Sprints this year as they powered through the defending national champions from Brown to advance to the Grand Finals.

The women's varsity crew also turned heads at Sprints as they pulled through against a heavily stacked Wisconsin boat to win the bronze in the Grand Finals.

Women's lacrosse

The Dartmouth women's lacrosse team did everything it was supposed to do this year, winning the games it should have won and losing the games beyond its reach. The team finished 9-6 on the year, good enough for a 14th place ranking in the national poles.

All six of Dartmouth's losses came to top ranked teams, with four of them coming to teams in the top five spots.

But with a slew of talented players in the wings for next year's battle for the title, the laxers look to take a few more of those games they aren't supposed to win next year.

Jennifer Greene '98, whose 21st assist of the season set the Big Green single season record for assists, is just one of the standouts looking to lead the team next year. Junior attacker Kim Mendelson '97 is tops on the team with 37 goals and 41 total points on the year, and Julia Morril '98, who also scored over 30 goals this year, is close behind with 39 total points.

Men's lacrosse

The men's lacrosse team, led by the exploits of the "Great Scott" line -- Scott Hapgood '97, Tom Scott '96 and Scott Watts '97 -- continued to pull a once comatose Dartmouth lacrosse program into the national spotlight.

Hapgood led the way. His 48 goals in 12 games led the nation in goals per game, setting the pace for a team that gave a number of top flight programs some serious scares.

Notre Dame, the eleventh ranked program in the country, was just one of those teams. The Fighting Irish squeaked by the Big Green with a one point win this season.

Ten talented seniors will leave tremendous voids for the program in years to come, including Ryan Mulroonney, Justin Boyd, Ned Hazard, Kevin Mahoney, Matt Raben, Eric Swanson, Tim Kennedy, John Schneider, Tim Caban and Scott.

Track and field

The track team surpassed the competition in leaps and bounds this year, as a number of standouts added their names to the record books.

One of the highlites, Adam Nelson '97, an Ivy selection in the shot put and the discus and currently one of the top collegiate throwers in the nation, qualified for the NCAA's and the Olympic trials with a school record 61-6.25 toss this year.

Kristin Manwaring '96 broke some records of her own, finishing fourth in the NCAA's in the mile, the best finish ever by a Dartmouth woman. Manwaring also rewrote the school record for the 1,500 meter run.

Other record breakers included Amy Winchester '96 in the outdoor shot put and Maribel Sanchez '96 in the indoor 5,000 meter.

Five other players represented Dartmouth on the all-Ivy first team for their efforts: Jack Dwyer '96 in the 10,000 meter, Steve Clark '97 in the high jump, Alex Ghanotakis '97 in the hammer, Kristin Pierce '96 in the 1,000 and Sarah Howald '96 in the javelin.

Cross-country

The Dartmouth men's and women's cross-country teams once again surpassed the competition this year. Led by Maribel Sanchez '96 and Kristin Manwaring '96, the women won their second consecutive Heptagonals Championship, while placing second in their districts in the ECACs. The women finished the season ranked eleventh nationally.

With the driving force of Jack Dwyer '96, the men's team finished 16th in the NCAA national Championships, after finishing second in the IC4A Qualifying tournament. The men also brought home the Heptagonals Championship again this year.

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