Big Green sees highs and lows

by Adam Small | 6/10/01 5:00am

Another year has come to a close for Dartmouth sports, and more titles and accolades were won. The departing '01s have been mainstays on the Big Green rosters and will be sorely missed.

The fall saw the men's soccer team make its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1997, only to fall 3-0 to UConn in the first round. The team finished the year at 12-6.

Head coach Fran O'Leary resigned from the team in February to take the head coaching position at George Mason. O'Leary was replaced at the end of March by Jeff Cook, the former head coach at Cincinnati who had also been an assistant at Dartmouth.

The women's soccer team had an even stronger season than the men. After a 13-4 regular season, the Big Green pounded on Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but they ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Penn State, to whom they lost to in the second round.

The football team struggled through injury and inconsistency to a 1-6 Ivy League record, 2-8 overall. The team survived quarterback controversy between preseason starter Brian Mann '02 and his backup Greg Smith '02 to close the season with a surprise victory over Princeton and former Big Green offensive coordinator Roger Hughes, the Tigers' first-year coach.

The team saw two-time captain Caleb Moore '01 get passed over in the NFL draft, only to get signed as a rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans. Linebacker Matt Mercer '02 was named the team's new captain.

The women's volleyball team fought to a 12-14 record, falling to Yale in the Ivy League quarterfinals.

In the winter, the men's basketball team couldn't live up to high hopes, finishing 3-11 in the Ivies for a 7th place finish. Seniors Greg Buth and Ian McGinnis were able to gain their first career victory over Princeton, however, with a 57-56 triumph in Hanover.

The women's basketball team survived a horrific 1-11 start to the season by taking 11 of their final 15 games to finish 12-15, 8-6 in the Ivies for a third place tie with Cornell. It was the 13th time in coach Chris Wielgus' 16 seasons that Dartmouth finished in the top three in the league.

Women's hockey had its best season ever, holding the No. 1 ranking in the nation all year, an ECAC title, an Ivy League title and an ECAC tournament championship. The Big Green were stunned by St. Lawrence in the first round of the inaugural women's Frozen Four, and eventually fell to Harvard in the third-place game.

The men's hockey team put together its best record since 1979-80 and reached the ECAC playoffs as a five seed. After an outstanding run, the Big Green lost to St. Lawrence in the semifinals and then to Harvard in the third place game, both at Lake Placid.

The men's squash team won a national team title in the Red Hoehn division at the NISRA championships while the women's team grabbed sixth in the team championships. Three individuals for Dartmouth, Andrei Prokopiw '04, Sarah West '02 and Charlotte Haldemann '03, finished in the nation's top 25 individually.

The men's lacrosse team struggled for much of the season, finishing 1-5 in the Ivy League and 6-8 overall. The softball team couldn't match their amazing season of a year ago, but finished third in the Ivy League and second in the ECAC Championships with a 23-19 overall record.

Both tennis squads were young and inexperienced, but showed great promise for the future over the season.

Dartmouth's women's lacrosse team provided spring excitement by winning the Ivy League title and winning their opening match in the NCAA tournament. Princeton dashed Dartmouth's title hopes with a quarterfinal upset of the Big Green.

Dartmouth's lightweight crew team had another great year, grabbing a silver medal at the Eastern Sprints Regatta and a bronze medal at the IRA Regatta. The men's heavyweight crew team and the women's team had strong seasons, but fell short of medals at the two late season regattas.

Dartmouth's baseball team provided another year of brilliance winning the Red Rolfe Division of the Ivy League for the second straight year before hosting the Princeton Tigers in the Ivy League Championship.

Despite a 5-5 performance by Brian Nickerson '00 in the final game of his Dartmouth career, the Big Green fell in the third game of a three-game playoff with the Tigers for the league title.

Nickerson made the season sweeter by signing a free agent contract with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers after the season. Jeff Dutremble '01 was then taken in the 13th round of the Major League draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.