Lacrosse teams hope to find success this season
With the spring season rapidly approaching, the men's lacrosse team hopes to improve on last season's losing record, while the women's team hopes to build off last season's success, highlighted by a thrilling 6-4 victory over the University of Pennsylvania, when the Big Green clinched the Ivy League Tournament title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The women, ranked number 12 last year, hope to improve on last year's overall 12-5, 5-2 Ivy performance. The Big Green starts the season this weekend in Eugene, Ore. to play the University of Oregon on Feb. 23, before returning home to face off against the University of New Hampshire on Feb. 27. Dartmouth opens Ivy League play on the road against Yale University on March 2.
Stepping up to replace captains Kirsten Goldberg '12, who recorded 39 goals and ten assists last season, and Sarah Plumb '12, who landed 37 goals and 12 assists, will be attacker Hana Bowers '13, midfielder Kelsey Johnson '13 and defender Courtney Bennett '13.
The Big Green women spent two weeks in Australia in December.
"It was a phenomenal experience because the Australian national team is second in the world," coach Amy Patton said. "The team was able to play at a high level and take advantage of extra practice time that we normally wouldn't have had."
Patton said the upperclassmen have put a lot of effort into bringing the team together and finding and filling crucial roles on field.
"The senior captains and the entire senior class are really the heart and soul of team, and the most dependable players," Patton said. "Their presence is especially helpful to the new freshmen who need some help adjusting to playing on a top ten team."
The Big Green hopes its solid leadership and playing time in Australia will translate to a win this weekend to begin the season on the right note.
"For our scrimmages last weekend against Harvard [University] and [University of Connecticut] the score didn't matter," Johnson said. "It was just another great opportunity to work on some skills, identify what aspects of the game we were and weren't comfortable with, and prepare for our big game this week against Oregon."
The team looks forward to the excitement a new season brings.
"Every season we never know what's going to be thrown at us, so more than anything we are focused on the daily and trying to get better every day," Patton said. "We set the standards high for ourselves."
With 13 new players joining the men's lacrosse team, they begin the season this weekend with back-to-back non-conference home games against Colgate University and the University of Vermont, before facing off against Georgetown University in the Patriot Cup in Dallas, Texas on March 2.
Under the leadership of coach Andrew Towers and captains Kip Dooley '12, Fergus Campbell '12, Alex Del Balso '12 and Pat Flynn '13, the men's team finished last year's season with a record of 5-9 overall and 1-5 in the Ivy League.
"In order to improve as a team, each player needs to approach everyday with the intent of trying to get better," attacker Michael Olentine '14 said. "This means staying focused during film sessions as well as working hard during strength and conditioning and practice."
This season, returning captain Flynn will be joined by a new round of captains including attacker Chris Costabile '13, midfielder Patrick Resch '14 and midfielder Nikki Dysenchuk '13. The Big Green planned three scrimmages before opening regular season play but was forced to cancel its home scrimmage over Winter Carnival weekend due to inclement weather. The men played two scrimmages this weekend, which helped the team adjust to playing together, especially with 13 new players on the Big Green's roster.
"By having the chance to scrimmage against two Division III teams Amherst College and Western New England University we learned a lot about ourselves," midfielder Brendan Rotanz '14 said. "We still have a lot of pieces to put together before we take the field against Colgate."
Dartmouth hopes to win the Ivy League Tournament and receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but remains focused on its upcoming games for now.
"We're getting ready to play Colgate, who is a really strong team," Dysenchuk said. "One of their returning players was lacrosse Player of the Year last year, so we really have to be prepared."
The Ivy League Championship will take place May 3 to 5 at the field of the team with the best conference record and will be broadcast on ESPN3. The Big Green is confident about its chances of playing on the big stage.
"I believe that this could be our season this year," Rotanz said. "We have the roster to match teams that we couldn't in the past and if we stay focused and keep improving everyday, our goals can be achieved."