Men's lacrosse team wins against UVM

by Cecelia Shao | 2/26/13 11:00pm

by Zonia Moore and Zonia Moore / The Dartmouth

Midfielders Nikki Dysenchuk '13 and Jack Connolly '16 and attackers Chris Costabile '13 and Jeff Perkins '14 each scored two goals apiece, while attackers Adam Hull '15 and Adam Fishman '15 and midfielder Brendan Rotanz '14 all rang in with their first goals of the season.

Despite a slow first half, the Big Green proved itself in the second half with four goals in the third quarter that turned into an insurmountable deficit for UVM in the fourth quarter, during which Dartmouth made an impressive seven additional goals.

"It was certainly great to get a win at home after our game against Colgate," goalkeeper Colin Heffernan '15 said. "We came out flat at first but, during the second half, we started playing to particular zones, moving the ball around more and putting our shots where the goalie couldn't see it."

This match against UVM marked a significant improvement in both offense and defense, with the Big Green out-shooting Vermont 48-29 and forcing 25 UVM turnovers.

Dartmouth focused on damage control in the first half in order to put the Big Green in a good position for a comeback.

"Vermont is a team with a strong offense, but we did a good job containing the best players," defenseman Pat Flynn '13 said.

UVM held the lead in the first half with a score of 4-2, but the match's momentum shifted quickly when Perkins scored a crucial goal in the second quarter. From that point on the Catamounts could not recover from Dartmouth's blitzkrieg of goals in the second half.

"I just decided to take it, and it ended up being a goal," Perkins said. "The team gained a lot of momentum, but it really boiled down to us figuring ourselves out as a team and discovering our strengths and weaknesses."

The slow start in the first half forced coach Andrew Towers to modify Dartmouth's strategy and put in different players.

"We definitely learned a lot in terms of adjusting to different teams," attacker Mike Olentine '14 said. "It was a good move to put some in some different personnel who usually wouldn't have played but were better suited to the specific tempo of this game."

This strategy adjustment included involving younger players like midfielder Connolly, who, with two goals, was among many younger teammates that had quality debuts. The Big Green has 13 freshmen and 10 sophomores on the roster as it begins its 2013 campaign.

"During the first half we were shooting a lot against UVM but we weren't that effective," Dysenchuk said. "For the second half, we changed our offensive strategy which confused the defense. It was a huge game for Jack Connolly, who scored two goals. He really stepped up."

Cutting down on turnovers was a critical piece of the Big Green's success. Dartmouth ceded posession to the Catamounts only 11 times, compared to 24 turnovers in the weekend's game against Colgate.

"It is always important to keep the ball on the offensive side of the field because a good team can lose if it is always on the defense," Flynn said. "A small number of turnovers helps us maintain our momentum and keeps us focused."

The team will bring this stratgey-related wisdom to their next game against Georgetown University and throughout their entire season.

"We proved our ability to rebound right away after a loss," said Dysenchuk. "Ultimately, our goal is to win the Ivy League championship, but for now, the entire team is getting focused to play Georgetown."

The Big Green will face Georgetown on Friday in the Patriot Cup, hosted by Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"Georgetown has big kids who are strong and fast, so they're going to give us a run for our money," Perkins said. "We just need to come together to come out on top."