Football, field hockey and soccer teams gear up for fall season

by Gayne Kalustian | 9/9/14 5:56pm

As temperatures cooled and summer drew to a close, Dartmouth’s fall athletes flocked back to Hanover to kick preseason into gear.

Football, which finished last season by holding down the fort against one of the most prolific offenses in Princeton University’s history, suffered just two losses in Ivy League play in 2013 en route to a third-place finish. The University of Pennsylvania Quakers dealt a heart-breaking 31-37 loss to the Big Green in the Ivy opener on the road in Philadelphia, coming in quadruple overtime and marking the first of five Ivy League games that would be decided by seven or fewer points.

This season, both the Tigers and the Harvard University Crimson were picked in the preseason media poll to finish ahead of the Big Green, who, at third, received its highest projected ranking since 1997. Contributing to the rise of the program is returning quarterback Dalyn Williams ’16, who, as a sophomore, landed in the top five in the Ivy League for both passing and rushing yards. The program, head coach Buddy Teevens said, is hoping for an even greater output this season.

“The quarterback position specifically is one where the more experience and the real time opportunities you get, the better you become, and [Williams] is loaded up,” he said. “Quite often in this league, juniors and seniors get their opportunity to shine and he had that as a freshman and a sophomore, so we certainly expect a progression.”

Also returning for Dartmouth is two-sport athlete Bo Patterson ’15, who spent the spring in the outfield for baseball after scoring six touchdowns in 10 games for Dartmouth as one of the team’s go-to men downfield. Patterson heads a deep receiving corps for the Big Green that was decimated by injuries last season. The team looks forward to the healthy returns of Jon Marc Carrier ’17, Ryan McManus ’15, Kirby Schoenthaler ’15 and Victor Williams ’16 to bolster the Dartmouth offense.

The loss of Dominick Pierre ’14 at running back will undoubtedly hurt the team. Pierre’s 1,064 net rushing yards — the second most in the Ivy League — and 13 touchdowns gave the team teeth on its running game. Teevens named four athletes — Kyle Bramble ’16, Brian Grove ’16, Abrm McQuarters ’17 and Jacob Siwicki ’17 — as players who could fill Pierre’s void.

The team kicks off its season on Sept. 20 under the lights at Memorial Field against Central Connecticut State University.

On the other end of Dartmouth’s athletic complex, the Big Green field hockey team is looking for a winning season, head coach Amy Fowler said. Dartmouth went 7-10 overall, 3-4 in conference play last season after dropping only one game in Ivy play in 2012. The 12 returning players on the roster, Fowler said, are hungry for a winning season.

“I think any of the returning players would potentially say, if interviewed, that we underachieved last year,” she said. “I think our goals are a bit lofty. We would anticipate completely turning things back into the direction of another winning season and challenging for an Ivy title.”

The team’s seven freshmen will play a critical role. Without its youngest class, the team has just enough players to field a team with one substitute.

“I don’t think we’re going to change much of the core strategy,” she said. “I think we’re just fine tuning some of the fundamental skills.”

The team’s first Ivy game is on the road against defending Ivy champion Princeton on Sept. 20.

Also arriving on campus for preseason in late August were the men’s and women’s soccer teams, who went 6-7-4, 1-6 Ivy and 8-6-4, 4-3 Ivy last season, respectively.

The Big Green men had a disappointing season last year in Chad Riley’s debut with the team after leaving the University of Notre Dame. The team went 1-6 in the League, only defeating Brown University in its last game of the season.

The team is just three seasons removed from an NCAA Tournament berth, which it earned in 2011 and was on the cusp of the postseason in 2012, but mixed results last season left it searching for answers as the 2014 season kicks off.

The women picked up a new head coach, Ron Rainey, from the University of Iowa, who hopes to carry the team from the middle to the top of League standings, where it was just two years ago when a 6-1 League record earned the Big Green second.

The Big Green’s new captain Kendall Kraus ’15 said that the team hopes to climb up the standings and take down Harvard in the process. The Crimson handed Dartmouth a 2-1 loss late last season that hurt the Big Green’s chances of a top-three finish in the Ancient Eight. Harvard went on to a perfect 7-0 Ivy season, assisted in large part by now sophomore Margaret Purce who competed this summer with the U-20 U.S. national team in the women’s World Cup.

Dartmouth lost its first two games of the season at the Husky/Nike Invitational in Seattle over the weekend and faces the University at Albany today.