Men’s lacrosse starts season 0-3

by Emily Wechsler | 3/5/15 6:13pm

Under first-year head coach Brendan Callahan, the men’s lacrosse team has started its season on a three-game losing streak.
by Josh Renaud / The Dartmouth

On Wednesday afternoon, men’s lacrosse dropped its home opener against Sacred Heart University 10-9 on a buzzer-beater. Down 9-8 with 23 seconds left, Jack Connolly ’16 tied the game for Dartmouth, but Sacred Heart managed to score again just as time expired. The loss brought the Big Green’s record to 0-3.

“[It feels] terrible,” goalkeeper Blair Friedensohn ’16 said. “We just thought we had them, we were a better lacrosse team, and they just snuck it by us at the end on a questionable goal.”

Head coach Brendan Callahan said the team anticipated that this year’s matchup with Sacred Heart would be a fight.

“As we’re learning and growing and trying to get better, every game is going to be a battle, and it certainly was today,” Callahan said.

Dartmouth looked strong for much of the game, controlling possession in the early minutes. Bolstered by strong play from Friedensohn in net, the Big Green defense was particularly sharp. The Pioneers outshot Dartmouth 41-29, but Friedensohn had 13 saves.

On offense the two teams were evenly matched, and the score differential never rose above two for the duration of the game. Even though Sacred Heart only gave up three penalties, Dartmouth managed to convert and score while a man up. The Big Green made several unforced errors on the offensive end, resulting in turnovers that put its defense under pressure.

Neither team was able to score for the first five minutes. The Pioneers ended the scoring drought with two goals — less than one minute apart — with nine minutes left to play in the opening quarter.

Moments later, Evan Key ’18 notched his first collegiate goal off a pretty feed from Cam Lee ’16.

After a timeout, Sacred Heart took control of the flow of the game. Dartmouth gave up a few turnovers and another goal, risking a fourth on a botched clear by Friedensohn.

A pause for an injured player allowed the Big Green to regroup, and on their next offensive drive, Jack Korzelius ’18 buried the ball off a solo drive, marking his first collegiate tally. Korzelius did not stop after making his scoring debut and finished the game with four out of the team’s nine points. He was the single highest goal-scorer on the day.

“[Korzelius] stepped up big for us on the offensive end,” Callahan said.

On the defense, speedy 5’11 defender Robert Osgood ’15 made big plays, and Friedensohn kept the Big Green in the game between the pipes, out-saving Sacred Heart’s goalie by six.

The first quarter ended with the Big Green down 3-2, the second up 7-6 and the third tied 8-8 with Dartmouth getting its only goal of the period with 33 seconds to play. Sacred Heart’s defense was equally solid in the fourth, holding Dartmouth scoreless until the 23 second mark after they went up 9-8 with six minutes left in the game.

“It was certainly a battle today with Sacred Heart,” Callahan said. “We’re trying to figure out how to win, and when you’re doing that, you have to finish, and we did everything but finish it.”

The team was more dissatisfied with the loss since it was their home opener.

“This field means something special to us. We call it ‘the woods,’ Friedensohn said. “You gotta ‘defend the woods,’ and that’s why it hurts extra to lose here.”

The home opener marked first-year head coach Callahan’s first game on Scully-Fahey Field. Callahan was an All-American goalkeeper at Stony Brook University and now serves as the 10th men’s lacrosse head coach in college history.

“Coach Callahan is amazing,” Philip Hession ’15 said. “Sometimes we joke, you know, he’s a very young coach, I think he’s only 29, but we go ‘Wow.’ His soul age is much older than 29. He’s doing a great job, and we’ve been bonding from the beginning.”

Despite the slow start to the season, the team is focused on taking each game as a learning experience.

“Our goal every game so far is we have to keep moving forward and getting better, and we certainly took another step forward today,” Callahan said.

The men will face Wagner College Saturday at 1 p.m. in Staten Island, New York.