The D Sports Awards 2016-17: Moment of the Year

by Evan Morgan | 5/22/17 10:48am

The Dartmouth's Moment of the Year is men’s hockey edges then-No. 11 University of Michigan in season opener. The hockey team's victory received 39 votes. With the score knotted 2-2 late in the third period, Cam Strong ’20 looked to have given Dartmouth the lead. After a seemingly interminable video replay, the goal was waved off due to goalie interference. But with the final seconds ticking away, Troy Crema ’17 fired a quick wrist shot inside the far post. The puck got a favorable bounce off the skate of Corey Kalk ’18 and beat the University of Michigan goalie low, giving the Big Green its first win over the Wolverines since 1971.

The 2016-2017 school year featured several exciting moments for Dartmouth sports. This year’s top moments include historical wins for the Big Green, NCAA tournament berths and top finishes in major competitions.

Women’s tennis clinches share of Ivy League title and NCAA tournament berth

With a win in its final regular-season Ivy League matchup against Princeton University on April 23, the women’s tennis team clinched a share of the Ivy League title and secured an NCAA tournament bid, its second in program history.

The Big Green entered April with a strong 12-2 record, but suddenly lost its groove, losing to Ancient Eight rivals Harvard University on April 2 and Brown University on April 9. With a difficult conference slate ahead and slimmer chances of winning the Ivy League, the Big Green returned to the courts with renewed focus, taking victories against Cornell University, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.

In its final regular season matchup, the Big Green faced a Princeton team that had finished as Ivy League champions for the past three years. After winning the doubles point, quick singles wins from Allison McCann ’20, co-captain Jacqueline Crawford ’17 and Kristina Mathis ’18 secured the victory for the Big Green.

“[Crawford] won her match very quickly, and when I saw that, I started crying in my match,” co-captain Taylor Ng ’17 said. “I was really happy for her and for our team. Then at the end of my match, I burst into tears. It was a long time coming, and it’s been so worth it.”

Heavyweight rowing continues stellar season with highest Eastern Sprints finish since 2010

Heavyweight rowing entered the season with high expectations after a successful fall season and strong performances at the C.R.A.S.H.-B. sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships in the winter. There, senior captain Spencer Furey ’17 and Nevin Cunningham ’17 placed first and second, while Scott Ortlip ’17 finished sixth.

The Big Green certainly had quite the spring. Defeating No. 14 Columbia University, No. 6 Boston University, No. 9 Brown University and No. 7 Syracuse University, the Big Green suffered its only loss of the spring regular season to No. 3 Yale University. The Big Green began the season ranked No. 8 in the country and headed into the Eastern Sprints Regatta ranked No. 6.

At Eastern Sprints, the Big Green had two boats qualify for the grand finals in its respective races. The highlight of the regatta was the first varsity boat placing fifth in the grand finals, the first time that Dartmouth had qualified its 1V boat to the grand finals at Eastern Sprints since 2010. Overall, Dartmouth placed eighth out of 18 of the best crews in the eastern United States — the Big Green’s highest finish since 2010.

The team is preparing for the culmination of its season at the IRA Regatta from June 2 to 4 at Lake Natoma in Gold River, California. Dartmouth will look to improve on its 14th place finish last year.

Football beats UNH for the first time since 1976

The last time it happened, Gerald Ford was president, “Play That Funky Music” was at the top of the charts and football head coach Buddy Teevens ’79 was a backup sophomore quarterback for the Big Green. In the 2016 season opener, the Dartmouth football team topped then-No. 22 University of New Hampshire 23-22, its first victory over the Wildcats since a 24-13 triumph in 1976. In the intervening editions of the Granite Bowl, Dartmouth was 0-18-2.

Dartmouth began the season as a team with a big question hanging over it: could the Big Green return to its 2015 form after losing a crop of talented seniors? The triumph over UNH, punctuated by a game-winning fourth-quarter rally, seemed an emphatic answer. Jack Heneghan ’18 had a mixed performance in his first career start, tossing a pair of interceptions in addition to three touchdowns, but he and the rest of the offense showed up when the game was on the line. With Dartmouth trailing 21-16 late in the fourth quarter, the big Californian directed a six-play, 79-yard drive to the UNH one-yard line. On the next play, Heneghan rolled left and found Charles Mack ’18 running left-to-right in the end zone. Dartmouth went up by one and sealed the victory when Brendan Cascarano ’18 sacked Wildcats’ quarterback Trevor Knight on fourth down with 27 seconds remaining.

Men’s soccer advances in NCAA tournament on thrilling overtime goal

It took more than 104 minutes, but continuous Dartmouth pressure finally cracked a stingy St. Francis College defense in the first round round of the NCAA College Cup. Midfielder Matt Danilack ’18 punched in an Alexander Marsh ’17 cross in the second overtime period to send Dartmouth to the tournament’s second round for the third consecutive year. The goal was the first allowed by the Terriers’ defense in nine games and 982 minutes.

Dartmouth dominated the first half, posting six shots, including one which went off the crossbar, and holding the Terriers without a shot. But St. Francis showed life with five shots in the second half, and the Terriers and nearly won the game in the 89th minute. Dartmouth was unable to clear the ball, and St. Francis midfielder Salvatore Barone, all alone, shot a laser which sailed just wide of the net. Regulation ended in a 0-0 tie, as did the first overtime period. Then, in the 105th minute, Marsh sent in a cross which squirted through St. Francis’ back line and went right to Danilack. The Dartmouth midfielder beat St. Francis goalkeeper Seth Erdman with a hard shot to the lower right corner, then leapt into the stands to enjoy the adulation of a boisterous Big Green student section. Dartmouth’s season ended three days later with a 3-0 loss to No. 8 Syracuse University.

Men’s ice hockey edges then-No. 11 University of Michigan in season opener

Big Green men’s ice hockey began the season with a bang: a 3-2 win over then-No. 11 University of Michigan. As he did often in the 2016-2017 season, Troy Crema ’17 made the difference that night. His goal with 49 seconds remaining was the winning tally of an electrifying 3-2 victory in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Thompson Arena.

It was Michigan who opened the scoring 17 minutes into a back-and-forth first period. The Big Green responded two minutes into the second stanza with a Kevin Neiley ’18 goal, then took the lead nine minutes later when Cam Strong ’20 went top shelf on Michigan goalie Jack LaFontaine. Early in the third period, Michigan’s Alex Kile snuck one past Devin Buffalo ’18 on the power play, knotting the score at 2-2. Strong looked to have given Dartmouth the lead when he finished off a rebound just past the 15-minute mark. After a seemingly interminable video replay, the goal was waved off due to goalie interference. But the long delay didn’t faze the Big Green. With the final seconds ticking away, Crema fired a quick wrist shot inside the far post. The puck got a favorable bounce off the skate of linemate Corey Kalk ’18 and beat LaFontaine low to give Dartmouth the victory. The win was Dartmouth’s first over the Wolverines since 1971.