While most Dartmouth students were enjoying their six weeks winter break between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Big Green winter sports were in full swing.
Women’s basketball has best start to season in over a decade
The women’s basketball team is off to an explosive start this season with a 9-5 record, its best start in more than a decade. The last time the team started the season so well was during the 2005-2006 season where Dartmouth finished with a 23-7 record. Since then, the Big Green has attempted to get winning records by steadily picking up momentum over the course of the previous season, improving in both Ivy League and non-conference play. However, after multiple injuries last season left the team last in the Ivy League, a preseason conference poll predicted the team to finish eighth this season.
Early in the season, the Big Green held strong with a strong 4-0 home stand in November against the University of Vermont, Boston College, the University of Rhode Island and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The 68-57 win over Boston College marked the first time in the program history that the team defeated an Atlantic Coast Conference team. The notable victory was not the only major win this season though; Dartmouth beat the University of Colorado, its first win over a Pac-12 team in program history. The Big Green also beat the University of New Hampshire for the first time in seven years.
So far, several players have excelled, including Cy Lippold ’19, who scored a career-best 24 points against Colorado in addition to seven assists and half of Dartmouth’s steals. Key players Kate Letkewicz ’18 and Emily Slagle ’18 and defensive specialists Isalys Quiñones ’19 and Olivia Smith ’18 round out a well-balanced team.
The women currently have the third-best overall record in the Ivy League behind Brown University and Princeton University. After Saturday’s 63-56 win against Harvard University, the Big Green is tied with Princeton for first place in the conference standings. With the statement victory against the Crimson, predicted to finish third in the preseason poll, the team is looking forward to an exciting 2018 season.
With offensive leader out, men’s basketball tries to scrape together wins
The men’s basketball team has had a shaky start to the season, beginning with a record of 4-8. After playing tough games, the team suffered yet another blow when it lost offensive leader Guilien Smith ’19 to a hand injury. Although the injury is on his non-shooting hand, Smith is out of commission indefinitely. Last year, the junior was responsible for 324 points, averaging 12 points per game. Despite being down one man, the Big Green has continued to fight against its opponents, including a 10-point loss to the University of Notre Dame on national television.
“[The non-conference games] are really important for Ivy League play and seeing where you are as a team,” co-captain Cameron Smith ’18 said.
Since Evan Boudreaux ’19 announced in November that he would forego his junior season, several players have stepped up to lead the offensive strike. Brendan Barry ’20 has proven his strength downtown, shooting 43.9 percent from behind the arc for fifth in the Ivy League. Co-captain Miles Wright ’18 and Taylor Johnson ’18 have also stepped up to lead the offense. Wright is well on his way to becoming the 29th player in program history to score 1,000 career points, entering the year with 795 career points and tallying 158 thus far this season for a total of 953. Johnson has led the team in scoring multiple times this winter, including a career-high 29-point effort against the University of Maine to lead the team to victory.
With a stretch of home games ahead, where the team is 3-1, the Big Green will look to pick up momentum on its path to the Palestra.
Despite close games, just one winter break win for women’s ice hockey
Last season, the Big Green women’s ice hockey team entered January at 2-10. Entering 2018, the team was 3-10, and the story seems much the same as last year. Despite new faces on the ice (six first-years have seen the ice this season) and behind the bench (interim head coach Joe Marsh came out of retirement while Laura Schuler coaches the Canadian Olympic team), Dartmouth has continued to struggle to finish games.
The season has not been without bright spots. In a 1-0 win over Quinnipiac University, now tied for first in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, goalie Christine Honor ’19 broke the NCAA record for most saves in a shutout with 61. And the Big Green opened an eight-game November-to-December homestand with a 3-0 win over the University of Maine, a squad which now sports a 13-6-3 record with two wins over top-10 teams.
Over winter break, the Big Green played close games to tough opponents but came away with just one win to show for it. The break began on a high note, a 4-3 win over the College of the Holy Cross the day after Thanksgiving. Kate Landers ’19 had two goals and an assist as Shannon Ropp ’19 got her first career win and Dartmouth improved to 3-6. A series of narrow losses followed. On Dec. 1, the Big Green let a 2-1 second-period lead get away against Princeton University. The relentless Tigers fired 23 third-period shots at Honor before getting an equalizer, and the late goal gave Princeton the win. Honor stopped 39 shots the following night, but Quinnipiac left Thompson Arena with a 2-1 win. Tess Bracken ’19 scored the goal for the Green and White, her first of the season. Four days later, though Honor let in just one goal on 32 shots from fourth-place Harvard University, none of Dartmouth’s 28 shots found its way past the Crimson’s Beth Larcom. It was the third straight one-goal loss for the Big Green.
The string of close losses came to an end on New Year’s Eve as the University of Connecticut dealt Dartmouth a 5-2 home defeat. The Huskies scored twice in the first seven minutes of the first period and the Big Green got no closer than a two-goal deficit.
Dartmouth’s scoring output has increased from 1.36 goals per game last season to 1.80 goals per game in 2017-18. But that figure still ranks second-to-last in the ECAC, and if the Big Green — currently 2-7 in conference play — continues to concede nearly three-and-a-half goals per contest, even a .500 conference record could be hard to reach.
Men’s hockey starts break cold, finishes hot
If the Big Green men’s hockey team could start the season on Dec. 15 instead of Oct. 24, it would probably jump at the chance to do so.
Dartmouth was outscored 10-3 by the College of the Holy Cross and Harvard University in its opening weekend. Its woes continued during a winless streak that lasted nearly a month, punctuated by a 9-2 loss at Princeton University on Dec. 1. The absence of veteran netminder Devin Buffalo ’18, who started the first six contests before sustaining an injury in a Nov. 11 loss to Colgate University, compounded the team’s problems.
But Buffalo’s return and a series of ranked opponents has seemingly breathed new life into the Green and White. On Dec. 15, Buffalo’s first game back after missing four contests, Dartmouth lost 1-0 to then-No. 2 University of Denver. Buffalo made 31 saves and allowed a single power-play goal in a strong effort. The second game of the series against the defending national champions was a night to remember for Dartmouth hockey. The Pioneers scored three goals in the first period to put Dartmouth in a big hole. The middle period was all Big Green, however, as Will Graber ’20, Shane Sellar ’20 and Cam Strong ’20 each found the back of the net. Dartmouth took its first lead on a Collin Rutherford ’21 goal with 1:37 remaining and held on for the 5-4 win, its first victory over a top two-to-five team since 2012 and its first win over Denver since the series began in 1954.
The Big Green’s hot play continued into the Ledyard Classic on Dec. 29 and 30. Facing then-No. 16 University of New Hampshire, then the team with the nation’s second-best penalty kill, Dartmouth netted a pair of man-advantage goals on seven opportunities and won 3-1. The Ledyard Classic title game will be recorded as a 2-2 tie with No. 17 University of Minnesota, Duluth, last year’s Frozen Four runner-up, though the trophy went to the Bulldogs on a shootout victory.
Dartmouth’s strong end to December can’t erase the season’s rocky beginning. The Big Green’s only 2017 ECAC wins came against Brown University and Yale University on the second weekend of the season. At 3-5-1 in the conference, the College sits tied for ninth in the ECAC standings. With eight ECAC contests in January alone, a top-four spot (with its accompanying tournament bye) is still in sight, but the Big Green will need to shift into a higher gear.
No. 10 women’s squash knocks down four opponents, falls to Harvard
The women’s squash team went 4-1 in a string of early December matches, losing just once to No. 1 Harvard University.
Dartmouth took down George Washington University in the first game of the season on Dec. 2. Co-captain Zainab Molani ’18 and Emma Roberts ’19 won in three games. Later that day, the Big Green took down Franklin and Marshall College 8-1, winning at every spot but the No. 1 position.
Harvard came to Hanover for a midweek tilt on Dec. 6 and defeated the Big Green 8-1. Tough Crimson opponents won all but two matches in three games. Julia Potter ’20, playing at No. 5, took the second game from Harvard’s Sue Ann Young but fell in four games. Ellie Gozigian ’21, taking the court after seeing eight of her teammates dispatched by the Crimson, fought her way to a 3-1 victory at No. 9.
On Dec. 9, Dartmouth concluded its December schedule with a 6-3 win over Williams College and an 8-1 victory over Middlebury College.
No. 10 men’s squash plays surprise-free December schedule
In a busy stretch from Dec. 2 to Dec. 9, men’s squash bested five teams ranked 11-20 and lost once to No. 2 Harvard University.
Three five-game wins powered the Big Green past the United States Naval Academy 7-2 in the season opener on Dec. 2. Reg Anderson ’21 clinched the game for Dartmouth in the third round of matches. Hours after downing Navy, the Big Green dispatched George Washington University 6-3. The Colonials took a 2-1 lead after the first round of matches before Dartmouth evened things up at 3-3. In the final round, Anderson, Matt Giegerich ’19 and Alvin Heumann ’18 each won their matches to seal the victory. The men traveled to Franklin and Marshall College the following day and beat the Diplomats 8-1. Three Big Green players won in three games, and the lone loss came from Toby Harding ’21 at No. 3.
Harvard visited Hanover on Dec. 6 and blanked the home team 9-0. Brandon de Otaduy Nam ’20 nearly upset his Harvard opponent before falling 11-9 in the fifth game. Heumann came close to nabbing a match from the Crimson at No. 1, but his opponent won the fifth match 12-10 on a tiebreaker.
The men moved to 5-1 on the season with easy 9-0 wins over Williams College and Middlebury College on Dec. 9. Just two Ephs took Big Green players past three games, and only one game went that far against the Panthers.
Winter “stay-cation” helps swimming & diving gear up
Although the swimming and diving teams usually travel to warmer climates for their winter break training trip, they stayed in Hanover this year for a “stay-cation.” The women’s usual winter training trip was cancelled following sanctions from the athletic department after a violation of the College’s hazing policy last July. The women’s team hit the ground running in the fall, in preparation for the winter season with what co-captain Hayley Winter ’18 noted as one of their most intensive training sessions. The women’s training culminated with their “stay-cation,” which the freshman approached with a positive mindset to help motivate the team. The team offset the rigorous training with team-bonding activities to keep morale high. Using an idea taken from Winter’s previous club swim team, the captains divided the swimming and diving teams into three teams: black, green and red. Each team received points for performance in practice as well as team spirit, implementing Instagram and other social media platforms to promote a light and happy atmosphere.
This method of training appeared effective as both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams started the season off with a bang. In November, the men hosted Boston College and finished with an 84-point victory at home. During the meet, the Big Green took the top three spots in four different events including both 3-meter and 1-meter diving and the 100- and 500-yard freestyle. Connor LaMastra ’21 led the team in the 200- and 100-yard fly and the 200-yard IM with three of the team’s 12 first-place finishes. Six other athletes won their events, including Justin Sodokoff ’21, who qualified for NCAA Zone Diving Championships on the 3m along with AJ Krok ’19.
Overall, the men are excited about their strong start.
“A couple of school records have already been broken, many people have [set] lifetime bests and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves,” co-captain Henry Senkfor ’18 said.
The women’s team started off well when it traveled with the men to the Big Al Invitational in Princeton, New Jersey. With 319 team points, three women took home individual titles. Cathleen Li ’21 shattered the previous record from 2011 by .55 seconds with her time of 54.11s. Summer Martin ’21 took first in the B Finals of the 100-yard free (50.80s), while Mackenzie Stumpf ’21 fell short of the program record for the 100-yard breaststroke by less than .3 seconds with her sixth-place finish time of 1:03.84. The Big Al Invitational ended with a few victories for the men as well. LaMastra broke the Dartmouth record for the 200-yard fly by over a second (1:47.62). In addition, Carter Jacobsen ’19, Bruno Korbar ’18, LaMastra and Tony Shen ’18 came close to beating the program title for the 800-yard freestyle relay, finishing fifth and falling a second and a half short.
“This year has been the most exciting,” Winter said. “We’ve had a lot of changes, and this is the first year the team has gotten really engaged with training and competing.”
By carrying this momentum forward into the rest of the season, the team can set themselves up for one of the more successful seasons in a long time.
Men’s and women’s track and field open season over winterim
The men’s and women’s track and field season, which will stretch until the Outdoor Heptagonal Championship in May, officially began on Dec. 2.
The track and field teams traveled to Boston to compete in the Boston University Season Opener meet. Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20 and Kate Laskoski ’21 highlighted the afternoon with event-winning performances for the women. Rothwell won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.46 seconds while Laskoski took first in the 400-meter run, clocking in at 57.01 seconds to win her first-ever collegiate race. High finishers on the men’s side included Adam Couitt ’18 and Donovan Spearman ’21, who both finished in the top six of the 200-meter dash. Benjamin Ose ’19 tied for fifth in the pole vault.
Both teams faced the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire and University of Vermont a week later. UNH edged the Dartmouth men 157-151. Spearman won the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash, while the Dartmouth runners went one-two in the 400 and 500-meter runs. The men’s 4x400-meter relay team also took first as did Alec Eschholz ’19 in the 60-meter hurdles, Reed Horton ’19 in the 3,000-meter run and Ose in the heptathlon. The women won the home meet with 172 points including 10 event wins. Rothwell and Laskoski again took first in the 60m hurdles and 400m, dash respectively. The Green and White also posted one-two finishes in the mile, pentathlon, pole vault, shot put, and 400m.