The D Sports Awards: 2019-20 Moment of the Year
At the end of each academic year, The Dartmouth sports section nominates athletes to be voted on by the Dartmouth community as the best of the best. In this year’s sports awards, six of the top rookies, six of the top moments, five of the top female athletes and five of the top male athletes will be pitted against each other over the next few weeks, with the winners emerging after a vote by members of the Dartmouth community.
This year, we are breaking up voting into three one-week voting periods, with all winners to be announced on Tuesday, June 2.
In the initial installment, The Dartmouth sports section selected six nominees for Rookie of the Year. This week, we turn to the six nominees for Moment of the Year. In order to vote, students and community members can click on the link below to cast a single ballot before the next installment of The D Sports Awards on Tuesday, May 26.
Nominations are listed in chronological order below:
Women’s rugby beats Harvard for fourth Ivy League championship
On Oct. 26, the women’s rugby team won its fourth Ivy League title in five years in an eventful fashion. Dartmouth and Harvard University traded possession for much of the first half — it took 26 minutes until Harvard scored and converted the first try of the game. The Big Green quickly responded with a try of their own by Idia Ihensekhien ’21. From then on, the pace picked up. Harvard scored within the first two minutes of the half to take a 12-10 lead, but another Ihensekhien try with a kick by Kristin Bitter ’23 gave Dartmouth the lead again. The Crimson tied the score with a try of their own, but a third Ihensekhien try and a Bitter conversion gave the Big Green a comfortable 12-point lead. With eight minutes on the clock, Becca Jane Rosko ’20 extended the lead to 17 with another try, and Dartmouth kept a strong lead for the rest of the game. The Big Green won 41-22, with 16 points from Bitter and 15 points from Ihensekhien.
Football shocks Harvard 9-6 on miraculous Hail Mary
On Nov. 2, a scrappy, back-and-forth game between Dartmouth and Harvard was coming to an end, and the Crimson held a 6-3 lead. With six seconds left on the clock, Derek Kyler ’21 took the snap, rolled right into pressure and broke free of a crowd of would-be tacklers before desperately heaving the football as far as he could into the endzone. Three Dartmouth players were met by seven Harvard players, and yet the ball was batted into the air, falling into the grateful embrace of Dartmouth wide receiver Masaki Aerts ’21 to win the game by a score of 9-6. In a year filled with magical moments, the play encapsulated an incredible season for the Big Green on the gridiron. Before the Hail Mary, the game was looking to be a disappointing loss for Dartmouth, as an undefeated season and sole possession of first place in the Ivy League were about to slip out of its grasp. The “Harvard Heave” captivated the entire country, and replays of the play went viral on social media. The Big Green went on to defeat Princeton University at Yankee Stadium the following week and concluded the season with a share of the Ivy League championship.
Men’s hockey stuns No. 2 Cornell, ends Big Red’s undefeated season
The highlight of the men’s hockey season took place on Dec. 7 when the Big Green took down previously undefeated No. 2 Cornell University at Thompson Arena. Cornell would finish the season first in the Ivy League and the ECAC, and the Big Red was ranked No. 1 in the nation before the conclusion of the season was canceled. Despite 40 shots on goal from the Big Red, outstanding goaltending from Adrian Clark ’20 as well as a strong defense and penalty kill prevented Cornell’s offense. Scoring started early with a power play goal less than three minutes into the game from Jeff Losurdo ’22. The Big Green maintained that lead for the majority of the first period, but a late goal from the Big Red tied the game going into the first intermission. The Big Green reclaimed its lead just 45 seconds into the middle frame, with Matt Baker ’21 putting up the second tally of the game for the Big Green. From there, Clark and the defense were on high alert, keeping the Big Red attackers away from the crease and the puck out of the back of the net. Clark finished with 39 saves, 32 of which came in the final two periods. Cornell left Hanover stunned, and the Big Green handed the Big Red one of its two regulation losses of the season. The Big Green went on to finish sixth in the ECAC and lost in the first round of the conference tournament to Princeton University.
Women’s basketball edges Harvard on thrilling late comeback
On Jan. 11, the Dartmouth women’s basketball team started out their Ivy League season with a last-second victory over Harvard University. The Big Green forged a lead to close out the game’s first quarter after an 11-0 run and spectacular three-point shooting. After extending its lead in the second, the Crimson charged back with a few threes of its own to even out the score. After going back and forth for most of the second half, the Big Green trailed by four late in the fourth quarter. Katie Douglas ’22 netted another three, bringing her scoring total to 19 on the night. With a one-point lead, the Crimson prepared to inbound the ball with 17 seconds remaining in the game. Douglas was able to break up the pass, and Annie McKenna ’20 raced ahead to score the game-winning layup. Douglas ended the game with a season high five three-pointers, while the Big Green as a team shot an impressive 13-of-24 from behind the arc. Behind Douglas’s 19 points, McKenna scored 15 and Paula Lenart ’20 scored 10. The win snapped Dartmouth’s three-game losing streak against Harvard and was one of four conference wins of the season for the Big Green.
Men’s basketball gets first Ivy League win on last-second shot against Columbia
Coming off a nine-game losing streak, the men’s basketball team was looking for something special to get out of the slump when it faced Columbia University on Feb. 14. The team got exactly that in the form of a 65-63 thrilling last-second victory. The contest at Leede Arena began with more of the same for the Big Green, as the team trailed the Lions for the majority of the game. Dartmouth continued to fight, however, and with some big shots from James Foye ’20, the Big Green was able to keep the Tigers’ lead to four points. In the second half, Dartmouth managed to stay in the game with a great performance from Chris Knight ’21, who finished with 23 points on 10-for-11 shooting. Thirteen of Knight’s 23 points came in the second half, including five straight points to cut Columbia’s lead from seven to two in the waning minutes. The Lions remained scoreless for the game’s last seven minutes, with Ian Sistare ’20 tying up the game with 50 seconds left on the clock. Following a missed three on the other end, the Big Green had the ball with a chance to win its first conference game of the season. With four seconds on the clock, Wes Slajchert ’22 passed it down low to Aaryn Rai ’21, who backed down his defender before putting up a hook shot, dumping the ball right over the defender and into the hoop. The crowd erupted as Dartmouth secured its first win since Dec. 18. The win was a turning point in the Big Green’s season, as the team would go on to win three in a row and finished the season winning five of its last eight games.
Women’s lacrosse upsets No. 5 Florida, finishes shortened season ranked in top 10
Though its season may have been cut short, the women’s lacrosse team finished the year undefeated and ranked No. 9 by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association. After a hard-fought overtime win against Ivy opponent Brown on Feb. 29, the Big Green took on the University of Florida, ranked No. 5 in the nation at the time, on March 3. Dartmouth dominated the game, eventually pulling out a 13-9 win over the Gators. Despite winning only 10 of 24 draw controls, the Big Green was able to continually control the pace and transition game in order to maintain a lead throughout the course of the game. Sophia Turchetta ’20 and Katie Bourque ’20 each scored four goals to contribute to the win, and goalkeeper Kiera Vrindten ’20 made eight saves to limit the Florida offense. With a team effort fueled by goals and strong defense, the Big Green showed its prowess all over the field early in the season against a nationally ranked team, making a strong statement even in a short season.