Fallball 2011: Dartmouth Big Green Check-In
Monday July 23rd, 2012 4:49pm
Dartmouth’s Big Green Machine finished with five wins and nine losses in 2011. The campaign, while disappointing, was not without merit.
Dartmouth outgunned Harvard on March 26 thanks to a last-second goal from then-sophomore Nikki Dysenchuk. That Ivy League victory was followed up by an out-of-conference win against cross-state rival Vermont and a tight tilt with Brown that ended as an overtime loss for the Green.
This season, coach Andy Towers hopes to improve his team’s performance in the Ivy League and will play traditional powers Duke and North Carolina on the road. Towers and assistant coach Ryan Danehy made great strides in their recruiting efforts over the past two seasons, and it is has paid off. No less than 15 new student-athletes have joined the program, and the Big Green will look to blend in some new talent at the midfield in particular.
Towers believes that positions don’t always line up to talent and, as such, is willing to make adjustments. “So if we have a guy that plays attack, but would be our fifth attackman, we want that guy to play so maybe he cracks the second midfield. We want our best offensive players on the field to play offense — period.”
Some of the top arrivals include Adam Hull, a PG from Deerfield Academy who, while an attackman, will see some time on midfield as he develops this year. Another post-graduate recruit, Adam Fishman, will look to do the same and has impressed the coaching staff with his athleticism so far this fall. Other notable recruits include Patrick Rhea, a midfielder that faces off from Lousiville Collegiate in Kentucky.
Towers values commitment and sacrifice from all of his players. Recalling the beginning of last year, he fixates on accountability.
“This group of seniors will be different. Last year we had a few guys that came back and just failed our run test. This year everyone passed. The thing that jumps out at me is how accountable these guys are to each other. It speaks volumes about where our program is right now and there is no reason to think we are going to take a step back. If these guys can stay in that mindset, I see no reason why we can’t a have a more successful campaign than last season. We have to put that on the senior class; and the freshmen have taken that cue from them.”
However, an impressive freshman class is not the only addition to the Dartmouth locker room. Dartmouth lost assistant coach Jon Torpey to High Point at the conclusion of last season, and Towers tapped an excellent coach to touch that void. Former Saint Michael’s head coach and legendary U.S. National Team goaltender Paul Schimoler joined the staff in the offseason and is looking to make his mark on the defensive side of the ball for Dartmouth.
Towers was elated with the hire, saying “If you look at Paul’s resume he’s done everything; he’s done it all. To be able to bring in somebody that is also an Ivy grad and knows what it’s like to want that Ivy championship. He’s been a head coach for eight years. There are a ton of things he has brought to our program, but overall he has had such a calming effect to the players and the staff. He brings immediate credibility and will impact our program in a very positive way with his ability to motivate.”
There are a number of seniors leading Dartmouth this fall, including leading Scorer Kip Dooley (14G, 19A) a four-year starter that is the primary initiator of the Dartmouth offense. Joining him on attack will be fellow senior Drew Tunney (15, 10), sophomore phenom Jeff Perkins (14, 3) — who Towers calls “the best finisher on the team” — and Dysenchuk (18, 8).
The battle for time in midfield is really the focal point of this fall. Chris Costabile (13, 4) will be joined by Patrick Resch, who will be playing offense this year after being one of the best defensive middies in the nation last year. Junior RC Willenbrock only saw time in four games last season, but has had a great fall season to complement his stellar performance in the Vail tournament this summer. Seniors Colin Delaney (3, 1), Thomas Mattimore (1, 1), and Tim Root are “all due for their best year here.”
Alex Del Balso is “the best face-off guy in the country” according to Towers, and while he doesn’t have the stats necessarily back that up (47.6% win, 75 gb) but arguing with a former face-off guy about his current face-off guy is like arguing with a cab driver about the fare. Del Balso will be joined at the X by freshman Patrick Campbell from Highland Park, Texas.
Goaltender Fergus Campbell sported a 52.8% save percentage last season and will look to improve that number this spring with an improved defense in front of him. Towers believes that Campbell has been “amazing for the last few years. I think he’s one of the best goalies in the country and hopefully we give him the support he needs to have the best season of his career.”
That support will come in the form of both upper and underclassmen as the development of Ben Rossman has reached a critical point. He will have “a huge role” in leading the defense this spring according to Towers, and he will be partnered with junior Pat Flynn, one of “the most committed guys in the program.” The defense has depth for the first time in a long time at Dartmouth, even if a big chunk of it is freshmen like Mikey Muller (Deerfield, Mass.) and Chase Schoelkopf (Germantown, Tenn.).
Towers believes the No. 1 thing that his staff looks for is how his team responds to adversity in the fall.
“People are going to make bad passes, bad shot; we’re looking for what they do after,” he says. “Do they slam their stick? Are the visibly distraught in their body language? This year there hasn’t been a lot of that and they are just moving on to the next play. When your seniors set the tone that way — in that competitive spirit — that really can push the program ahead quickly. That is our focus as coaches too — to respond. If we can respond faster than our opponents we can recover from our mistakes. I can honestly say that the last two college practices we have had have been the most enjoyable practices in my 17 -18 years in college coaching.”
Inside Lacrosse is checking in with teams all fall. Click here for a full list of check-ins and other fall coverage.
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