Harvard Capitalizes On Green Miscues
Dartmouth attackman Adam Fishman, right, looks for a passing lane yesterday after rounding a pick set by teammate Adam Hull, left. Brian O’Toole defends for Harvard, which won the teams’ Ivy League game at Scully-Fahey Field, 9-6. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College attackman Chris Costabile, left, is congratulated on scoring yesterday by teammate Phil Hession. Costabile tallied twice but the Big Green lost an Ivy League game to Harvard, 9-6, at Scully-Fahey Field. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Dartmouth College men’s lacrosse goaltender Bernie Susskind had seen enough. After a careless turnover by his teammates in the Harvard end led to a fast-break score for the Crimson yesterday, the Big Green netminder rose from the Scully-Fahey Field turf and vented his frustration.
“Come on, offense!” Susskind shouted. “Figure it out!”
Sadly for Susskind and his mates, Dartmouth’s attacking unit never quite got in sync. At least not often enough to knock off Harvard, which prevailed 9-6 in the Ivy League matchup. The Big Green fell to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in league play and has won just five of its last 26 Ancient Eight games.
“We talked all week long about making their goalie earn his saves,” Dartmouth coach Andy Towers said. “The amount of shots that we took from too deep out or in the air were just like throwing into his stick. We’re done it all year long and that’s a problem. That’s just a turnover, that’s all it is.”
Towers was also irritated that his offense didn’t back up three or four shots that sailed wide of the cage, handing possession to Harvard. But there were also other gaffes.
One of them came after Dartmouth had climbed into a 2-2 tie after surrendering the afternoon’s first two goals. Down a man with fewer than 30 seconds remaining in the first half, the Big Green got a save from Susskind, who then chugged his way upfield, only to be flattened by a double-team body check just across the center stripe.
Harvard brought the ball back the other way, and although Susskind made it into his crease before the Crimson took a shot, his reaction was slowed by exhaustion and the visitors scored for a 3-2 lead just 5.7 seconds before intermission.
“I took off to try and kill some time, but I maybe held on to it a little too long,” said Susskind, a senior and first-year starter who rarely carries the ball. “I was actually about to just chuck it out of bounds. It’s tough when you’re trying to catch your breath and make a save. It was just an unfortunate series of events and that was a big goal.”
Said Towers: “There’s no question that play was disheartening.”
Another sequence that knocked out some of the Big Green’s stuffing occurred as the clock wound down in the third quarter. Attackman Adam Fishman, a sophomore and first-year starter, somehow lost track of time while holding the ball to the left of the Harvard net. Despite the screaming of fans, the Dartmouth bench, his coaches and teammates, Fishman never made a real move to pass or drive to the cage. The horn sounded and senior midfielder Nikki Dysenchuk lit into the younger player.
“Wake up!” Dysenchuk shouted as the pair jogged to the sideline. “Know the situation!”
Harvard led 7-5 at that point but it soon capitalized on another Dartmouth brain cramp to put the game out of reach. During a Crimson possession in the Big Green end, the visitors substituted one player for another at the midfield box. Dartmouth’s defense, however, didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. The visitors’ Murphy Vandervelde sprinted towards the net completely unguarded, took a pass in stride and had plenty of time to rip a shot past a helpless Susskind.
“He saw a seam and he shot the gap,” Towers said of Vandervelde. “They were opportunistic and made a play. Generally speaking, when somebody breaches you on the perimeter, you’re supposed to collapse and crash (inwards) on defense and we didn’t do that.”
Throw in the fact that Dartmouth won only 6 of 18 faceoffs and the Big Green was probably lucky to lose by only three goals. Towers’ team played without more than half a dozen key players who are either injured or suspended, but he wasn’t looking to use their absence as an excuse.
“We got some poor decisions out of some key players,” the coach said, his lips pursed. “Harvard played with more intensity and executed with more consistency than we did.”
Notes: Chris Costabile scored twice for Dartmouth, the fifth consecutive game in which he’s done so. … Susskind made 10 saves. … Harvard improved to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in Ivy play. … Dartmouth plays at Hofstra on Tuesday. … Rick Sowell, who went 33-35 at Dartmouth from 1999-2003 and guided the Big Green to a share of the Ivy title his last season in Hanover, is in his second season as coach at the U.S. Naval Academy after a previous stop at Stony Brook. The Midshipmen fell to 3-6 yesterday with a loss to Colgate. … Towers said earlier last week that junior defenseman Gunnar Shaw, a former Hanover High player who has appeared in one game this season and two in his college career, seems fully recovered from knee surgery, but is hampered by the relatively small amount of time he’s been healthy and able to play at Dartmouth.
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.