Not the Best of Times

Aside from cross country, there hasn't been much for Dartmouth College sports fans (or their dogs) to cheer about in recent weeks. (Valley News File Photo - Tris Wykes)

Aside from cross country, there hasn't been much for Dartmouth College sports fans (or their dogs) to cheer about in recent weeks. (Valley News File Photo - Tris Wykes)

These are not the best of times for Dartmoth College sports. Not the worst, certainly, but the Big Green is experiencing a slump.

Before we describe what’s going wrong, however, we should note that the women’s cross country team won the Ivy League title for the first time since 1997 last week. It received another superlative performance by senior Abbey D’Agostino, who won the race going away and who is unquestionably one of the greatest Dartmouth athletes of all time.

Athletic director Harry Sheehy said his department has been tracking top-three team finishes in the Ivies that past few years and that the Big Green is landing in that slot more and more often. Be that as it may, there’s not a lot of joy around Alumni Gym at the moment.

Last spring, baseball and softball each narrowly missed Ivy titles and women’s lacrosse advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. That’s been followed by unexpectedly bad autumn results and what could be a winter of discontent.

Football, expected by many to contend for the Ivy title, is 3-4 and coach Buddy Teevens’ job is on the line. Dartmouth will be an underdog in two of its last three games, at Brown and home against league-leading Princeton.

Men’s soccer, long an Ivy stalwart, is 0-5. Women’s soccer, which went 13-4 last season and narrowly missed a league crown, is 3-3.

Volleyball, 8-6 in the Ivies two years ago and 1-13 last fall, is 3-7.

Field hockey started rough but has rallied and can finish 4-3 in league play by defeating visiting Cornell on Saturday in the teams’ season finale.

Men’s hockey, which climbed as high as eighth in the national polls last winter, is 0-4 and was clobbered by a combined 14-3 last weekend during its first ECAC games, against visiting Union and RPI.

Women’s hockey, a national title contender a decade ago, is young, shorthanded and 1-4. Among the losses was one to Union, against which Dartmouth had been 20-0 while never surrendering more than two goals in a game.

Men’s and women’s basketball start play in the next week. The men could climb into medocrity during coach Paul Cormier’s fourth year, but the women are rebuilding from the bottom with rookie boss Belle Koclanes.