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Record-Setting Day for Dartmouth Lacrosse Senior

Dartmouth College lacrosse coach Andy Towers speaks with senior Patrick Resch during this season's final game, a 17-12 nonconference defeat of visiting Holy Cross. Valley News - Tris Wykes

Dartmouth College lacrosse coach Andy Towers speaks with senior Patrick Resch during this season's final game, a 17-12 nonconference defeat of visiting Holy Cross. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »

Hanover — After his first goal Tuesday, Dartmouth College attackman Mike Olentine mimicked a golf swing and tossed his stick into the air after the follow-through. He scored a little later and flipped his twig around and played it like a guitar. Early in the fourth quarter, the senior from Princeton, N.J., struck again and this time pretended to rip his shirt front open like Superman.

By the end of the Big Green’s 17-12 defeat of Holy Cross, however, No. 13 was simply raising his arms in celebration. Perhaps he’d run out of ideas for celebratory gestures. That can happen when you set a school record by scoring 10 goals in a game.

Olentine is “a very skilled player who has, at times, struggled with his shooting percentage during the year,” said Dartmouth coach Andy Towers, whose team finished the season 2-11 overall and 0-6 in Ivy League play. “It was nice to see him on target today. He got himself into a groove and shot the ball overhand with a quick release and forced the goalie to move to save it. I’m proud he went out this way.”

Olentine entered Tuesday as his team’s leading scorer with 11 goals in 11 games and declined comment after the game. He scored five times in each half and eclipsed the previous record of nine goals in a game, held by three players from the 1940s and one from 1979. Joe Wilder, Harry Gates and Haviland Smith were the first three and Jeff Hickey the latter.

Towers said his standout’s pantomimes were done in fun, not mockery.

“We’ve had a long, long year and that’s a kid who’s always played with a ton of passion,” the coach said. “I think that was exuberance and frustration about the season coming out. I don’t think he was trying to show up Holy Cross.”

The Crusaders (3-12) experienced their own troubles this spring. Coach Jim Morrissey resigned earlier this month and the boys in purple fell into a 6-0 hole Tuesday before rallying to make the score 10-6 at halftime.

No doubt Holy Cross’ players and coaches discussed how best to defend Olentine during intermission, but it didn’t do much good. He scored twice during the third quarter and three more times during the final stanza. Olintine’s record-tying and record-setting tallies came seven seconds apart in the 57th minute. Christian Guinchard won the faceoff after the first of those goals and raced down field to set up Olentine for the double-digit marker with 3:29 remaining.

Olentine’s 10 goals were one short of the Ivy League record, set by Brown’s Bob Scalise in 1971 and equaled by the Bears’ Oliver Marti in 1993. Olentine added an assist for an 11-point afternoon, the fifth-best mark in Ivy history and two shy of the league record set by Dartmouth’s John Waters against Pennsylvania in 1962.

Dartmouth received an impressive 21 saves from goaltender Blair Friedensohn, but committed six faceoff violations, three in each half. That meant the Big Green risked a penalty if it committed another one, which aided Holy Cross in claiming 22 of 32 draws.

“I think they won all 10 of them in the second quarter, which is when they made their push,” Towers said. “We had our long poles face off and contested the ground balls, but credit (Holy Cross) for taking advantage.”

Dartmouth’s two victories this season were its fewest since it won a single contest in 1991. Towers, whose roster was riddled by injuries, said his team’s work ethic never waned.

“These guys have overcome a ton of adversity and they’ve stuck together and worked hard and controlled what they could control, which is their attitude and their effort,” he said. “Our guys didn’t whine or make excuses and continued to respect each other and the jersey that they’re wearing. It’s a tribute to their character.”

Whether or not Towers gets a chance to return for next season remains to be seen. He has a year remaining on his contract, but is 20-47 overall and 5-25 in Ivy play during his five seasons. He was a Big Green assistant for five years before taking the head job. The program’s record the past decade is 52-86 overall and 17-43 in league competition. Dartmouth is 100-248 in Ivy games since the league was formed in 1956.

Towers said he isn’t losing sleep over his future.

“I’ve got a job to do and if it ends up not working out and we part ways, it is what it is,” he said. “But I’m confident I’m the right guy for the job and that we can win here. We lose a tremendous senior class, but we also have a great freshman class coming in next year and we get some very good players back who were hurt this year.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.