Dartmouth snaps 34-game Ivy League losing streak

  • Dartmouth College athletic director Mike Harrity congratulates men’s lacrosse coach Brendan Callahan on Saturday after the Big Green snapped its 34-game Ivy League losing streak with an overtime defeat of Harvard.

  • Dartmouth College lacrosse goaltender Mason Morel is hugged by Hunter Binney after the Big Green’s 10-9, overtime defeat of Harvard on Saturday at Scully-Fahey Field in Hanover. The result snapped Dartmouth’s Ivy League-record 34-game losing streak dating back to 2015. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes

  • Dartmouth College attackman Colin McGill hugs a teammate after scoring the decisive goal against Harvard on March 23, 2023, at Scully-Fahey Field in Hanover, N.H. The Big Green's 10-9, overtime triumph snapped its 34-game Ivy League losing streak. Valley News — Tris Wykes

  • Dartmouth College men's lacrosse offensive coordinator Joe Conner works on a white board in front of Big Green players during a time out against Harvard on March 25, 2023, at Scully-Fahey Field in Hanover, N.H. Dartmouth's 10-9, overtime victory snapped its Ivy League-record 34-game losing streak. Valley News — Tris Wykes

  • Dartmouth College's Nate Davis (33) works against Harvard's Greg Campisi during the Ivy League teams' game on March 25, 2023, at Scully-Fahey Field in Hanover, N.H. The Big Green's 10-9, overtime victory snapped its 34-game league losing streak. Valley News — Tris Wykes

  • Dartmouth College goaltender Mason Morel holds the ball in front of Harvard's Hayden Cheek (6) during the Ivy League teams' March 25, 2023, game on Scully-Fahey Field in Hanover, N.H. Dartmouth won, 10-9, in overtime to snap a 34-game league losing streak. Morel made 11 saves.

  • Dartmouth College's Hopper Zappitello (16) and Nate Davis celebrate after the latter's goal pulled the Big Green within 9-8 late in their March 26, 2023 game with Harvard at Scully-Fahey Field in Hanover, N.H. Dartmouth won the Ivy League tilt, 10-9, in overtime and snapped a 34-game league losing streak.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/26/2023 6:08:02 PM
Modified: 3/27/2023 9:22:30 AM

HANOVER — Joyful screams echoed through the sleet early Saturday evening at Dartmouth College’s Scully-Fahey Field. A contingent of about a dozen fans rushed on to the whitened turf, joining the Big Green men’s lacrosse players as they mobbed winning goal-scorer Connor McGill in the aftermath of a 10-9, overtime defeat of arch-rival Harvard.

Down five goals with 11 minutes to play, Dartmouth won its Ivy League opener to snap a league-record, 34-game losing streak in improbable fashion. McGill scored all four of his goals in the contest and added an assist during the final 26 minutes.

On the winning play, the sophomore attackman charged towards the crease from the right side, fighting off a defender to reach the top of the circle. As the rebound of a Brandon Ventarola shot bounced off Crimson goaltender Christian Barnard and off the ground, McGill whacked it home out of mid-air.

Dartmouth’s skid dated to 2015 and another overtime victory against the visiting Crimson during head coach Brendan Callahan’s Ivy League debut. Eight years later, the Big Green boss shed tears as he embraced first-year athletic director Mike Harrity after the game.

“We’ve been building towards this moment and I’m excited to see it go our way,” said coach, who avoided the question when asked to share his emotions. “I’m happy for the kids. The recruiting we’ve done has paid off.”

Dartmouth took a 2-0 lead but surrendered the next four goals and trailed, 4-3, at halftime. Four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Big Green was down, 9-5, and hope was slipping away.

However, McGill scored his second goal of the day and then assisted on another by Quinn Moore. A minute later, Harvard committed a penalty and McGill scored again to cut the deficit to 9-8 with 5 minutes and 39 seconds remaining.

Thirty seconds later, Nate Davis scored from the right side and on a sharp angle, the ball appearing to strike Barnard’s far foot and spin across the goal line on the ground. It was 9-9 and Harvard’s supporters sat stunned, their Dartmouth counterparts braying and jumping in the growing gloom and ever-present precipitation.

“We weren’t winning the 50-50 ground balls in midfield,” said Callahan, whose team visits Cornell next weekend. “That’s what we concentrated on in the fourth quarter.”

With 1:35 remaining in the first, four-minute overtime, the Harvard defense allowed Ventarola to run down the right alley and veer diagonally across the center of the field. He uncorked a hard shot that Barnard, at this point clearly fighting the ball, took off the chest. Enter McGill, a 6-foot-3 product of Philadelphia’s Main Line suburbs, whose late-game heroics made history for the hosts.

“I was just in the right spot and I hockeyed it into the net,” said McGill, a four-star recruit out of Philadelphia-area power Malvern Prep, which has finished in the nation’s top 25 rankings seven times during the past decade. “This is big for our program. It’s the first win in like, what, 50 tries in the Ivy League for our program? So it’s huge.”

The Big Green’s two shortest players, the 5-8 attackman Davis and goaltender Mason Morel, played big roles in the victory. Davis had two goals and an assist and Morel, a sophomore from the lacrosse outpost of suburban Atlanta, made 11 saves in his first varsity start.

“It’s obviously amazing to get this win and get the burden off our backs,” Davis said. “We played (backs) to the wall and as a family and never thought we weren’t going to win.”

Harvard fell to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Notes: Dartmouth wears “DG” helmet decals to honor the late David Gallagher, who died last summer after sustaining fatal injuries under Ledyard Bridge. A former men’s lacrosse player and 2020 graduate, he was in town for a delayed graduation ceremony… Dartmouth is 25-66 overall and 2-34 in Ivy play under Callahan, whose leg was tackled in a fierce embrace by his young son, Mack, as the coach conducted a postgame interview… Postgame, locker-room video footage shot by a Big Green sports information staff member showed Callahan pushing to the center of his dancing and cheering players and joining in the wild rumpus for about 20 seconds… Cornell, which beat Dartmouth, 8-7, last season, is 6-1 overall and 2-0 in league games this spring.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.

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