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Tigers extend Big Green’s woes

  • Dartmouth College midfielder Trevor Ballantyne works against Princeton defenders Strib Walker (41) and Luc Anderson (18) on Saturday with Tigers goaltender Erik Peters in the background. The Big Green lost, 13-4, its 27th consecutive Ivy League defeat. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Dartmouth College attackman Ben Martin has the ball stripped from him Saturday by Princeton defenseman Cathal Roberts at Scully-Fahey Field. The Tigers won, 13-4, handing the Big Green its 27th consecutive Ivy League defeat. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Dartmouth College goaltender George Christopher makes one of his 18 saves Saturday during a 13-4 loss to Princeton at Scully-Fahey Field. The Big Green dropped its 27th consecutive Ivy League game. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Dartmouth College's Kiernan Gunn, left, and Princeton's Jack-Henry Varna battle for a faceoff Saturday during the teams' clash at Scully-Fahey Field. The Big Green lost, 13-4, and suffered its 27th consecutive Ivy League defeat. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Dartmouth College men's lacrosse coach Brendan Callahan speaks to his team Saturday after it suffered its 27th consecutive Ivy League loss, 13-4 against Princeton. The Big Green visits league-leading Pennsylvania next weekend. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, April 13, 2019

HANOVER — The Dartmouth College men’s lacrosse team led Princeton, 2-1, early in Saturday’s game at Scully-Fahey Field. The Big Green was enjoying a man advantage when goaltender George Christopher ventured to the center line in an apparent attempt to keep the visitors bottled in their own end.

Instead, Princeton’s Andrew Song must have thought he was dreaming when he ran the ball through midfield, head-faked Christopher toward the sideline and spied an unguarded net in the distance. The defenseman took a few more strides and used his six-foot pole to score from roughly 30 yards.

“That’s deflating,” said television color analyst Justin McIsaac, calling the game for NESN.

The contest was never again tied as Princeton rolled to a 13-4 victory and handed Dartmouth its 27th consecutive Ivy League loss. The Big Green, now 2-9 overall and 0-4 in Ivy play, visits league-leading and No. 6 Pennsylvania (7-3, 5-0) next weekend before concluding the season against visiting Brown (4-7, 2-2). Princeton is 6-6 overall, 1-3 in Ivy action.

Brendan Callahan, Dartmouth’s fifth-year coach, said senior defender Austin Meacham, a onetime All-Ivy honoree, is out for the season because of a head injury, joining starting faceoff man Peter Chabot. Kiernan Gunn, the backup man on draws, played hurt Saturday and starting goaltender Daniel Hincks, a freshman, is battling head woes of his own.

“That we played Princeton tough and more competitively today than we did a year ago (24-13), with everything we’re dealing with, I was proud of the guys,” Callahan said.

Junior attackman Ben Martin scored his team-leading 25th goal to open Saturday’s scoring for Dartmouth, which went up, 2-1, on a George Prince strike. Princeton however, scored the next three goals and eight of the next nine and also produced the afternoon’s final four tallies.

Christopher made 18 saves and helped hold the visitors below their 15-goals-per-game average, but Dartmouth’s offense was almost nonexistent.

“They wanted to take us man-on-man and push us around, and they did,” Callahan said. “We weren’t getting much separation or getting our hands free in scoring areas. They were getting their sticks on our gloves and that led to some of our turnovers.

“You have to get separation off of picks, but when we finally did, we rushed the shot.”

Dartmouth entered the day 68th out of 73 NCAA Division I teams in turnovers per game at 20.2 and committed 19 on Saturday. The Big Green not only snuffed out its own possessions, but sometimes handed Princeton immediate fast-break chances. The program’s inability to find players who can throw and catch reliably dates back at least a decade.

Faceoffs, in which Dartmouth was ranked 70th, were not a sore spot Saturday. The Big Green captured 12 of 21 draws, won the ground-ball battle, 34-28, and failed to clear its own end only three times. However, the hosts produced only 21 shots on goal.

Callanan noted that his roster includes only five available seniors, none of whom start, and said being able to bring back an entire lineup of seasoned youngsters will produce dividends next year.

“We need a couple more guys in the midfield, guys who today could have beaten a Princeton short-stick (defender) and put some pressure on their defense,” the coach said. “I think some of these guys will figure it out and the next two (recruiting) classes for us are very good.

“We’re getting better and the guys know it. But as much as we recognize that progress, we want wins, we want more.”

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Notes: Diminutive Tigers star Michael Sowers had three goals and two assists to raise his career point total to 235, second all-time at Princeton. The junior attackman, who has 21 points in three games against Dartmouth, quieted a cluster of students who heckled him in the early going. … The NESN broadcast sometimes showed a flickering feed and sometimes a blank one with only sound. Then the sound disappeared but the video came back, followed by a screen asking viewers to “please stand by.”… Callahan on Christopher, a junior and former standout as a freshman: “George has gone above and beyond my expectations by going hard every day and playing well when his number’s been called. It shows his high character.”… Princeton has won the teams’ last six meetings and leads their series, 58-9. The Tigers are 25-8 in Hanover and 33-1 in New Jersey. … Dartmouth’s senior class, which numbers six including Meacham, entered as a group of 14 freshmen. … Dartmouth lost a program-record 31 consecutive league games from 1988-93.

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