Syracuse Cuts Promising Dartmouth Season Short In Rain

The Dartmouth Rugby team had its 2009‐2010 season ended Saturday at the hands of the Syracuse University Hammerheads in the Northeast semi‐finals. The 5‐6 loss in the rain at West Point, NY, the first of the year for the Dartmouth side, cost the Big Green a spot in the national round of sixteen next spring.

Hammerheads Seize 6‐5 Victory Over Big Green with Late Penalty Kick

Syracuse coach Bob Wilson complimented the Dartmouth team as, "highly skilled and very hard‐hitting." Wilson continued, "Dartmouth dominated on the floor but were unable to use that domination… The conditions being wet and sloppy acted against their passing game… [their] kicking game was off." Wilson explained that Syracuse, despite not scoring a try because of a relentless Dartmouth defensive effort, was able to play hard enough to put itself in position to kick the penalties needed to get the win.

Dartmouth dominated territory in the first half, rarely playing in its own half. Despite the advantage, a rash of handling errors prevented the Big Green from scoring until Dartmouth sophomore Will Lehmann dotted down a try off of a quick tap from the Syracuse five meter at the closing whistle of the first half. Dartmouth was unable to convert the kick after, though, adding to two other missed penalty kicks.

Dartmouth would have one more chance for points early in the second half. But a final miss would doom the Big Green. The remainder of the match would be played in the Big Green end, with Dartmouth's kicking and handling faltering at the time it was needed most, giving Syracuse just enough of a window to steal the outcome with a late penalty kick.

With Army's 49‐7 win over Fordham, Syracuse will have its work cut out of it in seeking to capture the Northeast title. "Today's win really showed the on‐ and offseason commitment of this team, " said Syracuse captain Zach Levek '11, "Army will be a tough game, especially as a second game in two days." "Perhaps a team can afford, in most games, to be off in one or two statistical areas," explained Dartmouth head coach Alex Magleby '00, "You can't expect to commit the number of penalties in addition to the handling and kicking errors we did and hope to come out with a win. It was an uncharacteristic performance, and credit must go to Syracuse for putting themselves into a position to win." "Emotionally the boys were committed‐‐we created plenty of opportunities. But we made far too many mistakes in too many facets of the game.

We're gutted… for all the hard work the team has been put in this season… the boys were certainly chasing down their ceiling, and we came up far short today of that potential." Dartmouth co‐captain Mke DiBenedetto '10 remarked, "We put forth an emotional and physical effort. Unfortunately, the adverse conditions affected us today and we weren't able to convert our scoring opportunities." Dartmouth captain Matt Dinger '10 added, "I love this team… it has been a tremendous honor to have played with each and every one of these guys." The loss resounds with the hollowness of a season of promise unfulfilled.

Despite the disappointing result against Syracuse, Dartmouth hangs its hat on a season of quality preparation, hard‐work, and ground‐breaking performances in many aspects. The Big Green showed that it could handle traditional Ivy League opponents, and, even at its worst, compete at the top of New England and the Northeast.

The Big Green graduates five seniors from the 2009‐2010 squad: Captain and hooker Matt Dinger, co‐captain and prop Mike DiBenedetto, co‐captain and outside center Sam Edandison, secretary and lock Tay Stevenson, and president and injured prop Matt Driscoll. Dartmouth looks to have a productive offseason as it prepares for next fall's campaign.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please contact Taylor Stevenson.

Contact: Taylor Stevenson, Press Secretary, Dartmouth Rugby
Email: taylor [dot] stevensonatdartmouth [dot] edu