(Photo Courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics)
Welcome to the Fall Snapshot series. Throughout the fall I will be taking an early look at all 75 DI men’s college lacrosse teams and giving a snapshot of where each is heading into the 2023 season.
Head Coach: Brendan Callahan (9th season, 2015-current)
Dartmouth 2022 Record: 4-9 (0-6 Ivy League)
Key Departures: George Price (A), Matt Paul (A), Daniel Hincks (G)
Key Returners: Colin McGill (A), Tommy Rogan (A), Peter Lapina (A), Joe Azelby (LSM), Peter Rizzotti (D), Mitchell Myers (FO)
Transfer Additions: N/A
The 2022 campaign for the Dartmouth Big Green proved to be the best since year one of the Brendan Callahan era. The Big Green won four games, eclipsing two wins for the first time since that 2015 season. Each of those four wins, however, came during the first five weeks of the season as Dartmouth got off to a strong 4-1 start.
While Dartmouth ended the season on an eight-game losing streak, they did put up some very strong fights as they lost to both Stony Brook and Cornell by one goal and came within two score of Princeton. The latter two teams would each play on Memorial Day Weekend with the Big Red being the national runner-up.
Dartmouth will be heading into the 2023 season with their younger standouts from last season being a year older and looking to take that next step, especially in Ivy League play.
Who Starts in Cage?
After backstopping of the Dartmouth defense for four years, Daniel Hincks has moved on and will be using his fifth-year of eligibility at Georgetown. That move generates the biggest hole of them all for this Big Green squad heading into the 2023 season. Last season alone, Hincks made 168 saves with a 52% save percentage. He ended his time in Hanover with a career total of 357 saves and a 55.3% save percentage.
Simply put, Hincks was a reliable shot-stopper who showed up and did his job each and every time out for the past four seasons. Replacing him will be very tough and as such brings about the biggest personnel question mark for this program moving forward.
Sophomore Mason Morel and junior Hunter Binney are the only two returning goalies from last year. Morel saw 41 minutes and 14 seconds through four games last spring and made nine saves with a 56.2% save percentage. Binney’s only action of his career came by way of nearly seven minutes of play against Tufts in 2021. The Big Green also bring in freshman Sam Cooper (Santa Fe Christian, Calif.). Rated as a three-star by Inside Lacrosse, Cooper impressed at the Adrenaline All-American Game in late July.
How Does The Young Talent Progress?
One of the hallmarks of this Dartmouth program last season was how many young players helped lead the way. Attackman Colin McGill was the Big Green’s second-leading scorer with 25 goals and eight assists (33 points) as a freshman while Peter Lapina (8G/10A) and Henry Bonnie (11G/5A) were the team’s fifth and sixth-leading point-getters as sophomores. Furthermore, Joe Azelby (43GB/14CT) served as their top LSM, Cam Hitchcock (12GB/8CT) started all 13 games at close, and Brandon Ventarola (24GB/6CT) was the Big Green’s top SSDM. All three were freshman.
With those aforementioned players you are just scratching the surface of how impactful the recruiting classes of 2020 and 2021 were for this program last season. With those guys now having a full season of experience under their belts, they will likely be asked to step up even more much next season and be leaders on this team. If, at least, those players mentioned hit their ceiling next season, that would be huge and possibly allow them to take that next step despite some of the veteran leadership they lost from last year’s squad.
How Competitive Can They Be in The Ivy League?
For the past five full seasons, Dartmouth has finished last in the Ivy League and has failed to win a league game. It is and will be the monkey on their back that the lacrosse world will point at until they shake it. As mentioned, they came close to getting a win in Ivy play twice last season: Cornell and Penn. And nonetheless, doing so during the best season the Ivy has had in quite sometime. (Remember, all six other Ivies made the NCAA Tournament).
Now, in 2023, will Dartmouth be able to earn an Ivy League win? It’s a question that will only be able to be answered as time moves along, but if Dartmouth does continue to improve it is very plausible that they could catch one of their Ivy foes and pull out their first league win since 2015, just like they almost did a season ago.
Potential Breakout Player
Ben DiGiovanni, SSDM, Junior
Playing each of the last 10 games in 2022, DiGiovanni made an impact as defensive midfielder for the Big Green in 2022. He grabbed eight ground balls, caused three turnovers, score one goal, and had two assists. After a season in which his production in terms of numbers was scattered, the tough defender and potential offensive threat could very well take a sizable step forward.
As mentioned, Dartmouth has had some good and immediate hits when it comes to talent acquisition in recent years. That could very well be true with this incoming class as well. The aforementioned Sam Cooper is a headliner of the class along with LSM Max LaTorre (Salisbury, Conn.) who is heralded as a four-star by IL. Lefty midfielder Emmett Paradine (Christ School, N.C.) helps highlight the ’22 offensive haul for Dartmouth. He was a proven goal-scorer and shooter at the high school level, tallying 40 goals and 17 assists as a senior.