By: Justin Lafleur
Dartmouth (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League) at Merrimack (3-0, 0-0 America East)
Date: Saturday, February 18, 2023 – 1 p.m.
Location: North Andover, Mass. – Duane Stadium
All-Time Series: Tied, 1-1
Watch (America East TV) | Live Stats
Setting the Scene
The Dartmouth men’s lacrosse team is set to open the 2023 season on Saturday when the Big Green travel to Merrimack to face the Warriors. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m. on America East TV. The Big Green are looking to avenge an 8-6 home defeat against Merrimack in last season’s opener, a game that happened in the midst of a snowstorm. This year, Merrimack enters with a 3-0 record and is currently receiving votes in the Inside Lacrosse/Media Poll. The Warriors were one of just three 3-0 teams in the nation as of Feb. 13.
Dartmouth enters the season with high hopes, returning a strong core of players and welcoming in a talented group of freshmen. The Big Green lost leading scorer George Prince to graduation, but return their second and third leading scorers in sophomore Colin McGill (25 goals, eight assists) and senior Tommy Rogan (14 goals, 15 assists). Defensively, the team’s top six in caused turnovers last season return, with sophomore Joe Azelby leading the way with 14 along with 43 groundballs (which was third on the team). Also returning is fifth-year Peter Rizzotti, who only played in seven games last season due to injury, but was an honorable mention All-Ivy performer as a freshman. He had 10 caused turnovers in the seven games he played. Senior Andrew Johnston is also a staple on defense, having started all 13 games last season and recording 26 groundballs and nine caused turnovers to earn honorable mention All-Ivy recognition.
A theme from last season was close calls, which the Big Green look to turn into wins this season. Last year, Dartmouth dropped an 8-7 final against eventual national finalist Cornell, leading 4-1 at one point and standing tied at seven in the final five minutes before the Big Red netted the game-winner with 3:08 remaining. One of the nation’s top players, CJ Kirst, was held to just a goal and assist. Later in the season, the Big Green dropped a 12-10 final at No. 3 and eventual Final Four qualifier Princeton. After a tight first half, the Tigers opened a 9-5 third-quarter lead, but the Big Green reeled off a 5-0 run in just 4:37 of game action to take a 10-9 lead early in the fourth before Princeton responded.
Another key returner for Dartmouth is senior and first team All-Ivy League honoree Mitchell Myers. Last season, he won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (155-of-280) with 75 groundballs.
This will mark the third straight season that the Big Green play Merrimack in their season opener (not counting 2021, which saw just two games played late in the spring against non-Division I opponents).
With a Win…
– Dartmouth would improve to 2-1 all-time vs. Merrimack.
– The Big Green would win their fifth nonleague game in their last seven tries dating back to last season and eighth in their last 12 tries dating back to 2020.
– Dartmouth would snap an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season.
The Warriors are off to a strong start in their first season in the America East. Merrimack is 3-0, receiving votes in the Inside Lacrosse/Media National Poll and already owning wins over Hofstra (10-7), Holy Cross (14-9) and LIU (15-9). Jack Rooney leads the team in points (11) and assists (5) while Brian Russell’s eight goals are tops on Merrimack. Allyn French has won 53.7 percent of his faceoffs (29-of-54) with 20 groundballs while Jack Barron’s four caused turnovers lead the way. Henry Vogt has started all three games in goal, owning an 8.09 goals against average and 58.9 save percentage.
Last season, the Warriors were 6-6 and 3-4 in the Northeast Conference. New to Division I, Merrimack won the Division II National Championship in 2019, its final season of DII. The Warriors were 17-3 that season and earned a 16-8 win over Limestone in the title game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
All-Time Against The Warriors
The all-time series between Dartmouth and Merrimack is tied at one. In the Warriors’ second-ever game at the Division I level, the Big Green picked up a 13-11 win in North Andover. Merrimack came back last season to win, 8-6 in Hanover.
The Big Green may be playing the Warriors on Saturday, but Dartmouth will be road warriors in 2023, with eight of its 12 games coming away from home. Five of their six nonleague contests will be on the road, with the exception of a Saturday, Mar. 4 matchup vs. Siena. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at Scully-Fahey Field.
Lombardo Joins Staff
In July, Dartmouth men’s lacrosse head coach Brendan Callahan announced the addition of Evan Lombardo to his staff as a volunteer assistant coach.
Lombardo comes to Hanover after a two-year stint as a graduate assistant with the University of Lynchburg men’s lacrosse team. Lombardo worked primarily with attackmen, focusing on skill development while supporting scheme and culture as well as the Man-Up team. During his time on the coaching staff, he coached six All-Americans and 12 All-Conference selections. He helped the Hornets to two conference championships and an appearance in the NCAA Elite 8 in 2021. Lombardo was a member of the coaching staff that was named the 2021 USILA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year and the 2022 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Coaching Staff of the Year.
As a player for Lynchburg, Lombardo was a two-time USILA All-American (2017, 2018) and a USILA Scholar All-American (2019). He finished his career with 210 goals, the second most in program history, fourth most in ODAC history, and 25th most in NCAA DIII history.
Lombardo graduated from Lynchburg in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education before graduating with a master’s degree in education leadership this past May.
Three Earn 2022 All-Ivy Honors
Three student-athletes from the Dartmouth men’s lacrosse team were recognized when the Ivy League announced its All-Ivy teams and major award winners.
Mitchell Myers was named first team All-Ivy, Daniel Hincks earned a spot on the second team and Andrew Johnston landed on the honorable mention team. Hincks, a philosophy, politics, and economics major, was named to the Academic All-Ivy team as well.
Myers, the FOGO for the Big Green, won 54.4 percent of his faceoffs in 2022 (155-of-280) and scooped 75 groundballs. He also picked up an assist in the team’s 11-9 victory over Siena. Myers led the Ivy League in faceoff percentage on his way to receiving his first All-Ivy honor.
Hincks received his first career All-Ivy nod after playing all but 41 minutes in goal for the Big Green last season. He made 168 saves, including a career-high 20 in Dartmouth’s first win over Vermont since the 2017 season. His 12.92 saves per game was third in the Ivy League. Earlier in the season, Hincks was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, which is given to the top male and female college lacrosse player in the country, in addition to being named honorable mention on Inside Lacrosse’s Midseason Men’s Division I All-America list.
Johnston was a key figure on the Dartmouth defense, starting all 13 contests. Also his first career All-Ivy honor, he finished the 2022 campaign with 26 groundballs and nine caused turnovers. He scored his first career goal in the win over Bryant on Feb. 26, and had four ground balls and two caused turnovers against Harvard on Mar. 26.
Hincks Named Inside Lacrosse All-American
A senior from last year’s team, goaltender Daniel Hincks was honored by Inside Lacrosse when the organization announced their All-Americans on Sunday evening. Hincks was named to the honorable mention team, becoming the Big Green’s first All-American since 2010 graduate Casey Hingtgen was selected as an honorable mention in 2010.
A second team All-Ivy selection, Hincks picked up the All-America nod after a stellar season in goal in which he made 168 saves, including a career-high 20 in Dartmouth’s first win over Vermont since the 2017 season. Earlier in the season, Hincks was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, which is given to the top male and female college lacrosse player in the country, in addition to being named honorable mention on Inside Lacrosse’s Midseason Men’s Division I All-America list.
Saturday’s game will be streamed on America East TV, with live stats available as well.
Following this weekend’s game, the Big Green hit the road next Saturday, Feb. 25, for a 1 p.m. matchup at Holy Cross.