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Julie Wadland and Jason Brooks Named Athletes of the Week

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Julie Wadland and Jason Brooks     By Dartmouth
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Athlete of the Week Archive

­­Each week, will spotlight two outstanding student-athletes - one male, one female - as Dartmouth's Athletes of the Week. Student-athletes may be chosen based upon their efforts both on and off the field of competition.

Two Dartmouth athletes stood out amidst a crowd of impressive performances, making lacrosse senior Julie Wadland and baseball junior Jason Brooks the choice for Big Green Athletes of the Week. Wadland turned heads all weekend with her play at the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, making 15 saves as her team fell just short in the final. Brooks had a big week, batting .455 to help baseball win the Rolfe Division title, advancing to the upcoming Ivy Championship series at Columbia.

Dartmouth Female Athlete of the Week:
Julie Wadland (Andover, Mass.), Women's Lacrosse, Goalie, Senior

Senior goalie Julie Wadland (Andover, Mass.) turned in an impressive individual effort for the 11th ranked women's lacrosse team this past weekend. Playing in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, Wadland helped Dartmouth reach the championship game with a 10-8 win over Cornell before falling one goal short against #6 Penn, 9-8. The senior co-captain recorded six saves against Cornell and ran the defensive effort that kept the Big Red scoreless for the last 18 minutes. Wadland was tremendous against Penn, doing all she could to keep her team in the game with nine saves, including seven in the first half when Dartmouth struggled to maintain possession. Having already been named to the first team All-Ivy, Wadland earned a spot on the Ivy League All-Tournament team for her efforts during the weekend. A Tewaaraton national player of the year nominee, Wadland is having her best season yet in a Dartmouth uniform with the nation's fifth best goals against average (7.39), a save percentage of .468 and a team-best 36 ground balls.

Talk a little bit about your play this weekend, as you were called upon to make a lot of saves in both games. Were you seeing the ball well?
In the Cornell game, the defense did a nice job of forcing bad angle shots and shots I should be saving. I did feel in both games that I was seeing the ball better than I have in a few weeks. And as ironic as it sounds, I didn't mind seeing as many shots as I did in the first half of the Penn game - as a goalie, it's easier mentally to react and be on your toes when you see more shots, as opposed to only seeing a few over long stretches of time.

The defense was really kept busy in the first half against Penn and in the second half against Cornell. What are you doing to direct the defense during a series like that and how does it feel the moment you make a save or a defender causes a turnover to end a big stand?
Usually when the ball has been in our defensive end for a long stretch of time, the most important thing I try to do is keep the defense a step ahead of the play and connected. Keeping everyone on the same page requires all 8 of us to be vocal and consistently tell each other where we are in the 8 meter. As simple as it sounds, a strong connection is what gets us through long attacking sets. When we do make a stop to end a long stand, you instantly feel rejuvenated. But we know our job isn't done until we clear the ball up the field successfully into the attacking end.

Despite the tough loss to Penn, what was it like to get to play in the first-ever Ivy postseason tournament?
Playing the inaugural Ivy Tournament was a unique experience. I think it provides great experience especially for our younger players as it is set up exactly like a Final Four. So now in the future, if any of the Ivy teams end up in the Final Four, they will already feel like they have some experience playing in that type of set-up and pressure situation. It also adds a whole new competitive feel to Ivy games- as well as a team can do in the regular Ivy season, anything goes in the tournament.

As a team, Dartmouth has given up no more than 11 goals in a game all season, and 10 goals just twice. How important is the defense to the entire mission of the team this season?
As much pride as we have taken in our defense this year, our team is a balancing attack between both the offense and defense. Our attack this year is the most lethal I've seen in my four years, and I don't think it's a coincidence that our defense has improved in light of that. All year long the attackers have been challenging us in practice, and going against their speed and skill has prepared us as a defense for every game.

What is your feeling heading into a matchup at #1 Maryland and potential NCAA Tournament play?
Right now our eyes are only on Maryland, and I hope we can play 60 minutes of our game on Saturday. We owe it to ourselves to play the way we know we can.

Dartmouth Male Athlete of the Week:
Jason Brooks (Westlake Village, Calif.), Baseball, First Bade, Junior
Jason Brooks (Westlake Village, Calif.) played a large role in Dartmouth clinching the Rolfe Division crown for a third consecutive year, driving in 13 runs in the final six Ivy games played this past week. The junior started off the week by going 2-for-4 at Brown, giving the Big Green a 2-1 lead with a two-run single and scoring the decisive run in the fourth of an 8-4 victory. The next day he drove in two more with a solo homer and a sacrifice fly in a 13-10 slugfest triumph. But the first baseman saved his best for the last day of the year, going 3-for-3 with a double, triple and three-run homer to drive in a career-high six runs -- the most for a Big Green player in six years -- of the 9-0 division-clinching victory over Harvard. He completed the cycle in his first at-bat of the second game and went 3-for-4 with two more RBIs in the 9-7 win. All told, he was 10-for-22 (.455) on the week while slugging .864.

You've been on a tear since mid-April, batting .400 over the last 17 games. What brought about this surge at the plate?
I have had a better approach at the plate. During the beginning of the season, through the Spring trip I had a good approach. However, I got away from that approach for a while. I was able to find that same focus again. Also, I have been more aggressive at the plate, going after good pitches with harder, faster swings. Coach Anderson got upset with me for not swinging hard at good pitches and being defensive, since he told me to swing harder and be more aggressive I have been more successful.

The team split its two games with Columbia last month. What will be the keys to success in the Ivy Championship Series against the Lions?
The keys to beating Columbia will be sticking to our strengths. It will start with our pitching. Our pitchers will come out this weekend and attack the Columbia hitters, by throwing strikes at the bottom of the strike zone. We will need to play great defense behind the pitchers, like we have all year. Finally, we will need to be disciplined at the plate. It will be important for us to get good pitches to hit and take advantage of them. We will need to get timely hits with runners in scoring position. If we do these things we should be successful.

You had to bide your time as a reserve your first two years on the team with an established player ahead of you. What helped you prepare for this season as the starter at first base?
This summer really helped me prepare for this season. I was playing every day against really good competition. I think the things I learned from this summer have aided me this season. I now have a better mind set at the plate then I did in my first two seasons. I also learned a lot from the seniors I was behind last year about being an everyday player and handling the quick IVY League season.

You throw very well, better than a lot of first basemen. Did you play other positions growing up, and how did you settle in at first base?
I have played third base before I came to Dartmouth. I loved playing third, especially all of the throws that I got to make playing there. Unfortunately, I did not have the range to play there in college. I also played right field in high school and mainly played right field last summer. This allowed me an opportunity to play another position and use my arm to my advantage on defense.

I have to ask this as the final question: what happened when you wiped out trying to stretch your double into a triple on Sunday?
I am not really sure what happened. I am not by any means the fastest guy on the team, nor am I the smoothest runner. I was about half way to third and I went down. When I realized what had happened I was tired and embarrassed at the same time. So, I tried to scramble back to second and made a very poor attempt at a dive back into the bag and ended up getting tagged out. The guys on the team let me hear it pretty good when I eventually made it back to the dugout. And although it is no longer something I am hearing about now, I am sure that I have not heard the end of it.