Darien's Dysenchuk looking forward to sophomore season at Dartmouth
Published 2:11 pm, Thursday, January 13, 2011
Nikki Dysenchuk put together an impressive line of accomplishments and accolades during his Darien High School career: Four state championships, two FCIAC championships, and a First-team All-FCIAC and First-team All-State selection during his junior season. And that's just his lacrosse resume.
Dysenchuk was also a key member of the basketball and football teams and, along with lacrosse, was a captain of all three squads.
"Captains are always the players' choice. I don't even vote," Darien lacrosse coach Jeff Brameier said. "He had the respect of his teammates because of the attitude that he brings to the field."
According to Brameier, Dysenchuk was a "major player" even as a freshman, but his junior year is when Dysenchuk tore up the stat sheet. Dysenchuk scored 36 goals and notched a team-high 36 assists as the Blue Wave went 23-1 en route to a state title. In the championship game, Darien defeated crosstown rival New Canaan by an 11-4 margin.
However, Dysenchuk's high school career was not without adversity. During the state semi-final game against Hillhouse in his senior season of football, Dysenchuk tore his ACL. Prior to the injury, Dysenchuk had already accounted to for three touchdowns (one passing, one rushing, and one receiving). Thanks in large part to Dysenchuk's efforts, the Blue Wave would outlast Hillhouse, 35-32, but Darien was defeated in the state finals by New Canaan, 26-7. Dysenchuk's injury forced him to miss the majority of the lacrosse season.
Undaunted, Dysenchuk rehabbed his knee for five months and was able to make it back onto the field in time for lacrosse postseason play. Darien went on to win its fourth straight state championship.
"He made it back for the playoff run and he was an integral part of us winning the state championship during his senior year," Brameier said. "He's a great all-around athlete. Having him back out on field as the leader that he was and the calmness he brought to the offense was reason a big reason we won the state championship."
During his freshman lacrosse season at D-I Dartmouth, Dysenchuk scored eight goals and added one assist. He was one of only three first year players to appear in all 13 games (six starts) and finished fifth on the team by scooping up 21 ground balls.
Dysenchuk's biggest game of his freshman campaign was a two-goal performance in his team's 18-9 win over Wagner on March 11, in which he also picked up three ground balls. Other highlights included a two-goal game against Penn on April 24 and a goal against No. 10 Duke on March 23.
"Lacrosse in college is completely different than it was in high school," Dysenchuk said. "Looking back on my freshman year of lacrosse, I was taken back by the pure speed of the sport. College lacrosse is much more structured than high school lacrosse, and adjusting to this was difficult at first."
Now a sophomore, Dysenchuk and the rest of the Big Green are coming off of a 5-8 campaign. Despite the team's struggles last season, Dysenchuk indicated that the sub-.500 record only makes him and his teammates that much more hungry for success in 2011.
"Having a less than stellar season last year definitely motivates the team and myself to prove that Dartmouth has the potential to be a contender for both the Ivy Tournament and National Tournament," Dysenchuk said. "We have a very young defense this year, and after a strong senior class, we are going to rely on some of our freshman to step up early on."
For Dysenchuk, picking lacrosse as his college sport was a relatively easy decision, though he admitted to missing football.
"I knew I wanted to play lacrosse in college by my sophomore year in high school," Dysenchuk said. "There wasn't any chance I could play basketball in college, so that wasn't an option. As for football, I never truly considered this option either. I miss football a lot, and watching one of my best friends, Brian Kosnik, play at Dartmouth is difficult after playing my entire football career prior to college alongside him."
While playing football as a running back/outside linebacker for Darien, Dysenchuk was a two-time All-FCIAC player. In his senior year alone, he was named team MVP and was a First Team All-State selection.
As a senior, Dysenchuk carried the ball 153 times for 1,047 yards (6.84 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns, all team-highs. He also added 28 receptions for 533 yards and four scores. On defense, Dysenchuk finished fourth on the team with 78 tackles.
"He's about as humble of a kid as I've ever coached," Darien football coach Rob Trifone said. "Nikki wanted to do whatever it took to make the team work. He certainly was not afraid to get ball, but he also understood the whole team concept. He was one of the best at that."
As far as the Dartmouth lacrosse team concept is concerned, Dysenchuk's goal for 2011 is simple: Find a way to help his team make it to tournament play. Dysenchuk, an attacker throughout high school, is also dealing with the challenges of learning the midfielder position, at which he saw some action during his freshman season.
"As a team, we will obviously aim to make and win the Ivy League Tournament," Dysenchuk said. "The winner of the Ivy League Tournament gets an automatic berth to the National Tournament. On a personal level, I hope to start as a two way middie, playing both offense and defense. I also aspire to score double digit goals and assists."