Miscues mark Big Green 3-1 loss to #22 Boston University
The Big Green lineup that started in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Boston University looked very different than the team that dominated Yale University and Penn University at Burnham Field earlier this season.
Dartmouth (7-3-1, 2-0-0 Ivy) left many of its senior starters on the bench to start the game, including three of its top four point-scorers: Alex Adelabu ’15, Robin Alnas ’15 and Hugh Danilack ’15.
Colin Heffron ’15 and Gabe Hoffman-Johnson ’14, both regulars in the lineup, did not play.
And the Terriers (9-2-1, 4-0-0 Patriot) got off to a quick start, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes and adding a third goal in the last minute of the first half.
Danilack credited the variety in the lineup to the general wear-and-tear of a physically demanding season.
“We have been playing a lot of games, so guys have some injuries, some fatigue and we have been resting guys mid-week, and we’ve been doing that the past couple weeks,” Danilack said. “Guys have been really stepping up.”
Head coach Chad Riley felt comfortable with the changes in the lineup, pointing to the number of strong leaders on the team.
James Hickok ’17 started in goal for the Big Green, his third start of the season. Hickok originally split time in the first few games of the season with Stefan Cleveland ’16.
The Terriers’ first goal of the game came after a free kick opportunity just outside of the goalie box. After the free kick created a bit of chaos, sophomore Felix De Bona found the back of the net within a mass of Dartmouth defenders.
BU’s next goal came nine-and-a-half minutes into the first half. Freshman Bjarki Benediktsson crossed the ball over to fellow freshman David Amirani, who found the top right corner of the net from the 18-yard line.
Boston’s third and final goal of the night came in the final minute of the first half. A defensive miscommunication between Hickok and Dartmouth’s defenders led to an empty net opportunity for BU senior Parker Powell.
While Riley said he felt the goals were unfortunate, he said they were not entirely indicative of the team’s performance.
“The third goal was a moment of insanity,” Riley said.
Midfielder Gabe Stauber ’15 was also reluctant to point to the team’s starting lineup as a source of the difficult first half.
“We just mixed up the squad, got guys some minutes and unfortunately we let up some tough goals in the first half, but it was nothing that we weren’t prepared for,” Stauber said.
In the 28th minute, the Big Green received a major boon, as BU senior defender Kelvin Madzongwe received a red card for elbowing Dartmouth midfielder Stefan Defregger ’15, while jockeying for position inside the box before a free kick.
Defregger would leave the game for the rest of the half but would go on to play the second half.
Dartmouth saw the red card as a major opportunity.
“It’s exciting when you’re up a man because you know that you’re going to have time and space, but I think the main thing for us was to stay focused and not alter our game plan,” Stauber said.
Dartmouth pressured the Terriers for the rest of the game, using the man advantage to make some lineup adjustments going into the second half.
“They had a red card, they were tired and I think the decision in the second half was get some guys who are fresh out there and see if we could push it and try and get some goals back,” Danilack said.
Riley also acknowledged the boost in Dartmouth’s second-half offensive performance — the Big Green had 10 shots to the Terriers’ one. Dartmouth finished the contest with a 14-4 shot advantage over BU.
“In the second half, we honestly made enough chances to win the game, as crazy as that sounds,” Riley said.
The Big Green capitalized on a corner kick to take its first and only goal of the night.
Defregger took control of the ball off the corner, and passed it to Ricardo Gomez ’17, who scored his second goal of the season.
Riley acknowledged that although every game is important, the team still has a long season ahead.
“You’ve got to let it sting tonight, but the sun will come out tomorrow and then you’ve just got to be so focused on preparing for a big weekend on Saturday,” Riley said.
The Big Green next takes the field Saturday when it will host Ancient Eight rival the University of Pennsylvania at 7 p.m.
“It’s very important. We don’t lose on Burnham Field,” Danilack said. “Tonight that didn’t happen, but we’re looking out for Saturday and we’re planning on getting a win. Penn is a very good team, it is going to be a battle, a good competition but hopefully we come away with the win. We’re excited for it, and it is huge for the Ivy League title.”