Men’s soccer falls to Brown 1-0, qualifies for NCAA tournament
The men’s soccer team (11-5-1, 6-1 Ivy) lost its final Ivy League game this past Saturday to Brown University (10-5-2, 4-1-2 Ivy) in a tight 1-0 contest that was decided by a penalty kick.
“We always knew it was going to be a tough game,” head coach Chad Riley said. “We knew that Brown was a tough team.”
The Big Green was looking for its first-ever 7-0 Ivy League season and the conference’s first since Princeton University in 2010. Dartmouth last finished an Ivy League season undefeated in 2004, when the squad went 5-0-2 in Ancient Eight play.
“To our guys’ credit, I thought the week of training was very good leading up to [the game],” Riley said. “I thought the performance was good as well.”
The game was decided on a penalty kick from Brown senior Tariq Akeel, the player’s fourth of the season. The opportunity for a penalty came from a deflected cross by the Bears led to a collision in the box between goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland ’16 and a Brown striker.
“It was just a cross, and I saw nobody [defending] on the back side, so I decided to go after,” Cleveland said. “The forward was right next to me. Right as I took off to punch the ball wide, he cut right in front of me. I had already committed at that point, so I couldn’t pull out. I just went for the ball, and unfortunately it would’ve put that one right through him.”
The goal conceded was just Dartmouth’s second in Ivy League play and broke Cleveland’s streak of four straight shutouts. The senior co-captain is still the Ivy League leader in save percentage among regular starters by a large margin and is second in saves with 52. Dartmouth ranks eighth for goals against average in all of Division I soccer.
Both teams had opportunities to score in Saturday’s physical matchup. Dartmouth and Brown tied with 12 shots apiece, and the two teams combined for 28 fouls and six yellow cards. The Big Green, however, outshot its opponents 9-2 in the first half but could not capitalize, and the advantage was reversed in the second half when Brown outshot Dartmouth 10-3.
With less than five minutes to go in the first half, Emory Orr ’16 had a great look at the net that Brown sophomore goalkeeper Joey Cipicchio also parried away. The game was Cipicchio’s first win minding the net all season. Regular starter Erik Hanson did not play in this game.
In the 28th minute, Amadu Kunateh ’19 fed a great ball to Noah Paravicini ’19, but Cipicchio saved the shot as well.
In the 55th minute, Brown had a great shot on goal from freshman Matthew Chow, a member of the Canadian U17 World Cup team, who only had the keeper to beat. The shot, however, curved just enough to the left to miss the goal.
The Big Green enters postseason play for the second consecutive year. Last season, Dartmouth advanced to the second round of the NCAA College Cup after a 2-1 win against Fordham University. The team then lost its second match against then No. 10 Providence University, who advanced to the semifinals.
“Similar to what we did last year [leading up to the NCAA College Cup], we just stick to our schedule,” Riley said.
This year, Dartmouth will play Hartwick College in the first round on Thursday Nov. 19 at Burnham Field. The Hawks, who play in the Sun Belt Conference, were ranked No. 88 in the last Division I RPI standings and finished the regular season 11-5-3. If the Big Green advances, the team will face sixth seed Syracuse University in the second round.
“We’re just trying to keep the nerves in check, trying to stay calm,” Matt Danilack ’18 said. “Everyone wants to look ahead and look who we have in the future, but we need to, as always, focus on the little things, focus on one practice at a time, one game at a time. We’re just trying to prepare for Hartwick on Thursday, and that’s it and not looking beyond.”