Men's and women's soccer take on Columbia at home
Men’s soccer turned in a formidable defensive performance in its 2-1 win against Columbia University on Saturday following a midweek loss in a top-20 battle against the University of New Hampshire. Also facing the Lions, women’s soccer fell 3-0.
Women’s soccer head coach Ron Rainey pointed out the similarity of the Columbia game to the game against Princeton University. On Sept. 30, the No. 14 Tigers dealt Dartmouth a 2-0 home loss that was contested by both sides before Princeton managed to finish some of its chances in the second half.
“We need to be more dangerous in the final third,” Rainey said. “[Columbia was] the team that took care of [its] chances. The first goal was a real classy finish.”
On that goal, Columbia’s Emily Koe came flying into the box and hammered home a ball from Amaris Hemmings. Dartmouth’s Mariel Gordon ’21 had no chance to save the shot.
The second and third goals were not the result of precise buildup and a clinical finish — they were the product of a few plays that turned disorganized moments into opportunities for Columbia. In particular, the final tally was an own goal conceded by Dartmouth.
“They scored some fluky goals.” Rainey said. “Own goals like that are part of the game and our players have been there before and know how to respond. That being said, we don’t want it to happen again this season.”
While Columbia’s second and third goals were not beautiful plays, they effectively took Dartmouth out of the game.
“The lesson is, service into the box can provide positive results.” Rainey said.
The men’s team fared better over the course of its game.
Dartmouth controlled the first half in the men’s game for stretches, and its play was rewarded with an early goal for Eduvie Ikoba ’19.
Dartmouth held Columbia without a shot in the first half. The Lions’ lone opportunity came off a corner kick that the Big Green struggled to clear.
“It was a good game for me and a great one for the team.” Ikoba said. “We looked at them and how they were going to play. Our coach did a good job of giving us an idea for attacking them and also a good plan to defend.”
For men’s head coach Chad Riley, the second goal in a game is a crucial one. Against the Lions, Dartmouth grabbed the second goal early in the second half, forcing its opponents to chase the game from behind.
“Columbia was pushing, and we almost got that third goal when they put too much of their team forward.” Riley said. “Balls into the box are dangerous, and it is always possible for a team to put some in, so we did a good job dealing with it.”
Columbia did manage to get a goal in response, in a controversial play that barely had the ball cross the line. The ball slipped through the hands of freshman keeper Christopher Palacios ’21, but Palacios thought he had pulled it off the line and began to play on when the assistant referee declared that it was a goal.
“One of the challenges in goalkeeping is that you never get recognized until you make a mistake.” Riley said. “Mistakes get magnified. That’s why the second goal was really important.”
The goal was not enough for Columbia to come back, as the Dartmouth defense never yielded another goal scoring chance.
“Defensively, I’m very confident,” Ikoba said. “Wyatt [Omsberg ’18], Tyler Dowse [’18], Henry Baldwin [’20] and [Palacios] have all done a great job this year. We’re a strong team and scoring one goal on us is very difficult.”
Palacios, who saw his first collegiate action against then-No. 13 Michigan State University and has started every game but one thereafter, is second in the Ivy League in goals against average and ranks in the top 20 goalkeepers in the nation. He is tied for 20th in the nation with six shutouts.
“[Palacios] is not really a freshman anymore.” Riley said. “He has a lot of experience. He’s been in three or four top 20 games already, and he has handled it well and been mature.”
The men play Tuesday against the University of Connecticut to finish its out-of-conference schedule. The men and women take on Harvard University on the road next Saturday.