Men’s soccer tops the University of Vermont in OT thriller
Dawson McCartney ’21, one of the Big Green’s leading offensive weapons, winds up to kick the ball against Yale University.
The Dartmouth men’s soccer team had a lineup of big games to play against the University of Vermont on Tuesday and Yale University on Saturday. These were two important games for the Big Green as they looked to boost their offensive production and bounce back from a few games in which they struggled due to a lack of offensive opportunities. The offense provided a few more chances this week; however, the team split two overtime games with a win and a tie.
On Tuesday, the Big Green played the University of Vermont in Burlington. The first half featured no successful shots as the teams were in a tight deadlock. Dartmouth outshot UVM 9-5 in the first half, but was unable to find the back of the net as the UVM goalie was only required to make one save. The momentum seemed to shift in the second half, however, as UVM began to outshoot Dartmouth. Finally, in the 64th minute, UVM broke through on a corner and stuck it past goalie Chris Palacios ’21.
The Big Green looked like they were in trouble as Palacios was forced to make another few saves as time wound down in the second half. Finally, in the 76th minute, Dawson McCartney ’21 broke through for the Big Green on a booming free kick from 30 yards out. McCartney made one of the plays of his career for the Big Green thus far, putting Dartmouth back in the game, which would lead to yet another overtime game.
“In a lot of the overtime games, which most of ours have been so far, it mostly comes down to our level of fitness and our will,” McCartney said. “Seeing that we have been able to pull off some important results in these games speaks a lot to the characteristics and morale of our team.”
In the first overtime period, the Big Green came out blazing and put pressure on the UVM goalie. Opportunities were abundant for the Big Green, especially after Tiger Graham ’21 had a header shot that was just barely saved. Finally, after six minutes of overtime play, the Big Green had a shot deflect off of a UVM defender which wound up in the back of the goal. The offensive pressure created in overtime led to this crucial goal, giving the Big Green a much-needed road win.
“We pride ourselves in being compact and smart defensively because we know that we’ll create chances on the other end,” Justin Donawa ’19 said.
Finally, this weekend, the team was at home playing against the Yale Bulldogs in a heated league matchup. Following a tie at Princeton University last weekend, the team was looking to pick up a very important win against the Bulldogs.
However, the Big Green seemed to have a bit of trouble, yet again, possessing the ball and creating offensive chances. Dartmouth was outshot in the first half, but neither team was able to create more than one or two serious scoring chances in the first half of play. Then, in the 54th minute, the Big Green allowed for a Yale goal, putting the team in a familiar second-half deficit. As time pressed on, Dartmouth created a few chances on offense, but was unable to put shots on goal and force Yale’s goalie to make a play. Finally, in the 63rd minute, the Big Green was able to find forward Yima Asom ’19 who buried his first goal of the season in the back of the net. The Yale goalie only made one save the entire game in the first half, when he was put under pressure, he seemed to come up short. The Big Green just seemed to have difficulty putting pressure on the Yale back line as the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Big Green was a bit disappointed coming off of their second in-conference tie in a row, but this is a start to the season that Dartmouth can certainly recover from. Tying two of the best teams in the Ivy League while many key players are nursing themselves back to health is nothing to hang their heads on.
“We’ve been staying really positive,” Donawa said. “We know that our season is far from over. We know that we have everything to play for in these remaining Ivy games and have little room for error, so we are using this as our motivation to get some good results in the next four to five weeks.”
The Big Green have also had a few notable players who have really stepped up. Center back Matt Pickering ’22 did not show up on the scoring sheet this week, but he’s been a force on the Dartmouth backline.
“Somebody who’s been making a really big difference for us is freshman Matt Pickering that’s stepped in at center back for us,” Noah Paravicini ’19 said. “He’s been very vocal and a good leader for us, despite only being a freshman, and he’s really stepped up when the games get intense.”
The Big Green clearly have the talent to be a contender for the Ivy League title — it’s just a matter of whether they will be able to pull out these close games and win rather than tie in League play going forward.
The Big Green are next in action this Saturday at home against the University of Pennsylvania.