Dartmouth men's soccer rebounds with two Ivy victories

by Jake Philhower | 11/5/18 2:15pm

The Dartmouth men’s soccer team was in Hanover homecoming weekend for a matchup against Harvard University. Despite being hampered by the weather conditions, the Dartmouth Big Green did not miss a beat as they posted one of their best performances of the year. The Big Green was able to come away with a decisive 2-0 victory against the Harvard Crimson.

The first half featured an offensive explosion from the Big Green as they produced five shots on goal. The Big Green was able to put 50 percent of their shots on target, making the Harvard goalie work to keep the Crimson in the game. Then, in the 22nd minute veteran forward Eduvie Ikoba ’19 was able to find the back of the net on a penalty kick. This goal opened up an important lead for the Big Green and got Ikoba his first goal of the season. Struggling to score early throughout the season, Dartmouth secured a vital early lead as they began to settle in against the Crimson.

The conditions during the match were quite abysmal, as it was 33 degrees with some mist and occasional rain.

“Obviously, the cold rain made it harder to play than normal,” Dawson McCartney ’21 said. “But both teams had to play in it and we could tell from the start that the weather was affecting them a little mentally.”

Dartmouth continued to press on throughout the first half, creating a few great scoring opportunities. Though they were unable to convert, they did a great job of keeping Harvard out of the box and limited the Crimson to a total of three shots, with only one save required of goalie Chris Palacios ’21.

Headed into the second half, the Big Green continued their momentum and created numerous scoring chances. In the 56th minute, Yima Asom ’18 found Ikoba who netted his second goal of the season and the game. Ikoba has battled injuries throughout the year and has clearly been a big missing piece on the offensive side of the ball.

While the weather continued to worsen throughout the game, the team trudged forward.

“The conditions didn’t affect us,” Palacios said. “We knew what we were going to face and accepted it and were focused on getting the win.”

The Big Green would go on to hold onto the two-goal second half lead they secured as Palacios blocked Harvard’s only two shots on goal. Statistics don’t do justice to how well Dartmouth handled this game, as they limited the number of shots on goal and offensive opportunities the Crimson had while remaining aggressive on offense.

The Big Green remained unbeaten at home after this big homecoming win and Dartmouth was able to improve their overall record to 5-5-5.

“Overall, it was a great feeling to be able to get a result that we needed,” McCartney said. “To be able to have one of our best performances of the year during homecoming and against Harvard made it even better.”

As the season winds down, the team begins to focus on their senior teammates as they approach the end of their careers.

“Obviously we’re focused on getting two wins in these last two games to have a chance at winning the league,” backup goalkeeper Aaron Schwartz ’21 said after the match. “But, more importantly, I think everyone wants to give everything they’ve got to the seniors over these last few weeks. They’ve dedicated everything to this program over the past four years so that’s the best way we can pay them back.”

This past weekend, the squad was in Ithaca where a tight game against the Cornell Big Red was set to take place. Cornell, who were 10-5 on the year coming into this game, needed a crucial home victory to try and get on track to win the Ivy League.

In the first 15 minutes of the game, Cornell was able to reach the back of the net. They had a quick lead and held Dartmouth off for a significant portion of the game. While Dartmouth was producing good chances, the team struggled to find the back of the goal.

Going into the second half, Dartmouth made a few adjustments and continued to press on. Finally, Braden Salvati ’20 was able to put the ball in the back of the net two minutes into the second half. The team was able to get a crucial equalizer on the board and tie the game up. There were a few good opportunities for both sides in the second half, but neither team could gain an advantage.

In overtime, the Big Green were able to create an early chance and scored with the first shot on net. Ikoba came up with another clutch goal for the Big Green to secure the victory.

With a 6-5-5 overall record and 3-1-2 conference record, the Big Green will close out its season on Nov. 10 with a match against Brown University at home.