Golden boy returns with golden goal in Big Green win

by Brad Limpert | 10/30/02 6:00am

In the words of the Grateful Dead, the Big Green just keeps truckin' on.

The men's soccer team (6-6-1) extended its winning streak to four and is now unbeaten in its last five games after a gritty 1-0 victory yesterday afternoon against Holy Cross (10-4-1).

Dartmouth entered the game prepared for a dog-fight, and that's exactly what it got from a tough Holy Cross team that was nationally-ranked until the last few weeks.

The Big Green benefited from the fact the Crusaders were playing on only one day's rest after a postponement pushed their game against Army back to Sunday.

The Big Green, however, was battered in its own right and was forced to go at it without the services of co-captain Matt Miller '03.

Miller sat out Tuesday's game with a knee injury, though the team was relieved to see X-ray results come back negative, making it likely that Miller will be back to anchor the midfield on Sunday.

While Dartmouth controlled play for most of the first half, the team looked like it was having trouble adjusting to the field. To try to save a water-logged Chase Field that is probably already beyond repair, the game was moved to one of the adjacent practice fields.

Slightly narrower than the game field, the Big Green strikers were given little room to maneuver and had a tough time cracking the Crusaders' defense.

The teams entered the break scoreless and the beginning of the second 45 appeared to be more of the same. Holy Cross' chances were limited to the occasional counterattack and were quickly snuffed out by Dartmouth's back four.

The Big Green was pressuring in its offensive third, but legitimate scoring chances were also at a premium for the home side.

With the game down to the final eight minutes of regulation, it looked liked it was headed for overtime when the Big Green converted off a corner kick.

With a host of white jerseys crashing on the near post, Matt LaBarre '04 found himself the lone Dartmouth attacker at the back post. Going up against three defenders, Labarre won the head-ball and redirected it into the back of the net.

While the team had waited 82 minutes for the goal, the wait seemed understandably much longer for the junior midfielder. One of the hardest workers on the team, Tuesday's goal was LaBarre's first since he set the freshman record for scoring almost two years ago.

"It feels like the giant monkey residing on my back finally hopped off," Labarre said.

"The team has been playing great the past few weeks and the results speak for themselves. It was great to get our first win at home and give the fans something to cheer about."

The Big Green now tries to get healthy and ready for Sunday's showdown against Harvard. Dartmouth is currently tied with the Crimson for second place in the Ivy League and can ill-afford a draw or loss if it wishes to catch Penn for the title.

To use the words of JerryGarcia once again, the Big Green men just hope the light keeps shining on them, and they are beginning to see what a long, strange trip it is.

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