NCAA run ends as BU moves past Big Green on penalty kicks
After 17 games, the best season in recent years for Dartmouth's men's soccer team is finally over. The Big Green managed to win the Ivy League title outright for the first time since 1992, receiving an NCAA tournament bid for the first time since 2000. In the first round of the tournament, however, Dartmouth lost 4-3 on penalty kicks to Boston University on Friday evening in Boston.
In a game full of action, BU opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Frederico Bianchi received a cross from Roland Erlichman and managed to beat Dartmouth goalkeeper Rowan Anders '07 to break the deadlock. The Big Green players responded quickly and evened out the score 11 minutes later. Co-captain Scott Darci '05 once again set up his striking partner Mark Limpert '07, who fired the ball into the left corner of the net. This was Limpert's team-leading seventh goal of the season, one more than his total last year.
Entering the second half at 1-1, Dartmouth was first to score. After some good footwork by Darci in the 62nd minute, he beat the Terriers' defense and crossed the ball to Amar Takhar '06. The midfielder blasted the ball into the BU net, right of goalkeeper Chad Comroe. This was Takhar's third goal of the season and Darci's fifth assist. With the scoreline at 2-1, it looked as though the Big Green were in control of the game. However, just like many other Dartmouth games throughout the season, this one didn't lack late-action drama. With 13 minutes on the clock, Sedrick Chin scored an equalizer for the Terriers and sent the game into overtime.
After two scoreless periods, the roulette of penalty kicks decided the match. Dartmouth was off to a bad start, missing the first penalty, while the Terriers managed to convert theirs for 1-0.
It was 1-1 after the second attempts as the Big Green hit its next attempt, while the BU shot hit the post. Both teams converted their next two attempts, and it was all level at 3-3 with one last shot remaining. The pressure of the last shot proved overwhelming for Takhar, and goalkeeper Comroe managed to save his attempt.
Taking the last penalty, Terriers' Brian Conway managed to beat Anders to ultimately give BU the win.
"This is the hardest way to lose. It is like a coin toss. Everyone gave all they had," said Darci, who played his last competitive game for the team.
"Obviously, that is a tough way to lose, but our kids played an outstanding game. I'm really proud of the effort," said head coach Jeff Cook after the game. "We achieved a lot this season," he added. "With a young team, we grew and came together. We lose some great seniors, but the future is bright."
The Big Green closes out its season with a 7-4-6 mark, while the Terriers' improve to 10-7-3 and will now face No. 11 St. John's in the second round of the NCAA tournament.