Men's soccer defeats Harvard in a 2-1 road thriller
In what has been the best week of his collegiate career, Darnell Nance '06 scored the game-winning goal with only 2:28 left on the clock to give Dartmouth men's soccer a vital 2-1 win away to Harvard.
The win keeps the Big Green in close pursuit of the Ivy League title, as the defending champions are currently in second with 12 points, three behind No. 18 Brown.
Both teams started the game positively in the bad meteorological conditions, and despite the falling snow, managed to create a number of chances on goal.
In the 35th minute, the Ivy League's leading goal scorer Charles Altchek managed to capitalize on one of Harvard's opportunities and score his eighth goal of the season. He hit a venomous one-timer off a cross that was set up by Nicholas Tornaritis and Brian Charnock finding the back fo the net to put the Crimson up one early.
Only five minutes later, however, freshman John Stamatis committed two bookable-offenses and was sent off, leaving the Crimson with 10 players on the field as early as the 43rd minute.
Making use of the extra man, Dartmouth wasted no time in equalizing. Seven minutes into the second half, Craig Henderson '09 took a misplayed ball from the Harvard defense and shot past goalkeeper Ryan Johnson from 20-yards out, making it 1-1.
This was the second collegiate goal for the New Zealand-born striker after he netted the second goal in a 2-0 win against Oneonta State.
Even though Dartmouth managed to outshoot their opponents 17-7, the game proved evenly matched as snow started to cover the field completely, limiting the players' mobility.
Also, the Big Green players' accuracy was far from perfect, as only five of their 17 shots were on target, compared to the Crimson's six shots on goal out of seven. However, goalkeeper Rowan Anders '07 did well to keep his goal dry in the second half, making a total of five saves throughout the match.
Still, in true Dartmouth fashion, the Big Green kept their concentration alive and managed to grab a winner in the closing minutes of regular time. Nance, who was the two-goal hero in Wednesday's 2-0 win over in-state rivals UNH, scored his fifth goal of the season in the 88th minute, giving his team the three points they sought in the Ivy standings.
The senior midfielder took control of the ball in midfield and tried to feed a pass through the Crimson defense. However, the ball was blocked and fell back to Nance, who wasted no time in firing a low rocket from 19-yards into the back of Harvard's net. Nance now has sole possession of the first spot in the team's scoring table with five goals, and also leads the points table with 11 points.
"It was a fantastic comeback win away from home and it keeps us in contention for the Ivy championship," said Dartmouth head coach Jeff Cook After the win, Dartmouth improved to 9-2-4 on the season, with a 4-1-0 record in the Ivy League. Meanwhile, Harvard dropped to 4-7-2 and is still winless in the Ancient Eight, holding a 0-4-1 record.
In the other game of the day that got the attention of the Big Green fans, No. 18 Brown downed Penn 2-0 and moved a step closer to the Ivy League title, bringing their Ivy record to 5-0-0 and leading the Ancient Eight with 15 points.
With two games left in the season, the Ivy League is a two-horse race as Brown and Dartmouth will battle for the glory and an automatic NCAA berth. Dartmouth will be back in action next Sunday, Nov. 6, when it hosts Cornell at Chase Field, while Brown will travel to Yale a day earlier. The potential title showdown between Brown and Dartmouth will be on Nov. 12, when the Big Green will travel to Providence to to defend its title.