Men's soccer falls to Penn in double overtime battle

by Nedko Kyuchukov | 10/17/05 5:00am

It looked as though history would repeat itself on Saturday, when the Penn Quakers hosted Dartmouth's men's soccer team at Rhodes Field in Philadelphia, Penn. In a carbon copy of Wednesday's scoreless tie against Vermont, Dartmouth once again played a very evenly-matched, yet goalless game against a strong opponent. Just like four days ago, Dartmouth played through two overtimes except this time down a man after a red card. However, this bout woudln't end in a tie as Penn's hero, sophomore Keith Vereb scored a golden goal with 1:11 left in the game to give the Quakers a 1-0 win, something they haven't been able to acheive in their last nine attempts against Dartmouth.

Momentum was undoubtedly on Dartmouth's side entering Saturday's contest. Spirits were high in the Dartmouth camp before the game. The Big Green (6-2-4, Ivy 2-1-0), lead by sensational center-back Lucas Richardson '07 and inspirational goalkeeper Rowan Anders '07, had posed four consecutive shutouts and was unbeaten through its last nine game against Penn. Meanwhile, the Quakers (8-3-0, Ivy 2-1-0) were coming off a 3-0 defeat against Seton Hall and had only won one of their last three games.

It was an even affair early, with both teams having chances to score in the first minutes of the match. Penn's Ryan Tracy almost netted the first score in the fifth minute, when his shot was cleared off the line by the Dartmouth defense. Three minutes later, the Big Green had a similar opportunity, but it was a Penn defender that saved his goal.

In what is already becoming a tradition for the Big Green, the attacking players managed to create a good number of chances, but failed to capitalize on them, forcing Penn's junior goalkeeper Dan Cepero to make six saves, five of which came in the first half. Dartmouth's solid defense, meanwhile, took care that Rowan Anders '07 was not seriously threatened or forced to make a single save during his time on the field.

The game's turning point came in the 84th minute, when Dartmouth received its second red card in two games when Anders handled the ball outside of his box and was kicked out of the game, leaving inexperienced Sean Milligan '09 to defend the Dartmouth goal. With a one-man advantage, Penn stepped-up and applied more pressure on the Big Green defense.

However, it was Dartmouth that could have won the game, but Tom Lobben '08, who returned after suffering an injury, saw his header cleared off the line by senior Erik Violante a minute into the second overtime.

Violante, determined not to suffer another loss to the Big Green went on to serve a free kick to the head of freshman Josh Baugh, whose effort on goal was saved by Milligan in the Dartmouth goal. Making use of one of the rare mistakes of the Big Green's back four, unmarked Quaker Keith Vereb took the rebound and headed it into the net for the golden goal with 1:11 left on the clock. It was the Quakers' second overtime Ivy League win in a row, after they downed Columbia 1-0 in extra time with a Mike Klein golden goal.

"Penn's a very good team, but we're disappointed to lose because I think we gave a very good effort tonight. Our play from our back four was outstanding. We just missed some golden opportunities to score and eventually we broke," said Dartmouth head coach Jeff Cook after the game.

Penn head coach Rudy Fuller said the man advantage didn't change his strategy, but it did influence his team's energy. "We told our guys to take their energy higherand find that goal," he said.

This was Dartmouth's first defeat in the Ivy League this year. At press time, the defending champions now share the third spot with Penn, while Brown and Cornell share the top.

The Big Green will be back in Ivy League action next Sunday, Oct. 23, when they host last-placed Columbia (3-8-0, Ivy 0-2-0) at Chase Field in Hanover.

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