Men's soccer triumph sets up Ivy title game at Brown
Dartmouth men's soccer forward Scott Darci '06 celebrated his Senior Day in style after scoring both goals in Dartmouth's 2-0 shutout of Cornell at Chase Field yesterday.
The co-captain scored one in each half, notching his first two goals of the season. With the win, the Big Green improves to 10-2-4 on the season (Ivy 5-1, while the Big Red falls to 3-9-2(Ivy 2-4). The win had even bigger value in light of Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Brown at the hands of Yale.
Dartmouth is now tied with Brown at the top of the table with 15 points, while Yale sits in third with a 4-1-1- record and 13 points.
Before the game, the Dartmouth community celebrated the careers of their six seniors on the team -- Darci, J.P Barbosa, Darnell Nance, Panagiotis Savidis, P.J. Scheufele and Amar Takhar. The graduating members of the team, whose accomplishments include two Ivy League titles and an NCAA appearance, were handed flowers and greeted on the field by their parents.
The Big Green started the game in high spirits and tried to pressure its opponents early on. Its efforts paid off in the 25th minute, when Darci made use of a good throw-in by co-captain Scheufele and found the Big Red's net for the opener. This was the forward's first goal of the season, and the 15th in his collegiate career.
Meanwhile, classmate Scheufele recorded his team-leading 6th assist of the season.
"I tried to get body position and then I had a second to shoot and I shot. It is a great feeling to do it on Senior Day," said Darci. "I'm delighted for him. Scott's performance today was outstanding. We're going to give him flowers and introduce his parents before every game," joked head coach Jeff Cook.
However, after the goal, the Dartmouth players sat back and thought they had done their job. They could have been punished for their leniency late in the first half, when in the space of two minutes, Kyle Lynch and Brian Scruton both missed great chances to equalize for the Big Red.
In the second half, both teams were struggling to connect with their passes and the quality of play decreased greatly.
"There was no flow of play in the beginning of the second half. The boys were too nervous and did not play as I expected them," commented Cook.
Senior forward Papa Seye posed the danger for the Big Green goal, but the defense managed to cope and block the shots of the Senegalese attacker.
However, it was Scott Darci again that had reasons to celebrate as he scored his second goal of the day, securing the win in the 84th minute. Brian Lappas '08 sent the ball over the Cornell defense with a diving header. Darci turned quickly and hit it first-time on the half-volley, sending the ball beautifully past Cornell keeper Steve Lesser.
After the second goal, Dartmouth players relaxed and became a lot more confident, controlling the play for the rest of the game.
Apart from the seniors on the team, goalkeeper Rowan Anders '07 also had a reason to celebrate on Sunday. The shutout was his eighth of the season, which tied him for the school record with John Scott '88. His 13 career shutouts also rank him fifth in Dartmouth history, just three shy of the college record.
The Big Green will be back in action for the last time in the regular season on Saturday, November 12th when it travels to Providence for the showdown of the season, the battle for the Ivy title. With Dartmouth and Brown tied at the top with 15 points, a win would secure Ivy honors for Dartmouth.
In the case of a draw, there is the possibility that Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale share the title, should the Bulldogs win their away game at Princeton. If the Bears take the three points on Saturday, then they will be in sole possession of the Ivy League title and the automatic NCAA berth.