Men's soccer scores three in 15 minutes to beat Princeton

by Manisha Apte | 10/5/09 10:00pm

A combined scoring effort from seasoned veterans and newcomers led the Dartmouth men's soccer team to a decisive 4-2 victory over Princeton, as the Big Green opened its Ivy League season on a positive note.

Tied at one apiece in the first half, Dartmouth waited until the 76th minute of play to begin its late surge of goals, spurred by strike from Andrew Olsen '11. Rookie defender Teo Larsson-Sax '13 scored the first goal of his Big Green career, while striker Lucky Mkosana '12 and co-captain Craig Henderson '09 each put a bookend on Dartmouth's goal scoring.

A waterlogged field made play difficult, and both No. 18 Dartmouth (6-2-1, 1-0-0 Ivy) and the Tigers (5-5-0, 0-1-0 Ivy) had trouble creating any chances in the beginning of the first half.

"With the water on the field, it wasn't really conducive to nice, pretty-passing football," co-captain Daniel Keat '10 said.

Mkosana had the first scoring chance for either team, receiving a pass between two defenders with only the keeper to beat. Puddles of water were enough to stop the ball just short of the goal line, however, and the match remained scoreless until the 34th minute, when Mkosana collected a rebound, and this time made no mistake, slotting the ball into the right corner.

The rain got the best of Dartmouth again just seven minutes later, however, as an unusual mishit from a reliable Big Green defense handed Princeton the ball. A diving save attempt from goalie Sean Donovan '13 left Princeton freshman Matt Sanner with an open net, into which he tapped a slowly rolling ball for their first goal.

The start of the second half saw a couple of scoring chances, but neither goalie was really tested until a Princeton corner and subsequent header forced Donovan to make a leaping save.

In the 76th minute, Mkosana crossed the ball in from the left wing, and Olsen found himself perfectly positioned in the box to tuck the ball away for a goal. He immediately sprinted to celebrate with the crowd of Big Green fans who stood their ground, despite the torrential downpour.

"We tried to stretch Princeton out by getting Olsen on the left and Austin Bowers '11 on the right," Cook said. "[Olsen] was a threat down the left wing, and with that goal we could settle down, and we had the chance to put pressure on them."

Dartmouth took its lead in stride, mounting multiple attacks leading up to the 86th minute, when a scramble in the box from a Dartmouth corner kick allowed Larsson-Sax to get his foot on the ball and notch a third goal for the Big Green.

Dartmouth wasted little time finishing off the Tigers, and just two minutes later, a pass from Keat let Bowers feed the ball in to Henderson, who scored his fourth goal of the season.

A last-minute free kick brought Princeton a consolation goal, as the ball slipped out of Donovan's hands and allowed the Tigers to recollect and score.

Larsson-Sax's sliding tackle in the 72nd minute resulted in the only yellow card of the game, but Keat said that the physicality of the match was to be expected.

"It's just an Ivy League game, and every game means a lot to both teams especially the first one, since everyone wants to get off to a winning start," he said.

After Wednesday's win against the University of Vermont (1-6-3, 1-0-0 America East) and Saturday night's victory, the Big Green must prepare for a long stretch on the road, facing three opponents away before returning to Hanover for the Homecoming match against Columbia (2-5-1, 0-1-0 Ivy) on Oct. 24.

Despite a previous two-game losing streak on the road, Cook isn't worried about the tough schedule ahead.

"We're going to miss Burnham Field, but I think if we're going to achieve our goals of this season, we have to learn to play away," he said. "We've got a number of guys who have done this before, so they'll hopefully lead us through this, and I have tremendous confidence in our team to handle that."

Dartmouth will face Yale (2-4-2, 0-1-0 Ivy) in its second Ivy League game of the season at 4:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 10, in New Haven, Conn.