Big Green Soccer takes on Yale for mixed results

by Jonathan Gault | 10/10/10 10:00pm

Burnham Field played host to both the men's and women's soccer teams in battles against Ivy League rival Yale University Saturday. The women took an early lead but fell, 3-1, while the men used three goals in the second half to win 3-1.

Lucky Mkosana '12 snapped his eight-game goal drought to lead Dartmouth (6-3-1, 1-1 Ivy) to victory over the visiting Bulldogs (1-9-1, 0-2 Ivy). Emblematic of the Big Green offense this season, Mkosana has come close to scoring in recent games, but until Saturday was unable to provide the finishing touch.

Mkosana gave the Bulldogs four scares, and Yale was fortunate to keep him off the scoresheet for as long as it did. Prior to his goal in the 66th minute, Mkosana's several scoring chances included a shot cleared off the line and another which hit the post.

"[Scoring] felt really good," Mkosana said. "If I kept making those runs, I knew the ball would come."

Head coach Jeff Cook said Mkosana gave an excellent performance and could have had five or six goals.

"I have to compliment him on his mental toughness," Cook said.

Mkosana set up Dartmouth's second goal, laying back a nice ball to Aaron Gaide '11, who finished from close range.

The teams were scoreless in the first half, though Dartmouth outshot the Bulldogs by a wide 10-4 margin.

"I told the guys at halftime we have to fully commit to our principles," Cook said, adding that his players needed to have faith in themselves and continue to shoot with the belief that eventually the shots would go in.

Co-captain Daniel Keat '10 worked off a cross from Brendan Lane '11 just three minutes into the second half to put the Big Green on the board.

The Big Green continued to press after the goal, but Yale sophomore Sebastian Serra capitalized on defensive confusion to tie the game after 57 minutes. Serra took a high ball in the middle of the box and caught Dartmouth keeper Sean Donovan '13 off-guard with a shot to the left post.

Less than two minutes later, Mkosana found Gaide at the far post to restore the Dartmouth lead.

"The response was terrific," Cook said of the goal.

Mkosana finished the scoring in the 66th minute. Holding the ball just outside the left side of the box, he cut back towards the middle and beat several Bulldog defenders before firing a beauty to the top left corner of the goal.

Both Cook and Mkosana said that Saturday's performance showed that the Big Green is capable of great soccer when everything is clicking.

"If we keep on playing the way we played today, we can win the Ivy League," Mkosana said.

The key for Dartmouth thoughout the remainder of the season will be its transition play what happens in the seconds after the ball changes hands, according to Cook.

"We broke through that barrier we seemed to have at the 18-yard line," Cook said. "I was delighted with our finishing. The Ivy League is going to be very competitive. Five wins will probably win it this year."

The win levels Dartmouth's Ivy record at 1-1 as the team prepares to face the University of Pennsylvania in Hanover next weekend. Penn, ranked number 23 in the country in the latest NSCAA poll, will provide a tough test in what promises to be a grueling Ivy League schedule.

Though the Dartmouth women (3-6-1, 1-2 Ivy) were able to get on the board first. The team allowed three goals in a 15-minute span in the first half, spelling doom for the Big Green.

"We're gutted," head coach Angie Hind said. "To be down 3-1 after they've only had three shots paints a vivid picture."

Dartmouth outshot the Bulldogs (5-6-1, 1-2 Ivy) 13-6, but the Big Green couldn't recover from Yale's scoring outburst midway through the first half.

Forward Aly O'Dea '12 opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, heading home a free kick from Aurelia Solomon '13 to put the home team on top. Yale seized control of the remainder of the game, as the Big Green was unable to effectively clear its lines at the back.

"After we scored, we got complacent," co-captain Katie Davis '11 said. "They came out much harder and had three goals that should never have been scored."

Bulldogs forward Becky Brown notched her fourth goal of the season to pull Yale level at the 19-minute mark. Seven minutes later, the Bulldogs were on top after freshman Kristen Forster beat goalkeeper Colleen Hogan '12 in a one-on-one. Sophomore Mary Kubiuk rounded out the scoring in the 34th minute, chipping home from the right side of the box.

Brown, last year's Ivy League Player of the Year, assisted on both the second and third goals.

"Three defensive errors cost us the goals," Hind said. "It was a lack of concentration. We just failed to cope in the final third and any ball that came in, we struggled with."

Davis said it was disappointing to squander an early lead, which has been a rarity for the Big Green this season.

"We've had a consistent problem with coming out flat," Davis said. "It was sloppy defending, letting your man get away from you."

Though the Big Green were unable to recover from the 3-1 deficit, Hind praised the performance of co-captain Sarah Bromley '11 at the back.

"Sarah was our best player today," Hind said. "She was outstanding, a real captain's performance."

Though Brown was able to break through during the first half, Bromley played well against her in the second half, limiting Brown's opportunities on the right wing.

The Dartmouth women will look to halt their two-game losing streak as they face Boston University at home on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. BU (9-5, 4-0 America East) should prove to be a formidable opponent, as four of its five losses come at the hands of ranked teams, including close one-goal losses to #1 Stanford University and #4 Boston College.

The men return to action on Saturday against Penn (8-2, 2-0 Ivy). The Big Green will look to stage a repeat of last year's 3-1 victory in Philadelphia as Penn travels to Burnham Field for a 4:00 p.m. kickoff.