Men's soccer drops one on road versus Cornell
In the 103rd minute of play, a cross to the back post led to a header at the net for the Big Red (14-1, 5-1 Ivy). A block by the defense sent the ball out to the feet of senior forward Tyler Regan, who controlled the ball inside the penalty area. Regan's initial attempt at the goal was also rebuffed, but the rebound came right back to him and he promptly deposited it in the back of the net for the sudden-death game-winner.
"That second goal was just an absolute scramble in front of the net," goalkeeper Noah Cohen '14 said. "No one made a mistake. They just managed to put it home."
Dartmouth struck first in the game at the 29-minute mark off a free kick from just outside the penalty area. Midfielder Kevin Dzierzawski '13 sent the ball curling to the far post, where Colin Heffron '15 rose above the defense to slam it in.
The Big Red remained undaunted, however, and quickly responded with a goal of its own. Junior forward Stephen Reisert brought down a long ball from midfield and chipped the ball beyond Cohen's reach just 93 seconds after falling behind.
"Giving up that quick response goal is definitely something we struggled with this year," Dzierawski said. "It definitely takes the wind out of your sails a little bit."
The elements proved to be a factor in the game, although Dartmouth was not deterred by the cold and rain. When the teams switched sides at halftime, Dartmouth got the advantage of having the wind at their back for the second half.
"We just wanted to go into the half tied since we were playing into the wind," defender Justin Rosner '14 said. "They play a lot of long balls, so playing into the wind hurt them a lot since it kept their passes hanging up in the air."
The second half started with perhaps Dartmouth's best chance to take back the lead when Patrick Murray '14 struck at goal with a shot that was barely saved by Cornell's keeper, Rick Pflasterer. The rebound caromed to Brad Jacobson '13, whose attempt grazed the keeper's fingers, hit the crossbar and came down, landing just inches from the goal line.
"Getting those close chances can really propel you forward as a team," Dzierawski said. "It might be a little tough as an individual coming so close, but we were confident throughout."
Dartmouth maintained its effective defensive strategy through the second half, holding Cornell scoreless for the entire period. Since the Big Red primarily relied on long balls and set pieces, the Big Green hung back in a tighter defensive shell to force the Big Red to break it down.
"They play a very direct style by playing the ball just as far forward as possible," Rosner said. "We gave them more space so they had to beat us with passing, and it worked pretty well for us in limiting their chances."
Cornell tallied 28 shots in the game, dwarfing Dartmouth's 14 attempts. However, the Big Red only notched one more shot on goal than Dartmouth, with nine to the Big Green's eight.
"Just because they had a lot of shots does not mean that they were controlling the game," Cohen said. "A lot of their shots were more speculative and weren't real attempts at the net. We had at least the same amount of solid chances as them."
Dartmouth also succeeded in stymieing the Ivy League's leading scorer, forward Daniel Haber. Haber is tied for second in the NCAA in goals with 17 and ranks second in goals per game and first in points per game. Although he took 10 shots against the Big Green, none of them found the back of the net.
"He's really not such a special player," Cohen said. "He fits in their system well and it generates a lot of chances for him."
The loss dropped Dartmouth from a tie for second in the Ivy League to sole possession of third place. The team will play its final regular season game Friday night at Burnham Field in a nationally-televised game against Brown University. If Dartmouth wins and Cornell loses against Columbia University, the Big Green can still tie the Big Red atop the Ivy League, though Cornell holds the tiebreaker for the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid due to its victory over Dartmouth on Saturday.
"In high school, I came to Dartmouth to watch the Dartmouth-Brown game," Rosner said. "It's probably our biggest rivalry game, and it's going to be really good to play them on national TV. Players love to play in these kinds of games."