Soccer clinches second at the last second
With 20 seconds remaining in the first period of the golden goal extra time, Dartmouth had a corner kick but seemed to be heading toward another period of extra time. A cross from midfielder Kevin Dzierzawski '13 landed in the box, ricocheting off players from both teams. As the clock ticked down to zero, Skelly controlled the ball and slammed it into the left side of the net past the hands of goalkeeper Sam Kernan-Schloss mid-dive, marking his first goal of the season.
"Coach [Jeff Cook] normally doesn't want me to go into the box on corner kicks," Skelly said. "Since there was almost no time left, I think he figured I couldn't do any harm. The ball got crossed in, and I just tried to put it on frame."
There was some controversy after the game which was televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel as replays seemed to show that the ball did not cross the goal line until after time expired. The referees never hesitated, however, signaling that the goal counted and that the game was over.
"The goal counts if the referee says it does," Cook said. "We've been on the other side of calls like that, and we really earned this win today. We worked so hard and played really well."
The Bears controlled the pace of play throughout much of the first half, delving deep into the Dartmouth defense with runs along the sideline. Brown put a goal on the board in the 21st minute of play off a corner kick from Thomas McNamara, who delivered a low, driven cross that defender Eric Robertson headed in with authority.
"We obviously had a little bit of trouble defending their set pieces," Cook said. "We tried to defend on the ball side a little more, but they match up just bigger than us."
Dartmouth managed to tally a goal of its own before the first half came to a close. In the 43rd minute, Eric Jayne '15 played a long pass to Andoni Georgiou '14, who received the ball at the top of the penalty area. Spinning to his right, Georgiou offered up a hopeful shot that found its way into the net, leveling the match at one goal each.
"You really don't want to go into halftime losing because then you really know that you have a lot of work to do," Cook said. "That goal settled us down and helped keep us in it."
Dartmouth maintained momentum at the start of the second half, generating scoring chances with apparent ease. Both Georgiou and Alex Adelabu '15 struck at the Brown net without success.
The Brown defense settled down after the Big Green's brief flurry of activity, showing the prowess that allowed the Bears to give up only eight goals this season entering Friday's game. In particular, the physical play of Brown's center backs helped stifle any sustained attacks by Dartmouth.
"They're physically very imposing," Cook said. "As a back line, they don't take many chances, which we really saw out there tonight."
Dartmouth's defense also impressed, as the team withstood an onslaught of Brown attacks in the middle of the second half. The adjustments worked, as Brown had a tougher time generating scoring opportunities late in the game.
"In the first half, we played our standard 4-4-2, but they had some success penetrating our defense," Dzierzawski said. "In the second half, I played deeper and screened their forwards so they couldn't play balls in."
Dartmouth slightly outshot the Bears, with 14 shots to Brown's 13. The Big Green also played a somewhat cleaner game, with seven fouls to Brown's 10. The win jumped Dartmouth over Brown in the Ivy League standings, placing the team second in the league. The Big Green finished undefeated at home in the Ivy League for the second consecutive year.
"I'm really proud of the team," Cook said. "I just want to thank the students, the fans and the whole community for their support for the program. Dartmouth is just a really formidable place for opponents to play, and it's by far the best atmosphere in the Ivy League."
Since Cornell won the league, the Big Red will receive the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Dartmouth will wait to see if it will receive an at-large bid during Monday night's selection show.