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The Dartmouth
February 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men’s soccer hits the road to face UVM

The men’s soccer team hopes to extend its unbeaten streak to five against UVM this afternoon.
The men’s soccer team hopes to extend its unbeaten streak to five against UVM this afternoon.

Men’s soccer heads to Burlington to face the University of Vermont this afternoon in its final non-league game before the Ancient Eight schedule begins at Princeton University on Saturday.

After collecting a 2-0 over Fordham University last Saturday, the Big Green (3-2-1, 0-0-0 Ivy) looks to push its unbeaten streak to five games against a Vermont team (5-3-1, 0-0-0 America East) fresh off a 1-0 loss to Central Connecticut State University.

The unbeaten streak, head coach Chad Riley said, is tied to the team’s habits.

“Good habits means you don’t give away easy goals, and once you don’t give away easy goals it’s tough to lose games,” he said.

So far, each team’s performance has depended on location. Dartmouth is 1-1-1 on the road so far this season but 2-0-0 at Burnham Field. That also extends to scoring — the Dartmouth men have been outscored 7-5 on the road but have a 6-0 advantage on their home pitch. The Catamounts are 2-1 in Burlington and have only given up three goals in three home games.

In the past four games, the Big Green has tallied 10 goals, compared to just one in its first two games. And the Catamounts have lost three of their last five after starting the season on a torrid 4-0-0 run that saw the team outscore opponents 9-3.

The Big Green will look toward its high-powered offense, led by leading goal scorers Alex Adelabu ’15 and Robin Alnas ’15, who each have scored two goals, and co-captain Hugh Danilack ’15, who has one goal and three assists.

If goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland ’16 starts today, the game will mark his fifth consecutive start for the Big Green. Cleveland had split time with James Hickok ’17 earlier this season, but has held the last four teams faced to only three goals in four consecutive starts.

The Catamounts are led by sophomore forward Brian Wright. Wright received the America East Rookie of the Year award last season and is currently the leading goal scorer and points producer for Vermont this season, with five and 12, respectively. No one else on the team has more than five points.

Senior Conor Leland leads the Catamounts between the pipes, starting seven of the team’s nine games. Leland has allowed eight goals and has 17 saves. Two of his three wins have been shutouts.

Vermont will be without midfielder Carter Lincoln, as he will serve a one-game suspension for a red card against Central Connecticut.

The only common opponent for the teams so far this season is Hofstra Univeristy (3-3-2, 0-0-0 CAA). The Big Green beat the Pride 2-1 on the road on Sept. 14 while UVM lost 1-0 a week later. First-half goals by Adelabu and Alnas propelled the Dartmouth men to victory despite a 53rd-minute goal by Hofstra. Cleveland came up big, notching five saves in the win. Otherwise, the game was very tightly contested — the Big Green won the shot battle and corner kick contest by one, 14-13 and 8-7, respectively.

The Catamounts gave up a 22nd-minute goal to the Pride and could not recover. Leland had three saves in the contest, but Hofstra junior Patric Pray matched him with four in the first half alone.

Last season, the Big Green tied the Catamounts 1-1 at home, which Hickok said was a tough game.

“We expect them to be a big, physical team that is going to be challenging,” he said. “But we also don’t want to lose focus on the Ivy League play coming up.”

This trajectory resonates with midfielder Colin Heffron ’15.

“Our priority is to win on Wednesday to help keep some momentum going and set us up for success on Saturday,” he said.

The game kicks off at 3 p.m. this afternoon.