Despite a valiant second-half effort, the men’s soccer team took its first Ivy League loss, 2-1, against the University of Pennsylvania Saturday. This match marked the 63rd time the Big Green (7-4-1, 2-1 Ivy) was pitted against the Quakers (6-6-0, 2-1 Ivy), the defending Ivy-League Champions. It was an unfortunate end to Dartmouth’s four-game home stand at Burnham Field,
“It was definitely disappointing,” head coach Chad Riley said. “But the team really picked it up in the second half, took a lot of shots and held the other team to only two shots during that period.”
The Big Green started the game in its usual fashion with an aggressive front and a quick defense capable of converting its opponent’s offensive passes into playmaking assists for shots. Dartmouth and Penn each took a corner kick in the first six minutes before an error by the Quakers gave the Big Green a penalty kick that allowed Gabe Stauber ’15 to send the ball into the left corner of the net and put the home team up, 1-0, in the seventh minute.
The kick, Stauber said, was a good opportunity for the team to get started.
“We haven’t gotten a lot of PKs this season,” Stauber said. “But I had a nice set up, and it’s always great to get the first goal of the game.”
Dartmouth kept pressure on the Quakers and followed with another shot on goal a minute later by Gabe Hoffman-Johnson ’14 that soared just wide of the net. In the 35th minute, Penn equalized off of a corner kick, with freshman defender Sam Wancowicz pounding a one-timer into the back of the net.
“It was unfortunate to get scored on by a corner,” goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland ’16 said. “Our defender headed it and it deflected into the other team’s player and wound up in the back of the net, and that’s unlucky.”
Even with three fouls called on the away team in the remaining ten minutes of the first half, the Big Green could not score again. A high shot by Alexander Marsh ’17 in the 43rd minute missed the mark, and the period ended with a tied score.
The Big Green came out of halftime determined to strike first and armed with the support of a rowdy homecoming crowd. The team began the second period with another strong start as Jonathan Nierenberg ’18 took a shot on goal in the 47th minute. But Penn could adjust to Dartmouth’s intense offense, and in the 58th minute, the Quakers scored their second goal of the night off of a give-and-go dribbler that went just past Cleveland, putting the away team up by one.
This started a race against the clock for the Big Green. The team took shot after shot in the remaining 32 minutes of regulation play. Hugh Danilack ’15 and Matt Greer ’18 were both blocked on their shots before the Quakers were penalized with two yellow cards in the 76th and 77th minutes. Dartmouth tried to make plays off of the awarded free kicks, but shots by Stauber and Nick Rooney ’15 could not find the back of the net. The Big Green remained relentless in its pursuit to send the match to overtime. Dartmouth kept the ball in the Penn zone for much of the second half, denying the Quakers any shots after their second goal. Hoffman-Johnson took three shots in the remaining five minutes but also could not score, leaving Dartmouth a goal short and on the wrong side of a 2-1 score line.
“This loss kind of stings,” Stauber said. “We outplayed them in the second half and just couldn’t finish our chances, which was tough.”
The Big Green outshot the Quakers, 13-7; nine of Dartmouth’s shots came in the second period. The Quakers received three yellow cards while Dartmouth received none. The home team also led in corner kicks, 5-4.
The men will have a full week before traveling to New York to play Columbia University.
“After some disappointment at home, it’s not bad to play away,” Riley said. “Columbia will be tough, but we’re still in such a strong spot in the league that we need to take advantage of the opportunity that is still there.”
The game will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday.