Women’s soccer was unable to break into the Ivy League win column this weekend, tying the University of Pennsylvania 1-1 at Rhodes Field. In fact, after nearly three hours, they came within 19 seconds of adding a third to the loss column, until Jill Dayneka ’16 found the tying tally with her head.
The Big Green (7-3-3, 0-2-2 Ivy) had every reason to expect the match against the Quakers (5-3-5, 0-1-3) to be an even fight, yet they came out flat, head coach Ron Rainey said. Penn dominated play in the first half, earning eight shots to Dartmouth’s three.
“I thought that we came out a little bit tentative and not ready for how they were going to attack us and play physically. They worked harder than us at the beginning of the game,” Rainey said.
At halftime the team tried to regroup, but shortly after the break Penn junior Olivia Blaber fired a shot across the goal from 30 yards out, just out of reach of the diving Dartmouth goalkeeper Casey Cousineau ’17. Penn went up 1-0.
Dartmouth fought Penn more strongly in the second half, putting up five shots to Penn’s one.
“In the second half I thought we attacked well,” Rainey said.
Then, midway through the second half, the lights went out. This gave Dartmouth a second, 20-minute-long halftime to regroup and change their formation.
“It’s something that I’ve never been involved in in like 25 years, so it gives you almost another halftime,” Rainey said. “And at that time we decided to change our formation a little bit to give us a few more opportunities going forward, so that worked actually pretty well.”
Dartmouth pushed one of its defensive center midfielders into a more offensive role. Since Penn was playing an identical formation, this placed the Big Green defense under more pressure, but also made it equally difficult for Penn to defend itself.
“We really went flying at them for the next 20 minutes,” Dayneka said.
When the lights went out again with mere minutes to play, the Big Green women knew they had little time left. In the 20 minutes it took to reset the lights, they prepared themselves for four minutes of battle.
“The seniors just kind of grouped together, and we were like, ‘We’re going to go for it. We have nothing to lose here, everything to gain. We should just fly forward as much as possible,’” Dayneka said.
With this attacking mindset came the decision to send Dayneka, a defender, forward when Jackie Friedman ’16 took free kicks. Penn was very aggressive in the air, Dayneka said, and Dartmouth was struggling to win the air balls. When the team earned a free kick with seconds left on the clock from about 30 yards out, everything was in position for an equalizing goal.
“[Friedman] kind of put it in an area only I could get to, and I was like, okay, I better get there,” Dayneka said. “It was exciting, but it kind of felt like the final push that we had been working for all game.”
Having tied the game 1-1, Dartmouth had a decision to make as they headed into overtime.
“Sometimes you head into overtime, and you don’t want to take too many chances because its golden goal, so you’ve got to wait for one of your chances to go and bury it, because sometimes you’re going for it too hard and you can give something up in the process,” Dayneka said, “But we said immediately, let’s go for it, we want to go for it.”
That decision turned out well for Dartmouth, as they put high pressure on Penn, though the game still ended after two scoreless overtime periods in a tie.
“Through a couple of the power outages and those kind of things we stayed pretty resilient and tough, and it was pretty cool to score that late in the game to tie it up,” Rainey said.
After an impressive start to their season, including two 6-0 wins in nonconference play, Dartmouth had high hopes for its Ivy League prospects. Though the team has played well, the women have not converted against Ivy opponents as well as they did earlier in the season. Now the players are looking forward to getting to play with each other three more times, knowing that for the seniors, and for this group of players, this is a season that could have been.
“Obviously things haven’t gone exactly as we would have wanted, but the team of girls is exactly who I would want to play my last season with,” Friedman said, “And I think that we’ve all become really close and done the best that we could with the circumstances that we had, and that’s all we can really ask.”
Yet despite tying this game and not getting the results they wanted this season, players and coaches agreed that they felt good about the hard work they had done in their game against Penn and throughout the season. In particular, Rainey felt they had played with passion.
“It doesn’t matter if we have four wins in the league right now or zero, we want to play like we did the last 45 minutes of that game the whole 90 minutes against Columbia [University],” Rainey said.
The Big Green will face Columbia at home this Saturday at 4:30 p.m.