After slow start, women’s soccer falls 2-1 to Columbia

by Max Kanefield | 10/25/15 7:30pm

The women’s soccer team remained winless in Ivy League play after the team fell at home to Columbia University 2-1 on Saturday. After a sluggish start to the match led to two quick Columbia goals in the first 28 minutes, the Big Green (7-4-3, 0-3-2 Ivy) were unable to mount a complete comeback despite rallying with strong play throughout the second half. The team has struggled to start games well, and as a result has been unable to find enough time to recover after falling into early deficits.

“We don’t start playing for pride until something hurts our pride,” Melanie Vangel ’18 said. “In this case, its been the other team scoring on us first. That’s been a bad habit that we have gotten into.”

On a raw and frosty afternoon, Dartmouth started off the game slowly while Columbia (6-7-1, 2-2-1 Ivy) got goal opportunities early and took advantage, netting their two goals on eight shots in the first half. The Big Green has struggled often to play well in the opening minutes of games — particularly in the Ivy League — where a single goal will often decide the result of a contest in such a balanced conference.

“It’s not the first time that someone has scored on us and then we scored, and we have been able to come back and win some of those,” Vangel said. “But now we’re playing Ivy games where it is a one goal game — it’s 2-1, it’s 1-0 — and sometimes you can’t come back when the teams are so even like that.”

After allowing the two early goals, Dartmouth took control of the game, leading in possession and generating more opportunities. The Big Green matched Columbia with eight shots in the first half, but while Columbia went without a shot on goal in the second half, Dartmouth poured on another 11 shots to finish the game with 19 total.

“The more chances you get, the better chance you have of scoring a goal, which is exactly what happened — we out shot them in the second half,” co-captain Lucielle Kozlov ’16 said. “If we missed a chance, we were right back creating another chance and trying to create another goal. We didn’t let up. If we missed we got over it, but the next one was going to be a goal.”

The Big Green’s persistent attack led to a bevy of free kicks and corners, creating numerous chances and a couple near-scores. The Big Green’s constant offensive push finally paid off, when Kozlov, who leads the team with 10 goals scored on the season, netted Dartmouth’s lone goal with a well-placed header off a free kick after 78 minutes of action.

“We had one [free kick] similar to it right before, and we did not score, so I guess everyone’s thought is ‘the next one is going to be a goal,’” Kozlov said. “You can’t sulk if you miss. As forwards, you have to keep moving forward and keeping thinking, ‘I’m going to score.’”

Head coach Ron Rainey expressed frustration with his team’s ability to put together a full game. A lack of focus and determination during the opening pieces of games has hampered Dartmouth throughout Ivy League play, Rainey said.

“College soccer is more than what you are doing strategically or technically,” Rainey said. “It’s the grit you bring over a 90-minute period, and, being totally honest, we didn’t have that grit in the first 20 minutes of the game. We fought and were gritty as we went throughout the last 15 minutes of the first half and the last 45 minutes in the second half. But we’ve got to have that type of freedom in our play at the start of a game.”

Rainey also voiced concern over the players’ intensity and heart, insisting that the coaching staff will have to discuss which players are ready to start games and come out with full concentration.

“We’ll have to meet with some people and talk to them and see if they want that pressure of being in there at the start of games,” Rainey said. “You want people with the mindset of, ‘I’m going to make a great play here,’ not worrying about making a bad play.”

The team will face Harvard University this Saturday before returning to Burnham Field the next weekend to face Cornell University for its final game of the season.

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