Women’s soccer blanks the University of Maine 3-0

by James Handal | 10/1/15 6:01pm

The women’s soccer team beat the University of Maine 3-0 in Saco, Maine, on Tuesday evening in its second to last non-conference game this season, extending its unbeaten streak to eight games. Goals by Melanie Vangel ’18, Jessica Lukas ’17 and an own goal by Maine secured all three points to put the Big Green 7-1-2 overall and 0-0-1 in the Ivy League.

“In the first half we created some chances which was nice to see,” head coach Ron Rainey said. “We also played 19 people in the first half. I think being able to give some people breathers and get some fresh legs out there helped after playing an overtime game Sunday.”

In the first half, Dartmouth came out aggressive and put pressure on the Brown Bears, taking 10 shots compared to Maine’s three. The Big Green finished the half strong and had a three-two advantage on corner kicks. Dartmouth, however, did not manage to convert any of its scoring opportunities, and the two teams entered their locker rooms at the half tied at 0-0.

“In the first half, we were moving the ball really well, and they did not get many touches on the ball,” Jill Dayneka ’16 said. “So a lot of the progress we made in the first half was where we really just ran them ragged, which led to the second half opportunities.”

To start the second half, the Big Green players stepped up and controlled possession-making combinations, which resulted in the women scoring the first goal of the game in the 54th minute. Vangel received service from Brittany Champagne ’18 and then placed her shot out of the Maine goalkeeper’s reach.

The Big Green, looking for a second tally, kept the pressure on the Brown Bears. In the 80th minute, a Dartmouth corner kick deflected off a Maine player into the Brown Bears’ net, giving Dartmouth the 2-0 edge with 10 minutes left to play.

A few minutes later, Lukas caught the goalie in no man’s land and chipped the goalie to secure the victory.

“The group did really well at the start of the second half, some people made nice runs that were good combinations and then the difference was just finishing on some of the chances,” Rainey said. “We’ve created probably a little more chances than in the first half, but then finishing a couple goals put them on their heals.”

Casey Cousineau ’17 recorded five saves and improved to 7-1-2 in goal. The Big Green’s possession, combination play and shot volume resulted in quality goals. Over the duration of the contest, Dartmouth outshot the Brown Bears 18-7, with a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks.

The women’s soccer team is back in action against Princeton University on Saturday at 7 p.m. at home on Burnham Field after the men’s soccer’s team takes on the Tigers earlier that day at 4 p.m.

“[Princeton is] a good team, and [to beat them] the team just has to play your best game of the year, and I think we’re in a situation where we probably will have to do that,” Rainey said. “[Princeton will] have a lot of confidence, and [they] have been scoring a lot of goals lately. I think we’ll probably have to defend the most sophisticated attack we’re playing against all year.”

In its first Ivy League game, the Big Green drew level with Brown 0-0, and Princeton enters this weekend after blanking Yale University 3-0 in its Ivy League opener. Despite Princeton’s stronger conference start, several indicators lean toward a slight favor for Dartmouth in the contest.

In its last four meetings with the Tigers, Dartmouth holds a 2-1-1 edge. On the season, Princeton has a positive-11 goal differential while Dartmouth has a positive-23 differential. If Dartmouth’s offense clicks on Burnham as it did in Maine on Tuesday night, the Big Green will have a solid chance to earn three conference points.

“We are taking the season day by day, practice by practice and game by game, which has been working well to realize that every moment is an impression to put on a team,” Kozlov said.