Men's and women's soccer face Princeton University at home
The Big Green men’s and women’s soccer teams each played at home against Princeton University on Saturday. The women’s game ended in a 2-0 loss for the Big Green, continuing a good season for Princeton and dropping Dartmouth to 4-6. The men won 2-1 with an overtime winner by senior Matt Danilack ’18. The game was Dartmouth’s first Ivy League contest of the season and improved its record to 6-2, putting the Big Green in a great position to compete for a third straight Ivy League championship.
The women’s team went into the game knowing that it would need a strong performance to have a chance against Princeton. Princeton has only one loss so far this season and was ranked at 7th in the nation in the most recent NCAA rankings, released on Sept. 24.
The Dartmouth defense held out the Tigers for most of the game, but Princeton striker Abby Givens broke through with two goals in the last 22 minutes of the game. Princeton’s defense held firm to shut out Dartmouth and guarantee the 2-0 result.
The men’s team had much more to be happy with after their win. Impressive performances came from Dartmouth’s team leaders, the older players and team captains.
“Wyatt [Omsberg ’18], Tyler [Dowse ’18] and [Danilack] were good leaders and had strong performances,” men’s soccer head coach Chad Riley said, pointing out three players who are all seniors and wore the captain’s armband for Dartmouth.
The team had a very strong start to the game, and Dartmouth fans were frustrated when their team was unable to take a lead in regulation play.
“I think we deserved to be ahead from early on,” midfielder Justin Donawa ’19 said. “The first 30 minutes or so we were almost always in their half.”
Instead, Dartmouth fell behind with 36 minutes left in the second half to a screamer by Princeton junior Jeremy Colvin that slipped past the fingertips of goalie Chris Palacios ’21.
“They scored a goal off a very good finish,” Donawa said. “It’s not one [Palacios] had much of a chance of saving.”
Dartmouth responded quickly, with Donawa scoring from freshman Dawson McCartney ’21’s assist with a powerful header into the bottom left corner. The game went to the end of regulation with more chances but no more goals for either side.
“We were unlucky not to have won in regulation,” Riley said. “We had the better chances, but they handled the dangerous moments we created.”
To both the players and those watching in the stands, the game and the level of play had an intensity not found in other games.
“From the beginning you can just tell the Ivy League games are different,” Donawa said. “The atmosphere was a lot more live and electric.”
The more experienced players seemed prepared for Ivy play with the seniors putting in good performances, but Dartmouth also received impressive performances from first-years. McCartney demonstrated why he is already getting playing time with a few highlights. In addition to his assist, he earned loud cheers from the home fans when he tracked down a play from behind and won the ball to set up a good chance early in the second half.
Another first-year starring was goalkeeper Palacios, who filled in earlier in the season after sophomore Henry Stusnik ’20 suffered a slight injury and later won the starting job.
Down the stretch, Dartmouth began to take more control of the game, winning seven corner kicks in the second half of regulation and four in overtime. Princeton had some chances on counterattacks, but the overall balance of play shifted in favor of Dartmouth.
“We were able to rotate guys, and our general fitness is very good,” Riley said.
Riley pointed out that Big Green’s depth and fitness allowed them to take more control towards the end of the game when players on both teams began to get tired.
“We knew we would get our chances later on in the game, and we just stayed patient and kept fighting all the way through both overtimes,” Palacios said.
In the second period of overtime, Danilack got on the end of a loose ball in the box and scored on a powerful strike from a few yards away from goal. The play began on a free kick taken by Donawa.
“It was a great feeling to get a winner after a long battle and we are very happy to start the league with three points,” Palacios said.
Both teams return to action during the week at home with non-conference games. The women will face the University of Massachusetts at Lowell at 7 p.m. tonight, while the men will face Hofstra University on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The teams will then travel to New Haven, Connecticut to face Ivy League rival Yale University.