Men's and women's soccer split weekend at Harvard University
The men's soccer team have a chance to win a fourth consecutive Ivy League Championship this season.
Dartmouth soccer had another split weekend, with both men’s and women’s teams facing off against Harvard University on the road. The women suffered a difficult loss in double overtime, falling 2-1 on the road on Saturday. Later that evening, the men won their game in dramatic fashion, with co-captain Matt Danilack ’18 scoring a game-winning goal in the final minute off a bicycle kick to lift the Big Green 1-0 over the Crimson.
The women’s loss was the fourth overtime loss against a conference foe and the first double overtime loss this season. Although these games have demonstrated Dartmouth’s endurance, the women’s offense have been unable to secure a win. Currently, the Big Green has a 0-6 conference record and sits in eighth place in the Ivy League.
“I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we showed once again that we have what it takes to compete in these games,” women’s soccer head coach Ron Rainey said. “We did everything we’ve talked about and most of that game was a strong performance.”
Dartmouth threatened to score multiple times throughout regulation, but many of their chances didn’t end in goals.
“You have to give [Harvard’s] goalie [Danielle Etzel] credit in a game like that,” Rainey said. “She made some really great saves, and it’s impressive that we outshot them 23-11 and they only gave up one goal.”
Dartmouth fell behind during the 20th minute of play, when the Crimson’s Murphy Agnew scored off a left-footed shot past Mariel Gordon ’21, who was in goal for almost 103 minutes. The women got an equalizing goal by Bonnie Shea ’21 in the 58th minute.
“It’s difficult playing from behind,” Rainey said. “We need to get off to faster starts.”
Ultimately, it was Harvard’s Agnew who helped the Crimson win, scoring the game-winner from 20 yards out in the 102nd minute. The women will face Cornell University in their final home game of the season on Saturday.
“We’re really hoping to score first against Cornell [University] and get a chance to play from ahead,” Rainey said.
After inclement weather forced the men to postpone its Oct. 24 game against the University of Connecticut, the Big Green traveled to Cambridge hoping for the same result it got against Columbia University on Oct. 21. The game began with open and competitive play, as both teams had some chances.
“Early on, we were dominating,” Justin Donawa ’19 said. “It was an open game and they were susceptible to our chances.”
Co-captain Tyler Dowse ’18 and Braden Salvati ’20 took shots within the first 10 minutes but could not find the back of the net. Donawa took three shots in the first 20 minutes. The Crimson played desperately to remain in contention with Dartmouth’s offense.
“They were on possibly their last chance in the Ivy League and very committed,” men’s soccer head coach Chad Riley said. “We had a goal called back for Eduvie [Ikoba ’19]. It might not have been the right call.”
Dartmouth continued to attack in search of the first goal. They received two attempts off of penalties, including a yellow card on Harvard’s Paolo Belloni-Urso in the 24th minute and a red card on Belloni-Urso in the 34th minute. Despite being a man down, the Crimson continued to make it difficult for the Big Green to score.
“We ended up finding a way, but defensively they made it tough,” Donawa said. “We stayed patient, we knew we had time and numbers on our side. It was frustrating to see them getting our balls out of the box, but we were able to fight through.”
Eventually, the breakthrough came in the final minute, with Donawa providing the assist for Danilack.
“I was playing on the right but ended up on the left,” Donawa said. “I told Dawson [McCartney ’21] to stay right, and the ball swung to me on the left. I cut in and put a ball into the box. ... I’m glad to be a part of it, but really as a team we all were pushing to get that goal and we’re glad it came at that time.”
The Big Green outshot Harvard 30-2 and had more corner kicks (9-1), but Harvard’s Kyle Parks made 13 saves over the course of the game.
The men’s soccer team will also host Cornell at home this Saturday in its senior game.
“We’re excited for [this] week,” Riley said. “We’re having Senior Night, which is always so special and this group is really important. But looking ahead, we have a chance to do something good with this season, and that’s exciting. It’s a positive pressure at this point and it’s starting to bring out good play.”
Next year, without players like Danilack, Dowse and co-captain Wyatt Omsberg ’18, the burden of leadership will fall to members from the junior class like Donawa and Ikoba, both of whom have grown significantly over this season. Ikoba has been particularly valuable with a team-leading seven goals.
“Ikoba has been very effective this season,” Riley said. “He has been effective for so many reasons. The goals are going to come, but he has done so much more than that. He can hold the ball up high and help us transition so well. He gets involved defensively and is really our first defender up front. And once we get good crosses in, the goals come, which is how he’s done so much this season. We’re so proud of him.”
Cornell sits at fourth place while the Big Green is currently in first place in the Ivy League. If the men are able to defeat the Big Red and current third-place foe Brown University on Nov. 11, they will likely win a fourth-consecutive Ivy League Championship.
“We just want to finish the season strong against Cornell,” Donawa said. “We should not think the job is done.”