Men’s soccer loses 4-2 in Albany, heads home for three games

by Elizabeth Wilson | 9/27/19 2:00am

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After dropping a close match to UNH, the men’s soccer team came back big to beat Niagara University 7-1. The team then dropped its match against Albany on Tuesday.

by Naina Bhalla / The Dartmouth Staff

On Tuesday, the men’s soccer team lost 4-2 to the State University of New York at Albany Great Danes. Despite a second-half comeback, the Big Green was unable to remedy its scoreless first half and come out with a win on the road. 

Coming off of its 7-1 win against Niagara University last weekend, the team carried its momentum through the beginning of the game. Dartmouth dominated the shots taken early on, with two early crosses from Garrett Scott ’22 and one shot on goal by Braden Salvati ’20 in the first 20 minutes of the game. Even though the Big Green took three out of the first four shots of the game, it failed to put the first points on the board. In the 29th minute of the game, Albany’s top scorer, Austin DaSilva, scored the first goal of the game. Two minutes later the Great Danes netted another goal, this time off a penalty kick by Reid Conde. While Dartmouth had some shots on goal and corner kicks following Albany’s goals, it had no successful attempts in the first half.

The second half began with another goal by Albany’s DaSilva, giving the home team a 3-0 lead three minutes into the second half. This goal was quickly followed by another from Hafliði Sigurðarson to put Albany up 4-0. After Sigurðarson’s goal, the Big Green doubled down and responded with two goals of its own. The first was scored 13 minutes into the half by Tiger Graham ’21 and was assisted by Kota Sakurai ’21. Dawson McCartney ’21 netted the second fewer than 10 minutes later. With these two goals, the team made it to its final score of 4-2, as the last 24 minutes of the game were a stalemate. Albany’s win was its first ever against the Dartmouth men’s soccer team.

Dartmouth’s center defender Mothibi Penn-Kekana ’22 admitted that although Albany had a strong group of forwards and midfielders, Dartmouth’s defense worked hard to not give them too many opportunities. This is evident from the stats of the game; Albany recorded two goals in the first half but only had three shots. In the second half, Albany out-shot Dartmouth 8-4, but saves by Alex Budnik ’22 and additional blocks by the Big Green’s defense kept the Great Danes to only two goals in the second half. Meanwhile, Dartmouth was able to capitalize on half of its own second-half opportunities, with its two goals on four shots.

Albany’s formidable offense has a clear leader in DaSilva. A sophomore on the team, he scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season against the Big Green. Based on NCAA Division I soccer statistics, DaSilva is in a 27-way tie for 22nd place in the league for scoring. He sits on that list with players from some of the top teams in the country and has scored more goals than top-ranked Stanford’s leading scorer, Gabe Segal. 

Although head coach Bo Oshoniyi described the second half of the game as an “uphill battle,” he noted that the players had an impressive drive and determination to make up their four-goal deficit. He described his players as having a “never die attitude” and said that this attitude is promising going forward into the rest of the season. Penn-Kekana shared a similar perspective, saying that he believes the team came back strong in the second half. Even when they were down by four goals, the team was still fighting to make a comeback.

A notable feature of this game was the number of penalties called. Oshoniyi described some of the calls as frustrating, noting that the game “wasn’t a physical game like you would’ve thought” based on the number of fouls and yellow cards that were handed out over the course of the game. The Big Green and Great Danes were each handed two yellow cards, and Dartmouth committed 14 fouls to Albany’s 10. Penn-Kekana, the recipient of one of the yellow cards, agreed with his coach that some of the penalties given out were a bit harsh. He explained that there were a few frustrating calls in the game, but emphasized the resilience of the team in the second half, despite all of the penalties against it.  

With this loss, the team’s record goes to an even 3-3. So far this season, the Big Green has been perfect at home, with all of its losses recorded at away games. Although the away games have the added challenge of a long bus ride, which often causes athletes’ legs to cramp up and can cause other aches and pains, Oshoniyi said that these games are going to have to be something that the team can get used to soon. This will definitely be the case for the team if it wants to take the Ivy League title this year; four out of the seven conference games that team has this year are going to be on the road. 

Looking ahead at the season, the Big Green’s pattern of winning at home bodes well for its next the games. Next week, the Big Green face No. 4 University of Connecticut at home on Tuesday, and on Oct. 5, the team plays its first conference game at home against Princeton University. However, with the goal of going to the NCAA tournament, the team will need to focus on results for its future away and out-of-conference games.