Capping off tough week, men’s soccer outshoots Yale but falls 3-1
Bad bounces, poor calls, missed opportunities. While sports are frequently focused around the positive achievements of an individual or team, it’s often luck and randomness that can play a heavy hand in the outcome of a game.
On Saturday, that is exactly what happened to the Dartmouth men’s soccer team in New Haven. Just 58 seconds in, the Big Green (4-5-1, 1-1-0 Ivy) found itself on the wrong side of an unfortunate deflection. After an early Big Green foul, Yale University (7-0-2, 2-0-0 Ivy) midfielder Mark Winhoffer lined up a free kick. The ball found the leg of a Dartmouth defender before going past goalkeeper Alex Budnik ’22 for the Bulldogs’ first tally of the afternoon.
Yale would not look back, scoring twice more en route to a 3-1 victory.
While the score sheet certainly indicates a lopsided game, that really was not the case. Dartmouth outshot Yale 13-10, and put seven shots on goal to Yale’s five. Only one of those seven, however, found the back of the net, when Henry Baldwin ’20 scored in the 58th minute. While the outcome was not what the Big Green would have wanted, head coach Bo Oshoniyi still felt satisfied with how his team played.
“There were moments in the game where we were definitely playing some really good soccer and had some great chances,” Oshoniyi said. “For us, we just have to find ways to make sure to put those balls in the net.”
The story of the night really was Yale’s three set piece goals. In addition to the first-minute own goal, Yale also scored off of a second free kick in the 50th minute and struck again off of a corner kick in the 54th. As part of the game plan coming into Saturday, the Big Green prepared to pay close attention to Yale’s set piece play, but the results broke in the wrong direction.
“Any time you give up three set piece goals in a game, you’re not going to win, especially on the road,” Oshoniyi said. “That’s basically what we had happen tonight.”
Baldwin did cut into Yale’s 3-0 lead soon after, scoring in the 58th minute, sparking some hope among the Dartmouth unit.
“We had a chance once we put the first one by them,” Baldwin said. “I think we outplayed them in the second half. It’s unlucky we didn’t put some of our chances away late, but that’s how soccer goes sometimes. I have no doubt we’ll be ready to put a very good performance together this coming weekend.”
Saturday marked Dartmouth’s first loss against Yale in six years. In the past five meetings, the Big Green went 3-0-2, with the two most recent matchups both resulting in draws. Tonight, however, the result was different, and midfielder Zach Kalk ’20 agreed that the set piece goals served as that important distinction between the two squads.
“One thing that our coach told us to watch out for was set pieces,” Kalk said. “That’s something that Yale has been good at all year. At the end of the day, they had three goals on set pieces, and that’s something we had planned on stopping.”
Dartmouth fouls accounted for the first two set piece goals. In total, the Big Green had 16 fouls on Saturday afternoon, and they proved costly.
“We like to be a physical team out there,” Kalk said. “That was obviously too many fouls. I think, for us, we just have to be smart. It just depends on what areas we are fouling in. But going against a team like that, who is so good at set pieces, we need to be aware of giving away fouls in our own half. We just needed to be a little cleaner defensively.”
In all, it was a tough week for Big Green soccer. In addition to the loss at Yale on Saturday, Dartmouth also dropped a midweek match versus the University of Vermont on Tuesday, 1-0. The team generated 21 shots, but was unable to claw its way back after surrendering a goal in the 63rd minute.
“It’s just one of those games where you play really well and you just don’t finish the chances,” Oshoniyi said. “That’s a bit of a theme for us right now: just making sure that we create and finish chances. I think we have a quality side, and I think we have a lot of quality that can create some chances, but now we just have to start to finish them.”
The loss also snapped a 23-game home unbeaten streak dating back to Nov. 5, 2016. In that stretch, the Big Green went 17-0-6 at Burnham Field, a remarkable run that speaks to a greater lesson about the Dartmouth men’s soccer team: they’re tough to beat at home, but can be shaky away from Hanover.
This season, the Big Green have yet to win on the road, going 0-4-0 in those games. Oshoniyi said he believes that the team does not need to gameplan differently for road games. They just have to be more confident.
“It’s really not about changing much, it’s more having the guys believing that you can win on the road,” Oshoniyi said. “I think when you start to lose on the road, it starts to creep into your head that you can’t win on the road.”
Road success will certainly be crucial for the Big Green in order to capture the Ivy League title. Of the six remaining games, three of them will take place on the road, including important conference matchups at the University of Pennsylvania next Saturday, at Harvard University on Nov. 2, and at Brown University on Nov. 16.
“The Ivy League is pretty much a double-elimination league, so from this point forward, we have to be perfect,” Kalk said. “We just have to believe in ourselves, stick to our game plan and just believe that we can do it. We’re looking to win the Ivy League, and it’s going to take perfection to get there.”