It came down to the last second. Literally.
Captain Brian Roberts ’04 scored the game-winner at 90:00 to lift the Yale men’s soccer team over Dartmouth, 1-0, at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium Saturday. The win was the Bulldogs’ fifth in a row.
“The game typifies what Ivy League soccer is all about,” head coach Brian Tompkins said. “It was competitive right to the end. I was just happy we were able to find a way to score.”
After nearly two halves of hard-fought play, the score remained knotted at 0-0. But with less than a minute left on the clock, the Bulldogs (6-3-0, 2-0 Ivy) frantically pushed the ball forward, and in a shooting frenzy at the Dartmouth (4-3-2, 0-2 Ivy) goal, earned a corner kick.
As the announcer counted down the game’s last seconds, midfielder Jay Alberts ’04 served the ball high into the box. Andrew Dealy ’05 directed the corner with his head toward the goal, but a Big Green defender deflected the ball back. Roberts, who plays defense, then headed the ball past the goal line just before the final horn sounded.
“It was either going to come down to a moment of brilliance or moment of luck,” Tompkins said.
The head referee pointed toward midfield — signaling a goal — and the Bulldogs, fists clenched and arms flailing in the air, raced to their bench in celebration.
“I’m really pleased with Brian,” Tompkins said. “He’s playing on guts and courage. He’s really been the spirit of the team. It’s nice for him to be that one that forced the ball over the line.”
Roberts, who wears a knee brace, has been hampered by a damaged ligament throughout this season.
“It’s classic. It’s awesome,” Alberts said of Roberts’ goal.
Dartmouth head coach Jeff Cook protested that time had expired before the goal was scored, but the call stood. All the Big Green could do was bow their heads in disbelief.
Dartmouth was able to fend off repeated Bulldogs attacks while matching Yale shot-for-shot in the first half. But the Bulldogs wrenched control of the game early in the second half and went on to outshoot the Big Green, 14-9.
“The first half wasn’t really soccer,” Alberts said. “They were playing balls over our heads and making some good runs. In the second half, we were able to put the ball on the ground and were more dangerous.”
Matt Aleksinas ’06 made five saves in goal for the Bulldogs for his fifth consecutive shutout. The goalkeeper, who has played every minute of every game — 810 minutes total — this season, has not allowed a goal since the first half of the Creighton game Sept. 21.
Rowan Anders recorded six saves for Dartmouth.
The Bulldogs have won all of their last five games 1-0. Though he is pleased with their success, Tompkins said he knows they will have to be more productive if they hope to continue their winning ways. At the same time, Tompkins said he does not take any of their victories for granted.
“I didn’t want it to end, 0-1,” Tompkins said. “Dartmouth is a good team. We’re catching some breaks lately, which we weren’t catching earlier in the season. We’ve managed to get the rub of the green.”
Yale’s next game is 7 p.m. Tuesday at Boston College.