Before the men’s soccer Sunday game against Dartmouth, a tie would have been a huge disappointment: Dartmouth has won two games all season.
But after spotting the Big Green two first half goals, the Elis rebounded late to earn the draw. A tie no longer seemed so bad after all.
The Bulldogs (7-1-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) played Dartmouth (2-6-1, 1-1-1) to a 2-2 tie Sunday in Hanover, N.H., fueled by a goal and an assist from Justin Burton ’04.
“If it was a boxing match, [Dartmouth] got a couple of big punches in early and had us on our knees,” Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said. “But we managed to get back on our feet and come out swinging in the second half.”
Yale’s comeback came in a 5-minute span in which captain Stu Yingst ’03 and Burton each scored.
Twenty-four minutes into the second half, Yingst put Yale on the scoreboard after Jay Alberts ’04 crossed the ball from the left side to Burton, who headed it back across the goal. Yingst evaded his defender to volley it past Big Green goaltender Doug Carr.
“The other guys deserve a lot of credit for my easy finish,” Yingst said.
Five minutes later at 74:27, Carr, standing about 15 yards outside the goal on Yale’s left side, miscleared the ball across the field to Burton, who was positioned near the 50-yard line on the right side.
Burton trapped the ball with his chest and launched a 45-yard lofting kick that went well past the out-of-position Carr to tie the game for the Bulldogs.
“Their keeper came out to clear the ball, and mis-hit it right to me, so I knew I had a good chance to score if I hit it quickly,” Burton said. “In the second half, they weren’t offensive-minded. They were content trying to hold on to a two-goal lead.”
The Elis grabbed the necessary momentum to win the game, but instead the score remained tied for the rest of regulation and throughout both 10-minute overtime periods.
“It felt like it was inevitable that we’d get the third goal, but Dartmouth did a good job of withstanding the pressure,” Tompkins said. “They dodged a few bullets late and a few more in OT.”
Earlier in the game, Yale gave up two goals to Big Green midfielder Scott Darci on headers at 12:59 and 21:57. But in the second half, Yale peppered Dartmouth with shots, recording 10 to the Big Green’s three.
“Towards the end of the first half and through the second we started to play our style and dominated the game,” Yingst said. “It was great to come back and get the tie, but we all felt like we still had enough chances to win the game.”
For his 2-goal effort, Darci earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors. Burton made the weekly Honor Roll.
Carr made eight saves in goal for the hosts.
Luckily for the Elis, the tie lost them no ground in league standings. All three pure Ivy contests last weekend ended in ties, the other two being Harvard-Cornell and Brown-Columbia. Yale currently is tied with Harvard and Columbia for second place in the league, while Penn sits atop the Ancient Eight with a 2-0-0 league record.
“It just proves that in Ivy games, your record prior means nothing,” Tompkins said. “I was pleased with the character our guys showed with their determination and perseverance.”
The Bulldogs need to rebound quickly from the disappointing finish. Wednesday brings the season’s biggest challenge when Yale travels north to nationally ranked No. 5 University of Connecticut.
Last year, Yale lost 2-0 to the Huskies in the midst of a losing streak that dominated the second half of the season.
Yingst and Tompkins both pointed to a strong defensive effort as being key against Connecticut, which is a lethal offensive-minded team.
“The number one thing will be to play good defense, and if we do that and take care of the ball, we can upset them,” Tompkins said. “It’s nice to be in the underdog role for a change. We haven’t been in that for awhile.”