Men’s soccer will face the second-ranked team in the Ivy League when it plays Dartmouth tomorrow.
The Big Green (4–3–2) is on a four-game Ivy winning streak, as it ended last season by beating No. 14 Brown before making it all the way to the third round of the NCAA tournament, with wins over No. 13 Monmouth and No. 9 Notre Dame. Dartmouth’s 2010 season ended when No. 8 UCLA outscored the team 2–1 in double overtime.
That streak continued last Saturday when the Big Green dominated at Princeton, outscoring last year’s Ivy League champions 4–1 and bringing the Tigers’ own Ivy streak of 12 victories to an end.
“[Dartmouth is] always competing for the Ivy League title,” midfielder Charlie Neil ’12 said. “Dartmouth plays a similar style to us … [and] we’re hoping that we can play around them.”
That style is high-tempo, using quick passes to move the ball between the many different scoring threats that Yale (5–4–1) has on offense. One of those threats, Brad Rose ’12, had to sit out last Saturday’s rivalry game against Harvard, a contest that may have gotten a little too close for comfort as Harvard outshot the Elis in the second half.
Neil said that while Rose is a great contributor, there are many other players who can play an offensive role. Yale leads the Ivy League with 20 assists from 10 different players. The Elis are tied for first with Penn for the most goals in the Ivies, at 17, also coming from 10 different players.
“We don’t go through one individual, anyone can step up on any day,” Neil said.
Dartmouth, however, has an offense which is equally dangerous. The Big Green is first in the average number of goals per game, and it is coming into the Ivy season with serious momentum after winning its last three games. Earlier this week Dartmouth forward Lucky Mkosana was named to the Ivy League honor roll for his two goals against Princeton, before leading the team with six shots and a goal in its Tuesday night victory against Vermont.
Mkosana scored one goal and had an assist to defeat Yale 3–1 last year in Hanover.
In order to beat Dartmouth at home this year, Neil said the team needs to get the ball to its forwards quickly to create as many different scoring opportunities as possible. So far this year the team has scored on throw-ins, penalty kicks, headers, and from all over the box. Almost every goal went through two or three Yale players before it found the net.
“We’ve learned from the first 10 games, and we feel like we’re an experienced team heading into the second half of the season,” Neil said. “I feel like we’re hitting our stride, [and] we hope we can create a tough environment for our opponent to play in.”
Kickoff is tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Reese Stadium.