After a disappointing loss to archrival Harvard in its Ivy opener, the Yale men’s soccer squad will look to bounce back and seize its first win of the year in a second straight road match-up — this time against the Dartmouth Big Green.
Dartmouth (6–2–1, 1–0–0 Ivy) comes in with a six-game unbeaten streak and looks to trounce a struggling Eli squad in order to cement its status as a top Ivy contender. With something to prove, the underdog Bulldogs (0–7–2, 0–1–0 Ivy) hope to spoil the Big Green’s red-hot start to the season.
Having scored just three times in nine games, the Elis will be hard-pressed to break a stout Dartmouth defense that has allowed just 11 scores all year, with four of them coming in a big loss to a top NCAA contender, No. 3 Notre Dame.
“Their approach is very different than what we faced last week, so we will need more patience and possession in our play against a strong defensive team,” head coach Brian Tompkins said.
Dartmouth has not just won games — it has also managed to dominate teams in impressive fashion, winning 4–0 against UMass Lowell and 3–1 against Central Connecticut State. Yale will have to score big and score early to measure up to the heavily favored and defensively sound Big Green squad.
Fortunately for the Elis and their fans, Yale boasts an impressive defense that managed to hold a normally high-scoring Harvard squad to just one goal. Goalkeeper Blake Brown ‘15 has played brilliantly as of late, boasting a .800 save percentage and sitting at third in the Ancient Eight with a 1.08 goals against per game average. Despite its offensive woes, Yale’s defense has managed to keep them in games long enough to play for an equalizing or winning goal in most cases.
“We really think we can put a stamp on this game, and I like how we match up against them,” midfielder/forward Josh Totte ’18 said.
Yale will rely on its defensive fortitude to try and shut down a Dartmouth offense that has scored 15 goals in just seven games. However, Dartmouth, much like Harvard, boasts impressive scoring balance. Eleven different players have scored for the Big Green, with Alex Adelabu leading the offensive charge with six goals and two assists. Given this balance, Yale will have a tough time picking out just one player to focus on defensively, as Dartmouth is capable of producing quality offense from virtually anywhere. In fact, its top scorer, Adelabu, has scored more goals by himself than the Elis have scored all season.
While the Big Green’s offensive prowess earns them the status of favorite, the Elis insist that their excitement and ability to produce quality defensive matchups mean that they cannot be written off in this match.
“Everyone is getting really excited about playing Dartmouth this Saturday,” forward Keith Bond ’15 said. “We’ve had a couple really solid days of training, and I think everyone can’t wait to get out there and compete.”