Under the lights on a cool and rainy night, the Dartmouth men’s soccer team froze Yale’s offense, shutting out the Bulldogs in a 2–0 Big Green victory on Saturday. Despite coming off of a thrilling 3–3 comeback tie against Harvard the game before, Yale was unable to carry its momentum into Saturday’s game, falling to the two-time defending Ivy League champions.
The game marked the fourth time in their last five that the Elis (1–4–2, 0–1–1 Ivy) have been shut out. The lack of scoring is a continuation of the team’s biggest weakness over the last two seasons. Still, so far the Elis’ goals-per-game sits at an even 1.0, an improvement over both last year’s 0.76 mark and 2014’s paltry 0.41 rate. Despite the final score line, head coach Kylie Stannard was able to find positivity in the loss to Dartmouth (3–2–5, 1–0–1).
“Dartmouth is a good team and especially tough at their home field,” said Stannard. “We defended pretty well overall, but still need to improve our movement off the ball and decision making in possession. We really started attacking well in the last 20 minutes and were unfortunate not to get a goal back, which would have put a lot of pressure on Dartmouth. I was really happy with our collective fight.”
Dartmouth controlled most of the first half, but it was not until the 42nd minute that Big Green’s domination of possession resulted in a goal. Backed into its own box, Yale failed to fully clear the ball, instead lofting it a few yards forward. Dartmouth midfielder Matt Danilack stole the bouncing ball from a Bulldog midfielder, took a touch and curled a shot into the upper right hand corner from the top of the box, leaving Yale goalie Kees Schipper ’19 little chance at a save. The half ended with the score 1-0 in Dartmouth’s favor.
In the 17th minute of the second half, the Big Green struck again. Dartmouth winger Matt Greer received a pass, cut inside to the right, beat his man, and sent a skidding shot across the slicked turf, into the left side-netting, just passed the outstretched hands of Schipper.
“The first [goal] was a well-placed curling shot to the far post from just inside the top of the box,” Schipper said. “The second was another well placed, hard, low ball cut back to my right side that sped up because of the slick field. In both cases we had to be better in closing space defensively, which comes from a need for improved communication, from me especially. Dartmouth had two good chances that game, and they took them very well.”
Dartmouth maintained its 2–0 lead to the final whistle. As Stannard mentioned, Yale would go on to create chances toward the end of the game, but could not produce a shot on frame after Dartmouth’s second goal.
According to winger Kyle Kenagy ’19, forcing the goalie to make saves as opposed to wasting opportunities will be a focus for the team.
“We had a few shots over and wide of the goal that were decent chances,” Kenagy said. “I think we need to work on just finding the frame and making the goalie make a save.”
The Elis took six shots to the Big Green’s 10, but only had one fewer shot on goal.
Yale’s struggles against Dartmouth date further back than the Big Green’s reign as Ivy Champs. In their last 15 clashes, Dartmouth has ended up on top 12 times.
As the Bulldogs have not won any of their last 21 league games, the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and Stannard — who arrived before the 2015 season — have yet to achieve their first Ivy League win. As the team’s next match is against Connecticut, Yale will have to wait a game for its next crack at that elusive Ancient Eight victory.
The next Ivy League match takes place Sunday, Oct. 16 at Cornell.