Despite trailing 2–0 going into the second half, the Yale men’s soccer team rallied with a superb second-half display to fight back and draw against 2016 Ivy League co-champion Dartmouth.
The Bulldogs (3–5–1, 0–1–1 Ivy) came into Saturday’s contest against Dartmouth (7–2–1, 1–0–1) looking to bounce back from last week’s devastating 2–1 defeat to Harvard. The Elis looked flat in the first 45 minutes of play, allowing the Big Green to put two in the back of the net before the break. But the team surged out of the locker room, and defender Cameron Riach ’19 headed a goal back within the first four minutes of the half. The backline shut down the Dartmouth offense and gave midfielder Miguel Yuste ’20 the opportunity to sneak one past the Dartmouth keeper and heroically tie the game in the final minute of play.
“After almost a year without playing due to my injury,” Yuste said, “It was a very exciting moment to score my first goal to help the team get a result against a very good Dartmouth team. It was an unbelievable atmosphere and we really appreciate all of the support from the fans. This goal will give me a lot of confidence going forward.”
In the opening minutes, Dartmouth proved dominant, maintaining possession and building momentum. In the 11th minute, Big Green forward Eduvie Ikoba gave his team the lead with a smart finish off an assist from midfielder Noah Paravicini. The striker doubled his tally 12 minutes later, tapping home the rebound after a shot from midfielder Dawson McCartney.
Dartmouth continued to press the Yale defense throughout the first half, outshooting the Bulldogs 6 to 4. Yale was unusually sloppy, and the Elis headed into the locker room at halftime with their heads down.
“At halftime, we all knew the first half wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t us,” midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 said. “There wasn’t heart and desire, so we brought it together and said we needed have more ‘fight and pride.’ We know we are a resilient group and we proved it out there.”
In the second half, Yale emerged looking like a new team, pressing the Big Green defense, headed by Wyatt Omsberg, the 2016 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, with a new intensity and put Dartmouth into retreat.
Four minutes into the second half, Winhoffer sent a cross to Riach, who headed the ball home to put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. It was his second assist of the season and Riach’s third career goal from defense. The goal marked the first time Yale has scored in the second half all season, and quickly changed the momentum of the game.
Having hit a new sweet spot, the Elis applied offensive pressure to the Big Green’s defensive line while the Yale defense remained rock solid. In the last 45 minutes, Yale outshot Dartmouth six to zero. Big Green frustrations mounted as Yale continued to monopolize possession, and Dartmouth racked up two yellow cards in the final 15 minutes.
As the one-minute countdown began, goalkeeper Tom Wallenstein ’21, making his first career start in goal, sent a long ball to the Dartmouth end. Forward Kyle Kenagy ’19 controlled the ball and finagled it to Yuste. The midfielder dribbled past Dartmouth defenders around the box and ripped a shot into the back of the net to tie the game in the final 40 seconds.
In overtime, Yale kept up the intensity and had several chances to score. Midfielder Nicky Downs ’19 had an early attempt on goal, but his shot drifted wide of the post. The defense continued to smother the Dartmouth attack. The Bulldogs created numerous chances around the net but were unable to secure a winning goal in the two overtime periods.
“This is the best result for this program in the past several years and shows the progress we are making,” head coach Kylie Stannard said. “Not only the result, but also the dominant performance in the second half and overtime. It should give our guys a ton of belief and confidence for the rest of the season. The next step is winning a big game like that, and we know it’s coming.”
Yale will take a break from Ivy League play Tuesday with a non-conference matchup against Lafayette.
Cate Sawkins | email@example.com
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