The Yale men’s soccer team beat Harvard last Friday to take its record-breaking win streak further and get its Ivy League campaign off to the perfect start. The Bulldogs have now won seven games in a row — the first time this has occurred in a single season since 1955.
The Bulldogs (6–0–2, 1–0–0 Ivy) will now look to their next Ancient Eight game against tough opponent Dartmouth (4–4–1, 1–0–0 Ivy) this Saturday. The Big Green has had a modest start to its campaign, winning four out of nine games this year and scoring seven in their fixture against Niagara. But Dartmouth has equally been unable to build momentum at times, having lost four games and now coming off the back of a 1–0 loss to Vermont. The Elis, on the other hand, will be approaching the contest with deserved confidence and a real hope that they can bag their first win in this fixture since 2013. This squad is the first to be unbeaten through eight games since the 1952 team started 8–0–2.
“Dartmouth lost their last game to Vermont, so they’ll be playing to save their season when they come to Reese [stadium],” midfielder Enzo Okpoye ’22 said. “We know they’re a good team and a tough opponent, but that by no means implies that we will do things differently. We will make the game about us, our friends and families in the stands and our university.”
The Bulldogs have tied this fixture two years in a row, with last year’s game coming to a 1–1 finish, despite Yale leading 17–9 in shots. Forward Aldo Quevedo ’21 scored the Eli’s sole goal of the game off of forward Paolo Carroll’s ’22 assist in the 54th minute. However, the lead was short lived as less than 10 minutes later Dartmouth’s Yima Asom struck an equalizer. Despite doing more than enough to win the game, the Elis could only take home a single point, highlighting the strength of the Big Green’s defense. Coach Kylie Stannard told Yale Athletics after last year’s game that “Dartmouth is probably the toughest place to win in the League.”
Yale has not defeated the Big Green since 2013, although the same was the case with Harvard going into last Friday’s Ivy opener. The Elis closed out the game with three goals to the Crimson’s one in front of an ecstatic Reese Stadium home crowd. They will hope to replicate this feat against Dartmouth in what will be their toughest fixture of the season so far.
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs will be rightfully optimistic in their approach, considering the fact that they have individuals capable of providing a match-winning spark. Midfielder Mark Winhoffer ’21 leads the nation in assists per game at 0.88, while defender Jeremy Haddock ’22 is 11th in goals against average (0.60). Meanwhile Yale is 11th in the nation in scoring offense with 2.38 tallies per game.
“We’re all locked in,” defender Thomas Toney ’23 said. “We always say the upcoming game is the most important game of the season and focus solely on that. Dartmouth is the most important game right now and we are planning to be the most prepared team. Ivy games bring that extra edge and so we are ready to compete for each other and all of Yale.”
In their 2019 campaign, Dartmouth has faced off against some formidable opponents. Its opening game of the season was played against Wake Forest, ranked sixth in the country — losing 3–1. The team played its fourth game of the season against No. 13 New Hampshire, where it concluded with a 1–0 loss. The team’s victories include 1–0 and 2–1 wins against UMass and Michigan State respectively, as well as a stunning 7–1 win over Niagara. The Big Green played its Ivy opener Saturday against Princeton in which it secured the only goal of the game in the 72nd minute, despite being outshot 11–7.
This weekend the team will be driving down from Hanover for the face-off in New Haven.
“We are looking forward to … competing against a strong Dartmouth team who … has always been one of the best Ivy League soccer programs,” Carroll said. “It will be a crucial game in our season and we hope to come out on top and keep our momentum rolling.”
The Elis will host Dartmouth at Reese Stadium on Saturday, with the game kicking off at 4:30 p.m.
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