This past Saturday, the Yale Men’s soccer team (4–1–3, 1–2–0 Ivy) traveled to Hanover, New Hampshire, where they suffered a 3–2 defeat at the hands of the Dartmouth Big Green (4–4–3, 1–2–0 Ivy). 

The Bulldogs, who were coming off of wins against UMass Lowell and Princeton, were looking to cap off the last leg of their three-game road trip with a victory. But Dartmouth had other plans, coming out to a 2–0 start and then holding on to win despite Yale’s late-game comeback attempt.

Yale head coach Kylie Stannard thought a slow start doomed his team. 

“I thought we started a little slow and had to play catch up which is always difficult,” Stannard told the News. “We had plenty of chances to get an equalizer and come away with something, but more importantly, we need to start games better and be more consistent and disciplined in our defending.”

Yale had some solid chances at the start of the game. In the fifth minute, the Elis looked certain to take the lead when midfielder Max Rogers ’25 put in a beautiful cross off a free kick, but forward Paolo Carroll’s ’23 soaring header arced just above the crossbar. 

The game looked mostly even from that point on, but Dartmouth’s Alex van Schalkwyk broke the tie with five minutes remaining in the first half. 

Van Schalkwyk, who made a well-timed run just as teammate Louis Weisdorf put a ball into the box, got a toe on the ball to deflect it past the outstretched arms of Yale goalkeeper Elian Haddock ’23. 

Four minutes into the second half — with Yale looking to get back into the game — a sudden turnover in the midfield left the Bulldogs scrambling backwards to defend the Dartmouth counterattack. Big Green midfielder George Altirs sent a long ball into the box towards teammate David Alino, who streaked in front of the Yale defense and one-timed the ball past Haddock. 

As the Dartmouth crowd went wild, the Blue and White stood stunned on the pitch. It was the first time all season that Yale had gone down by more than a single goal. 

As both teams made a series of substitutions and the Bulldogs desperately looked to get on the score sheet to salvage the game, the Big Green stayed solid, with goalkeeper Costi Christodoulou making three straight saves amidst a flurry of Yale attempts.

Finally, in the 62nd minute, forward Olivier van Spaendonck ’24 fired a shot that was punched out by Christodoulou. The ball pinballed off of several Dartmouth defenders before finding the feet of midfielder Kai Moos ’24, who knocked it in from close range to bring the deficit back to one. 

The Yale players omitted their usual post-goal celebration as they rushed back to resume play and attempt to score another one. A foul in their defensive area, however, gave the Big Green a free kick in a promising position. 

As Dartmouth defender Louis Weisdorf stepped up to take the kick on the edge of the box, Yale set up a seven-man wall to make the shot difficult. Unfazed, the left-footed Weisdorf took a short run up and booted a curling effort around the wall and into the top left corner, leaving goalkeeper Haddock no chance and sending the Yale defenders into a tizzy. 

“That’s just a typical Ivy League game, going all the way down to the wire like that,” Dartmouth coach Bo Oshoniyi said. “A lot of physical play, but I give the credit to our guys. They played against a really good Yale team and found a way to win this game.”

While the Bulldogs looked to overcome the two-goal deficit by firing many shots on goal, they struggled to beat Dartmouth keeper Christodoulou. 

With six minutes left on the clock and Yale in desperation mode, a prayer of a ball was lofted into the box and somehow fell at the feet of midfielder Jules Oberg ’23, who controlled it and laid it off to forward Alex Umana ’26, who took a nice touch with his right foot and then fired it past the keeper with his left. It was the second consecutive game with a goal for the rookie striker. 

Yale was unable to pick up an equalizing goal, but, as frustrations mounted, they did pick up a yellow and red card in the final five minutes of play, with defender Jeremy Haddock ’23 being sent off in the 90th minute. 

The loss was Yale’s first to Dartmouth since the 2016 season. 

Jack Cloherty ’26, who has been following the team all season, believes a bounce back is inevitable. 

“I have no doubt they’ll come roaring back,” Cloherty said. “Both their record and the energy you see on the field are a testament to their hard work this season.”

While a bounceback is certainly possible, the loss was undeniably a brutal blow to Yale’s Ivy League championship hopes and means their top 25 chances are slim to none. 

With the season winding down and title hopes looking murky, the Bulldogs will likely need to win all of their remaining five games in order to have any shot of wearing the Ivy League crown in November. However, even that would not guarantee them the number one spot, as first-seeded Penn is 3–0 in conference play and has already beaten Yale, meaning they would automatically finish first if they win the rest of their games. 

On Tuesday, Yale will face the University of New Hampshire Wildcats in their last non-conference game, followed by Ivy League rival Harvard on Saturday. Both of those games will come at home. After that, Yale will face off against Columbia, Cornell and Brown in its final three games. 

Ben Raab covers faculty and academics at Yale and writes about the Yale men's basketball team. Originally from New York City, Ben is a sophomore in Pierson college pursuing a double major in history and political science.