The men’s soccer team wrapped up its 2005 road schedule in Hanover, N.H., yesterday with a 2-0 loss to Dartmouth. The loss drops the Red to 3-9-2, 2-4-0 Ivy, while Dartmouth keeps its hopes of a repeating as Ivy champions alive, improving to 10-2-4, 5-1-0 Ivy.
Although eliminated from Ivy contention, Cornell came out hoping to spoil Dartmouth’s Ivy aspirations.
Deft flank play from junior Tom Marks and sophomore Jarid Siegel generated several early scoring chances for the Red’s strikers up top.
“I thought it was very even game,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “I think from the first minute, we put a lot of pressure on their back four, and had some very good opportunities to score.”
Cornell’s defense took an early hit when just 30 seconds into the match, sophomore Aaron Vieira was forced to leave the game for good after being kicked in the mouth. With Vieira out, the Red was forced to bring freshman Joe Yonga farther back into the center of the midfield to help fill the defensive hole.
“[Losing Vieira] didn’t really change the overall strategy too much,” Scales said. “We knew that it was going to be a fast game. Dartmouth likes to get balls in behind us. They play very quickly and they’re somewhat of a direct team. So we had to make sure that we won our aerial battles, which I think we did a lot of the time.”
However, Dartmouth cracked the Red defense 25 minutes into the first half. Green senior Scott Darci controlled a throw-in from teammate P.J. Scheufele inside the Red’s box. Finding himself with time, Darci quickly turned and beat Cornell’s freshman keeper Steve Lesser to give Dartmouth the 1-0 lead.
“The first goal of the game was just a mistake in the back,” Scales said. “We let the ball drop in our box and they took advantage of it.”
Although matching the Green in total shots with 13, the Red couldn’t find the equalizer in the second half.
The Green’s defense has given up only 0.58 goals a game on average this year. The shutout was Dartmouth keeper Rowan Anders’ eighth on the season, tying a school record.
With Cornell pushing numbers forward in the closing minutes of the match, Darci added a second goal on the day in the 84th minute, scoring on header from a cross by teammate Brian Lappas.
“The goal that Dartmouth scored in the second half, I’ll take responsibility for that,” Scales said. “It was 1-0. We had to try and find the equalizer. We went to three in the back, three up top and four in the midfield, and when you do that, you take a lot of risks to try and score. They ended up connecting on the second goal with a few minutes left in the game, and that killed the game off.”
Senior Pape Seye led the Red with three shots on the day, while Lesser recorded five saves in the net.
The win for Dartmouth puts the Green in a tie for first place in the Ivies with Brown, which fell 2-1 to Yale last Saturday. The two teams face off in Providence, R.I., next Saturday to fight for the Ivy crown.
The loss was a disappointing one for a Cornell squad that matched Dartmouth’s level of play for most of 90 minutes.
“I’m more frustrated for the guys than I am with them in that they really battled and did enough to win the game today,” Scales said. “We just couldn’t convert on our chances and that’s the way soccer goes sometimes.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer