November 2, 2007

Men's Soccer Battles Ivy Undefeated Dartmouth

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With an undefeated Ivy League record and one lone goal scored against the squad in conference play, the Dartmouth statistics are daunting. The Green has an overall record of 9-3-2 and is currently 3-0-1 in Ivy League play. The Red, 5-7-1 overall, and 0-3-1 in the Ivy League, looks to challenge the Green’s undefeated streak.
Dartmouth, like any team in the Ancient Eight, has its sights set on the Ivy League title. Winning this year’s title would mark the Green’s third title in four years.
Recently, Dartmouth’s defensive line has been stingy in allowing its opponents any viable goal scoring opportunities; the team stopped every attempt with only one exception — a lone goal to Columbia. Similarly, the Green’s defense is currently ranked third nationally in team goals against average (.48) and has shut out its opponents in 57 percent of its contests — 12th in the nation.
Head coach Bryan Scales and sophomore Matt Bouraee can speak to Dartmouth’s defensive line and attest to the skill of the players.
“Dartmouth is a well-organized, outstanding team,” Scales said. “They are very good defensively and have been getting timely goals out of a number of different players.”
“Two of my teammates in club soccer, Ale Frisch and Tom Lobben, play on Dartmouth’s defensive line,” Bouraee said. “Tom is one of the best defenders I have ever played against. I am not surprised that Dartmouth has only conceded one conference goal so far.”
Within the Ivy League season, Dartmouth has done nothing if not improve. The Green recently upset Harvard — ranked 12th nationally at that point — and will face the other major challenger, Brown, after the match with Cornell. The Red, however, plans to challenge the Green and its acclaimed squad.
“We are expecting a tough game, in a hostile atmosphere, tomorrow night,” Scales said. “We’ll need to be very good defensively and take care of the ball when we have it … those are the two critical factors in any game.”
“Personally, I will look to get back on the scoring sheet,” Bouraee said. “I played well last game but was unable to score — my closest attempt hit the crossbar. It will take a lot of effort to break Dartmouth’s defense.
Among the most significant challenges for the Red this season is the sheer volume of injured players. The has come to terms with this obstacle and are looking on the bright side.
“We need our reserve players to step in and compete as best they can,” Scales said. “We’ve not been able to put together a consistent line-up from week to week, but none of that matters at this stage. It is what it is; we have to compete with confidence at both ends of the field.”
As usual, the team is optimistic and more than ready for an undeniably tough game ahead.
“Our team is especially focused this week and will not go down without a fight versus Dartmouth,” Bouraee said. “I just hope we will take advantage of the chances we get.”
“This game will be a great opportunity for us,” Scales said. “We expect to play well.”