Two weeks after beating Brown 1-0 on a goal with 53 seconds left in regulation, the Crimson (9-6-0, 3-2-0 Ivy) lost to Dartmouth (5-2-6, 3-0-2) because of a breakthrough with 1:03 remaining on the clock at Chase Field yesterday. The Big Green moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Ivy League with the victory.
“We just have to recover,” junior captain and defender Will Craig said. “We beat Brown with 53 seconds left, and now we’re on the other end of it. You got to learn from these things.”
The Big Green sent its home crowd into a frenzy when senior Scott Darci was finally able to work over the Harvard defenders and create a quality scoring opportunity in the penalty box.
After receiving the ball at the far right line of the penalty box, Darci moved the ball in by juking Craig and then doing the same to fellow Crimson defender, senior Ben Mottau. From there, Darci found his teammate, Mark Limpert, in the middle of the box, who blasted the ball into the left side of the goal, beating junior goalie Ryan Johnson.
“I went down thinking he was going to shoot and he cut it back well,” Craig said. “And then he cut another one of our guys and laid it out to the middle of the box for an open shot.”
Throughout the day, the Crimson substitutes on defense held their own, however.
“I thought the guys that filled in played tough,” Craig said. “Ben Mottau had a couple of great tackles in the middle of the field. Where we got messed up was on communication, and they had to get used to playing those positions.”
For the first 78 minutes of action, Sunday’s matchup between the two top teams in the Ivy League seemed like it would play out as most of Dartmouth’s games this season—a tight-fought draw that would extend into the extra period.
Harvard’s best chance to put itself in the lead came in the 84th minute on one of the many times a cross found sophomore forward Charles Altchek’s head. All alone, senior Jason Andersen put the ball up into the penalty box from just inside the halfway line. Altchek used his height to get to the ball and headed it across the box to streaking sophomore forward, Matt Hoff. Hoff attempted to one-time the ball, but was just blocked by a Dartmouth defender who was running with him step for step.
“That was a great chance for us,” Kerr said. “As coaches, we are always preaching, you got to hit the target, hit the target, and we didn’t. It came back to haunt us unfortunately. Those are opportunities you have to take if you want to win away from home.”
“I got so much confidence in my team,” Dartmouth goalie Rowan Anders said. “These guys always come through.”
Dartmouth had its own opportunities to score earlier in the game, but Harvard’s defense—an unusual unit for the Crimson due to the absence of injured sophomore Tom Stapleton and senior Sam Wiggin, who received a red card on Tuesday against Providence—and Johnson in goal stuffed each chance.
Just four minutes into the second half, the Big Green’s Darnell Nance ripped a shot from the top of the box towards the right corner of the net. Johnson made a quick dive and with the tip of his hands he was able to knock the ball down and elicit a gasp from the Dartmouth faithful in the stands.
Harvard now moves on to face Columbia next weekend in an attempt to save its hopes at a share of the Ivy League title. Gametime is 1:30 p.m. this Saturday on Ohiri Field.
—Staff writer Gabriel M. Velez can be reached at email@example.com.