Women’s soccer falls in double overtime
By Josh Koenig
Published on Tuesday, October 2, 2012
In a game that easily could have ended differently, the Big Green fell to No. 20 Pepperdine University, 1-0, in double overtime on Monday at Burnham Field. A scoreless draw until the decisive golden goal, the game put the Big Green on a two-game losing skid heading into this coming Saturday’s all-important matchup against Yale University.
Two minutes into the second overtime period, Pepperdine winger and leading-scorer Amanda LeCave secured the game’s only goal. Receiving the ball on the right flank, she made an overlapping run that opened up space to cut in onto her left foot and send a curling shot into the top left corner that escaped the reach of Big Green keeper Tatiana Saunders ’15.
As Pepperdine (9-3-0, 0-0 West Coast) players rushed the field in celebration following LeCave’s goal, the Big Green (6-4, 1-1 Ivy) was left to ponder what could have been. Having controlled the momentum of the game in the last 10 minutes and played sound, fundamental defense throughout all of regulation play, an upset over the highly-ranked Pepperdine team seemed possible until the game’s dramatic conclusion.
“To be honest, I thought it was a game we could have, should have won,” head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “At the end of the day, though, they found a way to win it, and that’s why they’re ranked highly.”
Entering overtime for the first time this season, momentum seemed to favor the Big Green, who had several chances near the end of regulation to capture an upset. With 10 minutes left on the clock, Emma Brush ’13 played recent Ivy-League Rookie of the Week Corey Delaney ’16 through on the far post, and Delaney’s well-struck low shot was barely tipped aside by Pepperdine keeper Roxanne Barker as it headed for the bottom right corner.
Just three minutes later, Brush put a well-placed header into the back of the net only to be called offside in an extremely close call that appeared to be correct. Brush again threatened with her head during the first overtime, forcing a Pepperdine defender to clear the ball with keeper Barker out of position.
The Big Green also continued to play strong defense, holding the Wave scoreless for 103 minutes until the game’s decisive play. Seemingly every time a Pepperdine striker threatened, a Big Green defender appeared to make a last-ditch tackle or block a speculative shot.
With 17 minutes left in the second half, a one-two combination freed a Pepperdine striker in the box, but an effective tackle by Kelly Brait ’14 cleared the danger.
“[Other than the last goal], I think our back four looks better than we’ve looked all season,” co-captain and center back Aurelia Solomon ’13 said.
Seeking to stop Pepperdine from dictating play, the Big Green midfielders were quick to close down passing lanes and commit to tackles, leading to several warnings from the center referee to both teams after some crunching collisions. Despite the increasingly physical tackles by both sides, no cards were shown.
Although the Big Green was forced to rely more heavily on the counter attack, with Marina Moschitto ’14 playing as a high striker, Dartmouth frequently threatened with quick transitions from defense to offense.
“We work a lot on creating our offense through our defense, and winning not just the first but the second ball,” Chrissy Lozier ’13 said.
Coming off of a tough 2-1 loss to Ivy League foe Princeton University on Saturday, Dartmouth had a quick turnaround to take on Pepperdine, another formidable opponent. Having beaten No. 5 Boston College, 1-0, on the road on Saturday, the Wave has proved to be one of the best teams in the country.
Despite Pepperdine’s high ranking, the Big Green prepared for the game as it would prepare for any other opponent. The Big Green remains winless against ranked opponents this season.
While obviously frustrated by the two close losses, the Big Green still has high hopes heading into Saturday’s Ivy League matchup against Yale (5-5, 0-2 Ivy). Currently tied with Harvard University for fourth place in the league, Dartmouth has yet to face every team in the standings above them with the exception of Princeton. While the team has played a tough non-conference schedule, the players’ focus remains on the Ivy League.
“It’s about the Ivies for us because that’s where we can get an NCAA bid,” Romagnolo said.
In the remainder of its schedule, the Big Green will play only two more non-conference games, with one coming against Brown University in a game that will not count toward Ivy League standings.