HANOVER, N.H. – The No. 19 Dartmouth men’s soccer team completed its seventh shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over Cornell on Saturday afternoon.
The team’s 11th win of the year also secured at least a share of the Ivy League title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, which will be decided upon in a matter of days. Dartmouth is now 11-3-1 on the season, and 5-0-1 in conference play, while Cornell falls to 7-7-2, with a 2-3-1 Ivy record.
“I’m obviously very proud of the group, in a lot of ways it was like a cup final for us,” said head coach Chad Riley. “There were a lot of nerves at the beginning, and credit to Cornell that they really pushed us very well. We had some chances that didn’t quite break through in the first half but Cornell had some plays around our box that we defended well.
“We knew in the second half we had 45 minutes to put some pressure on them and try to get the goal, and we started well, were a little bit more purposeful with our play, and that was a great cross by Dawson (McCartney) met by Eduvie (Ikoba) to get the goal. Cornell kind of threw a lot at us the last 15 minutes and I thought we handled that well, showed a lot of maturity.”
Saturday’s high stakes game was full of defensive pressure as the Big Green were held to only 11 shots through the entire game. Both teams entered halftime gridlocked at 0-0 and continued to push each other through the second period.
The Big Red set up the home squad for several other chances, committing 15 fouls, several of which resulted in free kicks for Dartmouth, and the Big Green had six corner kicks as well, but the defense was stifling in keeping the attack game out.
In the 74th minute, junior Eduvie Ikoba received a pass from freshman Dawson McCartney while inside the box and headed the ball past the keeper and into the net, taking the lead and scoring the game-winning goal, with senior Matt Danilack on the assist as well.
As the team celebrated Senior Day, they also celebrated another Ivy League championship. This year’s senior class is the only class in Dartmouth history to win four Ivy League titles, one of the most successful teams in program history.
The strength of the team has shown through in this season after starting off with two losses, and several members of the team have contributed over the season to get the team to where they are now.
“You can’t say enough about a group that really is a team, it sounds cliché, but everybody on the squad contributes, championships are never won by one guy, or 11 guys, they are won by a committed squad. I can’t say enough about the team and everyone, how they really are family,” Riley said.
While the Big Green has already secured their conference title, they still have one more regular season game at Brown next Saturday at 5 p.m., before the postseason action commences.