HANOVER, N.H. – Matt Danilack’s strike in double overtime extended the Dartmouth men’s soccer team’s season, as the Big Green took down St. Francis Brooklyn, 1-0, to advance to the second round of the 2016 NCAA College Cup.
With the victory, Dartmouth improves to 9-4-5, while the Terriers drop to 12-5-3 to conclude their season.
The Big Green were no strangers to overtime games as Dartmouth competed in its seventh overtime game of the season, the Green are also no strangers to their next opponent, Syracuse. Last season Dartmouth fell to the Orange in the second round of the College Cup in a hard fought contest in the Empire State. Tonight’s win earned this year’s team another crack at eighth-seeded Syracuse on Sunday at 2 p.m. in New York.
“Obviously we're ecstatic to be able to move on,” Bobby Clark Head Coach of Men’s Soccer, Chad Riley said. “Credit to St. Francis Brooklyn, we always knew it was going to be a tough game. I thought they played very well and they were very organized. I’m very proud of our guys. I think first round NCAA games are never easy and I’m proud of the way they stuck to the plan and kept pushing until we got our break in the second overtime.”
The Big Green dictated the pace of play for the majority of the match, but had to contend with a stingy Terrier defense that had not surrendered a single goal in 980 minutes of play, dating back to Sept. 28.
In the 104th minute, in the second overtime period, Danilack finally netted the golden goal when he received a cross pass from Alexander Marsh at the top of the box and fired a low shot into the lower right corner of the goal. Danilack and the Dartmouth bench then poured on the field to celebrate with ecstatic fans at Burnham Field.
“It was definitely a relief,” Danilack said. “We had a lot of chances and we knew they were a good defensive team coming in so we knew to stay patient.”
The patience paid off for the Big Green who outshot their opponents 13-5, while senior goalkeeper James Hickok needed to make just one save in the second half to preserve his seventh shutout of the season.
“I try to do my best and be on my toes and be ready for a shot at any time, especially when they are trying to get any chance that they can get,” Hickok said. “I thought we had the majority of the chances and it’s always a relief to get a goal. As soon as that cross came in, I knew it was going to go in.”
In the first half, Dartmouth forced St Francis’ goalkeeper, Seth Erdman, to make some tough saves, including two within a matter of seconds of each other as the Big Green peppered the Terrier’s net with three shots. After a scoreless first stanza, the teams returned to the field for the second where both had a chance to score the all-important first goal.
With about 10 minutes to go, Matt Greer fired off a hard shot that forced Erdman out of the crease to make an incredible save. As the clock ticked toward two minutes, St. Francis’ Salvatore Barone missed on a wide open shot in what was the Terriers’ best scoring opportunity of the night. For the most part, Dartmouth’s defense did a solid job keeping the ball out of its end, which Riley said was key to tonight’s sudden death victory.
“Ideally the best defense is to possess the ball and attack the other team, but when you’re doing that you have to be organized so you don’t let them develop their attacks,” Riley said. “Ricardo Gomez and Wyatt Omsberg really helped us stay organized when we were on the attack and that really helped keep it away from our own goal for a large portion of the game.”
The Big Green return to action this Sunday in Syracuse. For more information on the 2016 College Cup, check back with DartmouthSports.com in the coming days.
Notes: This is the 9th time in program history Dartmouth has advanced to the second round of the NCAA College Cup. It’s also the third consecutive year the Big Green have accomplished this feat.