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HANOVER, N.H. – Fall sports action is in full force this weekend as the Dartmouth men’s soccer team hits the road for a pair of games to open its season.  The expectations are high after a successful 2016 campaign including an Ivy League conference title and playing in the first and second rounds of the NCAA College Cup.

The Big Green will look to continue their dominance in the league, chasing a fourth-straight Ivy League title this season.

Head coach Chad Riley says this weekend will be a time to work out the kinks and understand the team chemistry better. 

“I always say you don’t really know your team until you compete,” Riley said. “Every year you are a new team that has to prove itself.  Reflecting on the first 10 days we have been solid and making good progress.  I have a lot of confidence in this group and the staff and I are excited to see them compete in real games. Our mentality is going to be crucial to our season and to our individual games. We will know a lot more about ourselves after this weekend.”

Riley enters his fifth season of leading the Big Green.  Last year Dartmouth made history, becoming the first team in 31 years to win three consecutive conference titles.  Also returning for a fifth season is assistant coach Ryan Fahey, and assistant coach Bryan Plotkin enters his second season in Hanover.

The 2017 roster is 27 players strong, including 10 freshmen.  Kennedy Davis, Tiger Graham, Steven Hadley, Dawson McCartney, Patrick Murphy, Christopher Palacios, Matthew Ranieri, Aron Rudich, Kota Sakurai and Aaron Schwartz will make their collegiate debuts this season.

Dartmouth lost seven players to graduation, but retained five seniors and seven juniors. Of the 12 players who found the back of the net last season, seven will be playing on Burnham Field again this year. 

Standout defender Wyatt Omsberg will play his final season in the green and white.  The Scarborough native has been named to the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, among other preseason accolades.  In 2016 the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year recorded seven points with three goals and an assist, started all 19 games and his defensive efforts helped Dartmouth hold opponents to only 12 goals all season. 

Midfielder Matt Danilack, who led the team in scoring in 2016 with 13 points with four goals and five assists, will also play his last season for the Big Green.  Danilack was an All-Ivy First Team selection following his junior season where he also led the team in assists.

Danilack and Omsberg are joined by fellow senior, Tyler Dowse, as co-captains for this season.

“We are excited about this group of captains,” Riley added. “They are a great combination of personalities and they will do an exceptional job leading this team. I am looking forward to working with them closely this fall.”

The Big Green open their season on the road with three non-conference matchups before coming home to face UMass.  In the middle of September, they will continue to play local foes before hosting Princeton on September 30 for their first conference appearance.

“We are excited about this year’s schedule,” Riley said. “We try to create a good strong schedule that will test us and help us improve, and this year is no different.  We start the year with two great challenges against Michigan State and Michigan, these are two good early opportunities.  I know the squad has been looking forward to these first two matches during our pre-season.” 

Dartmouth opens its season Friday at Michigan State at 6:30 p.m. EST, followed by a Labor Day matchup at Michigan on Monday at 1 p.m. EST.