HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth men’s soccer team’s season came to an end on Sunday evening following 110 minutes of scoreless soccer ending in a shootout which was won by New Hampshire.
While the game technically ends in a tie for each team, UNH will advance to the Sweet Sixteen because of NCAA rules regarding a shootout. In the postseason for soccer, teams cannot play to a draw unlike the regular season, and must go into a sudden-death, penalty kick, shootout. The Wildcats made four of their attempts while the Big Green only made one, giving the advance to the road team.
Dartmouth ends its season with a 12-3-2 record while New Hampshire moves on to face unbeaten Indiana, with a season record of 13-3-5. The all-time series now sits at 23-15-5 with Dartmouth leading.
“Honestly, I’ve never felt like this as a head coach before, because to me, there’s no way you don’t have this be a celebration, especially with this senior class,” said head coach Chad Riley. “I think the part that hits me the hardest is I don’t get to be there with them anymore after this, no class in Dartmouth history has won more trophies, they’ve won a lot and sure wanted to win the big one.
“They worked their butts off in their entire career, but I think I’ve honestly never been with a group of guys that have been so committed, not just over a season, but to do justice it’s hard to say how committed these two are sitting next to me (Matt Danilack and Wyatt Omsberg), and Tyler (Dowse) and Yima (Asom). It’s a disappointing end to the game for sure, in a game where they did everything they could without finding the back of the net, so it’s hard.”
Dartmouth knew this game was going to be a challenge, being not only a second-round game in the NCAA Tournament, but also the second time facing New Hampshire this season. With redemption on the table, the Big Green tried to control possessions and hold the Wildcats back, and were successful through the 90 minutes of regulation as well as both overtime periods. UNH outshot the home team 16-13 at the end of game time, and corner kicks were even at 8-8, but neither team was able to get on the board. Freshman goalkeeper Christopher Palacios grabbed seven saves while New Hampshire’s keeper Andrew Pesci got three.
Asom had two close chances in the last few minutes of play, but was unable to even get a shot off as the Wildcats defense interrupted his moves towards the goal.
A corner kick late in the second half created an opportunity for the Big Green as well, but with several players close together the ball was knocked around and out of the box, back to the UNH defense.
After playing through regulation and both extra time periods with no score, the teams entered the shootout situation. The Wildcats got the ball first and made their first attempt, followed by a good attempt from senior Omsberg, but the next attempt from Dartmouth was saved, while UNH made all four attempts taken. Sophomore Braden Salvati went up for a kick attempt and his shot went high, the Big Green still had a chance if a New Hampshire player would miss an attempt, but graduate student Robin Schmidt made his attempt and got his team the advance.