Skip to main content

 

A Bittersweet Season for Men's Soccer

The Dartmouth men's soccer season came to a close when an agonizing 1--0 overtime loss to Cornell on a windswept patch of grass under the lights in central New York State snuffed out hopes for a return to the NCAA tournament.

Rowan Anders '07
Rowan Anders '07 (Photo by Mark Washburn)

Coach Jeff Cook tried to put the disappointment into perspective for his players after an up-and-down season saw them finish 3-3-1 in the Ivy League and 6-8-3 overall.

"I told them if you are in this long enough, sometimes you are going to have seasons where nothing seems to go your way," he says. "The last game against Cornell pretty much summed up our season. There was a lot of great effort and pretty good play, but little to show for it."

With record-setting goalie Rowan Anders '07, All-Ivy central defender Lucas Richardson '07, and fellow cocaptain Brian Lappas '08 headlining a veteran cast, the year had begun with dreams of a different kind of ending: a third Ivy League title in as many seasons and another trip to the NCAA championships.

Those dreams took a hit when Dartmouth struggled out to a 2-5-3 start.

The highlight of the opening 10 games was an impressive 1-0 win over Stanford on Sept. 17. Promising scoring threat Craig Henderson '09, a New Zealand Under-20 national team member, tallied the winner against The Cardinal but wouldn't play again after aggravating a quadriceps pull.

"I remember thinking that it was a good win but one that could be very expensive for the season," says Cook.

Dartmouth finally got traction with a 1-0 win over Yale in the 11th game of the season and followed up with 2-1 wins over Penn, Columbia, and Vermont, interrupted only by a 1-0 loss to Boston College. That raised the season record to 6-6-3 and rekindled hopes for the postseason with two games remaining against Harvard and Cornell.

"We had a little wobble," says Cook. "But the players dug in and went on a nice winning streak putting us in a position to have a shot at the (Ivy) League right up until the second-to-last weekend."

But after working so hard to battle back into contention for a postseason bid, the Big Green dropped a 3-1 contest to Harvard in the penultimate game of the season.

"This season serves as a reminder that success doesn't come easily," says Cook. "When things are going well it's easy to forget how hard you had to work to get there in the first place."

Individual highlights during the season included Anders—a 6-foot-4 Major League Soccer prospect—breaking the Dartmouth career record for shutouts when he recorded his 17th whitewash in the win over Yale. Chosen to the All-Ivy first team as a sophomore and junior, he was named second team in his final season. Team scoring leader Daniel Keat '10, who had three game-winning goals this fall, was selected to the All-Ivy League first team while forward Mike Ordonez '08 and back Tom Lobben '08 won honorable mentions.

By BRUCE WOOD

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 5/30/08