Nov. 18, 2010

Courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics

The Dartmouth men's soccer team had breathing room in a match for the first time in more than a month, taking a dominant 4-0 win at #11 Monmouth in the NCAA First Round today.

The Big Green (11-6-1) won its fifth-straight contest by blanking the Hawks (14-2-4) for its third consecutive shutout. Dartmouth led the game 1-0 at halftime and after staving off an early Monmouth attack in the second, dominated late for the comfortable win. It marks the first time since a 3-1 victory over Yale on Oct. 9 that Dartmouth has won a game by more than one goal.

Dartmouth has advanced to play at #9 seeded Notre Dame this Sunday night at 6 p.m. (EST) in South Bend, Ind.

Dartmouth held a 16-12 advantage in shots and took six corner kicks to Monmouth's three. Lyman Missimer (The Woodlands, Texas) made two saves in goal for his third straight shutout while Bryan Meredith made six stops for the Hawks. Four different players scored goals for the Big Green but senior Daniel Keat (Wellington, New Zealand) stole the show by assisting on three of them.

Senior Andrew Olsen (Norwell, Mass.) put Dartmouth ahead in just the ninth minute of the game, picking up a pass from Keat and firing from the left side top of the 18-box. Meredith got both hands on what might have been a routine save, but the ball skipped off his hands and into the far corner for an early 1-0 lead. Dartmouth held just a 5-4 shot advantage in the first half as neither team struck for the next 36 minutes.

Dartmouth wasted little time getting some insurance in the second half when junior Nick Pappas (Scottsdale, Ariz.) used his size to connect on a header in traffic off a corner kick by Olsen, putting the Green up 2-0 in the 53rd.

Missimer made one of the biggest plays of the game in the 62nd minute when Monmouth's Ryan Kinne stepped up for a free kick just outside the box. He hooked his shot around the wall and Missimer made a huge save to keep the Hawks off the board. The momentum carried over into the offensive end when just minutes later, Lucky Mkosana (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) put the game out of reach with his fifth goal of the season in the 66th minute. The junior striker one-timed a ball from Keat to the near post, beating a diving Meredith for a 3-0 lead.

In need of a goal to keep their chances alive, Monmouth played frantically from that point on. Missimer made a big save on an offering by RJ Allen in the 68th and the Hawks put four more shots just wide of the goal in the next five minutes.

Keat made yet another big play in the 80th minute to break Monmouth's back for good and put the game out of reach. He crossed the ball into the box for classmate Aaron Gaide (Avon, Conn.), who snuck a goal in the inside left post for the final 4-0 lead.

Dartmouth has advanced in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008, when the 16th-seeded Big Green advanced past Boston College on penalty kicks. It is the first NCAA Tournament victory for head coach Jeff Cook, whose teams have tied on three occasions, advancing once.