Tied for fifth place with three conference games remaining, the men’s soccer team (7-4-2, 1-1-2 Ivy) can begin its push in the standings with a victory against third-place Yale (4-9-1, 2-1-1 Ivy) on Saturday.
The top nonconference performers have not been seeing such good results in conference play. Dartmouth and Cornell combined for just two losses in 20 games outside of Ivy play but have dropped seven of eight against Ancient Eight foes.
Columbia, which had the third-best record in nonconference play, drew its first two Ivy matches and dropped its third against Princeton before finally getting its first win on Saturday at Dartmouth, 2-0. Senior striker Will Stamatis and first-year midfielder Andrew Tinari tallied in the second half for the Lions.
“We were able to move the ball and get a rhythm going that we were lacking in Princeton and the games before that,” Stamatis said. “I think we need to keep following what we’ve been doing the past week.”
After getting outshot by a 33-10 margin by consecutive opponents—No. 20 Connecticut and Princeton, which is tied with Yale for third in the conference title race—Columbia has outshot its last two opponents, Binghamton and Dartmouth, 31-12.
“We went to Princeton and we didn’t play up to our capabilities, but I wouldn’t say it was a poor performance,” Lions head coach Kevin Anderson said, “We just walked away giving them more opportunities than we had. I think against Binghamton we were able to put together a good performance and against Dartmouth another good one, so we’re happy.”
Harvard and Yale, on the other hand, combined for just four wins in 18 nonconference games, but are currently second and third in the conference standings, respectively.
“Everybody hits a spot in their season where things are going well, or you’re working on some things that your team needs to get better on, and every team is at a different point in the season,” Anderson said. “So we talked about our conference being a conference with parity in it, and I think that’s what you’re seeing.”
Last weekend Yale dropped a tight game to Ivy leader Penn, 3-2 in overtime. The Bulldogs, though, were successful in their midweek game, dominating Central Connecticut State and winning 2-0. Forwards Cameron Kirdzik and Peter Jacobson are tied for the team lead with four goals apiece, although Jacobson has not scored in over five weeks.
If Columbia wins out, it will finish 4-1-2. That record won the Ivy League title two years ago—when Columbia could have earned the Ivy title with a win in the season finale but drew with Cornell instead—but it usually takes at least five victories. Fortunately for the Lions, 3-0-1 Penn has yet to face Princeton or Harvard.
Kickoff is at 4 p.m. at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.