Sports » Men's Soccer
Despite outshooting Brown by more than double and tallying several more shots on goal than the Bears (3-5-3 overall, 0-0-2 Ivy League), the men’s soccer team could not find the net even once during the matchup in Providence on Saturday afternoon. When the final whistle blew after 110 minutes of intense soccer, the score remained knotted at 0-0, and the Tigers (4-5-1 , 1-0-1) emerged with their first draw of the season. Princeton maintained its undefeated Ivy League record through two games while Brown tied its second straight Ivy League matchup.
The Tigers pressured the Bears’ net early and often, outshooting Brown 21-10 overall and 8-6 in shots on target. Princeton outshot Brown 6-4 in the first half of the matchup before creating even more opportunities in the second half, firing off 11 shots to the Bears’ three. Both teams earned six corner kick opportunities but neither squad was able to capitalize on any chance.
“We actually created a number of very good opportunities Saturday and we were unfortunate not to finish any of our chances. Their keeper made a couple of good saves, and we didn’t do well enough with a few shots from close range, but, compared to the FGCU and Drexel games, we created a lot more chances,” head coach Jim Barlow ’91 said. “At times, especially on our restarts, our service needs to be better, but moving forward we are confident that we can score goals.”
Solid goalkeeping contributed to both teams’ offensive difficulties. Brown goalkeeper Josh Weiner saved all eight on-target shots he faced, including two important saves in overtime that prevented Princeton from winning on a golden goal. Senior goalkeeper Seth MacMillan also performed exceptionally, saving all of the Bears’ six on-target shots, tying his career high in saves. The Tiger defense did not allow a goal for the second straight game — they blanked Drexel 1-0 last Tuesday. The consecutive shutouts ended a five-game stretch in which Princeton had not recorded a shutout, dating back to mid-September. During that five game stretch, in which the Tigers went 2-3, the squad allowed an average of 1.8 goals per game.
“Seth did a very good job throughout the match controlling the box and handling crosses and through balls. He also made a couple of very good saves,” Barlow said. “He lost a ball playing out of the back in the second overtime, but fortunately it did not cost us. He has a good presence in the back and has become a real leader on the field.”
Princeton came into Saturday’s matchup riding a two-game winning streak, including an important road victory at Dartmouth last Saturday in the Tigers’ Ivy League opener and a home win against Drexel (5-5-2, 1-0-1 CAA) last week. Brown drew 2-2 at Columbia in its first Ivy League game on Oct. 5 before losing a closely contested 1-0 match against New Hampshire last week. The last time the Tigers faced the Bears, in Princeton last October, the teams also emerged with a double-overtime tie, 1-1. After this weekend’s competition, Princeton is tied with Penn for second place in the Ivy League Standings. Brown and Columbia (5-2-2, 0-0-2) are tied for fifth place.
“The parity is incredible right now. All four games in the league this weekend went to overtime, and after two weeks only Yale is 2-0. The teams that finished first and second last year are both 0-2,” Barlow said. “We were frustrated not to win the game on Saturday as we felt we played well enough to win, but we need to leave it behind us and get focused for the next games. We know the race is wide open and we believe we can win it.”
The Tigers will next travel to New York City, where they will have a brief respite from Ivy League competition with a match against St. John’s of the Big East Conference on Tuesday afternoon. The Red Storm (6-5-1, 0-3-1 Big East) will enter the matchup having dropped three of its last four contests. However, the game will be played at St. John’s home Belson Stadium, where the Red Storm is 6-1 this season. The last time Princeton faced St. John’s, in early September of last fall, the Tigers suffered a difficult 3-0 road loss to the Red Storm, which was ranked 12th in the nation at the time.
“St. John’s is always a strong team. They are fast and organized and one of the best teams we will play,” Barlow said. “It’s another good test for us, but we feel like we are playing our best soccer of the season right now and are going into every game very confident.”