As the race for the Ivy League title heats up, the men’s soccer team kept itself in the hunt over fall break, stumbling against Harvard but rallying to defeat Cornell 2-1 Saturday. The win gave the Tigers (6-7-1 overall, 3-1-1 Ivy League) three much-needed points, keeping them tied with Penn for second place in the Ivy League, just two points behind the Crimson (5-7-2, 4-1).
Princeton, which came into fall break undefeated in the league, led for the majority of both games.
Junior forward Cameron Porter found the net in each game, his first goal coming less than 10 minutes into the Harvard match. After he capitalized on a penalty kick, the Tigers led for over 60 minutes before a header by Harvard’s Philip Fleischman knotted the game at one. As the second half wore on, the Crimson consistently challenged the Tiger defense, earning four corner kicks in the period — Princeton had just one all day. With eight minutes to go in the game, the Crimson got another shot past senior goalie Seth MacMillan and held on to win 2-1, outshooting the Tigers 11-7.
After the tough defeat in Cambridge put Harvard on top of the league, Princeton turned around and salvaged its chance at a championship a week later against Cornell (6-5-4, 0-4-1).
Again, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead, going up 1-0 on another Porter goal 16 minutes in. Sophomore midfielder Brendan McSherry was credited with the assist after Porter received his pass up the middle and managed to keep the ball away from a swarm of Big Red defenders in order to find the goal.
Eleven minutes later, sophomore forward Nico Hurtado passed to senior defensive midfielder Patrick O’Neil, who got the ball on the right side and bounced the ball into the net off the far post to give the Tigers a two-point cushion.
Porter’s goal put him in a tie for third-most in the Ivy League, while O’Neil’s was his first of the season.
Cornell put up a good fight after that, outshooting Princeton 9-4 in the second half and earning four corner kicks. It was too little too late. By the time one of those corner kicks finally got them on the board, there were less than four minutes to play.
The Big Red’s Conor Goepel nearly tied the game up in the final minute of play, but his shot was blocked. MacMillan had four saves on the day, giving the Tigers the edge despite being outshot 11-10 by the Big Red.
With the win, the Tigers added three points to their Ivy League total, bringing them up to 10, just two behind league-leading Harvard. Princeton has two more Ivy games left, one against Penn (6-8-1, 3-1-1) and the finale against Yale. The Penn game will see one team emerge as a clear No. 2 in the Ancient Eight, but the Crimson currently controls its own destiny and will have to slip up if the Tigers hope to win at least a share of the championship.