Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 42
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
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STANDING TALL: Princeton University women’s soccer goalie Aly Pont, middle, knocks away the ball in a game earlier this season. Sophomore Pont has been a major spark for the Tigers, who beat Dartmouth 1-0 last Saturday to move to 6-1-1 overall and 2-0 in Ivy League play. Pont has a goals against average of 0.36 goals so far this season and has already posted five shutouts.

Busch Fires Up Princeton Men’s Soccer but Tigers Drop Heartbreaker to Brown

Bill Alden

Brandon Busch made no effort to hide his emotions.

After scoring a first half goal last Saturday to give the Princeton University men’s soccer team a 1-0 lead over visiting Brown, the 5’3 Busch raced to the wall at Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium and leaped up to high five cheering fans.

Early in the second half, sophomore forward Busch repeated the scene at the other end of the stadium, this time after slotting home a penalty kick to give Princeton a 2-1 lead with 36:20 left in the game.

The Tigers, though, were unable to hold the lead as defending Ivy League champion Brown tied the game with 29:47 remaining and then scored the game-winner with 3:18 left in regulation.

Afterward, the Princeton players made no effort to hide their emotions, disconsolately trudging off the field with their heads hanging. The team sat on the practice field behind their bench for a lengthy and somber post-game meeting as they reflected on falling to 2-8-1 overall and 0-1-1 in Ivy play.

A subdued Busch acknowledged that the loss stung. “We came out and played real hard and fought with them,” said Busch, who now has a team-high four goals on the season.

“It is a tough one to swallow; we were up for this team the whole week. We were preparing mentally; to give one away like that is tough.”

For Busch, the result dimmed a special night when he once again proved to be a spark off the bench for the Tigers.

“Obviously I would rather start but I think I fit into the role of coming off the bench pretty well,” said Busch.

“I did that last year coming in as a freshman; my coach told me he really likes what I bring after the game settles down. The first 20 minutes of each half flies by really quickly. Once the game starts to settle down, coach likes to put me in to get the momentum back up in our favor.”

Busch certainly gave Princeton momentum in the first half when he got on the end of a Devin Muntz feed and blasted it home.

“It was a great pass,” recalled Busch. “I started on the other side and as the ball came out, I just ran across the defense. It just kind of opened up, we made eye contact and he put a perfect ball right to my foot.”

Later, Busch produced a nice ball on the penalty kick which came when he was pulled down in the box on another run to the goal.

“I look at the ball the whole time,” explained Busch. “When I m running up to the ball, out of my peripherals, I see which way the keeper is going and just put it the other way. On that one, I was originally going to go to the other side but I saw him sliding so I decided to cut it back.”

Princeton head coach Jim Barlow hated to see his team back into another tough loss.

“We haven’t learned our lessons,” said a frowning Barlow. “We lose the Monmouth game in overtime by giving a goal away off of our tap. We start the second half today by giving away a goal on our tap. That changed everything right there. We are up 1-0 starting the second half and we have the game under control and then 15 seconds into the second half, we have given a gift away. I think that gave them a lot of life; they did well after that to put some pressure on us.”

Brown kept the pressure on Princeton after the Busch penalty kick, scoring two goals in the last 30 minutes to pull out the win.

“Their second was a long throw-in,”said Barlow, whose team was outshot 11-3 in the second half and 17-8 on the evening by Brown (now 8-2-1, 2-0 Ivy).

“We spent the whole session yesterday defending long throw-ins because we know they are very dangerous on them. I thought it came down so close that it was a goal that Sean [Lynch] should have been able to come off his line and get but I guess there were too many bodies in front of him and we let it land. On the last one, I thought at that point the game had gotten stretched a little bit and the kid did well to finish his chance.”

Barlow did like the way Busch finished his chances on the evening. “Brandon had his best game tonight,” asserted Barlow.

“He has been frustrated and his confidence hasn’t been as good as it was last year. Tonight I thought, he looked like his old self. I think scoring a goal in the first half gave him some confidence. If he plays like he did tonight, he’s going to have a chance to be in the top 11. He’s got to get consistent; the thing that he has been able to do last year and in the spring was get on the end of plays and be real dangerous. He was a little more dangerous tonight than he has been in other games.”

Princeton has to find a way to be more dangerous in crunch time. “We find ways to give games away,” lamented Barlow, whose team hosts Rutgers on October 15 before playing at Columbia on October 18.

“Brown is a good team and you can’t give them goals if you want to have a chance. Brown is really athletic and we had a hard time dealing with some of their athleticism. But we still had two leads and when you have two leads you shouldn’t lose.”

Busch, for his part, is confident that Princeton can start coming through in the close games.

“We had a good tie against Dartmouth, it would have put us in the driver’s seat to win this one,” said Busch.

“We are not out of it; a lot of things can happen. I think we are making progress. All of our losses have been one-goal margins so if it goes the other way in any one of those games, things are different.”

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