Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 43
 
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

SUREFOOTED: Princeton University men’s soccer star Teddy Schneider displays his footwork in Princeton’s 2-1 comeback win over Harvard last Sunday. Defender Schneider has provided energy and savvy as the 23rd-ranked Tigers have won eight straight in moving to 9-3-1 overall and 4-0 in Ivy League play, tying them for first with Penn.

Sparked by Schneider’s Energy, Savvy, PU Men’s Soccer Rallies Past Harvard

Bill Alden

With the Princeton University men’s soccer team trailing Harvard 1-0 heading into the second half last Sunday, Tiger defender Teddy Schneider and his teammates held an impromptu meeting in the waning moments of intermission.

“We were just trying to pump each other up,” said Schneider, reflecting on the chat which took place on the center of the field out of the earshot of the Princeton coaches. “We were confident that we could win the game; we just needed to lift up our energy and be confident going into the second half.”

Some eight minutes into the half, senior Schneider demonstrated his confidence in his teammates as he served a free kick into the box believing that it would be knocked home.

Sure enough, classmate Josh Walburn rose above the Harvard defense to take the volley and snap it past the Harvard goalie for the game-tying goal.

“We have a lot of great guys up top who can get their head on it and I was just trying to put it in a good spot,” said Schneider, recalling the goal.

“Josh Walburn made a great run across the box and I was able to find his head and he flicked it right over the goalie. He is a magnet for the ball so even if I am not looking for him, he usually gets his head on it.”

About two and a half minutes later, sophomore Matt Sanner showed his nose for the goal, redirecting an Antoine Hoppenot bicycle kick into the net for Princeton’s second tally.

With the 5’6, 130-pound Schneider coming up big along the back line, the Tiger defense was able to make that lead stand up as Princeton won 2-1 before a crowd of 753 at Roberts Stadium and a national television audience tuning in to the ESPNU broadcast of the contest.

The win was the eighth straight for the No. 23 Tigers as they improved to 9-3-1 overall and 4-0 in Ivy League play, tying them for first place in the league with Penn.

Even thought the Tigers trailed at halftime, Schneider was confident that Princeton would ultimately prevail.

“We were playing well but we were making a few mistakes in the back,” said Schneider, a native of Califon, N.J. who was an all-state performer during his high school career at the Delbarton School.

“As long as we cleaned that up, we knew we would have our chances. We just wanted to come out with a lot of energy and that is what we did. We had a lot of chances and we kept grinding and grinding.”

Schneider looks to provide energy and savvy to the Tiger defense. “I try to bring a lot of leadership, being a senior who has played a lot of games here,” said Schneider, who has a goal and four assists this season after tallying a total of six goals and three assists in his first three years with the program.

“I try to bring a lot of experience to the back line. Our whole back line has a lot of experience; we try to keep it steady back there and vocal. We can orchestrate the whole team and keep everyone in line and keep everyone going.”

Princeton head coach Jim Barlow appreciates the steady play he gets from Schneider.

“You know exactly what you are going to get from him every single game,” said Barlow. “He’s good with the ball; he’s got a lot of energy. He makes good decisions and he serves a great ball. It’s nice to know what you are getting and getting something so good, so consistently from him.”

The Tigers got something very good from Walburn with his superb header.

“What a great goal by Walburn; getting up and timing that header,” said Barlow of Walburn, who now has six goals, the second highest total on the team behind the seven scored by Hoppenot.

“That goal changed the momentum and set the tone for the second half. It was a huge goal.”

Momentum has been on the side of Princeton in its winning streak as it has scored three goals in each contest in that stretch before the two-goal output on Sunday.

“This has been a really, really good stretch for us,” said Barlow, whose team plays at Cornell (4-6-4 overall, 0-3-1 Ivy) on October 30.

“We know how many good teams there are in the country; one slip up could cost us. It is really important that we stay focused. We just go one game at a time and feel like we can win the game we are playing next. I think if you get too distracted about what might happen, then you forget about what is right in front of you.”

Princeton has shown it doesn’t have to be in front the whole way to win as it also rallied to a 3-2 victory over Columbia before the comeback last Sunday.

“We have been able to score goals in all kinds of different ways,” said Barlow.

“It’s also nice to see that we are starting to win games in all kinds of different ways, getting the early goal, not getting the early goal, getting behind and coming back. The guys believe right now; they believe they can get it done.”

Schneider, for his part, believes the Tigers can do some special things over the next few weeks.

“Getting on this stretch really builds our confidence,” added Schneider. “It is really good going into the last few games of the Ivy season. As long as we keep our focus and keep playing how we have been, I think we can do great things going into the rest of the season.”

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