For Jim Barlow, seeing his Princeton University men’s soccer team achieve a 0-0 draw at Brown last Saturday provoked decidedly mixed feelings.
“We played really well against Brown; it was disappointing not to win,” said Princeton head coach Barlow, whose team outshot the Bears 21-10 as it moved to 4-5-1 overall and 1-0-1 in Ivy League play.
“I thought we were on top of them for most of the game. We had more chances and more possession. In the second overtime, Brown picked it up; they had two really good chances so we could have lost the game.”
Senior goalie Seth MacMillan stood tall for the Tigers as he made a career-high six saves in the stalemate.
“MacMillan played well,” said Barlow. “He was in control of the box, he did well on restarts and crosses.”
In Barlow’s view, his team played well collectively in the draw. “The two center backs, Billy McGuinness and Josh Miller, were really good,” said Barlow.
“You would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t play well, everyone who got in did well. Myles McGinley played well and had a lot of chances. Thomas Sanner had four good chances. In the OT, he had a one-on-one and he kicked it into the goalie instead of finding the corner like he usually does. He was definitely a presence up front, he got on the end of a lot of balls.”
In Barlow’s view, Princeton has definitely picked up the intensity since a 1-0 defeat to Florida Gulf Coast University on September 29.
“We were really disappointed with that loss,” said Barlow. “From that game on, we have been more consistent and more solid. We are healthier and the guys have figured out their roles and responsibilities.”
A come-from-behind 2-1 win at Dartmouth in early October got Princeton headed in the right direction.
“We had a good first half and they had one shot and scored,” recalled Barlow.
“We were down 1-0 at halftime and the guys stuck with it and had a really big win. To start out with road games against Dartmouth and Brown, who are usually title contenders, and not have a loss is good. We feel good about where we are; we are in control of things.”
Barlow feels good about how his defense is playing as it has given up just one goal in its last three games.
“The defense had been good. In addition to the center backs, Joe Saitta has played real well at left back, the two Ivy games were his best games of the season,” added Barlow.
“Chris Benedict was really solid against Drexel [a 1-0 win on October 8] at right back and did well again on Saturday.”
With the first six teams in the Ivy League closely bunched, Princeton will need to be at its best as it hosts Columbia (5-2-2 overall, 0-0-2 Ivy) on October 19.
“We scrimmaged Columbia this year and we know them well,” said Barlow, noting that the program will be holding a ceremony at halftime of the game to honor its 1993 NCAA Final 4 team. “They are a very solid team, they are very good.”