September 20, 2017

Dropping Another Heartbreaker at Home, Princeton Men’s Soccer Falls to 0-3-1

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton University men’s soccer team, the cozy confines of its Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium have been decidedly unfriendly so far this season.

In its home opener against Seton Hall on September 7, the Tigers squandered a 3-0 lead on the way to a 4-3 defeat in overtime.

Last Friday, Princeton hosted Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in its second home game and outshot the Cougars all night only to surrender a goal with 15 seconds left in regulation to fall 1-0.

While Princeton head coach Jim Barlow acknowledged that the defeat was tough to swallow for the coaches and players, he believes that nobody is giving up on the season.

“Everyone is frustrated but frustrated in a way that they know our team has a lot of talent and can be good,” said Barlow, whose club dropped to 0-3-1 with the defeat. “From that standpoint, they are hanging in there.”

The Tigers had to hang in there defensively as they lacked manpower along the back line.

“I thought we played pretty well all night actually, especially considering that we are pretty shorthanded in the back,” said Barlow, noting that the Tigers didn’t have the services of starting defenders Benji Issroff and Henry Martin for the contest.

“Richard Wolf hadn’t played any minutes before and he started at center back. Ben Martin hasn’t played in the back and he started in the back. From that standpoint, I thought we looked pretty good and organized.”

Outshooting the Cougars 15-8 on the night, Princeton had some good moments on the attacking end.

“They are hard to break down and I thought we did enough to create four or five chances,” said Barlow, noting that Sean McSherry and Jeremy Colvin both got good looks on goal. “It is really frustrating to have the game still be 0-0 in the last few minutes.”

The frustration hit a boiling point in the final sequence of regulation when a Princeton player was pulled down in the attacking end but nothing was called, leading to the SIUE counterattack that resulted in the game-winning goal.

“Certainly we thought it was a foul down here and that would have given us a free kick at the top of the box,” lamented Barlow.

“Maybe a couple of guys were arguing too much. We didn’t do a good enough job of stopping the counter. When they didn’t call it, we need to be better at that part.”

With Princeton slated to play at Boston University on September 19 and at Fairleigh Dickinson on September 23, Barlow knows that his team badly needs a win.

“We are trying to tell the guys that we are further along in a lot of ways than we have been in previous years soccer wise,” said Barlow.

“Everyone would rather be winning and playing a little worse than playing better and losing and trying to still keep pushing it along in a way that we fix the problems that we are having.”

In Barlow’s view, getting back to full strength would solve some problems for the Tigers.

“We had so many injuries during preseason and so it would be nice to have a game where we have everyone healthy,” said Barlow.

“Everyone should be back soon and hopefully back for the Ivy League season.”