September 26, 2018

Displaying Resilience in Crunch Time, PU Men’s Soccer Posts 3 Straight Wins

GETTING HIS KICKS: Princeton University men’s soccer goalie Jacob Schachner boots the ball in recent action. Junior star Schachner posted two straight shutouts as Princeton defeated Boston University 1-0 on September 15 and then edged Rider 1-0 in overtime last Wednesday to extend its winning streak to three and improve to 4-3. The Tigers were slated to host Loyola on September 25 before starting Ivy League play by hosting Dartmouth on September 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming into its game against Temple on the evening of September 12, the Princeton University men’s soccer team faced a crossroads even though it was just two weeks into the season.

Having lost three of its first four games, with all three defeats coming by one goal, Princeton needed to find a way to come through in crunch time to prevent losing from becoming a habit.

“We put ourselves in a hole where we knew that the next few games were really, really important,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow.

Starting to dig out of that hole, the Tigers defeated Temple 2-1 in overtime that night as senior Jeremy Colvin came through with the winning goal.

“Jeremy did a good job in the Temple game; he was very opportunistic in the game in overtime,” said Barlow.

“It was very back and forth and there was a ball that was in the midfield and our midfielders did a really good job of competing for it and forced it towards their own goal. They mishit a back pass and Jeremy was already on the run and very composed with his finish. I think that game gave him some confidence.”

Continuing to be composed in the clutch, Colvin starred as Princeton defeated Boston University on September 15 and then edged Rider 1-0 last Wednesday in double overtime, tallying the lone goal in both contests.

“We have been talking about being a resilient team that can find a way to win when the game is on the line, make plays, stay focused,  and stay tuned in,” said Barlow. “Fortunately we have been rewarded with a couple of overtime wins which I think has helped our confidence and our belief and all of those kind of things.”

The 6’2, 190-pound Colvin, a native of Houston, Texas, has displayed a resilience around goal.

“He scored a really good goal against BU and was very active and dangerous that game,” said Barlow.

“It was a very tough game against Rider; Jeremy had to work just to get his touches and get free. Once again, he was in the right spot on a corner kick in OT. Richard Wolf did a very good job getting to the back post off of Bryan Prudil’s corner kick. Richard got it across the middle and Jeremy was there to finish. It has been a really good stretch for him.”

The three-game winning streak has seen a very good stretch for the Princeton defense with the back-to-back shutouts. “The defense has been really solid with a lot of guys playing back there now too,” said Barlow.

“Rich Wolf has gotten healthy so he has played about a half of all three games. Michael Osei Wusu has come off the bench and has given us some really good minutes at left back. Cole Morokhovich has been pretty steady there. He had a little bit if an injury this week and Michael did a good job of filling in at left back. Bobby Hickson has been solid at right back but Alex Charles has also given him some spells and has done very well. Benji Issroff hasn’t come off at all. He has been the rock. He has been really, really solid and strong at center back in every game.”

With Princeton slated to host Loyola on September 25 before starting Ivy League play by hosting Dartmouth on September 29, Barlow acknowledges that the Tigers need to be more opportunistic going forward.

“We are in a good place, but I think the guys also know that there is a lot that we could still do better,” said Barlow, noting the Tiger have outshot their foes 101-52 and have just seven goals in going 4-3.

“For that number of shots and that discrepancy in shots, we should be finding ways to score more. We definitely need to get better in the final third if we are going to win in the league and  if we are going to compete for the NCAA tournament. We feel like we are close but that part has to get better for sure. We can’t keep asking our defense to shut out everybody.”