September 7, 2022

Battling Rutgers, Vermont Again to Start the Season, PU Men’s Soccer Ties Scarlet Knights, Falls to Catamounts

OPENING ROUND: Princeton University men’ soccer player Daniel Diaz-Bonilla, right, fights for the ball last Friday night against Rutgers in the season opener for the Tigers. Senior star Diaz-Bonilla scored a goal late in the contest as Princeton rallied to earn a 1-1 draw with the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway. The Tigers, who fell 2-0 to Vermont last Monday in their home opener to move to 0-1-1, play at Penn State (2-1-1) on September 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In 2021, the Princeton University men’s soccer team returned to action after the previous season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns by falling 1-0 to Rutgers and 2-0 to the University of Vermont.

Over the Labor Day weekend, Princeton started its 2022 campaign by facing the same two foes, looking to turn the tables on them.

“They are two teams that beat us last year in two very even games,” said Barlow as he looked ahead to the season. “I think we felt as the season went on that we would love to have another shot at those two teams and now we get another shot at them.”

On Friday at Rutgers, Princeton seemed headed to the same result against the Scarlet Knights as it trailed 1-0 with 14 minutes remaining in regulation.

Tracking down a loose ball on a free kick, Tiger defender Issa Mudashiru got the ball to Harry Roberts who eluded a defender and slotted the ball to Daniel Diaz-Bonilla, who fired a shot that was saved. Undeterred, Diaz-Bonilla chased down the rebound and fired the ball into the back of the net.

That tally proved to be the final score of the contest as the local rivals played to a 1-1 draw, giving the Tigers some measure of payback.

On Labor Day, Princeton hosted Vermont in its home opener and, like in the opener, dug itself a hole.

The Catamounts took a 1-0 lead 10:19 into the contest on an own goal off a corner kick as a clear by the Tigers ricocheted off a defender into the net.

Minutes later, Vermont generated another corner kick and cashed in again as Yves Borie scored with 22:40 left in the first half to double the lead for the Catamounts.

In the second half, the Tigers fought furiously to produce another rally, outshooting the Catamounts 9-4. Roberts got loose a couple of times in the box and Diaz-Bonilla was making a run down end line in the waning seconds. Those efforts, though, were for naught as Princeton suffered an unfortunate case of déjà vu with the Catamounts hanging on for a 2-0 win over the Tigers for the second straight year.

On Friday, the Tigers will head to Penn State (2-1-1)  looking to get on the winning track. Last year, the matchup with the Nittany Lions proved to be a spark for Princeton as it prevailed 1-0 on a goal by Roberts, giving it momentum as it went on the produce a 7-0 Ivy League campaign.