Men's Soccer: Hosts sweep Princeton Invitational
The men’s soccer team (4-3 overall) hosted the 2012 Princeton Invitational this weekend on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. The four game event brought Rider, Fairleigh Dickinson and Penn to the Orange Bubble. The Tigers faced off against Rider on Friday evening before playing Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday afternoon.
Princeton came into Friday night’s game with a 2-3 record and no wins at home on the season, but the Tigers had momentum from a strong performance against then No. 12 Georgetown last week and a subsequent 1-0 victory over Villanova. Princeton kept the momentum rolling this weekend, picking up its first two home wins and moving its record above .500 for the first time since the season-opening win at Seton Hall.
The Tigers drew first blood versus Rider on an impressive, long sideline throw from senior defender Mark Linnville. Freshman forward Thomas Sanner headed the pass and it was redirected into the goal off the knee of junior midfielder Dylan Bowman in the 31st minute. Bowman had just entered the game as a substitute not 20 seconds earlier; the goal was the junior’s first on the year.
Princeton took a 1-0 lead into the half, outshooting the Broncs 7-3 and amassing eight corners to Rider’s zero. Seven minutes into the first half, however, Rider capitalized on a penalty kick taken by defender Brandon Sebastian and knotted up the game. Junior goalkeeper Seth MacMillan guessed left on the attempt, but Sebastian drove the ball toward the lower right corner of the goal, far from MacMillan’s reach.
Sixteen minutes later, the Tigers’ offense took over the game, scoring twice within a two-minute span. Sophomore midfielder Julian Griggs scored the go-ahead and eventually game-winning goal off a pass from Thomas Sanner. Sanner delivered the ball to the top of the box where Griggs then took the pass and beat two defenders before powering the ball into the net. Sophomore midfielder Myles McGinley and Sanner were both credited assists on the play.
Just two minutes later an own goal from the Broncs gave Princeton a two score cushion to close out the game. The Tigers ended the game with 14 shots and 12 corners while Rider had just seven and zero, respectively.
Sunday, the Tigers faced off against FDU, whose comeback against Penn on Friday had come up just short, resulting in a 3-2 defeat. Princeton kept up its tenacity at the beginning of the game and scored by the 17th minute. Thomas Sanner picked up his second goal of the season while junior midfielder Patrick O’Neil grabbed his first assist. The goal gives Sanner a team-leading total of eight points thus far in the season.
Thomas’ older brother, senior forward Matt Sanner, extended the lead just before the conclusion of the first half by contributing his second goal of the season. The elder Sanner, left alone at the top of the box, took a pass from McGinley and delivered a hard kick across his body to the right corner of the net to beat FDU goalkeeper Aleksander Djekic.
Princeton’s defense continued its impressive play by shutting out the Knights in the second half to preserve the two-goal lead. The penalty kick against Rider was the only goal allowed by the unit in the last three games.
Thomas Sanner and McGinley were joined by junior defender Billy McGuinness as Princeton’s representatives on the All-Tournament team.
The Tigers will have the week off before returning to action on Saturday, Sept. 29, when they open Ivy League play by hosting Dartmouth in the third game of a five game homestand. The game will take place at 2 p.m., as part of a Roberts Field doubleheader that will conclude with the women’s team’s game against the Big Green later that afternoon.
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