Men's Soccer: Porter’s game-winner caps Ivy League opener
Porter alone took one more shot than Dartmouth did altogether, and the Tigers fed off of each other’s high-level play to such an extent that no one player clearly stood out in the opener to their hopes for a perfect season in the Ivy League. On the comfort of its home turf, Princeton outshot Dartmouth 17-7 in the 92-minute game while simultaneously advancing a formidable defensive force. Senior co-captain and center back Mark Linnville, junior defender Chris Benedict and junior defender Billy McGuinness constructed a nearly impenetrable line.
When Dartmouth did slip past the defensive trio, junior goalkeeper Seth MacMillan often provided a final barrier to his opponents. Perhaps the highlight in his fourth win of the season occurred in the 79th minute when MacMillan beat Colin Heffron, one of Dartmouth’s leading shooters, in a sprint for a loose ball.
On the front line, the Sanner brothers successfully attacked their opponent’s goal in the 18th minute in their second fraternal collaboration of the 2012 season. Porter ran with the pair, firing to senior midfielder Matt Sanner at the halfway line. The elder Sanner blasted the ball up the field, past freshman forward Thomas Sanner and the swarm of Big Green defenders around him.
The 6-foot-3-inch freshman galloped swiftly past every Dartmouth player and collected the ball, firing into the far left corner of the cage, out of goalie Noah Cohen’s grasp. “[Thomas] is not always the fastest guy, but he really looked fast on that play — he put his rocket boosters on or something,” Matt Sanner joked.
But both Sanners attributed much of the Tigers’ success against Dartmouth to a less obvious force, one who remained absent from the scoring and assist columns throughout the game but shined through in other metrics. Junior midfielder Lester Nare, who stepped onto the field in a starting role on Saturday night as sophomore Julian Griggs recovers from an ACL injury, deserved “a lot of credit ... because he stepped in and did a great job on the right side,” Matt Sanner said. “Lester just doesn’t stop running; he’s unbelievable in his work rate. Everyone bought into that level of play. It was contagious. We set a new bar for ourselves last night.”
Nare pressed from all sides throughout the game, testing Cohen in the 33rd minute and giving Princeton a number of breakaway chances after stopping Big Green attacks. Nare, Porter and the Sanners collaborated constantly to compile an intimidating offensive line.
“That was the best we’ve played as a team all year,” Thomas Sanner said. “We are starting to get each other’s tendencies down and starting to figure out where we want the ball passed to each other. Going into the game, we were really concerned about the midfield because Dartmouth plays a different, sort of strange formation in the midfield. I thought between my brother, [sophomore] Myles [McGinley], [junior] Pat [O’Neil], Lester and Cam, we definitely dominated the middle.”
Throughout the 2-1 overtime game, Princeton dominated the corner kick column as well, 9-2. Dartmouth ended the first stanza on a positive note, as Patrick Murray found an equalizer soon after leaving the bench. Murray grabbed a bouncing ball in the Tigers’ box and slipped it past MacMillan, but he and his teammates failed to get on the scoreboard another time for their first Ivy League loss of the season.
The Tigers will host another Ancient Eight team on Saturday, hoping to capture what would be a major win against No. 21 Brown.
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