Princeton’s schedule has been arguably more arduous, with two of their losses coming to Big East powerhouses No. 3 Georgetown and No. 12 St. John’s. The Tigers’ third loss came at the hands of in-state rival Rutgers, which currently sits just outside the top-25 rankings. In comparison, Brown has yet to play a team currently ranked in the top 25.
The Bears should not be underestimated, however, as they have played dominantly throughout the first 10 games of their season. Defense has been the team’s hallmark thus far. Brown has a remarkable seven shutouts and has given up only five goals over that 10-game span, three of which came in an overtime triumph over Washington in Seattle.
In addition to defensive prowess, the Bears also bring a well-conditioned and disciplined team to Roberts Stadium, evidenced by impressive second half statistics. Brown has posted 10 of their season’s 15 goals in the second half or overtime while ceding only 2 to their opponents in those frames. In the second half, the Bears have racked up 85 shot attempts while permitting just 38 and outnumber their opponents in cornerkicks 26-14.
On paper, the game looks to be quite a defensive struggle as the Tigers bring in a reputable unit of their own. Princeton has allowed just 1.13 goals per game throughout the season and only two in its last four games. Strong performances in the net have helped the Tiger defense as well. Since earning the starting role against Georgetown, junior goalkeeper Seth MacMillan has posted 15 saves and a 0.60 goals against average.
Offensively, the Tigers are led by freshman forward Thomas Sanner, who holds the team lead in both goals and assists with three and five, respectively. Senior forward Matt Sanner and sophomore midfielder Julian Griggs, who is out for the year with a torn ACL, also have two goals apiece for Princeton, while Matt Sanner and sophomore forward Cameron Porter lead the team in shot attempts. Brown’s offensive leader is midfielder Thomas McNamara, whose three goals are a team high. McNamara also takes a large proportion of the team’s shot attempts; his 29 on the season are 10 more than his next closest teammate, forward Voltaire Escalona. Escalona leads the Bears’ offense with four assists.
Princeton is riding a four-game win streak into Saturday’s game after overcoming three straight losses earlier in the season. Brown is also streaking into Princeton, unbeaten since a Sept. 9 loss to Fordham. The Bears had won five straight before drawing with Fairfield on Tuesday.
Both teams opened conference play last Saturday, Princeton with a win over Dartmouth and Brown defeating Columbia at home. With strong overall records, the Bears and the Tigers look like two of the top Ivy League contenders this season, along with No. 18 Cornell.
Following Saturday’s bout, the Tigers will have a quick turnaround and take on non-conference foe Creighton at home on Tuesday.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/05/31389/