With the game on the line in the fifth minute of sudden-death overtime, Creighton defender Benito Amaral received a smooth through-ball eight yards out from goal from midfielder Jose Gomez on the right side. Despite Princeton junior goalkeeper Seth MacMillan’s sliding attempt, Amaral’s composed near-post strike found the net, vaulting the Bluejays to a 3-2 victory over the men’s soccer team on Tuesday night at Roberts Stadium.
“We were too slow to get in the passing lane and take care of the ball that was slipped through,” head coach Jim Barlow '91 said following the game. “Number 10 [Gomez] made a really good pass through.”
The overtime goal capped a tightly fought contest between two streaking teams. Princeton (5-4-1 overall, 1-0-1 Ivy League) came into the match on a five game stretch without a loss, winning four straight matches before drawing with No. 19 Brown on Saturday. No. 24 Creighton (8-3-2) entered riding a two-game winning streak.
The slick surface created by the pregame drizzle and cool temperatures provided for fast-paced, direct soccer from the beginning. Creighton’s high-pressure mentality allowed the Bluejays to pepper the Tiger goal with shots early, but Princeton quickly rebounded. Senior defender Mark Linnville’s long throw-in was flicked in the box by sophomore forward Cameron Porter in the ninth minute. Porter’s pass somehow found sophomore midfielder Myles McGinley at the goalmouth, and McGinley’s composed finish through traffic lifted the Tigers to an early 1-0 lead.
Creighton soon responded, however, tying the score when forward Sean Kim lifted a left-footed shot over a sliding MacMillan in the 25th minute. Kim gained possession off of a turnover in the midfield, making a long run before firing the shot under pressure from 15 yards to let the Bluejays knot the score at 1-1.
Despite several Princeton opportunities later in the half, including several near misses by freshman defender Josh Miller, the Tigers could not capitalize and moved into halftime still tied at 1-1.
Driving play continued in the second half, quickly resulting in a Creighton goal in the 55th minute. Gomez played a nifty chip across the goalmouth, finding the head of midfielder Jose Ribas. However, Ribas’ diving header gave the Bluejays the lead for only a few moments. Just seconds later, Princeton mounted a counterattack that resulted with a Creighton handball in the box. Senior forward Matt Sanner’s driven penalty kick to the right caught Creighton keeper Alex Bolowich guessing incorrectly and tied the score at 2-2.
“We talk a lot about how goals follow goals,” Barlow said. “I think we got frustrated giving that one away and got back into it. We got in their end and were fortunate to get the penalty.”
When the officials awarded Princeton another penalty kick in the 84th minute following a rough tackle by Bolowich, the Tigers seemed poised to regain the lead. This time, however, Bolowich guessed correctly on Sanner’s shot to the right, making an impressive follow-up save and sending the match into overtime.
“That’s the guy we trust to take them. It happens,” Barlow said.
Now, Princeton will prepare to resume league play with a road match against Columbia (3-6-2, 1-1) on Saturday.
“We need to play better than we did tonight,” Barlow said. “We’re hoping we use the frustration from this game as a positive and come out flying on Saturday night. We’ll see what kind of character these guys have.”
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/10/31458/