The men’s soccer team had a tough start to the 2018 season, losing three out of its first four games. These losses were made especially tough given Princeton’s strong performances in these matches. The Tigers outshot Bradley 15–6 in their 2–1 loss and had five shots in their 1–0 defeat at the hands of Monmouth.
Despite the discouraging losses, the Tigers rebounded quickly, in part due to the form of senior forward and midfielder Jeremy Colvin. Colvin scored a golden goal in the 98th minute to lift the Tigers over Temple. With his first goal of the season under his belt, Colvin seemingly found his rhythm. Colvin delivered another game-winning goal in the Tiger’s next match against Boston University. More recently, the Orange and Black defeated neighbor Rider University 1–0 in a double-overtime grind. Colvin had the golden touch, tapping it in for his third game-winning goal of the season.
Throughout the games, the Princeton side showed its form, creating more opportunities than its opponents and registering more shots on target. However, it is now converting its chances into goals. Having seemingly worked off the rust, the men’s soccer team is on a three-game winning streak and earned its 4–3 regular season record. Princeton will look to build on this momentum with the Ivy League season just two fixtures away.
Last year, Princeton managed a third-place finish in the Ivy League with eight points in conference play. The Princeton Tigers were tied with Ivy rivals Brown and Yale. Dartmouth took the top spot in the Ancient Eight with a near-perfect season. Big Green recorded six wins in seven games, earning a tie in its last fixture.
Despite the recent string of victories, the Tigers still have areas of improvement as they look to contend for an Ivy League title. Part of the reason for the poor start has been around the team’s defense of set pieces. Indeed, both goals that Princeton conceded in its matchup against Bradley came off restarts. Some of these lapses may be simply the growing pains of a team with plenty of young talent.
The Tigers graduated six seniors last year and welcome seven new members to the team as part of the Class of 2022. Despite the transition, the Princeton side will still be guided by strong veteran leadership. Particularly in offense, the Princeton team retained 72 percent of its scoring production from the 2017 season, including Colvin, last year’s leading scorer. In addition, the Tigers return two all-Ivy League selections: sophomore Richard Wolf and senior Henry Martin, both defenders. Finally, Princeton will be in reliable hands between the posts with junior goalkeeper Jacob Schachner, who ranked second in the Ivy League in saves. The new team will be heavily challenged as it looks to improve upon last year’s results.
The Tigers open Ivy League play against Dartmouth. Princeton will host the defending Ivy League champs in what should be a tightly contested match up. Last season, Big Green narrowly edged out the Tigers in a 2–1 overtime victory. While the first half remained scoreless, a brilliant run past three defenders by senior defender and midfielder Sean McSherry presented the Tigers with a great opportunity. The cross by McSherry found Colvin, who blasted it into the bottom corner to give Princeton a 1–0 lead.
Dartmouth would equalize nine minutes later and the teams would remain tied for the rest of the half and first overtime. It would be the Big Green that broke the deadlock and won the game with a goal in the second overtime period. Princeton will have the opportunity to avenge this loss in its Ivy League opener this season.
However, before that, the Tigers will have to get past Loyola. Princeton will host Loyola this coming Tuesday, Sept. 25. If men’s soccer’s current form is any indication of its future performance, fans will have plenty to look forward to as the season unfolds.