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Bobby Hickson defends in men's soccer 3-0 win over Harvard

By Jacquelyn Davila

Men’s soccer crushed Harvard University at home on Saturday, Oct. 20, 3–0. This weekend’s win continues the Tigers’s undefeated season and puts them in first place in the Ivy League.

Princeton started the game on the offensive, with their first shot in the fourth minute by senior forward Jeremy Colvin, who hit it wide to the left. In the twelfth minute, sophomore midfielder Kevin O’Toole’s shot was blocked before it could find the back of Harvard’s net. Half a minute later, freshman midfielder Moulay Hamza Kanzi Belghiti gained control of the ball in Princeton’s attacking half but shot it over the crossbar.

In the 22nd minute a small fight broke out on the field after a cheap foul on Princeton. Players from both teams began pushing each other and eventually Harvard’s Cesar Farias was handed a yellow card. He was subsequently subbed out of the game.

Senior midfielder Sean McSherry out-skilled one of Harvard’s defenders in the 26th minute before hitting a perfect pass into the middle to O’Toole, who was wide open. O’Toole hit a rocket that was just a little too high.

Two minutes later Princeton finally hit the back of the net. Sophomore midfielder Gaby Paniagua gained control of the ball inside Harvard’s goalbox thanks to plays from O’Toole and Kanzi Belghiti. He hit the ball from the air straight past the keeper and into the goal, bringing the Tigers into the lead.

Harvard earned two corner kicks in a row but was unable to capitalize on either. In the 39th minute, the Crimson had one of their best chances of the half to score. A Princeton foul gave Harvard a freekick opportunity right outside of the Tigers’ goalbox. Harvard’s Nico Garcia-Morillo went for goal but hit it just over the crossbar, ensuring Princeton’s clean sheet for the half. 

Two minutes before the half the Orange and Black increased their lead to two. O’Toole received the ball from McSherry and hit a banger from the eighteen-yard line that arced perfectly into the top left corner, bringing the score to 2–0.

To finish off the half, the Tigers went on the counterattack in the last minute with a great ball, over Harvard’s defenders, to McSherry who was alone against the Crimson’s keeper. McSherry flicked the ball just over the goal however, closing out a successful half for Princeton.

The first half saw a whopping 13 shots by Princeton to Harvard’s four as well as six fouls to the Crimson’s 11. Princeton had no corner kicks and no saves to Harvard’s three and four, respectively.

The second half began much like the first, with Princeton on the offensive. McSherry had a shot on goal in the 48th minute, but it was saved by Harvard keeper Matt Freese.

A minute later though, the ball found its way past Freese. O’Toole capitalized on a dribble by junior midfielder Benjamin Martin, who was tackled in the box by Harvard. The ball found its way to O’Toole who hit one into the top right corner, out of Freese’s reach for the Tigers’ final goal of the game.

Princeton’s clean sheet was almost disrupted in the 72nd minute, when Harvard’s Garcia-Morillo broke away from Tiger defenders. Goalie Jacob Schachner, a junior, saved Garcia-Morillos shot, saving the Tigers from a Crimson goal.

The second half saw Princeton with ten shots to Harvard’s seven. Both teams’ goalies were more active in the half — Harvard’s keeper had five saves while Schachner had three. The Tigers had three corners while Harvard had none, and six yellow cards to the Crimson’s five.

Princeton is 43–41–9 all time against Harvard with the rivalry starting in 1909.

The Tigers are now atop the Ivy League with three wins, no losses and a draw — the last undefeated Ivy team this season. Cornell and Columbia are right behind the team with three wins and a loss each. With three games left, the Tigers find themselves in a good position to take the Ivy Championship.

Next weekend the team will take on Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

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