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Men’s soccer picks up first Ivy League win in 4–0 rout of Columbia

Man in orange kicks ball with right leg over a sliding man in white with legs stretched.
First-year forward Ian Nunez takes a shot off of a Columbia defender. 
Photo courtesy of Tate Hutchins/The Daily Princetonian. 

After a tough loss to Dartmouth and a draw with Yale, men's soccer (4–4–1 overall, 1–1–1 Ivy League) was able to pick up their first Ivy League win of the season against the Columbia Lions (2–6–2, 0–3–0 Ivy League) on a rainy Saturday at Myslik Field. The pressure and aggressiveness from the Tigers prevented Columbia from getting comfortable or establishing a sense of rhythm, opening up chances that the Tigers would capitalize on again and again. 

The first 20 minutes saw the Tigers control both the ball and the pace of the match, with several crosses coming in just over the forwards and several shots on goal. Columbia also threatened with two free kicks, but both were easily saved by junior goalkeeper Khamari Hadaway. 

The Tigers finally broke through when a turnover from Columbia led to a breakaway from sophomore forward Daniel Ittycheria in the 24th minute, where he successfully faced Columbia keeper Michael Collodi one-on-one and gave Princeton a 1–0 lead.

Just a minute after play restarted, the Tigers carried the momentum after sophomore forward Will Francis put a one-touch assist from senior defender Whit Gamblin into the goal to increase the lead to 2–0. 

Princeton would continue to control the momentum in the midfield, before eventually converting again as the pressure caused Collodi to drop a lob pass. First-year forward Ian Nunez picked the ball up and would capitalize on Columbia’s mistake for a comfortable 3–0 lead in the 36th minute.

Columbia threatened the Tigers' lead after a counterattack saw an attacker get past Hadaway just before halftime, but a goal-saving tackle from Gamblin kept them off the scoreboard.

The goal scoring continued for Princeton after the half, with Ittycheria notching his second goal of the game and his 7th goal of the season off a perfectly placed cross from senior midfielder Logan Oyama in the 55th minute. The second half would also see the debuts of junior midfielder Heyward Bryan and sophomore defender Ian MacIver. The Lions attempted to create opportunities through crosses and corners, but it would prove to be too little and too late as the Princeton defenders and Hadaway turned them away again and again, only allowing a single second half shot. 

The match would conclude with 19 shots from Princeton to just five from Columbia, reflecting the lopsided score and the dominance of the ball control from the Tigers. The defense also stood tall throughout the match, with the team’s first shutout and Hadaway’s first clean sheet of the season. 

The team was more than satisfied with getting in the Ivy League win column. “The first Ivy win is huge, we really needed it,” Ittycheria wrote to The Daily Princetonian. “The boys are positive now but staying humble because we still got a lot of work to do.”

Head coach Jim Barlow was also happy with the execution throughout the match. “We were able to both establish a lot of possession in the attacking half of the field today as well as win the ball back up there when we lost it. We were also able to create chances in a variety of ways,” Barlow told the ‘Prince.’ “Overall I thought it was a very complete game and hopefully one we can build on in our upcoming matches.”

The Tigers will look to carry the momentum from this game into Tuesday, when they will travel up to North Jersey to take on the Seton Hall Pirates (5–3–3, 1–2–1 Big East) and look to get over .500 for the season.

Tate Hutchins is a contributor to the Sports section for the ‘Prince.’

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