After its seven-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-0 blowout against University of Connecticut, the men’s soccer team (5-3-2, 0-0-2 Ivy) will try to regain its stride in Princeton this weekend.
The Lions were tripped up early by the Huskies, who managed to score three goals in the first half and allowed the Lions only one shot on goal on Tuesday.
In spite of the loss, Lions head coach Kevin Anderson remains confident that his team has moved past the defeat. “There is nothing we can do about that game besides learn from the experience,” he said. “There are guys who are working very, very hard, and they have become players who are starting to maximize their potential as well as the team’s.”
The Tigers (4-6-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) come into this weekend’s contest tied for second in the Ancient Eight, but they suffered a shutout loss against St. John’s University in New York on Tuesday.
Forward Cameron Porter, who has four goals and a pair of assists, anchors Princeton’s offense. Forward Thomas Sanner, who has scored six goals and leads the Ivy League in total points with 13, has also played a key role.
Anderson says the Light Blue knows what it has to do to secure a win. “We need to understand what their key players bring to the table, so we respect that,” he said. “But at the same time, we know what we need to give ourselves the opportunity to not be vulnerable.”
Last time the Light Blue faced Princeton, the game ended in a scoreless tie, due largely to then-first-year goalie Kyle Jackson’s eight saves. Last week against the Huskies, Jackson allowed three goals and didn’t record a single save.
Prior to their loss earlier this week, the Lions won matches off of their strong defensive performance and Jackson’s consistency in front of goal. The back line was holding opponents to just 11.7 shots per game and Jackson had posted three shutouts before the Huskies bested them.
The Lions will hope to spark their offense in order to get back on the track that enabled them to score 15 goals prior to the UConn match, putting them behind only Penn for the most goals in the Ivy League.
For the Light Blue to record a victory against the Tigers, the team will need to keep the ball in front of Princeton’s goal and let Jackson have some breathing room. Anderson is confident that the Lions can do just that and claim a victory, just as long as they take advantage of their opportunities and limit Princeton’s.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to quality moments,” he said. “We need to take advantage of the quality moments that we create and on the other end of it, we need to be able to deny them as many of those moments as we can.”
The action commences at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Roberts Stadium in Princeton.