Sept. 16, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - On an afternoon when scoring chances were infrequent, Princeton (2-3-0 overall, 0-0 Ivy League) made a first half goal from Thomas Stanner stand up in a 1-0 triumph over Villanova (5-2-0 overall, 0-0-0 BIG EAST) here at the West Campus Soccer Complex.
"Princeton won a lot of physical battles," noted Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "It wasn't a pretty game. They got the early goal and we weren't able to overcome it."
There were only 25 total shots on the day - 13 by Villanova and 12 from Princeton. But the Tigers had the better of play in the first half and made their best chance of the day count at 26:21 when Cameron Porter dribbled along the right side and created enough room from his defender to send a cross through the box to the left side where Stanner was waiting. He tapped the ball into the left side of the net and the Tigers were up 1-0.
Given Villanova's scoring skill - the Wildcats entered play today with 17 goals in six games (2.83 per game) - there seemed to be ample hope for a comeback. But the Tigers' back four, led by Mark Linnville did an exceptional job of keeping the area in front of goalkeeper Seth MacMillan free. Villanova out-shot the Tigers 8-7 in the first half but were unable to apply the kind of heat they did in Friday's 5-3 win at Penn.
Injuries also worked against VU on this day. The Wildcats again played without midfielder Kyle Soroka with a sprained ACL (he is officially day-to-day). Senior Emerson Lawrence, the team's leading scorer on the season, was helped off the field in the first half and did not return. Three other Wildcats, including Oscar Umar, Sean Sheridan, and William Cason either had to leave the field or shake off tough hits to remain in the contest.
"We're banged up right now," says Carlin. "We were deep into our bench and played 18 guys. The good part is that I thought some of the guys we brought in gave us energy and helped us late."
Villanova's best chance to produce the tying score came with under a minute to play when one of those reserves broke free. Freshman Kye West was onside as he received a pass and headed in untouched toward MacMillan. But his shot sailed wide of the net and kept the score at 1-0.
"I thought we were a little sluggish early," Carlin says. "It may have been that we were worn down from the comeback against Penn, I'm not sure. We showed a lot of heart and kept battling. Now we have to re-group and get ready for a tough battle with La Salle on Thursday."
Villanova hosts the second in a series of four straight home games on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at the West Campus Soccer Complex. Philadelphia Soccer Six rival La Salle will provide the opposition and it will air on Nova Nation All-Access.