Home field advantage is an expression for a reason—familiar turf comes with knowledge, comfort, and an atmosphere of success. At least it’s supposed to. But for Princeton men’s soccer, the pressure of playing on the road, away from the supposed advantages of home, has brought them more victories this season.
Cameron Porter ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)
A tough 2-1 overtime loss to Dartmouth on Saturday was the Tigers’ second loss at Roberts Stadium this season, bringing their home record to 1-2-1, while their away record sits at 2-1-1. The loss to Dartmouth also was the Tigers’ first Ivy League match of the season.
“It’s a tough loss because when you look at the teams who end up winning the Ivy League and getting the bid into the [NCAA] tournament it generally takes six wins, and so losing your first game means you have a lot to do,” senior forward and co-captain Cameron Porter said. “Going into the rest of the season it really puts the pressure on you because its also kind of out of your hands. Dartmouth is a good team, [so if] they go win out, you’re kind of out of luck no matter what.”
While the fate of the Tiger’s NCAA tournament future does not rest solely in to their Ivy League record, a loss to begin their Ivy season, especially one on their home turf, was definitely not the way they wanted to start.
“The big goal, number one, is win the Ivy League, so that’s always the goal there,” Porter said. “But beyond that, the overarching goal is definitely getting into the tournament and trying to make a run at that, which really hinges on our out of conference play. I think that one of the biggest things going forward is making sure that we’re winning our games at home, which is something we haven’t done yet, we’ve actually been more successful on the road than at home, so whatever that means its something we need to fix.”
As a senior and a co-captain, the team will be looking to Porter as it tries to make a run at the tournament. With a growing focus on the attack, the Tigers will need to not only score more, but also make sure that their play remains balanced and they convert opportunities into goals.
“Personally, a lot of [this season] been taking more responsibility in terms of when I have opportunities to score, when I have to track back on defense, just making sure I’m doing everything I can,” Porter said.
The Tigers will look to make the adjustments necessary to win at home, and will continue to look to their seniors, including Porter, as they attempt to make a run at the NCAA tournament.
“Starting our freshman year [my class was] young and inexperienced,” Porter said. “And it’s really been cool to see us grow and really it’s our opportunity now to take the team and show it where it should go.”
Football won its Ivy opener at Columbia on Saturday, scoring 35 unanswered points after falling behind 6-3 early in the second quarter. DiAndre Atwater ’15 ran for 107 yards on 11 carries, and quarterback Quinn Epperly ’15 added three touchdowns — two rushing, one passing — to up his season total to 10. Anthony Gaffney ’16 intercepted two passes for the Tigers.
Men’s water polo, ranked No. 10 nationally, extended its winning streak to five games, beating Navy 11-10 to improve to 6-1 in the CWPA Southern Division. Sophomore Jovan Jeremic finished with three goals, including the game-winner, while junior Thomas Nelson finished with a team-high four goals. Freshman goalkeeper Vojislav Mitrovic recorded 10 saves in the win.
Field hockey fell to Syracuse 4-3 in double overtime. Junior goalie Anya Gersoff matched her career-high with 12 saves on the day. The loss drops Princeton to 3-7 on the season.
Men’s golf saw freshman Eric Mitchell win the MacDonald Cup at the Yale-hosted tournament on Sunday, with rounds of 70 and 68. The win game in Mitchell’s second collegiate tournament.