Saturday, March 18, 2014
When: 7:00 pm Eastern
Princeton Tigers (3-2) vs.
Villanova Wildcats (1-4)
The Princeton Tigers and the Villanova Wildcats have squared off seven times during their growing history; this particular contest will mark the fourth consecutive year the two squads will meet. The Tigers control the series history 5-1, winning the most recent match last year in a 14-11 shootout.
Princeton marches into Villanova Stadium fresh off a 15-12 victory against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers, the lone common opponent shared by Villanova. The Wildcats, however, failed to conquer the Quakers in their meeting last Saturday.
On the season, Princeton holds an overall 3-2 record. Like Villanova, the Tigers schedule has been no walk in the park. Only one opponent, Manhattan, is ranked outside the top 20. Both of Princeton's losses came to programs currently ranked in the top 5, Johns Hopkins and North Carolina.
The Tigers boast a potent offense that can score goals in a hurry. While they shoot a below average number of shots per game, their conversion rate is excellent. Through five games, the Tigers are connecting on more than 34% of total shots on goal. Tom Schreiber leads the attack for Princeton from the midfield. To date, the senior has racked up 14 goals and 10 assists for the Tigers, converting on a highly efficient 42% of his shots on goal.
Mike MacDonald offers another dangerous weapon for Villanova's opponent. The junior attacker enjoyed a scoring outburst in Princeton's most recent game against Penn, scoring two goals and recording an additional five assists. MacDonald received the title of Ivy League's Player of the Week in reward for his efforts.
Sophomore Matt O'Connor mans the net for the Tigers. Earning his first start against North Carolina, O'Connor sports a solid save percentage of 45%. While he continues to gain experience, Villanova can exploit this match-up and pick up some easy goals.
The Wildcats are no doubt the best 1-4 team in the country. Their four losses have been decided by a total of six goals. Sooner or later, expect some breaks to start falling the 'Cats way.
Villanova, like their basketball brethren, does not rely on one particular player to shoulder the scoring load. Instead, behind Kevin O'neil's team-high 14 points, John Galloway, Jack Curran, and Austin Frederick all carry nine points for the season. These four must be able to test Princeton's young goalie if the Wildcats are to pick up the win.
Dan Willis anchors Villanova's defense in the net. The freshman has adjusted well to high-major college play, allowing only just above 9 goals per game.