PRINCETON, N.J. -- On the second to last day of Ivy League play, the 16th-ranked Princeton Tigers played host to the 13th-ranked Penn Quakers in a matchup of League unbeatens in front of a capacity crowd at Roberts Stadium. The Tigers entered the game with a 10-game winning streak, having scored at least two goals in each of those 10 wins, while the Quakers entered the clash having won seven of its previous eight games and having not conceded a goal in Ivy League play. Something had to give and, in the end, the Tigers came away with a 2-1 win to clinch at least a share of the 2010 Ivy League title and earn the League's automatic bid to the 48-team NCAA Championship field (by virtue of owning the head-to-head tie breaker over Penn).
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute when senior defender Benjamin Burton headed in a deflected ball that was bouncing around the box following a Princeton corner kick. Junior Antoine Hoppenot extended the Tiger lead to 2-0 in the 71st minute when he cut down the flank on a counter attack and sent a shot into the far side of the net. With just over four minutes to play, Thomas Brandt halved the Princeton lead but the Quakers could not find an equalizer.
Elsewhere, 14th-ranked Brown used a second half salvo against Yale to steal some of the headlines en route to a come from behind 4-1 win. Just under 10 minutes into the game, freshman forward Peter Jacobson gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead, but Brown junior forward T.J. Popolizio tied the game for the Bears just before halftime. Brown then exploded for three goals in the second half, including the game winner by junior midfielder Evan Coleman, a goal and an assist by junior forward Sean Rosa and Kevin Gavey's first career goal. For the Bears, the offensive outburst matched their season high mark for goals in a game, originally set on Sept. 4 in their season-opening 4-0 win at Bryant.
In the Dartmouth-Cornell match, senior Andrew Olsen scored in the 11th minute of play to lead the Big Green past the Big Red in a narrowly contested road win. The victory placed the Big Green in sole possession of fourth place and now Dartmouth has a shot at third place when it closes out the season by playing host to third place Brown. It was Olsen's second game-winning goal of the season and came off a cross from junior Maarten van Ess.
In the other Ivy League contest, Columbia continued its hot League play of late by earning a 1-0 win at Harvard, moving to 2-0-1 in its last three Ivy contests. First-year David Najem scored his third goal of the season in the 33rd minute and junior Alexander Aurrichio turned aside all three shots he faced to earn his fourth shutout of the season.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Not only did senior defender Benjamin Burton (Minneapolis, Minn.) play a crucial role as a center back in leading the Tigers to two victories this past week, but he also played an important role in the Princeton attack. Burton scored a goal in Princeton's most important game of the season to date, a home victory against No. 13 Penn on Saturday night, which clinched the Ivy League's NCAA automatic bid and at least a share of the conference crown.
Burton scored the game's first goal to put the Tigers up 1-0 in the 32nd minute when he headed in a ball off a corner kick. As a center back, he also limited the Quakers to just three shots on goal in 90 minutes, and helped hold Penn off the scoreboard until just over four minutes remained in the contest.
Earlier in the week at Colgate, Burton assisted on the game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory over the regular season Patriot League champions. Burton crossed the ball into the box where Brandon Busch was able to knock it into the back of the net. As a defender, Burton also helped limit Colgate to just three shots on goal and held the Raiders to just one corner kick.
Burton's Weekly Stats
2-2 GP/GS, 1 G, 1 A, 3 Pts., 3 Shots, 3 SOG, 0 GWG, Team: 2-0-0
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Freshman midfielder David Najem (Clifton, N.J.) tallied the game-winning goal in the 33rd minute as the Lions defeated Harvard 1-0 on Saturday, marking Columbia's first win over Harvard since 2003. The former NSCAA High School All-American finished from the left side of the box to the far post off a feed from sophomore Will Stamatis for the first game-winning strike of his career. Earlier in the week, Najem played the full 90 against Adelphi.
Najem, who has played in every minute of every Ivy League match that Columbia has played in 2010, currently ranks second on the team in scoring with nine points on three goals and three assists. Najem has now been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice, having also earned the honor on Sept. 27. He and fellow first-year Henning Sauerbier have combined to win at least a share of five of the ten Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors this season.
Najem's Weekly Stats
2-2 GP/GS, 1 G, 0 A, 2 Pts., 3 Shots, 2 SOG, 1 GWG, Team: 1-1-0
Thomas Brandt, Penn, Jr., B (Palmyra, Pa.)
1-1 GP/GS, 1 G, 0 A, 2 Pts., 2 Shots, 1 SOG, 0 GWG, Team: 0-1-0
Kevin Gavey, Brown, Fr., MF (Fairfield, Conn.)
1-0 GP/GS, 1 G, 0 A, 2 Pts., 1 Shot, 1 SOG, 0 GWG, Team: 1-0-0
Peter Jacobson, Yale, Fr., F (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
1-1 GP/GS, 1 G, 0 A, 2 Pts., 2 Shots, 1 SOG, 0 GWG, Team: 0-1-0
Andrew Olsen, Dartmouth, Sr., F (Norwell, Mass.)
2-2 GP/GS, 1 G, 1 A, 3 Pts., 3 Shots, 3 SOG, 1 GWG, Team: 2-0-0
Sean Rosa, Brown, Jr., F (Montreal, Quebec)
1-1 GP/GS, 1 G, 1 A, 3 Pts., 3 Shots, 1 SOG, 0 GWG, Team: 1-0-0
The 56th season of Ivy League men's soccer comes to an end on Saturday, with two teams still holding 2010 title hopes.
Princeton enters the final day of play with a chance to claim the 2010 title outright, as either a win or a tie at Yale would give the Tigers enough points to edge Penn in the standings. The Bulldogs will be looking to pull off the upset as they could finish as high as tied for fifth with a win over Princeton.
Penn remains in the hunt for the title; needing to defeat Harvard at home and also needing Yale to play the part of spoiler with a win over the Tigers. Harvard will have other ideas though as the Crimson will be looking to close out its 2010 season with a second Ivy League win.
Brown travels to Dartmouth in what will essentially be a showdown for third place. Brown is currently in third in the Ivy League with 10 points, while the Big Green sits in fourth place with nine points. A road win could be just what Brown needs to bolster its NCAA Championship resume, while Dartmouth will be trying for a fourth straight victory and a statement win over a nationally ranked opponent.
Elsewhere, Columbia plays host to Cornell in the final Ivy League game of the season on Saturday night. The Lions, undefeated in their last three Ivy games (2-0-1), will be looking to break into the top-four with a win and a Dartmouth loss or tie, while the Big Red will look to close out 2010 with an Ivy victory.
Saturday, November 13
*No. 16 Princeton at Yale, 4 pm
*No. 17 Brown at Dartmouth, 4 pm
*Harvard at No. 13 Penn, 5 pm
*Cornell at Columbia, 7 pm
* - Ivy League Contest