Coming into the season for the Princeton boys soccer team, the Tigers aimed to take on tough opponent after tough opponent, preparing for whatever the postseason might toss at them.
That rigorous schedule continued this past week as the Delano Tigers came to town on Sept. 2 followed by a visit by Duluth Denfeld, the reigning Section 7A Champions two days later.
Though hanging tough with both opponents, Princeton was not able to walk away with a win in either contest dropping two one goal games. The Tigers fell 2-1 to the rival Tigers while falling 1-0 to the Hunters.
Starting the week off with Delano coming to town, even with the Tigers experiencing a down year last season, Princeton Head Coach Jason Senne and the rest of the Tigers’ team knew it would be a very competitive game. “We knew they were going to be a good team, they came in with a 3-0 record,” said Senne.
After trading goals between the two competing Tiger teams, halfway through the first half, Princeton was hit a red card knocking the home squad to a man down for the remainder of the contest. Tigers’ Owen Anderson, a senior defensivemen who assisted on Cooper Nowak’s goal earlier in the contest, received the card.
Delano was able to benefit from the man up opportunity, scoring a goal just before halftime to take the 2-1 lead into the break.
Back after halftime, Princeton worked hard to net the equalizing score but were hard pressed to do so.
As the Tigers adjusted to not being at full strength, they saw chance to knot the game at two apiece.
“We made some nice runs in the game but we were unable to finish,” said Senne.
Turned away on their chances to tie the game, Delano held on to the 2-1 victory, sending their record to 4-0 while Princeton dropped to 1-1-1.
Falling in defeat, Senne was still pleased with the effort shown by the Tigers despite being a man down. “I’m proud of the guys’ effort. They didn’t hang their heads, they kept working hard,” said Senne on the contest.
Section 7A Championship Rematch
Next up for the Tigers awaited a Section 7A Championship rematch as Duluth Denfeld came to John Harvey Field.
Looking to get revenge for the 2-1 loss last year to end their season, Princeton was not able to do so as an early goal in the first half by the Hunters was able to stand up, propelling Denfeld to the 1-0 win.
Tigers’ Ben Hallberg played solid in net, making 11 saves but Princeton wasn’t able to give its goaltender the victory.
With the victory, the Hunters were able to even their record at 2-2 while Princeton dropped to 1-2-1.
As Princeton looks to climb back over the .500 mark, Senne knows the team has to capitalize on its scoring chances.
If the Tigers are able to do that, they will return to that explosive team that Princeton knows it can be. “When we figure out how to put goals in the back of the net, we are going to be a very dangerous team,” said Senne.
Continuing their tough schedule, it didn’t get any easier for the Tigers as after a Sept. 9 game versus Big Lake, a showdown with loomed two days later. Both games came at John Harvey field in Princeton.