Princeton coach James Barlow leads his squad against former roommate Rudy Fuller's Quakers tomorrow. Like many previous Penn vs. Princeton meetings, the men's soccer game tomorrow at Rhodes Field will help to decide an Ivy League champion. Unfortunately for the Quakers, the best they can do is deal a dramatic blow to the Tigers and keep them from winning the Ivy championship. This 1999 season has been one of opposites for the two teams. The Quakers are 3-9-2 and are winless in the Ivy League. Penn is also suffering through a five-game losing streak. Conversely, the Tigers are 9-4-1 and only have one loss in the Ancient Eight. They had a six-game winning streak snapped last Saturday in a 4-2 loss to Rutgers. Despite the different paths the teams have taken, Penn still believes it has a legitimate shot at beating its longtime rival. "I don't think we have to do anything differently from what we've been doing," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "We had a great game against Yale [a 3-0 loss last Saturday] and have been playing well, we just need to keep raising our level of play." Adding significance to this weekend's game is the relationship between the two coaches. Fuller and Princeton coach James Barlow are good friends and have a relationship that dates back almost 10 years. Before coaching at Penn, Fuller was an assistant coach at Georgetown. At the same time, Barlow was an assistant at American University. During their tenures as assistants in the D.C. area, Fuller and Barlow lived together. Barlow was promoted to the head coaching job at Princeton four years ago, while this season is Fuller's second at Penn. Despite the two coaches' knowledge of each other's styles, Fuller does not believe that either will out-strategize the other. "Both teams are familiar with each other anyway," Fuller said. "We played [Princeton] last year and we play them in the spring. We know that Princeton is a great team that has no glaring weaknesses." From playing the team so frequently, the Quakers know that they face a tough task in beating Princeton. The Tigers offense runs through their midfield, where Matt Behncke is the team's statistical leader. The sophomore has five goals and three assists on the year. Goalie Jason White is also a standout with a 0.98 goals against average, third in the Ivy League. "I think we have to pay attention to detail," Penn co-captain Mike O'Connor said. "In our last few games many of the goals scored on us could have been prevented, so no one can rest for even a minute. On offense we have to keep pressure on the ball throughout the game." For the game, Penn will be without senior defenseman Jason Karageorge, who tore his PCL this week in practice and doesn't know when he will return. A win Saturday for the Quakers would be a big step in accomplishing one of the team's main goals of the season, which is to improve on last year's record. In 1998, the Red and Blue posted a 4-11-1 record and were winless in the Ivy League. The Quakers blew their last chance at winning a game in the league last season when Princeton beat them in the finale, 3-0. "It is really important to the team to have a better record than last year," O'Connor said. "It's really unfortunate that our record doesn't show it because we are clearly a better team than we were last year."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.