Cougar soccer draws with 26th ranked Princeton

Image by CofC Sports

After besting 15th ranked USC last week, the College of Charleston men's soccer team battled No. 26 Princeton in the opening night of the Nike / Aaron Olitsky Memorial Challenge on Friday night.

In the end it was a scoreless draw in front of 1,218 fans at Patriots Point.

The teams played a pair of 10-minute overtimes after 90 minutes of overtime but neither found the net before the final whistle.

CofC (1-0-1) concludes the Classic with a Sunday-afternoon bout with Rutgers at 2:30 p.m. Princeton (0-0-1) plays their finale at noon on Sunday with a contest against Furman.

"It was a great game," said head coach Ralph Lundy. "They (Princeton) are a very good team and they presented a huge challenge. We had to defend a lot and had to step up. We had chances. They had chances. They probably had a little more in the game. That kind of game makes us way better. We can play tough teams or easy teams - and that's a tough team."

Barring an early counter run by Andy Craven (St. Simon's Island, Ga.), the Cougars spent the early going defending their defensive third. As the first period moved forward, the Cougars leveled the pegging and played a possession-style brand of soccer.

CofC still had to weather a 9-2 Princeton shot advantage in the first half and Kees Heemskerk (Zaandam, Holland) made three big saves to take the teams into the break in a scoreless draw.

The Cougars were more offensive in a second period which saw quality chances in both directions but neither team could solve the opposition's keeper.

Neither team produced any glittering chances in the overtime periods by the Cougars did outshoot the Tigers, 4-3, after regulation.

The Cougars shielded off 12 corner-kick opportunities including three in the second overtime.

Heemskerk made six saves in 110 minutes of work but never appeared overly challenged or threatened.

"It was a tough game," said Heemskerk. "We had some physical battles and we had a tough time with them. They were a very tough team. Fortunately, they didn't score and we met up with them in the physical challenges and we got out of it with a good tie."

The yearly tournament, now in its 11th year, is held in honor of Aaron Olitsky, a 1997 graduate of the College who died tragically in a car accident in 2001. Olitsky is remembered by many for his dedication and resolve in everything he set out to do. This annual tournament in his honor raises money for the Olitsky Memorial Foundation. 

For extended coverage, check out coverage in the George Street Observer

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