Panthers stay perfect at home with win against Princeton

David Drucker/ Staff Writer

The Florida International University men’s soccer team improved to 4-2-0 on Saturday night when the Panthers protected their perfect home record against Princeton in a 2-1 victory. Sophomores Luca Giovine and Brad Fountain both scored in the second half to complete FIU’s second-straight comeback victory.

FIU’s offense started slow and was unable to crack the Tigers’ defense in the first half. Although they later put up two scores within three minutes of each other in the second half, the mystery of their first half troubles this season– only three of FIU’s twelve goals have come in the first 45 minutes – still puzzles Head Coach Scott Calabrese.

“I think it might be the balance of players we bring on in the second half – we have some different guys that help us to get in behind teams a little more. Sometimes in the first half we tend to want to play possession in the midfield areas without getting in behind. I think it’s going to take us some more time to get down exactly what we’re doing so that there’s not this gap in performance between the first and second half,” said Calabrese.

Princeton was in control in the first half, scoring first when Thomas Sanner got behind junior Arthur Clapot to put his team up 1-0. The Ivy-Leaguers carried the one-goal advantage into halftime.

“In the second half, we made two major adjustments. One, our guys showed character and they competed and they showed their hunger and desire to win. That was the most important thing. The second thing is that they understood what Princeton was trying to do and when a team pressures you that aggressively, you have to play forward quicker and you have to eliminate numbers. Once we did get the ball up the field, there was more space to play in that area and we were able to create more,” said Calabrese.

FIU stayed true to its history of excellent second half plays and delivered the equalizer in the 74th minute when sophomore Brad Fountain found Giovine for his first career goal at FIU. In the 77th minute, Fountain would score himself to give his team a 2-1 edge when junior Jamar Campion-Hinds found him on a cross for his sixth assist of the season. The Panthers held on to their 2-1 advantage to win their fourth-straight contest and improve to 3-0 at home.

“[In the second half] we push each other more and more. We tend to fight for each other instead of fighting against each other. We went down one goal so we worked to push ourselves harder and harder,” said Campion-Hinds.

The Panthers will begin their Conference USA slate of games on Friday at 7 p.m. when they travel to Boca Raton to play Florida Atlantic University.

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