When Princeton’s 2012 campaign ended with a 6-5 loss to Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament, one of the biggest questions looming was how the program would replace goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito, a four-time All American who was the Ivy League Player of the Year.
Matt O’Connor has provided the answer. The freshman has surrendered just 15 goals in two starts and made a game-high 10 saves in the No. 14 Tigers’ 11-8 upset of No. 5 Johns Hopkins Friday night.
O’Connor anchored a defense that limited the Blue Jays to their lowest output of the season. Prior to Friday night, Johns Hopkins hadn’t scored less than 12 goals and was averaging 14.7 goals in its first three games.
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O’Connor credited his defense with giving him a chance to make four stops in the first quarter and get his bearings.
“It’s always good to save the first couple and get into a groove,” he said. “Basically, the defense was kind of giving me shots that I wanted to see. We were so prepared for this game. Greg Raymond, our defensive coordinator, had us ready and we felt we knew their personnel pretty well. I was fortunate enough to make some stops.”
The jury is still out on whether O’Connor will replicate Fiorito’s success, but with a 7.02 goals-against average and a .533 save percentage, coach Chris Bates likes what he saw from O’Connor against the Blue Jays.
“I thought we settled down and played some solid defense,” Bates said. “Coach Greg Raymond did a great job with these guys all week. Matty O stood tall in the cage all day long and gave us a chance to win.”