Men's Soccer

Hendrik Hilpert ties career high in saves, salvaging 1-1 tie against Princeton

Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

Princeton didn't score on its four corners kicks and struggled to put the ball past Hendrick Hilpert, scoring only on a rebound.

Hendrik Hilpert saved Syracuse in its third game of the year. At the end of the game, his team affirmed what was already a forgone conclusion.

“If we tied today it’s because of Hendrik,” junior midfielder Hugo Delhommelle said.

“I think that’s the best I’ve seen him play,” sophomore midfielder Mo Adams added.

“Without him, we are out of it today,” head coach Ian McIntyre admitted.

Hilpert tied a career high with six saves in No. 8 Syracuse’s (2-0-1) 1-1 tie against Princeton (0-0-1) at SU Soccer Stadium on Friday afternoon. The six-save performance ties a personal best Hilpert set in a tie against then-No. 2 Wake Forest last year. With two more saves on Friday than the first two games of the season combined, Syracuse’s last line of defense held the team together.

“I told myself at the beginning of year and I told my coaches that I will take over responsibility in every single game,” Hilpert said. “Every game where we kind of struggle I will be there to help out.”

Princeton consistently launched high-soaring lobs into the SU penalty area. Each time the 6-foot goalkeeper got his hands on the ball anyway possible. One kick landed square in his chest. Another soared toward a Princeton defender before Hilpert punched it with two hands. A third headed directly for 6-foot-2 Benjamin Martin until Hilpert out jumped the midfielder and tapped the ball around him with one hand.

None of the crosses found the back of the net. Princeton failed on all four corner kicks, including three in the second half.

When Hilpert couldn’t use his hands, he used his body. As Princeton players leaked through the zone, Hilpert hit the deck. Princeton’s Frankie DeRosa appeared to have an angle on Hilpert. As he struck the ball with his right foot Hilpert swung both of his legs out from underneath him. Like a hockey goalie in a two-pad stack, Hilpert brushed away the scoring opportunity.

The goalkeeper’s lone demerit on the day came off a rebound. Hilpert had just denied a Princeton shot with his chest before the ball deflected to his right. Before he could recover, an unmarked DeRosa had already tapped the rebound into the SU net.

“We kind of lost a little bit of our discipline, got frustrated, lost our shape a little bit,” McIntyre said. “We dug ourselves a hole.”

Twice Hilpert stopped balls from Princeton forwards who had nothing but grass in front of them.

The first came when Princeton’s Kevin O’Toole collected the ball inside Syracuse’s box with no Syracuse defender in front of him. The freshman midfielder released a shot headed toward the bottom left corner of the SU net. Hilpert launched his body full extension and reached out. His fingertips tapped the ball and slowed its progress. As the ball trickled towards the net, Hilpert scrambled on all fours. As the junior corralled the ball, he paused, staring down at a disgruntled O’Toole.

The second came late in the second half with Syracuse down both a man and a goal. Jeremy Colvin charged toward the net as Hilpert came out to play the impending shot. Hilpert dropped to the grass and saved the ball between his legs, preventing a 2-0 deficit. He shot up and pushed transition. On the ensuing possession, John-Austin Ricks tied the game on a near-30-yard chip.

“(Hilpert) saved us at the end of the day,” Ricks added.

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