On Tap with ... Claire Pinciaro
Senior Claire Pinciaro is the starting goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team (2-3-1). Pinciaro has received playing time since her sophomore year and started eight games last season as a junior. This season, she has already logged shutouts against St. Joseph’s and Temple. She recently sat down with the ‘Prince’ to discuss the “Earth Mother,” “Shackisms” and Petr Cech’s helmet.
Q: Where are you from, and what is it like there?
A: I’m from Monroe, Conn. It’s a pretty small town.
Q: Anything more to say about it?
A: Nah, there’s really not much to do there.
Q: Why Princeton?
A: The academics is a huge selling point, it’s a little ways from home, and I really liked the team.
Q: Who is your professional athletic role model?
A: [Chelsea and Czech Republic goalkeeper] Petr Cech. I think he’s a really intelligent player.
Q: You missed Lawnparties because you had games in California this weekend. What were you most disappointed you didn’t get to see or do?
A: My roommate, [junior defender] Kacie Kergides, and my team all joked that we had our own version of Lawnparties because we played lots of Third Eye Blind. I guess I just missed seeing everyone, but I’ve never been to Lawnparties in the fall, so I didn’t have any expectations.
Q: If you didn’t play soccer, what sport would you play?
A: I think basketball would be fun. I’m really bad at it, though.
Q: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened during a game?
A: I just got a red card recently. I slide-tackled a girl outside the box, and the ball hit my hand.
Q: If you could change one aspect of your game, what would it be?
A: I’d be better with my feet. It’s a huge asset when you have a goalkeeper who can function like a field player.
Q: What has been your favorite class at Princeton so far?
A: MOL 101B [From DNA to Human Complexity]. It’s the molecular biology class for non-science majors. I was in it with one of my teammates, and we had a blast doing all the labs.
Q: What are you majoring in?
Q: What is your thesis going to be about?
A: I have no idea yet.
Q: Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals related to your play?
A: Before the game starts, I always touch the crossbar.
Q: From what I’ve heard, goalkeepers can get hit pretty hard because making saves is always prioritized over safety. Ever had any nasty injuries?
A: Yeah! I missed my whole freshman year because of a concussion. They’re brutal.
Q: Do you organize the defense or does it basically run itself?
A: The defense does a great job of running itself, but as a goalkeeper, you do have a responsibility to organize the defense. Our defense is so underrated, and they don’t get the credit they deserve, but they do a lot.
Q: What’s the funniest story you know about your coach [Julie Shackford]?
A: I feel like I have a bunch, but I can’t think of them. She’s really funny. She has a bunch of different sayings — “Shackisms.” She always says, “Expect the unexpected.”
Q: Doesn’t expecting the unexpected make the unexpected the expected?
A: Well, I guess, yeah.
Q: Who is the quirkiest member of your team?
A: [Senior midfielder] Rebecca Shmoys. She once stayed in Frist for 52 hours straight during midterm week.
Q: Do you have a nickname on the field?
A: A lot of my teammates have nicknames. They sometimes call me the “Earth Mother,” but they usually don’t call me that on the field.
Q: Are you a tree-hugger?
A: I just like the earth.
Q: Are you in an eating club?
A: I’m in Cottage. I like it a lot.
Q: Sunday Funday or Members’ Night?
A: Sunday Funday.
Q: What’s the best thing about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: Having a team and the camaraderie is the best thing.
Q: What’s the worst thing about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: Getting back from away trips is kind of a pain.
Q: What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
A: I’ve got a lot of Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, but it’s not really even that embarrassing anymore.
Q: Rapid-fire: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: Teleportation, for sure.
Q: Punt or drop-kick?
Q: Oliver Kahn or Gigi Buffon?
Q: Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal?
Q: On a scale of 1-10, how fashionable is Petr Cech’s helmet?
Q: Who is Princeton’s biggest rival for soccer?