The women’s soccer team took an early lead against Columbia (6-7 overall, 2-2 Ivy League) on Saturday and never let go, grabbing a win from the Lions and bringing its Ivy League record to 4-0. Princeton (9-3-1, 4-0) looks well prepared for the rest of the regular season and approaching postseason.
The Tigers came out of the gates strong and dominated Columbia in the first half. Princeton took two shots and two corner kicks in the first 10 minutes, but the Lions’ defense was able to prevent a goal.
Just three minutes after the second shot, however, sophomore midfielder Jessica Haley received the ball and passed it to senior forward Jen Hoy, who sent the ball into the lower left corner of the net, putting Princeton ahead 1-0 in the 13th minute. This was Haley’s team-leading seventh assist of the season and Hoy’s team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Princeton didn’t stop there. The team kept pressing Columbia and took two more shots in the first half than the Lions did. Senior midfielder Rachel Sheehy had an unsuccessful header attempt off a free kick in the 28th minute, but junior midfielder Gabriella Guzman recovered the ball and passed it to sophomore midfielder Lauren Lazo, who was able to capitalize on the opportunity and score Princeton’s second goal of the game. Lazo is the team’s second-leading scorer with four goals.
“I was very proud of the team going up two goals early on Columbia,” head coach Julie Shackford said. “I think that was one of the best halves of soccer we’ve played all season.”
The Tigers’ dominance in the first half has been a trend throughout this season, as Princeton has outshot its opponents 108-66 and outscored them 18-8.
Both teams defended aggressively, as no goals were scored in the rest of the first half. There were plenty of fouls, however, and both teams had four at the half. Princeton finished with eight fouls and Columbia with 11.
The Tigers started the second half gunning, attempting three shots in the first five minutes, but were unable to score any goals. The Lions matched with a second-half intensity of their own and had some good chances, taking six corner kicks. Princeton’s defense held for five of them, but in the 81st minute Columbia forward Colleen Rizzo’s header off defender Maya Marder’s corner kick made the score 2-1.
The Tigers only had to hold on for one more minute, however, and Princeton pulled out the victory.
“We staved off many of [Columbia’s] attacks,” Shackford said. “We lost some focus in stretches but are thrilled to have won that game on the road. Columbia is a good team.”
The Tigers have four games left in the regular season, three of them in the Ivy play. Their next game is this Saturday at home against Harvard (6-3-3, 2-1-1). This Princeton team believes it has a good chance of doing well beyond the regular season.
“This group is really focused on doing things one day at a time,” Shackford said. “We have a great group of seniors and [they,] along with our captains, [senior] Alison Nabatoff and [junior] Gabby Guzman, have really set the environment ... If we play well, I believe this team can continue to do very well — and win the Ivy League championship.”
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/16/31516/