Women's Soccer: Late rally keeps hosts perfect in league play
With three other Princeton victories over Harvard earlier in the day, the women’s soccer team was not to be outdone Saturday night, defeating Harvard 3-1 to preserve its undefeated Ivy League record and bring its overall record to 10-3-1. The game was close in the beginning, but the Tigers pulled away toward the end of the game, scoring two goals in two minutes to secure the victory.
“It was one of our more complete games,” head coach Julie Shackford said after the match. “Harvard is a good team, and it was a great Ivy win.”
Princeton came out strong and had some good early chances. In the fifth minute, senior forward Jen Hoy dribbled around two defenders, but her shot was saved by Crimson goalie Bethany Kanten. Just three minutes later, sophomore defender Lynessa McGee had another good opportunity, but Kanten was there once more for the save.
Throughout the game, Kanten made six saves, several of them in one-on-one situations. Senior goalie Claire Pinciaro also made two saves, both of them in the first half. There were 10 shots taken overall in the first half, but thanks to strong defense by both sides, the game was scoreless going into halftime.
The intensity in the game was evident from the number of fouls throughout the game. Harvard had five at the end of the first half – compared with two from the Tigers – and finished with eight, double Princeton’s four.
The momentum clearly went to the Tigers in the second half, as Princeton dominated Harvard in both offense and defense. Fifteen minutes into the half, senior midfielder Rachel Sheehy launched a corner kick, and senior midfielder Caitlin Blosser’s header sent the ball into the goal. However, the Crimson responded quickly. In the 68th minute, McGee had two chances which were both blocked by Harvard, and Crimson forward Lauren Varela received a pass from forward Elisabeth Weisman soon afterward to equalize the score at 1-1.
The Tigers took control from that point forward. Sheehy got her second assist of the game 10 minutes later as she passed the ball to junior midfielder Gabriella Guzman, who put Princeton up 2-1, and within two minutes, Hoy scored off a throw-in by sophomore forward Laura Cornacchio to put the game away for good.
Coach Shackford attributed success to the Tigers’ energy and enthusiasm.
“We possessed well and won a lot of loose balls in the middle of the field,” Shackford said. “We came out with more of an attacking mindset and used the flanks to isolate, and our forwards were really dangerous.”
Hoy knows what it means to be dangerous to opposing defenses. Coming into the game, she led the nation in points per game with 1.154 and will surely be close to the top when the next NCAA leader list is released on Monday.
Princeton is away at La Salle on Monday as it looks to continue its eight-game winning streak. After that, it faces Cornell and Penn in the last games of its quest for the Ivy League championship.
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