The weekend ended on a high note for the women’s soccer team, as it dominated the senior night game against Cornell with a 4-0 win at Roberts Stadium. The penultimate game for the Tigers (7-5-4 overall, 1-4-1 Ivy League) was the last home game for the seniors, as well as their first Ivy win this season.
The Tigers played three games over the course of fall break. The first game, on Saturday, Oct. 26 against league-leading Harvard (11-3-2, 6-0), resulted in a 4-0 Tiger loss. Though Princeton had nine shots on goal, the Crimson’s goalkeeping kept Princeton from converting even one. Meanwhile, the Crimson piled up the goals in the first half and tacked on a fourth score in the final period.
Princeton was on the road again the following Tuesday, playing Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. The Tigers fared better against the Raiders (10-6-1, 6-2-1 Patriot League), winning 3-1 and finishing 3-0 against Patriot League opponents.
Once again, the team shot frequently, taking a season-high 32 total shots and 11 shots on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Hannah Winner started for the first time in her college career, after getting her first minutes of play in the Harvard game. The victory against Colgate put the Tigers on track for Saturday’s game against Cornell (7-7-1, 1-5), a team Princeton has consistently been able to beat.
“The balls just haven’t been bouncing our way this year, but we never gave up and [Saturday night] we realized that we had nothing to lose, so we just went out there determined to get that win,” senior defender Kacie Kergides said. “We weren’t going to accept anything other than a win [that night], and every person on our team contributed to that win.”
The week was capped off with Saturday’s game against Cornell, which doubled as a send-off for the senior class. The Tigers sent their seniors off in style with a shutout of the Big Red, preventing even a single shot on goal. Princeton outshot Cornell 21-6, with 13 shots on goal. Freshman forward Tyler Lussi, who leads the team in goals, netted her eighth of the season against Cornell, making her the highest-scoring Princeton freshman since 2000. The success of the past two games made this week a good one for the Tigers.
“I think this past week has been the best week for us so far this season,” Kergides said. “We got a great win on the road up at Colgate to set the tone coming into this weekend, and we practiced hard all week to prepare for [Sunday’s] game. We just really want to end this season on a high note to give the team some positive momentum as they head into the spring season.”
The seniors had many shining moments. Senior midfielder/forward Erika Hoglund had the first goal of the game off an assist from Kergides and went on to assist junior midfielder/forward Lauren Lazo for the Tigers’ third goal of the game. Kergides had another assist that night, as both she and senior midfielder/defender Gabriella Guzman set up the final goal, a header by junior midfielder Jessica Haley.
“Lining up to take the corner, I made eye contact with Gabby, and I just knew that I was going to find her head,” Kergides said. “Gabby and I have been playing soccer together since we were 13 years old, and it was just awesome to make that connection and that play together to give us our final goal in our last game at home. It definitely was a special moment for us.”
With a senior night victory under their belts, the Tigers will play their last game of the season at Penn on Friday.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our career at Roberts Stadium,” Kergides said. “It was exactly what our team needed — getting our first Ivy League win — and it was awesome that we were able to do that on our senior night too. The win meant a lot to the team; we were finally rewarded for all the hard work that we have been doing all season.”