Two beautifully-placed finishes from star sophomore forward Abby Givens lifted the Princeton women’s soccer team over Dartmouth on Saturday in a crucial away match in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Tigers traveled to Dartmouth sporting an impressive 8-1-0 record, having defeated Yale 2-0 the week prior in Princeton’s Ivy League opener. Impressive both at the front and back, the team — currently ranked nationally at seventh place — boasted a fantastic tally of 19 goals scored and seven clean sheets, hoping to capitalize on Dartmouth’s run of losses against Northeastern, Boston University, and Brown.
And capitalize they did. While a fairly even first 45 minutes saw the two teams locked in battle at the half, Princeton began the second period on the offensive; the effort paid off in the 68th minute. Givens was quick to take advantage of a defensive mishap from Dartmouth and swiftly dribbled into the box, driving the ball coolly into the bottom-left corner.
The Tigers would pounce again, doubling their lead on the counter just 13 minutes later after a near-identical goal from Givens completed her brace. Sophomore midfielder Olivia Sheppard panned out a perfect lobbed ball to Givens, who slalomed past a discombobulated Dartmouth back-line to guide the ball expertly into the bottom-left.
The result brought the series record against Dartmouth to 19-16-2, as Princeton replicated last year’s 2-0 home victory. Givens now leads the Ivy League’s goalscoring charts with eight goals, tied with Columbia’s Natalie Neshat, but with one game in hand. An astronomic shot conversion rate of 44 percent is a testament to the fantastic season she and the women’s soccer team have been having.
It was a somewhat different narrative for the men’s team, however, as just hours after the women’s victory, they succumbed to an overtime defeat after opening scoring and dominating play for much of the match.
The men, hoping to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss to Rutgers, had their sights set on a win for their season’s Ivy League opener. Recent fixtures have seen the Tigers concede late on multiple occasions, yielding a 1-4-2 record. Dartmouth entered the match having beaten Vermont 5-2 the Saturday before and looking to maintain their undefeated record at home.
The Tigers peppered Big Green’s goal early on, with their efforts sizzling just over the head of goalkeeper Christopher Palacios before Dartmouth defender Wyatt Omsberg cleared the ball off the line.
Some beautiful footwork from Princeton’s junior midfielder Sean McSherry would release junior forward Jeremy Colvin on the 53rd minute to slice a thunderous half-volley beyond the keeper’s reach, bringing the score to 1-0. While opportunities arose to double the lead, it was Dartmouth that responded the fastest, as Justin Donawa’s looping header reached the back of the net on the 62nd minute. Heading into double overtime, a Dartmouth set-piece on the 113th soared into the goal and set the game at 2-1 for the home side. Princeton maintains a series lead of 38-21-8 over Dartmouth following Saturday’s game.
Freshman wing-back Michael Osei Wusu reflected on what needs to change in terms of defense for upcoming matches against Villanova and Brown: “Especially in the 3-5-2, when you get tired, your legs really start to feel it as a wing-back and it affects your thought process. We need to stay sharp consistently throughout the game. I think honestly that’s what it is — the mental part," he said.
The women will be looking to continue their impressive run at Bucknell on Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the men’s squad hopes to record a decisive win against Villanova at home on Wednesday, also at 7 p.m.