Friday night’s game featured the coldest temperature for a soccer game this season with a game time temperature of 26 degrees. However, the Tigers dominated from start to finish, leaving only one team feeling cold this evening.
Princeton dismantled Monmouth 4-0 in front of a raucous home crowd who filled Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. Scoring early and often in this game, the Tigers comfortably advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers scored within the first 5 minutes of the game on a shot by junior Mimi Asom, who registered her 9th goal of the season. The Tigers used their offense as their best defense throughout the first half; constant pressure and a generation of many corner kicks kept the ball in the Hawk’s zone for much of the first half. The Tigers upped their lead to 2-0 about halfway through the first half when Asom fed sophomore Abby Givens a great pass off the a Princeton corner kick. Princeton put constant pressure on the Hawks with their ferocious offense; it felt like the ball never seemed to leave the Monmouth zone. Indeed, the first half stats reflected this as the Tigers outshot the Hawks 13 - 3 in the first half and dominated time of possession.
Going into the second half, the Tigers - and the home crowd - were looking to put the game away early. After some early pressure on the Hawks defense, Mimi Asom recovered a ball in the penalty zone after a Tiger corner kick, and planted it in the back of the net for her second goal of the game and 10th of the season. Then, the Tigers closed out the scoring with a goal in the 70th minute when freshman Carolyne Davidson scored off the assist by senior Vanessa Gregoire. The assist for Gregoire was her 25th career assist as a Tiger, one off the school record held by Diana Mathison and Lauren Laso. The Tigers kept up their stout defense for the remainder of the game and held onto the shutout - their 12th on the season. Much like the first half, the Tigers dominated time of possession and shots; Princeton finished the game with a 28 - 6 advantage in shots, and an 12 - 1 advantage in shots on goal. Credit Monmouth goalie Amanda Knaub for making 8 saves in the game, including a few incredible ones in the second half that would have put the game away even earlier. Unfortunately, her teammates could not hold off the Princeton attack, which looked unstoppable against the MAAC Champions.
The win gives the Tigers their 4th in a row, while over this run they have outscored their opponents 13 - 1. Impressive offense has really helped the defense, as was the case all season. Anyone who watched this showing against Monmouth was reminded why Princeton earned a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and can be a threat to make a deep run towards the NCAA championship.
With one round down, the Tigers get ready to go in the round of 32. They face the winner of Arkansas vs. NC State who play tomorrow at 1 PM. The Tigers actually played NC State earlier this year, shutting out the 20th ranked Wolfpack 2-0 in Raleigh. Princeton has not faced Arkansas this season. Whoever wins that game tomorrow will certainly have their hands full with this tough Tiger team, who are one step closer to making an appearance in Orlando.