Facing their second team ranked in the top 25 of the United Coaches Poll, the No. 25-ranked Princeton Tigers fell to No. 10 Georgetown Hoyas 2–1 Thursday evening. The Tigers took the game to overtime following a second-half goal, but after a critical penalty in the first few minutes of overtime, the Hoyas converted, sending the Tigers to their second loss of the season.
Heading into the game, one of the Tigers’ first challenges was to overcome a new playing surface. Due to the steady rain the past few days, the team had its game moved from the conventional Myslik Field to nearby Sherrerd Field. It was the first time Princeton played on Sherrerd Field this season, and with the harder turf surface, it was bound to open up the passing attacks of both teams.
Unsurprisingly, both teams were able to play in each other’s zones for much of the game. Facing a team whose offense ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA, the Tigers knew they would have to play sound defense to keep up with the Hoyas. Despite facing 20 shots, including 11 on goal, the Tigers executed that plan to near perfection, conceding only one regulation goal that came in the first half. Taking a deep midfield pass, Hoya Caitlin Farrell got past junior goalkeeper Natalie Grossi for the easy score to put the Hoyas up 1–0. Grossi kept the score at 1–0 following a great save off of a shot by Kelly Livingstone of Georgetown. The Tigers would clear the ball out of their zone, playing at and around midfield for the rest of the half.
Princeton came out in the second half much more aggressively, pushing the ball into the Hoya zone throughout the early part of the half. Finally, in the 67th minute, the effort paid off when freshman forward Gabi Juarez scored her third goal of the season off the cross from junior Sophia Gulati. The Tigers then had a chance to take the lead at the end of the game, but a shot by junior forward Abby Givens was saved in the final minute. Tied 1–1, the game would ultimately be decided in overtime.
Overtime produced a tough result for the Tigers, who were looking to come from behind for their first ranked victory of the season. After a foul deep in the Princeton zone, Hoya Kyra Carusa had a chance to ice the game with a penalty shot. Grossi went right, Carusa’s shot went left, and the Hoyas clinched the victory 2–1, handing the Tigers their second loss of the year.
Despite the defeat, there were many positive takeaways for the Tigers. Princeton competed defensively against one of the best attacking teams in the nation and was able to capitalize on some of the offensive chances it had. In a game that many may reflect on, should the Tigers play their way into playoff competition, Princeton battled to the end with a team sure to win many important games throughout the season.
Up next for Princeton is a home match against Drexel this weekend. The game will also be played on Sherrerd Field this Sunday, the day of Lawnparties. Following that, Princeton will open Ivy League play with a showdown in New Haven against Yale.