The women’s soccer team’s final game of the season this Saturday promises to be an exciting one, filled with numerous opportunities and milestones: the potential to finish in a tie for first place in the Ivy League; the final game for a legendary and record-setting head coach; the chance for a sophomore to break the single-season record for goals scored and for Tiger players to lock down the Ivy League titles for most points, goals and assists; and the team’s honoring of nine seniors. The game, against Penn, will be played in Roberts Stadium at 3 p.m.
Princeton (7-5-3 overall, 3-2-1 Ivy) is currently in third place in the Ivy League standings, close behind both first-place Harvard (9-4-2 overall, 4-1-1 Ivy) and second-place Dartmouth (8-4-4 overall, 3-0-3 Ivy), with each team having one game left to play this season. With a combination of a Princeton win, a Harvard loss and a Dartmouth tie or loss, the Tigers would find themselves in a two- or three-way tie for first place in the final standings.
Saturday’s opponent Penn (7-5-3 overall, 2-3-1 Ivy) is currently sixth in the Ivy League but has won its past two games against Lehigh University and Brown. The Tigers likewise are coming off consecutive wins against Cornell and North Carolina State University.
Princeton head coach Julie Shackford will be looking for her 203rd win with the program on Saturday, as her 20th and final season with Princeton comes to a close. During her coaching career, Shackford’s teams have won six Ivy League titles and received eight NCAA tournament berths, including an NCAA semifinal appearance in 2004.
The Tigers’ offense has been a scoring machine this season. Sophomore forward Tyler Lussi and senior defender Lauren Lazo have been dominating on the field, leading the Ivy League and ranking nationally in multiple offensive scoring categories. Freshman midfielder Vanessa Gregoire and classmates defender Natalie Larkin and forward Beth Stella have also led the offensive push this season, helping the Tigers field a formidable offense. The Tigers lead the Ivy League in goals overall and per game (33, 2.2), points overall and per game (108, 7.2), shots overall and per game (231, 15.4), and assists overall and per game (42, 2.8). The Tigers are also ranked sixth in the NCAA for assists per game and 14th in average points per game. Senior goalkeeper Darcy Hargadon has also played a large role in the Tigers’ success this season, playing 1,083 of 1,410 minutes in goal.
Lussi has posted an unbelievable goal-scoring season, registering a double brace two weeks ago against Harvard to add to a hat trick earlier this season against Brown. Lussi has notched a total of 18 goals this season, the most of any player in the Ivy League and the third-most in the NCAA, leaving her with more goals scored in her combined freshman and sophomore years than any other player in program history. Lussi also leads active players in career goals with 28 and has the fifth-highest number of career goals scored by a player in program history. Saturday’s game presents Lussi with yet another opportunity at a record, as she is only two goals shy of breaking the Princeton record for most goals scored in a single season, a record which is held by the team’s assistant coach, Esmeralda Negron ’05. Lussi is averaging 1.2 goals and 2.54 points per game, the second and third-highest in the NCAA, respectively. Lussi also leads the Ivy League in shots taken (76) and total points (38).
Lazo enters her last game as a Tiger on track to win her fourth All-Ivy League honor. A well-rounded and consistent talent, Lazo is having a great season, ranking highly in both the Ivy League and the NCAA. Lazo leads the Ivy League in assists with 10 this season, registering two in the game against N.C. State earlier this week. She is also ranked second in the Ivy League in both goals (7) scored and points (24), and is in eighth place in the NCAA for assists per game, averaging .71. Lazo has 26 career assists, placing her in a tie for the Princeton career record in assists. Lazo is also in sixth place on the Princeton all-time career goals list with 27 goals, just behind teammate Lussi who is in fifth place with 28. Lazo is also in fifth place on the Princeton all-time career list for points earned with a total of 80.
Gregoire, Stella and Larkin have all become into important players in the offense over the course of this season. All three freshmen have assisted on at least six goals, and Gregoire and Stella have both scored once. Gregoire is in second place in the Ivy League for total assists (7), and Larkin and Stella are tied for third with six assists. All three players are ranked in the top 100 of one category in the NCAA: Gregoire in 69th place for total assists, and Larkin and Stella in a tie for 53rd place with .43 assists per game. Three of Larkin’s assists were in the game against N.C. State, making her the first Tiger since 2010 to accomplish the feat. Sophomore midfielder Nicole Loncar also has played well of late, scoring her first two career goals last week against N.C. State.
Hargadon will play her final game in goal as a Tiger on Saturday, sporting a save percentage of .673 on 37 saves so far this season. Hargadon has started in every game she has played this season. Other Tiger goalkeepers who have seen playing time include sophomore Hannah Winner and freshman Gudrun Jonsdottir, who have 11 and three saves, respectively.
The Quakers have scored a total of 16 goals this season for an average of 1.1 goals per game, compared to Princeton’s 2.2 average. The Penn women’s Soccer team has a save percentage of .756, with goalkeeper Kalijah Terilli in fifth place in the Ivy League with a save percentage of .776 on 45 saves. Terilli has played 1,103 out of a total 1,419 minutes. Goalkeeper Katherine Myhre has a save percentage of .600 on 6 saves and has played 316 minutes so far this season. Forward Juliana Provini leads the Quakers offensively with three goals and two assists, and is followed in scoring by forward Anna Estep and midfielder Kaitlyn Moore with two goals and one assist. Midfielder Erin Mikolai leads the Quakers with five assists.