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Women's soccer overcomes loss, finishes weekend with best program start since 2004

The women’s soccer team headed into a pair of games this past weekend with a clean record, having won the first six games of the season. On Friday, the Tigers (7-1-0) faced off against No. 2-ranked West Virginia University (7-0-1), and then headed to Pennsylvania to compete against Duquesne University (3-3-2) on Sunday.

The team fell 3-0 on Friday night after goals in the 41st, 47th, and 58thminutes secured the win for West Virginia, who extended their undefeated streak to eight games, while Princeton dropped to 6-1.

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Despite the defeat, the Tigers made a turnaround to end the weekend with a victory. Princeton ended Duquesne’s three-game winning streak, besting their opponent 2-1 this past Sunday. Senior captain Tyler Lussi scored on a penalty kick to give her team the lead in the 16th minute. This marked her 51stcareer goal, making her the highest-scoring player in the Ivy League since 1988.

Duquesne tied the match with a goal in the 29th minute, but junior Natalie Larkin ensured a win for the Tigers in the 55th minute after finessing a shot off the right post and in.

The team now holds a 7-1-0 record, its best season start since 2004.

This impressive start does not come as a surprise considering the revitalized work ethic of the 2016 team. “Last spring after we were not able to outrun USC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, we all agreed with [Head Coach] Sean [Driscoll] that we should raise the standards and expectations for fitness, nutrition, effort, and connectivity, and reward making the extra effort after practice sessions with more playing time during games,” said Lussi of this year’s approach to the fall season. “We had seven-and-a-half months to prepare for preseason and we did a pretty good job.”

Lussi also attributes the team's success to its dedication to improvement on as well as off of the soccer pitch. “The team had a great preseason on and off the field,” commented Lussi, “We became closer than any Women’s Soccer Team during my three years at Princeton. Most top Division 1 Women’s Soccer Teams are highly skilled, well trained and conditioned and practice smart nutrition. The great teams play for a higher purpose than just winning championships – we are playing to help [Director of Athletics] Mollie [Marcoux], [Head Coach] Sean [Driscoll], [Assistant Coach] Kelly [Boudreau], [Assistant Coach] Mike [Poller], [Assistant Coach] Allison [Nabatoff], and the entire Princeton athletic staff set the expectation that all Princeton athletic teams are not only from the best educational institution, but the best athletic institution.”

Regarding the team’s ultimate goals for the remainder for the fall, Lussi’s reply was simple, “Win the Ivy League, compete successfully for the College Cup and create the expectation of Princeton being the best soccer players and best student-athletes across all Division I collegiate sports.”

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Scheduled to play at Yale this coming Saturday, the Tigers are indeed well on their way to this goal; Lussi summarized perfectly the team’s mindset as they prepare to open their Ivy League season: “We expect to play at a higher level and we’re prepared to do the work to make it happen.”

 

 

 

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