Women’s soccer (7–3–2) heads to Columbia University in New York City on Sunday for a crucial match.
The Tigers, currently fifth in the Ivy League, are looking to win on Sunday to maintain their hopes of an Ivy League Championship repeat. Columbia, however, poses a threat to a repeat of Tiger dominance.
“They are a very dangerous team,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll. “They can defend really well.”
The Columbia Lions are a consistent thorn in Princeton’s side. Last year, the Tigers’ only defeat during conference play was to Columbia, despite an otherwise dominant season that saw the team win the Ivy League and progress as far as the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. The Orange and Black lost to the Lions 0–2 at home, imperiling their Ivy League success. The year before, during the 2016 season, Columbia defeated the Tigers 2–0 in New York.
Princeton has more wins in total against Columbia, with an all-time record of 21–8–4. The two teams first met in 1985, four years after the formation of the program at Princeton.
Driscoll is 1–2 with Columbia during his career as Princeton’s head coach. According to the coach, the two programs’ tense history comes from their similarities as teams.
“They play a very similar style to us, and are a lot like us,” he said. “We both take a lot of shots and move the ball. This game is all about who plays better and who can execute better.”
The Tigers are currently 1–1–1 in the Ivy League. They won the season’s first conference game against Yale 3–0. The next weekend the team tied Dartmouth 0–0, and this past weekend saw their first loss of the regular season.
On Saturday the Tigers hosted Brown at home. The Tigers had a two goal lead for most of the first half, thanks to an own goal by Brown and a rocket from senior forward Mimi Asom. Brown scored right before the half ended, and when play resumed scored another to bring the game to a tie. Ten minutes before the final whistle Brown scored the winning goal.
“We played extremely well, moving the ball really well and having lots of possession. I’m very proud of our performance.” said Driscoll. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have a very convincing final third.”
Unlike last Saturday’s game, played in the rain and what the coach called “tough conditions,” Sunday’s match against Columbia is forecasted to see perfect weather.
In order to win, though, the Tigers will need to be in top form. The team has been goalless against Columbia the past two years, something that the Tigers hope to change on Sunday.
“We need to keep the ball and move the ball,” Driscoll said. “We really need to combine in the final area and score.”
According to Driscoll, the game will come down to which team is in better shape both physically and mentally. “They are like a carbon copy of us,” he said.