The Princeton Tigers (5–4, 1–0 Ivy) lost their fourth game of the season to the Lafayette Leopards (3–7 overall, 0–2 Patriot) last Sunday, Sept. 25 at their home Bedford field. The huge upset ended in overtime for the third time this season for the Tigers.
Both teams took their time settling into the game, playing tight defenses during the first few minutes of play. Lafayette almost broke through in minute six of the game, with a corner shot giving them the opportunity to score. Junior goalie Robyn Thompson, however, was able to make her first of many great saves throughout the game.
After 10 minutes of play, Princeton seemed to be making progress, spending more time in their offensive territory; first-year forward Talia Schenck made tactical stops, causing several turnovers. Princeton continued to pressure the Leopard defense and drew a corner with three minutes left. This momentum was carried throughout the remainder of the first period and with 45 seconds left, senior midfielder Zoe Shephard scored a goal with an assist by sophomore midfielder Beth Yeager, ending the period with a score of 1–0 for the Tigers.
The second period began with senior defender Hannah Davey driving momentum for the Tigers on offense and senior defender Gabby Andretta leading the Princeton defense. Lafayette also had many good opportunities to score but did not until the second half. Despite the Tigers outshooting the Leopards 9–1 in the first half, the score remained 1–0.
Both teams turned up the heat during the second half, with Davey continuing to drive Princeton towards the Lafayette goal. Five minutes into the third period, however, Lafayette began to chip into Princeton’s defense, and a defender for the Leopards was able to connect with the back of the net, tying the score at 1–1. Immediately following, the Tigers were ready to fight back on offense. Princeton played aggressively, sending passes up the sidelines to try to create opportunities in the circle.
With four minutes left in the period, Princeton drew five consecutive corner shots. The third caused an upset, as Princeton fired a successful shot at the same time as the whistle, which caused the play to go under video review. The call on the field stood; the goal would not count. During the next two corners, the Tigers’ shots did not find the goal. The fifth and final corner was also called for video review and resulted in no goal.
The score was tied at 1–1 going into the final period, and both teams were eager to see results. Three minutes in, Thompson made an impressive save during a corner shot from the Leopards. Players from both sides became more physical, and the first penalty of the game was awarded to a Lafayette player three minutes later. After an additional three minutes, Lafayette received another penalty. Princeton continued to drive into the circle, with senior forward Sammy Popper pushing towards Lafayette.
The last minutes of regulation play were filled with action, beginning with Yeager drawing a penalty shot for Princeton. Junior defender Sam Davidson took the shot for the Tigers, which she launched into the top left corner of the goal, making the score 2–1 with only three minutes left.
Lafayette was not ready to give up, however; a mere nine seconds later, they lined up for their own corner. The Leopards scored, and the game was tied again at 2–2 with only two minutes left in the fourth period. Neither team was able to finish the game, and the Tigers were once again playing overtime.
Two minutes in, Andretta found herself with a penalty, and the Tigers were playing six on seven for two hard-fought minutes. Princeton was able to hold off Lafayette, and Davey made multiple attempts to find a shot. But their strong defense and the outstanding performance by the Leopard’s goalie meant the Tigers could not score. After five minutes, Lafayette found themselves with a corner and an opportunity to score. A perfectly executed play sent the shot straight to the back of the net, and the Leopards ran to the field to celebrate their victory. Ranked 60th, Lafayette shocked No. 7 Princeton fans.
“I wasn’t too nervous taking the stroke. I’ve taken two already this year, and I knew I was going to go top left, so I was just focused on putting the ball in the net. I think we had good possession and put them under a lot of pressure. We just weren’t able to finish in our attacking circle,” Davidson wrote to the ‘Prince.’
“We were pretty confident going into the game, especially coming off of two solid wins. We try not to underestimate any of our opponents, and I don’t think we did that with Lafayette; we just lost our focus. But I think we’re all on the same page about this being a turning point in our season, and we will grow from this game and use it as fuel for the rest of the season,” she added.
The Tigers will face Yale in New Haven on Friday, Sept. 30 for their second Ivy League game this season.
Evelyn Walsh is a contributing writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter and Instagram at @evelynwalshh.