If there’s one thing the Tigers don’t know how to do, it’s lose.
On Sunday afternoon, No. 10 Princeton (11–4 overall, 5–0 Ivy League) faced off against No. 15 Harvard (11–4, 4–1) and won 4–2 at Bedford Field.
Just last year, the Crimson denied the Tigers an Ivy League championship in a penalty shootout. This year, Princeton was looking to change the outcome of this game and continue their five-game winning streak. While the Tigers were eager for history not to repeat itself, they remained focused on the game at hand.
“Going into the game we knew there would be a lot of pressure on the match. Our mentality was just to treat this like any other game,” junior defender Sam Davidson wrote to The Daily Princetonian. “We were confident that if we played our game we would be fine, but we didn’t want to underestimate our opponent.”
Preceding the game, a moment of silence was held in honor of fellow Tiger Misrach Ewunetie ‘24, who passed away during fall break.
From the very first whistle the game was action-packed, with the Tigers starting off with aggressive offensive play. Less than five minutes into the game, junior forward Grace Schulze, assisted by senior defender Hannah Davey, scored the first goal of the game for the Tigers.
In the sixth minute, Princeton was awarded a penalty corner, and sophomore midfielder Beth Yeager, assisted by senior forwards Ophélie Bemelmans and Ali McCarthy, scored her eleventh goal of the season, putting the Tigers up 2–0.
Davidson followed this with a penalty stroke goal, giving Princeton a three-goal advantage in just the first quarter.
“I think our first quarter was the key to the game. We knew we wanted to come out strong and assert our dominance from the beginning,” Davidson said.
Harvard began to put defensive pressure on the Tigers in the second period with a series of blocks and a save by Harvard goalie Ellie Shahbo during penalty corners. Midfielder Emily Guckian finished the action in the second quarter with Harvard’s first goal of the game.
The Crimson carried this momentum with them into the second half of the game with midfielder Siofra Murdoch scoring another goal for Harvard. With two unanswered goals, the Crimson put themselves within striking distance of the Tigers, 3–2.
The Tigers remained steady as senior forward Sammy Popper scored her eighth goal of the season with a reverse chip, setting the Tigers up for what would be a 4–2 victory.
“We obviously felt great to go up 3 goals early, but knew that we couldn’t get complacent and wanted to keep strong, sustained energy throughout the game,” Popper wrote to the ‘Prince.’
Next week, Princeton will host Brown (8–7, 1–4), and the Tigers are looking to continue their undefeated streak in the Ivy League and become Ivy League Champions.
With just two games left in the regular season, Princeton is keeping focused with hopes of entering post-season play.
“We’re just continuing to focus on getting better as a team and playing our game regardless of what the other team does,” Davidson said. “We’ve done a really great job of controlling what we can control and not worrying about external factors, and I think that’ll be the key to our success in postseason.”
Olivia Chen is a contributor to the newsletter and sports sections at the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at email@example.com.