Sunday’s women’s soccer game was almost over when, in the 82nd minute, junior defender Gabby Ragazzo took a loose ball in the top corner of the box and drove it past William & Mary goalkeeper Caroline Casey to tie the game. After that, however, it was far from over — the Tigers (3-1-2) and the Tribe (3-1-4) were still tied when the game ended after double overtime.
After the Tribe got on the board only a little over seven minutes into the game, the Tigers dominated in every category other than goals. Princeton outshot William & Mary 24-7, allowing the Tribe to get off just one shot in the second period and one over both overtimes. The Tigers also earned 11 corner kicks to the Tribe’s three.
It was a little after one such opportunity when the Tigers finally tied the game. Senior defensive midfielder Gabbriella Guzman and junior forward/midfielder Lauren Lazo combined for three straight headers within three minutes before Ragazzo netted the game-knotting goal.
From then on, both defenses held strong. While Princeton’s offense went on the attack, taking five more shots before the final whistle, William & Mary’s defense kept the Tribe alive. Casey made three saves in overtime and survived two Princeton corner kicks in the final OT period, earning the Tribe’s fourth tie of the season.
After that marathon match, Princeton will return to the pitch Tuesday night to face its final opponent before the beginning of the Ivy League season. That opponent will be Fordham, a team which is coming off of its own double-overtime tie — the Rams (2-4-2) tied Providence on Friday.
The Rams have averaged exactly one goal a game this season and have given up more than double that amount. Freshman Nicol Natale and senior Kelsey Dougherty Howard lead the offense with two goals and an assist each. Goalies Megan Fitzgerald and Allie White have shared time in goal and made virtually identical contributions: Each is within .02 of averaging 2 goals allowed per game, and each has made 20 saves this season.
Fordham lost 3-0 to Rutgers, one of two shared opponents the two teams have had so far this season. The Scarlet Knights (7-2-1) put up more points but did not get the shutout when they beat Princeton 5-1 two weeks ago. However, the Tigers beat Army 3-0 early in the season while the the Rams left their game against Army with a 1-1 tie.
Since the Rutgers match, Princeton blanked St. Joseph’s before tying William & Mary. Despite early concerns that the offense would suffer from the loss of star forward Jen Hoy ’13, the Tigers’ record currently includes fewer losses than at this same point last season, a year in which they went to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Filling Hoy’s shoes is freshman forward Tyler Lussi, who leads the Tiger offense with four goals. Lazo is right behind her with three goals, but the two have combined for almost all of Princeton’s scoring — Ragazzo’s goal against William & Mary was the first Princeton goal not scored by Lussi or Lazo all season.
The Tigers might try to spread the wealth a little more Tuesday night, or they may stick to getting the ball to Lussi and Lazo in their last chance to work out the kinks before Ivy play. After Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game in New York, Princeton will take on Yale at home next Saturday at 4 p.m.