After prevailing in the first two games of its season, the women’s soccer team was foiled by Mother Nature Thursday night, as thunderstorms postponed their match at Seton Hall.
The Tigers (2-0) will now play two in-state rivals in three days, taking on the Pirates (1-4-1) Friday at 5:30 p.m. in South Orange and facing Rutgers in New Brunswick on Sunday.
“This weekend is exciting because it is our first set of away games,” junior midfielder/forward Lauren Lazo said. “So as a team we want to keep our clean sheet defensively against two very tough opponents. If we can do that then the rest will fall into place, as we have numerous threats going forward.”
Princeton has not won its first true away game since 2004, but the Tigers have reason to be confident after winning their first two games by a combined score of 5-0. Doubts as to who would fill the significant gap left by Jen Hoy ’13 have so far been assuaged by standout performances from Lazo and freshman forward Tyler Lussi. Lussi has already scored three goals in her brief college career, leading the team in goals and becoming the first freshman since 2004 to score in the season opener. She was named Ivy League Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week on Monday. Lazo, whose 11 goals were the second-most on the team last season, has also scored in both of the first two games.
Another pleasant surprise has been junior goalie Darcy Hargadon. Though she had only started one game in her college career before this season and did not start at all in 2012, Hargadon opened the 2013 season with two shutouts, notching three saves.
The Pirates have had a less encouraging start to 2013, having been outscored 10-6 in six games and earning just one win. Still, forward Kaitlyn Ritter has three goals already and will be a problem for Hargadon and her defenders.
After a quick turnaround, Princeton will face a more accomplished opponent in Rutgers (4-1-1). The Scarlet Knights were dismantled last week by Virginia but have looked stellar in every other game, letting up just three goals – not counting the six to undefeated UVA (6-0) – and outshooting their opponents 85-57. Three Scarlet Knights have multiple goals on the season, including forward Jonelle Filigno, who has scored three times this season.
Meanwhile, Rutgers goalkeeper Jessica Janosz is letting up an average of 1.15 goals per game with seven saves, a 63.2 save percentage and three shutouts in six games. The Scarlet Knights have earned 32 corners to their opponents’ 24 and have looked aggressive, out-fouling their opponents 59-27.
“The biggest challenge for this weekend is playing against very athletic, strong teams,” Lazo said. “Rutgers and Seton Hall both play in great conferences and have been training for much longer than us. So as a team, we really need to come together and compete for each other. This weekend we want to prove that we are the best team in Jersey.”
The Rutgers match will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, assuming the weather is better than on Thursday night.