On Saturday evening, the women’s soccer team will travel to Hanover, N.H. to compete against Ancient Eight rival Dartmouth. At 7 p.m., Princeton (4-2-3 overall, 0-1 Ivy League) will kick off against the Big Green (3-4-1, 0-1) in a fierce match up in which both squads will be seeking their first conference win of the season. Last weekend, the Tigers dropped their first Ivy opener against Yale 2-3 in overtime, and Brown defeated Dartmouth 0-1. Competition in the league has tightened since last year — in 2012, Princeton had an undefeated 7-0 record in the Ivy League.
“This outcome is absolutely vital to both our short term and long term goals,” junior forward Lauren Lazo said. “We want another Ivy championship, and with dropping the first game to Yale, we are determined to win the remaining six league games. We have been focusing on team shape this week in practice. Lapses in communication during the Yale game cost us some soft goals, and we are determined to not let that happen again.”
If Saturday’s game is anything like the past, the game is sure to be a tight match. Last year, the Tigers defeated Dartmouth 2-1 at Princeton, but the previous year the Big Green earned a 0-1 win on their home turf in New Hampshire. So far this year, the two teams have posted very similar statistics. Each squad has allowed 10 goals defensively. The Tigers have earned five shutouts and the Big Green four. Offensively, Princeton averages 15.8 shots and 1.44 goals per game while Dartmouth has sent an average 15.1 shots and 1.38 goals per game.
The Tigers have several offensive threats up front making it difficult for their opponents’ defense to decide on whom to focus their attention. Freshman forward Tyler Lussi leads the team with six goals and two assists, including three game winning goals. Lazo has added three goals and two assists. Overall, the Tigers have outshot their opponents 142-104 and outscored their challengers 13-10. In the net, junior Darcy Hargadon has collected 25 saves, averaging a 73.5 save percentage in her eight games played.
“We are an extremely high-pressure and hard-working team,” Lazo said. “This characteristic has allowed us to be successful defensively, and also in transition. If we can bring that same desire and fight Saturday, there is no doubt we will win.”
Leading the attack for Dartmouth are midfielder Emma Brush (four goals and two assists) and forward Lucielle Kozlov (three goals and one assist). The Princeton defense will have to ensure that the two players do not get any open looks on goal, because they have proven themselves to be dangerous near the goal, especially in the second half. Tatiana Saunders protects the goal for the Big Green, grabbing 38 saves so far this season for a 79.2 save percentage.
“Every Ivy League game is a battle,” Lazo said. “Dartmouth is a strong team year-in and year-out and this Saturday is going to come down to who wants it more. Each game in the Ivy League is a challenge, and we have to compete and leave everything on the field.”