Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 44
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton University women’s soccer senior star Sarah Peteraf controls the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, Peteraf notched a goal but it wasn’t enough as Princeton fell 2-1 to visiting Harvard. Peteraf now has a team-high nine goals for the Tigers, who are now 9-2-2 overall and 3-1-1 in Ivy League play. In upcoming action, Princeton hosts Bucknell on October 29 before playing at Cornell on November 1.

PU Women’s Soccer Hit by Lightning, Undone by Harvard Strikes in 2-1 Loss

Bill Alden

Coming into its Ivy League showdown last Saturday night with visiting Harvard, the Princeton University women’s soccer team had given up just two goals in its last nine games.

Riding that stingy defense, Princeton brought a 10-game unbeaten streak into the evening, standing at 9-1-2 overall and 3-0-1 in Ivy play.

Harvard, which came into the game with an 8-3-3 mark and a 3-1 league record, had displayed some effective finishing, boasting three players with more than 10 points on the season.

As rain pelted Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium, Harvard stunned the Tigers by slipping in two goals in the first eight minutes of the contest.

The Tigers, though, regained their composure, putting the clamps on the Crimson.

In the last minute of the first half, Princeton senior star Sarah Peteraf continued her remarkable season, lofting a volley over the Harvard goalie to cut the Crimson lead in half. It was the ninth goal of the season for Peteraf, who has notched six game-winners this fall.

After intermission, the players were greeted with a cloudburst. Princeton battled through the rain to build on the momentum from Peteraf’s goal.

But then lightning struck, this time in the form of a thunderstorm and not Harvard goals. The players were ordered off the field at 8:10 p.m. with 30:42 remaining in regulation and the game was ultimately delayed for 70 minutes.

The players returned to take the waterlogged pitch at 9:20. A desperate Princeton side sloshed through the field, controlling possession but unable to trickle any shots past the Harvard defense as the Crimson hung on for a 2-1 win.

Afterward, Princeton head coach Julie Shackford acknowledged her team started the game on its heels.

“We just got shellshocked, they came out of the gate at 100 m.p.h.,” said Shackford, whose team was outshot 10-5 on the evening.

“We have been organized defensively this season so it was very shocking to all of us. I think they had a couple of special players that just had a little bit better of us today. You can’t get down early in the league.”

Shackford was proud of how her team fought in trying to dig out of that early hole.

“They cut a lead; they did a good job there,” said Shackford. “They battled to get back; obviously to cut the lead in half before the half was important. The rain delay was tough because I think we had some momentum going.”

The Tigers will look to regain their momentum as they don’t want a repeat of last season which saw Princeton start 3-0 in league play and then stumble to a 4-3 Ivy mark

“It’s not in our control any more,” said Shackford, whose team hosts Bucknell on October 29 before playing at Cornell on November 1.

“We were here last year and our team folded. It’s our second loss of the season; as bad as it hurts and as much as it could effect the standings in the league, ultimately things can happen. It’s a weird game; this is a harder working, battling team than last year.”

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