Vol. LXII, No. 36
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
CHINN UP: Princeton University womens soccer star Lisa Chinn controls the ball in action last fall. Chinn, a senior co-captain, has been moved to forward from midfield and looks to be an offensive force this fall. The Tigers will open PUs new soccer facility, Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium, on September 5 when they host Boston University.
Lisa Chinn knows better than most the ups and downs that can come with a college sports career.
As a freshman with the 2004 Princeton University womens soccer team, Chinn experienced a major high as the Tigers reached the NCAA Final Four.
Chinn, though, came down with mono during the spring of her sophomore year and opted to take a year off from school to recover.
Last fall, Chinn was thrilled as she returned to the field but disappointed as the Tigers dropped their last three games to end the season with a pedestrian 8-8-1 record.
Now, as a senior co-captain of the Tigers, Chinn is excited to be closing out her career as the PU soccer breaks in its glistening new facility, Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium.
The Tigers will play in the inaugural game at the facility when they host Boston University on September 5 at 5 p.m. with the PU mens team taking the pitch at 7:30 for a clash with Lehigh.
In Chinns view, the privilege of playing on the new field comes with responsibility.
Just looking at the stadium is amazing; we were here over the summer for camp and it got us really excited for the season, said Chinn of the complex with has seating for 2,356 spectators and features a bluegrass game field with state-of-the-art drainage and an adjacent field turf practice pitch.
I want to do the alumni proud and everybody who contributed to this. I think we have a huge responsibility as the first group to play on this field to make everybody proud and to make ourselves proud.
Chinn was proud to make it back into action last season after her hiatus. It was nice for me because I still got to play with the people I came in with, said Chinn, who started 14 games in 2007.
I got closer with my new class and still had the class that I came in with. I would have been really upset to not get to play another year with them.
As the link between two classes, it makes sense that Chinn was chosen to serve as a team captain along with fellow senior Jen Om and junior Melissa Seitz.
It is a huge honor but its also a huge responsibility, said Chinn, reflecting on her role as a co-captain.
I think you need to keep on everybody; the whole team is your responsibility. Im really excited about it. I think we have a nice group of captains, the three of us complement each other well so I think thats good.
Chinn brings a no-nonsense leadership style to the job. Im pretty tough, I guess, said Chinn with a wry smile.
I tend to hold people accountable and I am also very persistent on the field. I think we are all very different, Jen, Melissa, and myself. I think the senior class, even though it is small, we are all on the same page in terms of work ethic and in terms of what our goals are for the season.
Longtime Princeton head coach Julie Shackford acknowledges that her players werent always on the same page last fall.
I dont think we had a real fighting spirit last year and I think that hurt us, said Shackford, whose team went 4-3 in Ivy League play.
We were in position to win the league and we didnt have that little bit of extra desire. We struggled with that and we struggled with consistency. We didnt have a reliable goal scorer and we had Diana Matheson (Canadian national player) in and out.
Like Chinn, Shackford senses a special work ethic around this years squad. I dont have a good feel right now for how we are going to look but I think we are definitely going to be a working class team, asserted Shackford, who is in her 14th year at Princeton and is the winningest soccer coach in school history, mens or womens team, with a record of 141-73-14.
I really cant predict who is going to produce for us. Its going to be a lot about good team effort producing goals. I think we will score out of work rate, that kind of thing.
Shackford believes the new stadium will help the team raise its level of play.
When you come to a facility like this, your expectations for yourself are higher, said Shackford. You dont want to let the place down.
In looking at her team, Shackford sees Chinn as someone who wont let her down.
We moved Lisa Chinn from the back to the front and she has been scoring goals like mad, asserted Shackford, who will also be using junior Marci Pasanello up top. We have great leadership this year; its the strongest group of leaders we have had in a long time.
Princeton is depending on All-Ivy performers, senior defender Taylor Numann and senior midfielder Om, to lead the way.
We are strong in the middle with Taylor, added Shackford. Jen Om had a good season last year (4 goals and 1 assist); she had a great spring.
Joining Numann on the Princeton defensive unit should be Seitz, Marissa Sampias, and former Lawrenceville School star Bernie DaCosta. In the midfield, Sarah Peteraf and Kayleigh Iatarola should see plenty of time along with Om.
The Tigers do have a big hole to fill with the graduation of goalie Maren Dale, who posted a sparkling 1.33 goals against average last fall.
We have question marks in the goal, acknowledged Shackford. Ally Pont is the starter right now. We have a freshman Kristin Watson, who is eight months post-op on an ACL. She is coming back and we have Jillian Hewitt, who is a sophomore. Thats going to be an issue, well see.
Shackford is hoping to see a more fiery team on the pitch this fall.
I think I just want them to be more competitive consistently, maintained Shackford.
I think there is enough parity in the league so Id like to think we could put ourselves in position to be a contender.
Chinn, for her part, is excited to be assuming the position of forward. I have been wanting to play up front, said Chinn, who has previously played in the midfield and on defense and has one assist in her PU career.
I think with the teams that weve had, Ive needed to play another position but I love, love playing up top. I think I can take more ownership myself, getting goals for the team. I definitely feel its a position where I can impact more.
In order for Princeton to have an impact on the Ivy race, Chinn knows that each player must take ownership of her role on the field.
I think having all 11 positions really working really hard and being on the same page, added Chinn.
I think if we can get that down, which we have been doing the preseason, the rest will come. We are starting to learn what everyone on the team is good and what everyone is not as good at so that we complement each other.
If things come together for PU, Chinn could end her college career on a major high.
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