September 16, 2015

Beating Villanova to Snap 3-Game Losing Streak, Tiger Women’s Soccer Displays Sense of Urgency


EARLY SALVO: Princeton University women’s soccer player Natalie Larkin, right, controls the ball in a 2014 game. Last Sunday, sophomore midfielder Larkin scored a goal 12 minutes into the contest to get Princeton rolling as it topped Villanova 3-1. The Tigers, now 3-3, host LaSalle on September 16 and William and Mary on September 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Hosting Delaware last Thursday evening, the Princeton University women’s soccer team dug an early hole, surrendering a goal less than five minutes into the contest.

Treating the tally as a wake-up call, Princeton relentlessly pushed forward the rest of the half. The Tigers hit two crossbars and generated several opportunities but didn’t cash in as they trailed 1-0 at the half.

Over the next 45 minutes, Princeton threw everything it had at the Blue Hens, outshooting Delaware 13-4 but all that effort proved fruitless as 1-0 proved to be the final score.

While Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll was disappointed by the result, which marked the third straight loss for the Tigers, he had no qualms with the fighting spirit displayed by his players.

“We really gave every bit we had,” said Driscoll. “I said to the kids at the end of the game you can’t argue with the work rate, the intensity, everything was wonderful, they really gave a supreme effort.

Driscoll acknowledged that the team has suffered some occasional lapses in concentration.

“My biggest message to them was had they done that from the get-go they would not have been in the position in the first place,” said Driscoll.

“We always work hard but we don’t always play with a sense of urgency and there is a difference; there is that extra little inch they could put in in terms of putting people under pressure. There is just more that they can do and the focus for the whole 90 minutes has to always be there. That’s what we have been talking about lately and it has not happened every single game.”

Three days later at Villanova, Princeton showed focus from the get-go as Natalie Larkin scored 12 minutes into the game to get things rolling as the Tigers posted a 3-1 win over the Wildcats. Tyler Lussi and Nicole Loncar also scored first half goals as Princeton improved to 3-3.

Based on Princeton’s performance against Villanova, it appears that Driscoll’s message got through to his players.

“We have to be resilient; we have to have a little more bite to our game,” added Driscoll, whose team hosts LaSalle on September 16 and William and Mary on September 20.

“We move the ball very nicely and we are technically very good players. We tend to look very nice but then when it breaks down and we must get into the nitty gritty of it and make differences inside our 18 or the opposing 18, we have been losing that battle. It is not from a lack of creating opportunities, but at some times it just comes down to sheer will and guts and sometimes pretty goes out the window and it needs to be a little ugly to get a goal.”