October 3, 2018

Star Goalie Grossi Records 3rd Straight Shutout As PU Women’s Soccer Ties Dartmouth 0-0

SHUTTING THE DOOR: Princeton University women’s soccer goalie Natalie Grossi makes a save in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior star Grossi recorded her third straight shutout as the Tigers battled Dartmouth to a 0-0 tie through regulation and two overtimes. The Tigers, who moved to 6-2-2 overall and 1-0-1 Ivy League with the draw, were slated to host Bucknell on October 2 before resuming league play by hosting Brown on October 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Natalie Grossi recorded her third straight shutout and the 21st of her career for the Princeton University women’s soccer team as it hosted Dartmouth last Saturday afternoon.

But junior goalie Grossi was disappointed with the outcome as Princeton played the Big Green to a scoreless stalemate through regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, moving to 6-2-2 overall and 1-0-1 Ivy League.

“It is tough because now it is just a battle; we wanted to go 7-0 in the Ivy League and now that won’t be the case,” said Grossi, a native of Woodbridge, Ontario, who now has six shutouts this season and a 0.43 goals against average.

“It is still in our hands if we beat Columbia (currently 5-4-1 overall, 2-0 Ivy). Obviously you want to have a perfect Ivy season. It is a little setback.”

Grossi liked the way the Princeton defense battled in the draw with Dartmouth.

“Defensively we played well, we never lost hope,” said Grossi. “All they had was the counter attack. Our back four kept them to hardly any shots on goal. They played it well.”

In the overtime, the Tigers generated plenty of chances, outshooting the Big Green 10-0 and getting an apparent goal by Gaby Juarez waved off by an offsides call.

“It was just do or die, put everything on the line,” said Grossi, reflecting on a game which saw the Tigers build a 29-3 edge in shots on the day. “We did have opportunities more than we had in the game, but we didn’t get the ball in the back of the net unfortunately.”

Going forward, Princeton needs to get better at cashing in opportunities.

“I think this year all of the other teams are scouting us better,” said Grossi.

“Three of our leading goal scorers (Mimi Asom, Abby Givens, and Courtney O’Brien) were coming back, I think we had a set game plan, but now we have to find other ways to score.”

With only one starter
coming back on defense, Grossi has been more vocal on the field this fall.

“It was more of a leadership role coming in this year; of my back four, only Lucy [Rickerson] was really a returning starter there last year. We didn’t know who was going to be in the back four, and now it is a set rotation of five,” said Grossi, noting that Olivia Sheppard, Emily Hilliard-Arce, Eve Hewins, and Tatum Gee have joined Rickerson in the defensive rotation.

“They have been doing a great job too. They have really been stepping up into their roles. I have to stay involved by communication; they are good at listening to me.”

Having yielded only six goals in 10 games, the unit has been doing a great job.

“Every game we are learning more and more,” said Grossi. “A shutout is not really what we think about right away, but if we can keep the score zero on our end, hopefully we will come through with a win.”

Slated to host Bucknell on October 2 before resuming league play by hosting Brown on October 6, Grossi and her teammates will be zeroing in on reaching top form.

“We will just be moving forward in training this week, getting ready for Brown,” said Grossi. “They are going to be tough.”