September 25, 2019

Junior Gee Picks Good Time for First Career Goal As PU Women’s Soccer Tops William & Mary 1-0

GEE WHIZ: Princeton University women’s soccer player Tatum Gee controls the ball in game last year. Last Sunday, junior Gee notched the first goal of her college career, scoring the lone tally of the game as Princeton edged William & Mary 1-0 last Sunday. The Tigers, now 3-3-2 overall, host Yale (6-2) on September 28 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tatum Gee didn’t score a goal in her first 42 games for the Princeton University women’s soccer team.

The junior picked a good time to break the ice, scoring the lone tally as Princeton edged William & Mary 1-0 last Sunday.

“I was so excited, it was a great pass; Olivia Kane just slipped it through and it wasn’t hard to put it in,” said Gee, a native of Buena Park, Calif. “It is an amazing feeling. I am hoping the team can ride this kind of high and start a winning streak.”

Gee acknowledged that Princeton was primed to resume its winning ways on a day when the program welcomed back its all-time winningest coach, Julie Shackford (203-115-29 in 20 seasons at Princeton, including an NCAA College Cup semifinal appearance in 2004 and eight NCAA tournament bids), who is now guiding William & Mary.

“We needed this; we have been having really strong talks in the locker room,” said Gee.

“We were all talk and we needed some actions to put some force behind those words.”

The Tigers got some good action from its reserves as the squad rotated players on a sultry afternoon with the temperature climbing to the high 80s.

“It was a hot day, I think the people that came in around halfway through the half started getting the gears going a little bit,” said Gee, citing the play of Caroline Noonan. “From then on we had a fire.”

Gee was fired up to make a big contribution as she was moved up the field from her normal back line spot.

“Getting out here and getting some minutes on the field, I was really grateful to be part of this win,” said Gee.

“Last year, I played defense most of the year. It is refreshing to play a different position, I was playing center forward today.”

Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll was happy to see Gee take advantage of her attacking position.

“Tatum is not a prototypical forward,” said Driscoll. “Their line was a little on the slower side so we thought we would put some speed up there and she scored a goal. I thought Tatum had a great game.”

Driscoll cited the play of sophomore midfielder Caroline Noonan as helping turn the game in favor of the Tigers.

“I thought Caroline was great, she went in and won every ball in the air,” said Driscoll. “You can’t ask for much more than that from that position; she was a real impact player for us.”

With Princeton using 20 players against William & Mary, its depth certainly made an impact as it improved to 3-3-2.

“I think there is a lot of quality in our team; we have got to find a way to get healthy, that is the challenge,” said Driscoll

“We played three different center backs today, which is great. These kids all go to work, they all come here to train everyday at practice. We want to give them the chance when we can. I think that all the field players have had that opportunity.”

Senior goalie Natalie Grossi showed her quality, making three saves as she tied Ivy League record with her 29th career shutout, matching Dartmouth alumna Kristin Luckenbill’s 19-year-old Ivy League record.

“It is great, it is a record that has been there forever,” said Driscoll. “The fact that she is one step closer to owning it on her own is nice. I think it is in the back of her mind even though she would never talk about it. She deserves it, she has been a great goalkeeper for us since her freshman year. It speaks volumes when it is such a longstanding record.”

With two-time defending Ivy League champion Princeton starting league play by hosting Yale (6-2) on September 28, Driscoll wants his squad to step up its intensity.

“It is a team that works hard; I would like them to be more desperate in how they play in terms of their need to win,” said Driscoll.

“They want to win but they need to be more desperate and intentional with what they want to do. Desperation is a good thing, it really means urgency with their approach to the game. Now you get into Ivy play and that brings it out. Yale is much improved.”

In Gee’s view, the Tigers are poised for another title run. “It is super exciting, we could not have asked for a better way to go into the Ivy League season,” said Gee. “The Ivies are a different beast; everybody is faster, everybody is going in harder. I think our team is ready after this.”