Some people around the Princeton University women’s soccer program have dubbed Jen Hoy as “The Franchise” and the senior star certainly looked the part last Sunday.
As the Tigers battled Colgate in the final game of the Princeton Invitational, the speedy forward dominated the proceedings, scoring three goals in the first 50 minutes of the contest to give her team a 3-0 lead.
After falling 2-1 to Wake Forest on Friday in the opening night of action, Hoy and her teammates were determined to get on the board early against Colgate.
“We came out strong, our mantra is ‘fight’ and that is how we have been holding ourselves and how we have been trying to play the game,” said Hoy, who had Princeton’s lone goal in the loss to Wake. “I got us a goal early on and the game seemed to be flowing.”
But the flow of the game turned against Princeton as the Raiders outscored the Tigers 4-1 over the last 38 minutes of regulation to pull out a 4-4 tie in double overtime.
Princeton lost starting goalie Kristin Watson and star defender Diane Metcalf-Leggette to injury by halftime and had trouble holding its defensive shape down the stretch.
“That was a very weird game,” said Hoy. “I think we responded well [to the injuries] but things continued to fall apart and the momentum was working against us.”
Hoy gave Princeton early momentum, scoring at the 19:01 mark as she raced past and through the Colgate defense and blasted the ball into the top corner. Some 20 minutes later, Hoy tallied again, converting a Rachel Sheehy feed.
“This season I have been trying to turn my mind off and do what comes naturally,” said Hoy, a Sellersville, Pa. native who scored eight goals last fall on the way to earning first-team All-Ivy League honors.
“I was able to beat the defender on me and I saw another one coming and I knew I was going to cut across her and the goal. I shot it in the right corner of the net. On the second one, Sheehy is fantastic at playing through balls and it just popped right out in front of me and I was able to tap that one in.”
Early in the second half, Hoy displayed the hustle reminiscent of Princeton assistant coach and all-time leading Tiger goal scorer Esmeralda Negron, galloping into the face of the goalie and converting when she mishandled the ball.
“Es is always telling me to pressure every single ball because you never know what is going to come out of it,” said Hoy, reflecting on the tally which gave her the second hat trick of her career, the first coming when she scored three goals in a 6-3 win over James Madison in September, 2010.
“I definitely thought of her on that goal. You are in the right place at the right time because you worked hard to get there.”
In the wake of last weekend’s frustrations, Hoy is ready to get back to work. “I think life is about taking losses and mistakes and figuring out how you are going to respond,” said Hoy, who was named Ivy Player of the Week for her productive weekend.
“I think what we are going to do now is figure out the best way to move forward because we are going to move forward. I am excited for our next game.
Princeton head coach Julie Shackford was certainly excited by the way Hoy played in the opening weekend.
“Jen was phenomenal; she has done really well,” said Shackford of Hoy, who now has 22 goals in her Princeton career.
Shackford acknowledged that the Tigers didn’t play too well down the stretch in the draw with Colgate.
“We fell apart; I just think we panicked and they felt a sense of urgency,” said Shackford, whose team hosts St. Joseph’s on September 7 and Temple on September 9.
“It was a combination of both. They have a few more games under their belt; they had a little more energy at the end.”
Despite being disappointed that her team let a win get away, Shackford knew her squad faced some stiff tests in Wake and Colgate. “It is a tough opening weekend against two good teams,” said Shackford.
“I think we expended a lot in that Friday night game emotionally. I am sure that took a toll on us as well and having to absorb the loss of a couple of starters was pretty difficult for us on a day like today. Maybe on another day it would not have been so hard but today it was rough.”
Shackford hasn’t lost any confidence in her team, realizing that the season is a marathon.
“A lot of it is hard to assess, you don’t know how much is game fitness and mental fatigue,” said Shackford.
“We just lost our legs at the end; it is our second game. I told them that we can’t lose a 4-1 game but at same time I know in the back of my head that the second game is always the toughest.”
Hoy, for her part, believes that she and the seven other seniors on the squad have what it takes to end things on a high note.
“We really want to do something great for this program; we want to lead our team,” asserted Hoy.
“We have struggled in these first two games. We have played great but we have had some unfortunate outcomes. I am going to stop thinking about what happened and look forward because that is the only way we are going to continue with our season.”