Curry’s Versatility Helps PU Women’s Soccer Start 6-1-1, No. 22 Tigers Primed for Ivy League Opener Against Yale
SPICY CURRY: Princeton University women’s soccer player Madison Curry goes after the ball in recent action. Senior defender Curry helped Princeton post a 4-0 win at Delaware last Sunday. The Tigers, now 6-1-1, start Ivy League play by hosting Yale on September 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Madison Curry has a lot on her plate this fall for the Princeton University women’s soccer team.
Junior defender Curry helps hold the fort along the back line while also making frequent forays upfield to spark the Tiger attack.
“I am just doing what the coaches tell me to do,” said Curry, a native of Coto de Caza, Calif., who was a first-team All-Ivy League player in 2019 as a freshman when she had two assists.
“Thankfully I have a really good group of girls who have my back through and through and I am given freedom. I am trying to make the biggest positive impact on and off the field. This season that means I go up more and score and hopefully get more in the back of the net.”
Last Thursday against No. 23 Hofstra, Curry was racing all over the field in her hot pink cleats but her efforts went for naught as No. 22 Princeton fell 2-0 to suffer its first loss of the season after a 5-0-1 start.
“We knew coming into this game that their top four were really good and athletic,” said Curry.
“They have gone through the Ivy League and they have done a very good job against every team. They come out here and they have a game plan and they stick to it very well. We faced a lot of challenges that we hadn’t on previous games.”
Princeton did a good job of putting pressure on the Hofstra defense but just couldn’t finish.
“We need to capitalize on all of our chances, just because we did have so many,” said Curry, reflecting on a night where she had two of the 11 shots generated by Princeton.
“A lot of credit to our team, we do show a lot of grit throughout each game. Unfortunately this game just didn’t go our way. We are looking forward to connecting passes into the final third and hopefully finishing on the chances that we have.”
Having 2020 season canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, the Tigers are looking to make the most of this fall.
“The Ivy League was one of the only leagues that did not compete in the spring this year,” said Curry.
“I think our mindset coming into this game and coming into this season is to not take anything for granted and play every game like it is our last because we just don’t know what is going to happen.”
In taking that approach, Princeton has demonstrated a grit that has seen it press forward to the last moment in every game.
“The thing that I am most proud of and grateful for with this team is our mentality,” said Curry.
“We never give up even until the final whistle I know we saw that against Rutgers [a come-from-behind 4-3 win on September 9] and that paid off in our favor. Unfortunately today, it didn’t. It had just been over 700 days since our last competition coming into the season so we are just warming up.”
Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll acknowledged that Hofstra provided tough competition for his squad.
“That is a very, very good team, it is a very well-coached team,” said Driscoll.
“They are seasoned veterans, there are a lot of graduate students on that team. They play a very complicated style to deal with, they are very efficient in front of goal. They have done it all season, they have beaten every team in the Ivy League.”
While the result against the Pride may have been disappointing, Driscoll had no qualms about the effort he got from his players in defeat.
“The kids are relentless, they had a great result against Georgetown [1-1 tie on September 5] and then Rutgers. We have been a second half team all season. We never stop, we never quit. They are a resilient group. That is a setback against an incredible team, their only loss was against Penn State. To me they are a top 15 team without question, if not higher.”
Curry has been making an incredible contribution to the Tigers this fall.
“Maddie is a special player, she has got a skill set that is very, very unique,” said Driscoll of Curry who has scored one goal so far this season.
“Not many teams have a playmaking wide back. She is tremendous. She gets up and down the field, she defends, and she attacks. She is vital to the success of the team and we are grateful that we have her here. I think she is going to continue to get better and better. She is a wonderful player.”
Another key to the success of Princeton has been its positive mindset.
“I am proud of these kids, it is a very special group of kids,” said Driscoll.
“The camaraderie is great, the support is great. They have a great attitude. I have been around a lot of teams and this one is unique in that sense.”
In starting the season with a six-game unbeaten streak, the Tigers served notice that they are a formidable team.
“We have a tough schedule and we haven’t played in two years and all of a sudden here we are competing against really good teams and winning a number of games,” said Driscoll.
“If you said to me before the season that you would be 5-1-1 with that schedule, I would say I take it. I felt we were very good against Georgetown and probably could have had a win. We had a miraculous game against Rutgers and tonight they were just very good. They did a very good job against us. I think overall, the 5-1-1 start after two years off and no competition, you really couldn’t ask for much more than that overall.”
With Princeton starting Ivy League play by hosting Yale (1-7) on September 25, the Tigers are primed for a big conference run.
“The league is very strong and there are a lot of good teams,” said Driscoll, whose team improved to 6-1-1 with a 4-0 win at Delaware last Sunday in its final tune-up before getting into league play.
“It is always going to be a dogfight. We have got some really good teams in our league but I like our group. We have got some kids coming back from injury shortly here which will be helpful. There is a lot of depth, they work extraordinarily hard. I think ultimately the character of this team is what is going to shine through.”
Curry, for her part, believes that Princeton has what it takes to shine in Ivy competition.
“We are all super excited to go into league play, obviously the goal is to win the league,” said Curry.
“We are confident that we can; we have all of the ability and opportunity to win the league. We have to take each game and each obstacle and hopefully overcome them and then win the Ivy championship and get into the NCAA tournament.”