Tordin Makes History with 1st Goal at New Stadium As Tiger Women’s Soccer Tops Dartmouth 2-0
GRAND OPENING: Princeton University women’s soccer player Pietra Tordin races to goal last Sunday as Princeton hosted Dartmouth in the first game played at the new Roberts Stadium. Freshman forward Tordin made history, scoring the first-ever goal in the stadium with a first half tally. Tordin added an assist in the second half as Princeton prevailed 2-0. The Tigers, now 7-4 overall and 1-1 Ivy League, host Brown on October 8. (Photo by Shelley Szwast, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)
By Bill Alden
A windswept downpour pounded the pitch last Sunday as the Princeton University women’s soccer team hosted Dartmouth in the first-ever game played in the new Roberts Stadium.
The inclement weather, though, didn’t dampen the spirits of the Princeton players as they looked to break in their new home.
“It was our first game here, so we were all really hyped for it,” said Tiger freshman forward Pietra Tordin. “We just wanted to give it all we have got and that is what we did.”
Tordin was hyped to make history, tallying the first-ever goal in the new venue, finding the back of the net 6:14 into the contest as the Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
“I saw an opportunity to break through, take the defender and finish it,” said the drenched yet smiling Tordin, a native of Doral, Fla. “It means so much. Coming in as a freshman, it is just insane.”
Later in the game, Tordin seized opportunity again, setting up a goal by Heather MacNab with 2:12 left in regulation for the final tally of the day as Princeton won 2-0, improving to 7-4 overall and 1-1 Ivy League.
“I saw the turn and I saw Lily [Bryant] running through and slipped it in and it went through to Heather [MacNab],” said Tordin.
With the Tigers having lost 1-0 to Yale on September 24 in its Ivy opener, getting the win over the Big Green was critical.
“It was huge, especially on the field,” said Tordin. “We wanted to start a new legacy on the field and just keep it going for the next game against Brown.”
Just 11 games into her Princeton career, Tordin is already creating a legacy, having scored a team-leading six goals.
“Soccer-wise, getting it is getting my footing in and understanding my place on the team,” said Tordin, reflecting on her transition to college soccer. “I feel like it has been going great so far. Hopefully I can just keep scoring goals for the team and making everyone happy.”
Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll was very happy to see his team christen its new home in style.
“They love it, it is a beautiful place,” said Driscoll. “As I said to them before the game, there are no results here. You are starting at a place in its inception, not many people get to do that in a facility. Usually you go there and someone else has played there. Sherrerd Field (at Class of ’52 Stadium) was great but that wasn’t ours. We weren’t there for the first day of the old Roberts. This is the first game at this facility, so this is a clean slate. How cool is that, the first time you play a game you have a chance to go and get a result.”
The Tigers hit the pitch for the first time on Thursday for a training session.
“It was awesome, the kids were blown away,” said Driscoll. “They waited all season. No one looked at the field. Even on the buses, they would drive by and no one would look. We just made an agreement. I said, ‘I am not going in there without you, let’s wait’ and they all agreed.”
Driscoll is blown away by what Tordin has already accomplished in her debut campaign.
“Pietra is a special talent; she is a prolific goal scorer and she is very composed in front of goal,” said Driscoll. “She doesn’t play like a freshman, she has been really good. She has done really well for us.”
Seeing Princeton getting the second goal against Dartmouth was a good moment for the Tigers.
“It takes a little bit of the pressure off, we had created a lot of really good chances,” said Driscoll. “That has been the MO this year and has caused some of the frustration. We could easily have a different record with more wins because we have created so many good chances and have had a lot of the ball in games.”
Senior goalie Ella Gantman got the opportunity to start with Tyler McCamey sidelined by injury, and she came up big with three saves.
“Ella has been playing this season,” said Driscoll. “We trust her, we believe in her and that is why she has been awarded the time to play. This is why you work hard in training. That is why we give her the time in other games, so she is prepared when this moment arises. She did a very good job — I am very happy for her. She is the quintessential team player, so to see her get a shutout here is pretty awesome.”
It was awesome for Princeton to get the win over Dartmouth as it needed the triumph to stay in the Ivy title race.
“It keeps us in contention, at the end of the day, you have to win your games in front of you,” said Driscoll, whose team had topped Bucknell 2-0 on September 27 to start the week. “If you are going to win the league, you have to win at least six games. It is just how the league goes. We lost our first, it was unfortunate. I thought we were very unlucky to lose that game so I think we responded the way we should with two good wins this week.”
With powerhouse Brown (7-2-1 overall, 2-0 Ivy) coming to Roberts Stadium this Saturday, Driscoll is looking for another big response from his squad.
“They are the two-time defending champs,” said Driscoll of Brown. “They have really good attacking players up front. We have to manage them and take advantage of our opportunities. We can’t have the number of opportunities that we are creating and not score more goals. We have to be more precise in front of goal. We had 25 shots today, we have got to be better.”
Driscoll is confident that the Tigers will get better and better as the fall unfolds.
“It is a fun team, I think we have the capacity to beat anybody on any given day,” said Driscoll. “We have shown that we can play at a really high level and we have shown that we can switch off and make mistakes. If we can minimize the mistakes and switch on a little better in the offensive 18, I think good things will come.”
Tordin and her teammates are primed to do some big things in the showdown with Brown.
“We are just going to give it all we have and hopefully take them and beat them and keep on going to the next game,” said Tordin.