August 30, 2023

Tigers Women’s Soccer Starts Season with 2-0 Weekend As Forward Tordin Ignites Offense with 3 Goals, 2 Assists

TORRID START: Princeton University women’s soccer player Pietra Tordin prepares to unload the ball last Sunday against La Salle. Sophomore forward Tordin tallied a goal and two assists in the contest to help the Tigers win 5-0 and improve to 2-0. Tordin, who scored two goals in a 3-0 win over Monmouth in the season opener on Friday, was later named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. In upcoming action, Princeton hosts Rutgers on August 31 and Army West Point on September 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a superb debut season for the Princeton University women’s soccer team which saw her win the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Pietra Tordin is feeling a heightened comfort level on the field this year.

“I already know a lot of the girls very well so I think the chemistry is starting to click in,” said forward Tordin, a 5’6 native of Doral, Fla. “It is just getting to know the personnel of the team and knowing how to work with them and work around their skill sets as much as possible.”

Last weekend, Tordin clicked as Princeton opened its 2023 campaign by topping Monmouth 3-0 last Friday and then defeated La Salle 5-0 on Sunday. Tordin scored two goals in the opener and added a goal and two assists in the win over the Explorers.

“We are always trying to build on the last game and now we are trying to move forward to the next game,” said Tordin, who was later named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for her heroics. Tordin got things moving against La Salle, opening the scoring by slotting in a goal 25 minutes into the contest.

“I saw Kayla [Wong] with the ball. so I thought I am going to take off,” recalled Tordin. “When she played me the ball, I saw a defender coming on my right, so I just cut inside and shot it on the right corner.”

Early in the second half, Tordin assisted on goals by Lily Bryant and Kate Toomey as the Tigers doubled their 2-0 halftime lead and put the game out of reach for the Explorers.

“The one with Lily, she played it to me and I saw her sprint right after she passed it to me. I was like, ‘she is going in behind,’ so I played her in,” said Tordin. “On Kate’s goal, I saw her in the corner of my eye, and it kind of worked out.”

With one college season under her belt, Tordin is working from a different area of the field this fall.

“Last year I was playing the nine, now I am playing a little out wide,” said Tordin, who tallied eight goals and three assists in 2022. “It is cutting in and getting the ball on the inside, trying to get as many assists and goals as possible and just trying to keep that going.”

Tordin enjoys playing with precocious freshmen Wong, who had a goal and an assist in each of Princeton’s wins over the weekend.

“Kayla is a big addition. Coming in as a freshman for her, it is huge what she is doing so far,” said Tordin. “I am so proud of her, I feel like I have been clicking really well with her recently. Even at practices we have been doing really well.”

Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll was proud of the way the Tigers played offensively against La Salle as Lexi Hiltunen also found the back of the net along with Tordin, Bryant, Toomey, and Wong.

“It was five different goal scorers, we moved the ball well, we created some good chances,” said Driscoll. “A lot of  people got an opportunity on the weekend, which is what you want. Everybody got a chance to play, just to be able to see them in action was important for chemistry. It was important for confidence.”

The play of Tordin gives Princeton confidence every time they step on the field.

“Pietra is a special player, there are very few players that I have ever seen who can finish like her,” asserted Driscoll. “She is very fun to watch, she has the gift of not knowing what she is going to do with the ball. We are lucky as spectators to have a kid that when she gets the ball, you don’t know what is going to come out and it is always something spectacular. You are holding your breath. She is a team player, she scores goals, she gets assists. She is fantastic.”

Wong had made a fantastic debut for the Tigers. “It is amazing, what more can you ask of a player,” said Driscoll of Wong. “She worked on both sides of the ball, she gave us a spark on offense Friday night and then she came back today and earned a PK and got an assist. She had the courage to get up and take a PK on a team that is a bunch of upperclassmen on the field. She had the strength and the willingness to go up there and do it. It was a fantastic start for her.”

Junior midfielder Bryant gave the Tigers some great work on Sunday, picking up two assists to go along with her goal.

“Lily is just a tireless worker, she is very athletic,” said Driscoll. “She can get forward and she can create chances. She scored a great goal. She works hard on both sides of the ball; she is a two-way player and that is what you want. We need players who are good with the ball, players that are hungry to score goals, and players that value defending — and she does.”

The Tiger back line defended well all weekend, picking up two clean sheets with goalie Tyler McCamey only needing to make one save in the two wins. Driscoll utilized Madison Curry, Morgan Wiese, Zoe Markesini, Caroline Kane, Pia Beaulieu, and Kiley Hamou, among others, in his defensive unit.

“We played a lot of kids back there; Maddie [Curry] played today but not Friday, she is a special player too,” said Driscoll. “Morgan did great. Morgan is the glue in the back. She keeps the game very simple. She is a very good passer. She was organizing things and is physical when she needs to be. She got a lot of balls in the air. She really did well, all of them did. They were good because they have an attitude about them defensively on the backline. Tyler was also great.”

With the Tigers playing so well at both ends of the field to open the season, Driscoll was able to catch his breath and relax on Sunday evening.

“I just said to them, I am going home, I am going to have a date night with my wife and hang out with my kids,” said Driscoll. “You guys don’t bother me because everybody played. It was one of the great days.”

The Tigers will be facing a great challenge as it hosts a powerhouse Rutgers (2-1-1) squad on August 31.

“I can’t wait to play them, they are stylistically different than both of the teams we played,” said Driscoll. “They have some dangerous weapons in Riley Tiernan and others. They are very good. They are good in attacking. They keep the ball really well. They do a lot of the things that we like to do. It will be like a chess match. We have struggled with Rutgers over the years. We had that one win in ’21 but they smashed us last year (a 3-0 loss). It is a very good litmus test to see where we need to improve and what we need to do when you play the teams in our league as well as the really top teams. They are a very good example of that. They are predicted to be a winner in their league if not top two. They are always in that conversation.”

Tordin, for her part, is confident that the Tigers will pass the test presented by the Scarlet Knights.

“It was tough, we lost to them last year,” said Tordin. “This year we are definitely going to bring the heat, that is for sure. They can definitely expect a challenge. With the confidence that this team has, I think we will definitely come out strong.”