By JACK KANTOR
The pressure is on for Princeton. With a win this Saturday, Cornell women’s soccer can spoil Princeton’s chance to clinch the Ivy league title while tacking on another win to the already successful season for the Red.
However, the Princeton Tigers (12-3, 5-0 Ivy) have not lost since Sept. 13 of this season and are on an absolute tear. The Tigers have won 10 straight matches, two of which were decided in overtime.
“All of that is in the past and didn’t have to do with us,” said head coach Patrick Farmer.
Princeton is a squad that can really score with its quick and intense attack, averaging a solid 2.67 goals per game this season.
“They are certainly a little more mobile. … We are more pass-oriented. [Princeton] is a little more penetration-oriented,” Farmer said.
Cornell is averaging just above one goal per match. Nonetheless, the Red is holding its opponents to under an astounding half a goal per game. The question this weekend will be if the team’s stout defense can hold off the Tiger’s dangerous attack, while hopefully punching in a goal or two.
History would say Princeton has the upper hand in this matchup; Cornell has only beat the Tigers seven times since they starting playing back in 1982. However, the Red played the Tigers tough last year in a close 1-2 loss. This is a new year and a new team — for both sides. This matchup leans towards Princeton, but could go either way.
According to Farmer, the team has spent the first half of the week focusing on its own game. The Red is looking to keep up fast paced play while working on sustaining possession, preferably in the opponent’s half. Farmer said the team, “looked quick, lively and fast,” in the training session on Monday.
Princeton tends to take an approach that emphasizes possession less, but instead focuses on simply attacking with pressure and moving the ball around the field quickly. Farmer said he believes the team needs to “play faster, be a little more physical, be a little more proactive and creative in [one-on-one and two-on-two] situations.”
After a break on Wednesday, the team has focused on its play against Princeton, specifically.
“Princeton has two of the top three scorers in the league,” Farmer said. “We talked to [the players] about where those two play and how we will deal with that. We won’t change a lot, to be honest.”
Farmer said the Tigers are a different team than what Cornell faced last year.
“Princeton lost a very good senior attacker, but they added a great freshman attacker,” he said. “They a new coach; they are a little bit different, a little bit more direct. … They are in the top five scoring teams in the country.”
The Ivy League leaders in both goals and assists are Princeton players Tyler Lussi and Lauren Lazo, respectively. While defense has been the Red’s strength this season, Cornell will need to be at the top of its game defensively to stay in the match.
The Red will not win this matchup by outscoring the Tigers, but by keeping the goals down to a minimum. If Cornell can out-possess Princeton and keep the ball in the Tigers’ half, then the Red may be able to chalk in another win and spoil Princeton’s hopes of an Ivy League Championship.