Women’s soccer will host Princeton on Saturday evening in its first game back at Rocco B. Commisso Stadium.
The Lions (6-4-3, 3-0-0 Ivy) pushed their unbeaten streak to five games after drawing 0-0 with nonconference foe Lafayette on Tuesday. Head coach Tracey Bartholomew noted that the Lions failed to capitalize on a number of scoring chances, but she left the contest impressed with her team’s intensity against the Leopards.
“I think that we were definitely upset that we didn’t win the game, but I thought we fought hard all the way through and created some good chances,” Bartholomew said. “All positive things that we need to do—and we kept the clean sheet, which is great.”
Princeton (9-2-1, 1-1-1 Ivy) will present a tall task, despite currently sitting tied for fourth in the conference. Last year, the Tigers won the Ivy League with an undefeated conference record and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“Princeton has typically been one of the top two teams in the conference, so obviously as a program we want to see where we are against them,” Bartholomew said.
The Tigers use a 4-4-2 formation, with the offense running through star forwards Mimi Asom and senior Tyler Lussi. Asom, the 2015 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, has 11 points this fall, and Lussi, a co-captain and All-American, leads the team with nine goals and 22 points. Together, they form one of the best attacks in the country.
“We’ve got to do a good job of knowing where they are in the box and around,” Bartholomew said. “They hurt us last year, so I think our girls want to take care of business with them and be proud of that.”
Princeton’s high-powered offense will have to navigate Columbia’s stingy defense. The Light Blue has allowed one score in its last six contests, limiting opponents to only 18 shots on goal during this stretch.
“Defense wins championships. Being on the same page, knowing what we want to do defensively, helps us win the ball and go into goal,” Bartholomew said. “For us, since we’ve come in, this has been our staple.”
But Bartholomew added that, unlike during its last outing, Columbia must find the back of the net.
“If it’s two chances, we’ve got to finish two. If it’s 10 chances, we need to do a good job of finishing them,” Bartholomew said. “We have to have one of our better games to be in the game.”
Women’s soccer looks to maintain its perch atop the Ancient Eight as it hosts Princeton at home on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.