Women's Soccer 2014 Season Preview
With the Princeton women's soccer program set to start its 2014 season, GoPrincetonTigers.com takes a look at how the Tigers stand heading into the new campaign.
Overall, Princeton returns 11 players who started a game last season, and although six of those 11 players are seniors, six of last year's freshmen also made starts in 2013. Though the Ivy League opener at Yale on Sept. 27 is still just less than a month away, the first lineup will take the field Friday at 7 p.m. for the season opener at Roberts Stadium against Rutgers.
A season ago, then-rookie Tyler Lussi made some program history by scoring 10 times to tally the most goals for a Princeton freshman since 1982. She's back on the attack this season, joined by seniors Gabrielle Ragazzo and Melissa Downey, with Downey moving up from the midfield. Seniors Liana Cornacchio and Lynessa McGee and rookies Mikaela Symanovich and Beth Stella figure to contribute on the attack as well.
The Tiger midfield figures to have a North-of-the-Border flavor with Canadians sophomore Nicole Loncar and freshmen Alessia Azermadhi and Vanessa Gregoire all penciled in as major contributors. Loncar was a regular starter last season, with Gregoire coming to the program after a stint with Team Canada in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup this summer. Sophomore Haley Chow, junior Izzy Byers and junior Stephanie Paloscio, now a two-sport student-athlete at Princeton (lacrosse) after joining the soccer program this year, are also in the mix.
After serving as one of Princeton's leaders on the front line for her first three seasons, senior Lauren Lazo will move to the back for her final campaign as the Tiger defense undergoes a big change thanks in part to graduation. Sophomore Jesse McDonough, who played her way into a starting role last season, returns, and rookies Katie Pratt-Thompson and Natalie Larkin and junior Emily Sura are candidates to be part of Princeton's back line this season.
Three players saw time between the posts for the TIgers last season and two return this fall with senior Darcy Hargadon leading that group. Hargadon accounted for 12 of the 17 starts in 2013 with sophomore Hannah Winner also getting a start. Alongside that pair, freshman Gudrun Valdis Jonsdottir joins the goalkeeping competition. Hargadon was in her first season as the team's lead goalkeeper after then-seniors Claire Pinciaro '13 and Kristin Watson '13 handled all the starts in 2012.