Princeton's women's soccer team entered Saturday knowing a loss could keep them out of the NCAA tournament, snapping not only their 10-match win streak but also ending their season after winning their first six Ivy League matches.
Thanks to a hat trick from Lauren Lazo and a put-away goal by Caitlin Blosser, the streak continues and the Tigers are headed to the NCAA postseason.
Princeton defeated Penn 4-2, ending Ivy title hopes for a Quaker team that would have won the NCAA bid with a win and a Dartmouth loss at Cornell (the Big Green won 3-0), or by winning an unprecedented random draw if all three teams had finished tied at 6-1.
Lazo's three goals were the first three of the game as the sophomore scored in the 13th, 43rd and 56th minutes. A determined Penn team didn't give up, however, and fought back to within 3-2 with goals less than 10 minutes apart and 16-plus minutes left to find at least the tying goal.
Blosser, however, pounded a loose ball in the box into the net in the 84th minute, and Princeton's victory was all but secured.
• Princeton had clinched its seventh Ivy League tite last week with the win at Cornell, but Saturday's win ensured the outright Ivy title. It is Princeton's third outright league title, following 2002 and 2004.
• This year's Tigers are just the fifth Ivy League team since the seven-game schedule began in 1991 to go 7-0-0, following Dartmouth in 1993, Harvard in 1996 and 1999, and Princeton in 2004.
• Since the Ivy League began awarding three points for wins in 2005, rather than two points, Princeton set an Ivy record for standings points with 21. Harvard (2011) and Columbia (2006) held the previous record with 19, both at 6-0-1.
• Head coach Julie Shackford, who also skippered the 2004 team, became just the second coach in league history to guide two 7-0-0 teams, joining former Harvard coach Tim Wheaton.
• Lazo's hat trick is the first in her two seasons at Princeton. She has scored six goals over the last three games and has eight goals in six Ivy League matches after missing the Ivy opener at Yale.
• Princeton's 11-match win streak is the third-longest in program history after a 12-match win streak in 2002 and a 14-match win streak in 1980 to start the program's varsity era.
• Princeton will be playing in its ninth NCAA tournament after playing in the 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008 events.
• By guiding her team in theo the NCAA tournament for the eighth time, Shackford ties Harvard's former coach Tim Wheaton for the most NCAA appearances by one Ivy coach. Wheaton led Harvard to the NCAA in 1994, 1996-01 and 2004.
• All three Penn-Princeton meetings at Roberts Stadium, which opened in 2008, have had Ivy title implications. Princeton won 2-1 in double OT in 2008 to clinch an Ivy title share. Penn tied in 2010 to win the Ivy's automatic bid.
• Four goals was the most Princeton had scored against Penn since 2004, when it won 4-1 at Lourie-Love Field. It was Princeton's first win over the Quakers since 2008 in a series the Tigers now lead 17-8-2.
Postgame quotes: Head coach Julie Shackford
"To go 7-0 is
really special. We lost three or four starters (to injury) throughout
the year and the team, I felt like, did a phenomenal job absorbing all
that. It seemed like when one went down, there was somebody there to
step in and do just as well. It's a well-led team with eight seniors. I
think they're the ones who really put things in place for us to have a
good season and did a great job with our team culture. With 28 kids
that's not always easy. We just feel really lucky too."
had the better of us for about 20 minutes in that first half. They were
very good. I just think that we have a bunch of kids that can finish,
and that was the difference."
On when Penn pulled within 3-2 with 16 minutes to go:
I was nervous. These games are typically always tight, so you never
know. You definitely don't take anything for granted, so to get that
fourth goal was huge."
On the NCAA tournament:
excited about the prospects. Today was the hump for us. Going forward,
we're just going to enjoy it and I'll have a better idea on Monday of
how I feel about it."
On sophomore Lauren Lazo, who had three goals:
just a gamer. The more competitive the game is, the tighter the game
is, the more she can find a way. She's got that mentality. I think
because people are so focused on Jen sometimes, that she can slide in
and do her thing. Her and [Lyneesa McGee] both are able to get some
dangerous looks around the goal just because Jen easily takes two,
sometimes three defenders with her."
On the turning point of the season:
out of that [California] trip, they really felt like they learned a lot
about themselves, but they also were pretty confident going forward."
On winning after losing out on the Ivy title against Penn in 2010 on the same field:
"To be able to win it on your home field, perfect Ivy League record, it doesn't get any better than that."