PRINCETON -- Once again, the Princeton women's soccer team outshot its opponent. This time, it came with a win as the Tigers defeated Francis Marion 6-0 Monday night on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium.
Princeton had outshot its last five foes but had no victories to show for it during that stretch. The most recent of those setbacks came at Brown Saturday after Jen Hoy scored early, but the Tigers saw the Bears come back with two goals before the 25-minute mark to take a 2-1 win and drop Princeton to 0-3 in the Ivy.
"I think it was a great game for our confidence," Princeton head coach Julie Shackford said. "We've been in so many games where we've dominated and haven't been able to put it away. It's really positive any time you can put it in the back of the net that many times."
Just as against Brown, the Tigers scored early. Lauren Lazo's second goal of the season came just past the six-minute mark of the first half, and Princeton held a 1-0 lead until late in the opening period when Sara Chehrehsa scored to make it 2-0.
Throughout the second half, Princeton added on. Erika Hoglund scored her first career goal in the 48th minute. Rebecca Shmoys followed with hers in the 54th minute. Melissa Downey did the same in the 66th minute. And Jessica Haley made it five Tigers to score for the first time when she added an 88th-minute exclamation point with a long arcing attempt straight-on from well outside the 18-yard box.
Those were only some of the many firsts and superlatives Princeton achieved in a much-needed win for a team that was closing in on a month since its last and only other victory of the season, a 2-1 win at Villanova on Sept. 11. Princeton is now 2-8-1 on the season and will have another non-league game at Lehigh Wednesday.
"We kept hoping it would come," Shackford said. "Maybe this will be the turning point. (The players) haven't wavered, though they've been frustrated and we certainly have dealt with some really disappointing games because we didn't take care of the ball and we had so many opportunities. I think this is a great one just for the team spirit."
Francis Marion entered having lost five in a row, but all by scores of 1-0 or 2-0. The loss was the Patriots' most lopsided since an 8-0 defeat to Oklahoma last season, and Princeton scored its most goals since a 6-3 win over James Madison a year ago on the same field. It was Princeton's largest margin of victory since a 7-0 win at Cornell in 2004 as well as the largest winning margin for any Ivy League team this season.
Every available field player saw action, including collegiate debuts from Samantha Wierzbicki, Lindsey Heigh, Kristyna Smith and Cecilia Di Caprio, who played the last 20-plus minutes in goal. Princeton held Francis Marion without a shot until 13 minutes remained in the game, and Di Caprio easily handled both Patriot attempts.
The Patriots, a first-time opponent for Princeton and a Division I independent in women's soccer, will stay in the Northeast to face Brown Wednesday. All three of Francis Marion's wins this season have come against Big South opponents, including High Point, Winthrop and Presbyterian.
After heading to Lehigh, the Tigers will return to Ivy League play against Columbia at 4 p.m. Saturday at Roberts Stadium.