The Ivy League title comes down to this weekend and a pair of games in Princeton and Ithaca. Only Penn, Princeton and Dartmouth can win the Ivy League title and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and Princeton and Penn will meet on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium at 4 p.m. Saturday. Dartmouth will visit Cornell at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Princeton leads the Ivy at 6-0 and 18 standings points, while Dartmouth and Penn are each 5-1 and with 15 standings points. Princeton defeated Dartmouth on Sept. 29, and Dartmouth defeated Penn on Oct. 13. If Penn and Dartmouth both win, it would force a three-way tie with all three teams at 1-1 against each other. A random draw would occur with the winner getting the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. All three teams would be Ivy League champions.
The NCAA selection show will take place Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NCAA.com.
Here are the scenarios:
Princeton has won a share of the Ivy League title already. For the Tigers to get the automatic bid, they must either defeat or tie Penn, OR with a loss to Penn, Dartmouth must defeat Cornell to force a three-way tie and Princeton would have to win the random draw.
Penn would win a share of the Ivy title by defeating Princeton. Penn gets the automatic bid if it defeats Princeton AND Dartmouth ties or loses at Cornell. If Penn and Dartmouth both win, Penn would have to win the random draw to get the automatic bid.
Dartmouth would only get the automatic bid by defeating Cornell AND with a Princeton loss to Penn AND a win in the random draw. If Dartmouth and Penn win, Dartmouth also gets a share of the Ivy title.
If the teams do tie, it would be the second three-way tie in Ivy League women's soccer history. The same three teams, as it happens, tied in 2001 at 5-1-1, but the tie was broken (for the automatic bid, all three teams were still Ivy champs) because Princeton went 1-0-1 against Penn and Dartmouth, while Penn went 0-1-1 and Dartmouth went 1-1.
The scenarios out of the way, here are the pregame notes for the showdown against Penn:
• Princeton won its seventh Ivy League championship this past Saturday with its 5-1 win at Cornell. It is the sixth Ivy championship under Julie Shackford, who also led the team to league championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2008. Shackford is second all-time among Ivy women's soccer coaches in Ivy titles won, behind only Brown's Phil Pincince with 12.
• Counting this weekend's match, all three Princeton-Penn games at Roberts Stadium have had Ivy League title implications. In 2008, Princeton needed a win to tie Harvard for a share of the league crown, and with less than five minutes to go in the second overtime, Taylor Numann '09 headed in a corner kick to beat Penn 2-1. In 2010, in a situation very similar to this year's, Penn and Princeton met with the winner getting the NCAA automatic bid. A tie favored Penn, however, and that's exactly what happened as the teams played to a scoreless draw in current senior Claire Pinciaro's first career start in goal.
• If Princeton wins, it would make the 2012 Tigers the fifth team in Ivy League history to go 7-0, after Dartmouth in 1993, Harvard in 1996 and 1999 and Princeton in 2004. It would make Shackford the second coach in Ivy history, after former Harvard coach Tim Wheaton, to have had two 7-0 Ivy teams.
• Princeton has won 10 matches in a row, the fourth double-digit winning streak in program history. The others are: 14 straight in 1980 (the first 14 games in varsity history), 12 straight in 2002 (also a season-starting streak), and 10 straight in 2004 (started with Ivy opener, snapped in last non-league regular-season game).
• A 13th win would tie the 2012 Tigers for the fourth-winningest season in program history and the winningest since 2004. The Tigers won a program-record 19 in 2004, 14 in 1980 and 2001, and 13 in 1981, 2000 and 2002.
• Princeton leads the all-time series 16-8-2, but the series has been tight of late. In head coach Julie Shackford's 17 seasons, Princeton leads 8-7-2. At Princeton, the Tigers lead Penn 11-1-1 all-time, with the only loss in 1998 and the only tie in the last meeting on campus in 2010.
• Penn is the only team that none of the current Tigers have defeated. In 2009 in Philadelphia, current Penn senior Alex Daneyka scored in the 10th minute to beat Princeton 1-0. The teams had a scoreless tie in 2010 in Princeton. Last season in Philadelphia, Penn scored in the 58th and 83rd minutes to pull away from the Tigers in a 3-1 win. Ursula Lopez-Palm, who was a senior last season, had two of Penn's goals, and current senior Erin Beck had the other. Jen Hoy had Princeton's goal in the 49th minute to tie the game.
• Hoy's chase for the single-season Princeton scoring record continues, as she stands second to current assistant coach Esmeralda Negron '05 with 17 goals to Negron's 20. If Hoy scores one more goal, she and Negron would be the only Ivy Leaguers in the last 24 seasons to score 18 goals in a campaign.
• Saturday's game will match the Ivy League's top offense against the Ivy's top defense. Princeton is the Ivy League leader at 137 points/8.56 per game, 45 goals/2.81 per game and 47 assists/2.94 per game. Penn leads with just 12 goals allowed all season for a goals-against average of 0.78. Penn also leads the league in corner kicks at 98 in total and 6.53 per game.
• Through the updated national numbers the NCAA released Monday, Princeton is No. 5 in the nation in goals per game. Hoy is No. 2 in the nation in goals per game at 1.063 and fifth in total goals at 17.