Women's Soccer Moves On in NCAA Tournament, Beats West Virginia 2-1
The Princeton women's soccer team punched its ticket to the NCAA Round of 32 Saturday night with a 2-1 win over West Virginia, getting goals by Lynessa McGee and Jen Hoy while holding off a WVU comeback attempt and sealing the win.
The Mountaineers (11-5-4) were ranked No. 21 in the nation in the latest NSCAA poll and were the Big 12 regular-season champions.
Princeton (14-3-1) will move on to face Marquette (17-2-2), a 3-0 first-round winner over Illinois State Friday night, Thursday at 3 p.m. Mountain Time, 5 p.m. Eastern at BYU, the seeded team in Princeton's group of four. The host Cougars will take on Auburn in Thursday's second game.
"To be able to beat West Virginia on their home field is really special," Princeton head coach Julie Shackford said. "This team has found a way to win all season, with some injuries and setbacks, and as coaches we couldn't be any prouder of them."
It is Princeton's first NCAA tournament win since 2004 and fourth first-round win in the program's 10 trips to the NCAA tournament following 1982, 2001 and '04. The most recent three of those have now come under head coach Julie Shackford, who led her team to its eighth NCAA tournament in her 18 seasons.
"I think it was a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster going through the game," Shackford said. "I think that in the second half especially, our defense tightened up and really made some big plays. We have to give a lot of credit to (Princeton goalkeeper) Claire (Pinciaro) for coming up big both in the first half and the second half."
McGee scored in the fifth minute, lifting an arcing shot over the outstretched arm and off the fingertips of goalkeeper Sara Keane, who saved four of the six Princeton shots on goal.
Hoy added to the lead in the 54th minute, zipping past and through defenders for a tap-in shot that put Princeton ahead 2-0.
West Virginia got on the board with an 82nd-minute goal from scoring leader Frances Silva, a header from Kelsie Maloney that halved the lead at 2-1, but that was as close as the Mountaineers came.
Princeton withstood a flurry of West Virginia chances late in both halves, as WVU outshot Princeton 20-12 on the game and forced Pinciaro to make seven saves.
"I think we just had the mindset of just staying organized and our communication was just really good in the second half," Pinciaro said. "I think we just wanted it so badly, we just didn't want to give anything up."
• The win was Princeton's 12th in a row, tying these Tigers with the 2002 team that won 12 straight and putting them behind only the 1980 team that won the first 14 games in the varsity program's history.
• Jen Hoy's goal was her 18th of the season, moving her one closer to current assistant coach Esmeralda Negron '05 and her 20 in 2004. Both ended the regular season with 17 goals, while Negron scored three in five NCAA tournament games.
• With the 18th goal, Hoy and Negron are the only two Ivy Leaguers to score 18 in a season since Theresa Hirschauer of Brown in 1988.
• Lynessa McGee's goal made her the first Princeton non-senior to score in an NCAA women's soccer tournament game since Emily Behncke '06 in the 2004 NCAA national quarterfinal against Washington.
• McGee's goal was her fourth of the season, all in the last eight games.
• This was Princeton's first-ever game in West Virginia and second time playing the Mountaineers, both in the NCAA tournament. In the 2008 tournament, Princeton fell 2-1 as WVU scored twice before Princeton (Jen Om '09) added a late goal.
• This was the first NCAA tournament victory for an Ivy League team since 2005, when Yale won twice. Princeton, the year before, won four times to advance to the NCAA semifinal.
• The win was Princeton's first NCAA tournament victory that came away from the Princeton campus.
• Princeton has never faced Marquette, though the Tigers have played in Utah. Princeton faced the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in 2009, losing 2-0.