Lions may be kings of the jungle, but they weren't kings of Baker Field yesterday, the Tigers reigned supreme.
Overmatched but fighting hard, Columbia was eventually overwhelmed on Saturday by a constant Princeton attack and fell 2-0 to the Tigers. The loss leaves the Lions at 2-5-2 (0-2 Ivy).
Women's soccer has not won their last four games. Princeton's victory improved its record to 6-1 and kept it a perfect 3-0 in the Ivy League. Princeton has done better this season than they have in the past. In the Ivy League, the Tigers have already beaten perennial stalwarts Harvard and Yale.
"We held them for 75 minutes," said first-year goalkeeper Janine Ierardi, who had six saves. "We played a strong match."
The Tiger goals came late in the game. In minute 74, Princeton scored what became the winning goal, off a direct kick that was inadvertently headed by Ierardi.
"It was a lucky goal," senior midfielder Jamie Pannone said. "She wasn't facing the goal and was heading it to set up for a shot, but instead it went in. It was a backwards header."
Princeton added an insurance goal about eight minutes later. The Lions were pushing forward on attack when Princeton intercepted a Lion pass. Columbia was unable to get set in their defense, and the Tigers scored on a cross.
Princeton outshot the Lions 21-3. This enormous discrepancy is misleading, however; though the Lions only took three shots, they did create a handful of scoring opportunities. In the second half, the team had a direct kick from about 25 yards out, but they could not capitalize.
The Lions played evenly against Princeton in the first half.
"We were confident at the half. In the first half, they weren't playing as good as they were on paper," Pannone said. "We thought we could beat them. In the second half, they showed what they can do."
Princeton clearly dominated the second half in possession, and the Lions were mostly unable to keep the ball out of their half of the field. And it didn't help that sophomore forward Stephanie Smith went down with a knee injury in the first half.
"They played really good in the second half," Pannone said. "They had a number of corner kicks and had us back on our heels."
But the team remains positive.
"We were happy with the way we played," Pannone said. "I thought we played better together. We had better communication and passing, and our game just looked better than it had."
Considering the amount of shots and possession time Princeton had, the Lions held their own impressively on defense. Particularly first-year Erica Woda, junior Jessica Haftek and junior Logan Coyle were able to lead the defense in repeatedly repelling the Tiger attack.
"Our defense played great. We need to work on our offense," Pannone said. "We need to attack as an entire team, not just three people. That was the big difference between us and Princeton."
The Lions' next game--Friday night, at Brown--is crucial. First, the Lions must win to salvage this season. More importantly, they need to win games in the Ivy League. Brown is undefeated in the Ivy League, and they have looked strong all season.
"Brown has had shutout after shutout," Pannone said. "We tied them last year. It is always a physical game. We just need to go there with the same [positive] attitude and enthusiasm that we had with Princeton."