This weekend, the women’s soccer team (7-4-2, 0-2-1 Ivy) will travel to New Jersey to face off against No. 8 Princeton (5-4-3, 0-3 Ivy) as both teams continue to look for their first Ivy League victory.
The Tigers come into the game in a bit of a slump, having gone 1-3-1 in their last five outings. In conference play, they have suffered two-goal shutouts to Brown and Dartmouth and a 3-2 double overtime loss to Yale, while accruing only two goals of offense.
Though Princeton’s offense has generated only 15 goals, its shots per game, particularly in the second half, have been staggering, generating consistent pressure that may impede the Columbia defense, which has surrendered a total of three goals in its last two games.
Forward Tyler Lussi is a key cog in the Princeton offense, going into the matchup with six goals and three assists, and three of the team’s four game-clinching goals. She could exploit the defensive weakness that Columbia has recently shown. However, even in this current slump, the Light Blue allows on average only one goal per game.
After closing out its five-game homestand in a dramatic 3-2 double overtime victory, the Light Blue faces a tough road test in its search to climb the Ivy League rankings.
Senior Natalie Melo, led the offense throughout the Lafayette game and was pivotal in each of the Lions’ three goals. It was the fourth game of the year where the offense managed to score three goals and the second time Melo came through in double overtime. The Light Blue must take advantage of Princeton’s defensive lapses and begin to generate offense in its Ancient Eight games.
When asked about this final, potentially season-defining stretch, Melo was confident. “We have four games left. We’re trying to end strong with four wins so that’s the game plan. We just got to play Princeton away and Dartmouth away and close out the two home games,” she said.
The Lions begin play against the Tigers this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Roberts Stadium.