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Tigers Eliminate Virginia

The quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament took place this past Sunday as the #2 Princeton Tigers (18-1) faced #7 University of Virginia (16-5). Princeton obliterated Drexel (15-7) 5-0  to secure their spot in the quarters. Virginia won a much more competitive match against Iowa (14-7) to advance to the next round

 

This match was a rematch between the teams who had played two weeks prior at Turf Field when Princeton came out on top by a score of 2-1. Virginia needed to dig deep if they planned on upsetting the Tigers and ending their 11-game win streak.

 

Virginia caught the Princeton squad off guard to take a 1-0 lead about a minute into the match. Junior back Elly Buckley intercepted the ball on the Princeton side of the pitch and drove in drawing a penalty corner.  Virginia converted the penalty corner into a goal as sophomore forward Rachel Sumfest knocked the ball past the keeper.

 

Behind Princeton’s proficient passing, the Tigers answered mere minutes later to tie the game at 1 all. The rate of scoring showed no signs of slowing down as UVA was able to convert another penalty corner into a score. Elly Buckley rocketed a shot past the Princeton keeper and Virginia would take a 2-1 lead. With both teams appearing uncomfortable on defense, the potential for a high scoring game was great.

 

The quick goals of Virginia did not deter the Tigers’ offense, as they would tie the game once more at 2-2 in the 10th minute. With each successive score, the crowd grew more and more galvanized.

 

But this time, Virginia had no answer for the goal. The Princeton back found its footing and began an impressive defensive performance. It was the Tigers offense that found the net once again. For the first time in the match, Princeton led by a score of 3-2.

 

Surprisingly enough, the half concluded without an additional score. The Cavaliers had several opportunities to score just prior to intermission, but the Princeton defense held fast.

 

The second half was all Princeton.  In the 39th minute, the Tigers fired another goal past Virginia goalie Jenny Johnstone to take a more comfortable 2-point lead.  In the 42nd minute, Princeton extended the margin to 3 with a shot that they hoped would put away the Cavaliers.

 

Virginia fought desperately to remain alive in the tournament, but Princeton’s defense was smothering. The Tigers granted few scoring opportunities to the Wahoos.

 

Princeton did an excellent job shutting down Cavalier star Paige Selenski. Recognizing her ability to create good things for the Virginia offense, the Tigers made an effort to keep the ball out of her possession.

 

The game ended with a 5-2 Princeton win. Virginia’s season came to an end in disappointing fashion. After two quick goals in the first half, Virginia could not muster a score for the rest of the match.

 

Princeton moves on to the next round of the tournament to face Marlyand. After the game, one especially loud fan screamed, “Do we have to beat Maryland again? We will beat the ACC! We will beat the ACC!”

 

If Princeton wants to win the National Championship, beating the ACC is what they need to accomplish. As mentioned, Maryland is the next opponent and after that a potential meeting with North Carolina in the finals. Combined, those two squads have won the past 7 national titles and the ACC has reigned supreme dating back to 2002.

 

It will take a monumental effort by Princeton to claim the championship, but if they can respond to adversity as well as they did against UVA, their odds of winning a national title will certainly improve.


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