No matter what curve balls the Princeton women’s soccer team has to throw at Yale, the Tigers are no top-20 program.
After taking on nationally ranked foes and other tough non-league opponents over the past three weekends, the Bulldogs (2–4–1) will finally enter Ivy League competition with a match against Princeton (3–3–0) on Saturday.
The Elis won their first game of the season, upsetting Penn State 1–0 on Sep. 3, but then dropped four straight contests to Illinois, UConn, Duke and Boston College — three of which are currently ranked in the top 20. Last weekend the Elis began to turn things around, topping Sacred Heart 4–0 and tying Syracuse 1–1 in double overtime.
But now the real competition begins.
“I’m just hoping that all the preparation we’ve done will pay off for this game,” head coach Rudy Meredith said of the team’s first Ivy League match. “This is why we did what we did with the schedule.”
Last year Yale defeated Princeton 2–0 in New Jersey in what Meredith said was a tough game.
“[Princeton’s] coach said we were opportunistic with our chances, and I agree with her,” he said.
Meredith said this year’s game will be tight, as both teams are evenly matched. He said most Ivy League teams are competitive with one another, adding that although Cornell finished in the bottom of the Ancient Eight last year, the Big Red lost every conference game by just one or two goals.
The Tigers are in the midst of a two-game losing streak — their Wednesday night contest against Saint Joseph’s was cancelled due to lightning. Midfielder Caitlin Blosser leads Princeton in points with nine totaled between two goals and five assists. Forward Jen Hoy, who notched a hat trick against James Madison, has a team-leading four goals.
“She’s fast,” Meredith said of Hoy. “I think she’s one of the fastest players in the league.”
On the Elis’ side, midfielder Enma Mullo ’12 has four points on one goal and two assists. Forward and team captain Becky Brown ’11 and midfielder Megan Ashforth ’11 have a goal and an assist each.
The Bulldog roster took a hit last weekend when Ashforth went down against Syracuse and was taken to the hospital. Meredith said Ashforth has a dislocated knee cap and will hopefully be able to play in three or four weeks. For Saturday, forward Kristen Forster ’13 will cover Ashforth’s position.
Kickoff against Princeton is slated for 4 p.m. at Reese Stadium.