Going into Saturday's game with Harvard, the Princeton women's soccer team boasted an undefeated record. The Tigers still have bragging rights after they stormed (literally) past the Crimson booters, 4-1, in a rice paddy in Princeton, N.J.
The win boosts Princeton (11-0 overall) into sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings, and drops Harvard (8-2) into second. The loss will also certainly knock the Crimson from its number one spot in the New England rankings.
Princeton is now also assured of the number one seed and more importantly, the first round bye that goes with it in this coming weekend's Ivy League tournament.
Blow Wind, Crack Your Cheeks
Unfortunately, this game, which held such importance to both teams, took place during a tempest that would have brought a smile to King Lear. And frowns to the Crimson booters.
"It was hard to do anything," co-captain Sue St. Louis said yesterday. "The wind was so strong against us in the second half that a lot of the balls we sent toward the goal just stopped. Your skills are negated by the wind and rain."
"At times you couldn't even see," center halfback Jeanne Piersiak said. "And you could hear trees breaking in the background."
"It was incredible. There were big lakes all around and sometimes you couldn't even see across the field," back striker Laurie Gregg said. "One of the Princeton shots looked like it was going way over the goal and suddenly the wind just held it there and then dropped it in."
Crimson coach Bob Scalise refused to blame only the elements for his team's defeat. "I think Princeton's a really good team--they got fired up after they got their first goal and it's hard to turn around momentum."
Freshman back striker Joan Elliott agreed. "The weather was really bad, but Princeton just played better in the rain than we did."
In the first half, the Crimson played better, taking a 1-0 lead into the halftime huddle. Sophomore right wing Kelly Gately took a Gregg pass and put it past the Princeton keeper only ten minutes into the game, to notch her second goal of the season.
But to start half number two, Princeton came out flying, tallying twice in the first 15 minutes.
Weather conditions wreaked havoc on Crimson goalkeeper Ann Diamond, who had an excellent first half. Two wet balls slipped through her hands and resulted in Princeton tallies, and the wind played tricks with the other two shots that scored.
So it's back to the drawing board for Scalise, to try to find the combination that will put games into the win column and the team back on top in the standings.
"I think we're still potentially the best team," Gregg said. "If we can get our act together."
THE NOTEBOOK: The team is now in a virtual must-win situation going into Tuesday's home game with arch-rival UMass. Game time is 3:30...Gately suffered a severely bruised shin with about 15 minutes to go in the game and her status for the UMass game is unknown at this time.