With a four-game winning streak coming into Friday’s match, No. 20 USC was confident that it could subdue No. 16 Princeton for the first time in series history.
Instead, the Tigers got the jump on the Trojans, defeating them 11-8. It’s just the second time this season USC has scored in single digits. A major reason for the Trojans’ offensive struggles was Princeton’s freshman goalie Amelia Hughes who blocked 14 shots.
“We have to be ready to put shots away,” head coach Lindsey Munday said. “We need to be better and we need to be more deceptive on our shots and really put them away.”
On offense, sophomore attacker Maddie Dora, junior attacker Maggie Brown and junior attacker Claudia Shevitz scored two goals each. After today’s performance, Brown has scored six goals in a two-game stretch and leads the team with 11 on the season.
“[Brown] is super versatile and can play anywhere on the field,” Munday said. “That’s helpful in terms of her production. I mean, she can play in the crease, she can play inside, and she can play up top.”
On defense, the Trojans pressured the Tigers for a season-high 22 turnovers, 16 of which were forced. Senior defender Olivia Dooley led all players with five forced turnovers.
Sophomore defender Alexis Niblock collected four ground balls, while three other Trojans collected three each.
In the cage, junior goalie Kait Devir played the entire match. She earned seven saves but took the loss.
“Our defense is one of the best in the country, if not the best in the country, and has been super consistent,” Munday said.
However, the Trojans’ aggressive efforts also earned them seven yellow cards. Senior defender Danielle Carson and sophomore midfielder Catherine Lord earned two yellow cards each, leading to their disqualifications. Meanwhile, the Tigers had no yellow cards.
Seven Trojan fouls led to free position shots, three of which found the net. USC went 0-for-1 from the free-position arc.
“The yellow cards today didn’t put us in a position to be successful when you’re playing a man down, even if you are making stops,” Munday said.
In the main circle, the Tigers claimed 16 of 23 draw controls, despite USC averaging 15 victories per game prior to this match. Tiger junior attacker Ellie Mueller led everyone with nine victories and also scored a goal.
Aside from Mueller, four Tigers players scored two goals each. The Tigers won despite having fewer assists, shots and shots on goal than the Trojans.
The Tigers’ versatile offense kept them close to the Trojans throughout the first half. In the third quarter, Princeton pulled away with a 3-0 scoring run. Four Trojan yellow cards in four minutes in the fourth quarter stifled any chance of a USC comeback.
The Trojans will be back in action this Sunday when they play Hofstra at James M. Shuart Stadium. Coming off a 15-2 victory against Wagner, the Pride are 3-4 and 1-3 at home.