Tuesday, October 20, 2015

4-0-0 vs. 4-0-0

TigerBlog's colleague Andrew Borders was thinking way ahead.

What if, Andrew asked, Princeton and Harvard both finish 6-0-1 in Ivy League women's soccer? Then what?

TigerBlog believes that in that case, there would be a random draw to determine who would get the Ivy League's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Of course, there is a long, long way to go until that point. Well, maybe a long way.

TigerBlog will say that with three weeks to go in the regular season, it's looking very much like it'll be Princeton or Harvard with the automatic bid. Not that TB would ever count anyone out before the end, but yeah, it looks like it'll be one of those two.

Princeton and Harvard are both 4-0-0 in the league. In Ivy soccer, like the EPL, you get three points for a win and one for a tie, so Princeton and Harvard have 12 points each. Cornell is next with seven. Columbia is next with four.

In other words, should someone win the Princeton-Harvard game, then every other team other than Cornell would be eliminated. The Big Red could still win the last three to get to 16 points, meaning there's a chance that 15 wouldn't be enough. And TigerBlog will get back to the Big Red shortly.

In the meantime, Princeton and Harvard have basically run away from the field here. And the teams meet Saturday in Cambridge (start time is 1:30).

So that's a big game obviously.

Princeton has won nine straight to get to 11-3 on the year under first-year head coach Sean Driscoll. The Tigers are led by the 1-2 scoring punch of Tyler Lussi and Mimi Asom, who were honored again by the league with its weekly awards.

Lussi was the Player of the Week, something she's done three times this year and six times in her career. Both of those tie all-time league records.

Still only a junior, Lussi has 39 career goals, 11 of which have come this year. With one more, she'll become the third player in Princeton soccer history - male or female - to reach the 40-goal mark, leaving her behind only Esmeralda Negron (47) and Linda DeBoer (41).

Asom was the Rookie of the Week for the fifth time this year, already a league record. She has nine goals, leaving her three away from DeBoer's freshman record (and one from Lussi for second). In other words, if you figure Lussi has a great chance of catching Negron, then you also have to figure that Asom one day will have a shot at whatever number Lussi puts up.

Lussi and Asom rank 1-2 in the Ivy League in points and points per game. Lussi leads the league in goals and goals per game, and Asom is tied for second in goals and third in goals per game.

For that matter, Lussi is 14th in goals per game and 18th in points per game in Division I .

Records and stats, though, aren't the story this week. No, this time it's Harvard.

Only once since 2007 has Princeton or Harvard not been the Ivy League champion. In the last 22 years, only Princeton (twice) and Harvard (three times) have gone 7-0-0 in Ivy women's soccer.

One thing the Ivy League has never had is a tie at 6-0-1. Should Princeton and Harvard tie this Saturday, that would keep the possibility of that outcome alive.

Princeton finishes its league season with Cornell at home and Penn away. Harvard finishes with Dartmouth home and Yale away.

Oh yeah, about the Big Red? Well, give TB another minute. 

Princeton has the highest scoring offense in the league, with 2.71 goals per game. That actually ranks the Tigers sixth in Division I.

You know what Harvard has yet to do in its four league games though? Allow a goal. Harvard has four Ivy League shutouts in four outings.

And Cornell?

The Big Red is 2-1-1 in the league but 9-1-4 overall. Cornell is unbeaten outside of the league.

And more than that, Cornell has allowed only three goals in 14 goals. Three goals, 14 games. That's ridiculous. TigerBlog had to check that a few times to make sure he was seeing it right.

Of course, two of those goals came against Harvard in a 2-0 game. The other goal came in a 2-1 win over Wagner, in the 10th game of the year. In other words, Cornell did not allow a goal in its first nine games. Oh, and all four of the team's ties are 0-0.

So that's lingering out there for Princeton. But first, there's Harvard.

And that's 4-0-0 against 4-0-0.

That's a big one.

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