Thursday, October 1, 2015

Soccer Doubleheader

Sorry. TigerBlog is still trying to figure out how 27 times as many people can follow Pitbull on Twitter than Bruce Springsteen.

If you missed yesterday, TB was talking about Twitter followers. That's the one he really can't get past.

There's no explaining it. That would be like finding 27 times as many people who are bigger fans of, oh, Zach Randolph or someone like that than of Michael Jordan.

Okay, TigerBlog is going to have to come to grips with it. Sigh.

So where does he want to start today?

Oh yeah, Tyler Lussi.

There will be as many Princeton teams who play at Dartmouth Saturday as there will be teams that play in Princeton. The women's volleyball team will be in Hanover, as will the two soccer teams.

The two soccer games are both huge. Let's start with the women's game, and with Lussi.

In the middle of her third season at Princeton, Lussi already has 36 career goals, which ties her with the great Jen Hoy for fourth all-time. And TigerBlog means great. Hoy was a scoring machine, and she put up 36 in four season.

Lussi has done it in 2.5. She trails only Esmeralda Negron (47), Linda DeBoer (41) and Emily Behncke (39).

On the men's side at Princeton, only two players have ever scored more than 36 goals. That would be Steven Davidson (41) and Yuri Fishman (40).

And that's it. Only five players in Princeton soccer history have more goals than Lussi, and she still has 1.5 seasons left to play. It's possible that, with all due respect to Negron and the others, that Lussi might be the best finisher ever to play soccer at Princeton.

Meanwhile, her eight goals this season rank her 14th in Division I in goals per game. She's only second in the Ivy League, though, behind Dartmouth's Lucielle Kozlov, who has nine in 10 games, to the eight in nine games that Lussi has.

Dartmouth is unbeaten in its last eight games, going 6-0-2 in that stretch. Unfortunately for the Big Green, one of those two ties came in its only Ivy League game to date, a 0-0 tie with Brown a week ago.

Princeton is 1-0 in the Ivy League after its 3-0 win over Yale last weekend. The other two teams that won their Ivy opener were Cornell and Harvard.

Can a team play a make-or-break game this early in the Ivy season? The answer is yes, but it might not realize it at the time.

The Princeton men's soccer team is 52 weeks removed from its 2-1 overtime loss to Dartmouth in its Ivy opener a year ago. What was the repercussion from that game?

Well, Princeton and Dartmouth ended up tied for the Ivy League title, but that win - on Oct. 4 - gave Dartmouth the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Princeton would be the team with the highest RPI not to get an at-large bid.

Is this a make-or-break game for Princeton? There's no way to know how the race is going to play out, though with only one trip through the league in the round-robin and no league tournament, every game is huge.

The NCAA tournament for men's soccer starts a week later than the women's tournament, and as such so does the Ivy League men's soccer season. As a result, there is currently an eight-way tie at 0-0-0.

TigerBlog's first look at the Ivy men's standings was a bit surprising. There are four teams who have only one win each - Harvard, Penn, Cornell and Yale. Columbia has the best non-league record at 4-1-1, and Princeton is next at 3-2-1. The lone tie came Tuesday night on ESPNU, against American.

Dartmouth is at .500 at 3-3-1. Brown is 4-3.

TigerBlog isn't going to pretend he knows what any of these team's strength of schedule has been. Right now it doesn't matter anyway.

As he said, they're all 0-0-0 in the league.

Yeah, it's a relatively big weekend in Hanover for Princeton soccer. 

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