Thursday, September 7, 2017

Soccer Time

If you take a quick look at the current Division I women's soccer rankings, you'll notice a few things that look a bit off.

First, Wake Forest moved up a spot from last week, going from 18 to 17. Second, Wake is listed as 5-0-0.

And then there's Princeton, in the others receiving votes category, tied with Texas in the 28th spot.

Actually, before TigerBlog gets to that, he'll mention that this is the United Soccer Coaches poll. If you do a search for "National Soccer Coaches Association of America," which had been the organization behind national and regional rankings since TigerBlog first started following such things, you'll find that it's now called the United Soccer Coaches.

The website even says this: "New Look. New Name. Same Mission."

Anyway, Wake Forest is 5-1-0, not 5-0-0, after having lost to Princeton 2-0. Ah, but that game was played Monday, not Sunday, and as such it isn't reflected in the current week's rankings.

Back in 2004, Princeton went 19-3-0, beating Central Connecticut, Villanova, Boston College and Washington in the NCAA tournament before falling to UCLA in the national semifinals, making that team the only Ivy League women's soccer team ever to reach the Final Four and the only Ivy League team in any sport ever to reach the Final Four in a 64-team tournament.

Even those Tigers didn't beat Wake Forest. That was one of the Tigers' two regular season losses that season - the other was to Colgate. 

It's been quite a start for the current women's soccer team. The resume after four games is like this:

* a 4-0-0 record
* zero goals allowed
* outscored its opponents 9-0
* a sweep of North Carolina State (ranked 20th last week) and Wake Forest on the road
* three of four games away from home

Yeah, that's quite a start.

Had the game against Wake counted towards this week's rankings, Princeton might have found itself in the Top 25. On the other hand, in what is still somewhat early September, that doesn't really matter much.

As TB said, Princeton has played three of its four games to date on the road. The men's team has played both of its games on the road.

All that changes rapidly, beginning today.

At 4 on Mylsik Field at Roberts Stadium, it'll be the Princeton men against Seton Hall, followed by the women against West Virginia at 7.This will be the start of a massive September of soccer at Princeton's beautiful facility.

The women will be play five home games between today and Sept. 23 - Rider tonight, New Hampshire Sunday, West Virginia next Friday (the 15th), Delaware two days after that and then Yale on Saturday the 23rd.

The men are home tonight and then next Friday as well, in the second game of another doubleheader, when SIU-Edwardsville is here. The Cougars won an NCAA tournament game last year, by the way.

And then, after all those women's games, the men host Rutgers on the 26th.

If you add it all together, that's five women's games and three men's games at Princeton, in a 19-day stretch that begins tonight. Admission to every one of those games, by the way, is free.

The women play a Rider team that is 0-4-0 tonight and then a 4-2-0 New Hampshire team Sunday.

Looming beyond is West Virginia, a team whose goal this year is to at least equal what the Princeton women did in 2004 and possibly go a step or even two steps beyond that.

West Virginia is ranked third this week. The Mountaineers have already defeated Georgetown when the Hoyas were ranked fifth and Penn State when the Nittany Lions were ranked No. 1.

The game between West Virginia and Princeton women - and later Princeton-Rutgers men - will be televised on ESPNU. Hopefully they'll be on perfect weather nights with huge crowds.

One way to get to the NCAA tournament is to have a really, really high RPI. As of now, no RPI rankings have been released. If you're a Princeton fan, root for NC State and Wake the rest of the way.

And, if Princeton could beat West Virginia, that would really help that cause.

The other way to get to the NCAA tournament is with an automatic bid. There's a long way to go to see who gets that prize from the Ivy League.

There are currently two unbeaten women's soccer teams in the league. Princeton is one. Yale is the other. Yale, you might recall, is Princeton's Ivy opener, on the 23rd, which as of now clearly looks like a big one.

Of course, there is a ton of soccer to be seen here between now and then. Beginning tonight.

Remember, it's the men at 4 against Seton Hall and the women at 7 against Rider. And it's free.

1 comment:

Tad La Fountain '72 said...

Drove a couple of hours on Labor Day to Winston-Salem to catch the game. These women are fantastic...not just their soccer skills (which are impressive), but their conditioning and non-stop hustle as well. Most impressive? That'd have to be their team dynamic - the players on the sideline never sat down (in marked contrast to the Wake across the way) and there were no dropoffs in play with the substitutions. This is a fun squad to watch, and a group that made me proud to be a Princetonian.