By: DAILY PRINCETONIAN STAFF
Conference play is underway in this 2014 iteration of Ivy League women’s soccer. Undefeated champions last year, Harvard appears nearly untouchable. Will any Ancient Eight side be able to take down the Crimson powerhouse?
Harvard (6-2-1 overall, 1-0 Ivy League): Goalkeeper Cheta Emba had a remarkable save percentage of .957 over 13 appearances in the net. That mark is a full 10 percentage points higher than the league runner-up. The Crimson’s scoring margin of 23-7 was, by far, the league’s best. What’s more, this Harvard side boasts likely the league’s finest offensive talent in forward Midge Purce, who won 2013 Offensive Player of the Year honors as a freshman. The rest of the Ivy League faces a tough task in unseating the reigning champs.
Pennsylvania (3-2-2, 0-1-0): The Quakers return three first-team All-Ivy selections from 2013 as part of a strong junior class. Goalkeeper Kalijah Terilli had the Ivy League’s second-best goals-against average last season, allowing only seven scores during 15 outings. Penn’s Ivy opener did not, by any stretch of the imagination, go according to plan. Harvard came, saw and conquered this past Saturday, visiting Philadelphia and leaving with a crushing 3-0 victory.
Princeton (2-3-2, 1-0): Senior Lauren Lazo, who has played a number of positions during her tenure, has been the woman in form thus far. Her four goals and three assists make Lazo the league’s second-highest scorer currently. Additionally, sophomore forward Tyler Lussi will look to improve upon her second-team All-Ivy performance last year, in which she tallied an impressive 10 goals across 17 contests. Mean regression suggests that this side will improve from its one-win Ivy campaign last season.
Dartmouth (3-2-2, 0-1-0): The Big Green lost its offensive talisman with the graduation of forward Emma Brush. The Michigan-native led her side in points last year with six goals and five assists. However, All-Ivy first-teamer midfielder Corey Delaney returns after a strong sophomore season, during which she added three goals and three assists during conference play. Dartmouth opened league play with a 1-1 draw against the next team on our list.
Brown (3-4-1, 0-1-0): Forward Chloe Cross is one of five Ancient forwards to have tallied four goals this season, a league-high mark. Brown hasn’t picked up a convincing win thus far this season. During their 2013 campaign, the Providence, R.I., footballers scored a league-low 20 goals, though their conference total of 10 ranked fourth in the Ivy table.
Yale (5-3, 0-1): Forward Melissa Gavin and back Meredith Speck, earned first-team All-Ivy honors last season. After winning five of their first six contests, the Bulldogs have dropped their past two games and will more than likely find that losing streak extend to three following their upcoming away matchup with reigning champion Harvard.
Columbia (5-1-3, 1-0): Impressively, the Lions have not lost in seven consecutive contests. Yet, it remains to be seen whether this side has the requisite talent to remain competitive in the Ivy League. The New York squad graduated all three of their 2013 All-Ivy selections. Goalkeeper Grace Redmon managed a pair of clean sheets this past weekend while making four saves.
Cornell (5-3, 0-1): A fairly pitiful in-conference shooting percentage of .075 resulted in a league-low offensive output during Ivy play. One of her team’s tri-captains last season, senior defensive midfielder Claire MacManus will look to help solidify a defense, which allowed 2.80 goals per game against Ivy opponents.