Cary, N.C. — Princeton women’s soccer defeated North Carolina State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Nov. 17, winning a shootout, 5-4, after the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The Tigers will face North Carolina in the round of 16 on Nov. 19.
Both teams were scoreless until midway through the second half when Princeton substitute Carolyne Davidson ’21 put the Tigers on the board.
Midfielder Vanessa Gregoire ’18 launched a shot on net, and Davidson nailed in a rebound after NC State goalkeeper Sydney Wooten made the initial save.
Although Davidson had just made one of her team’s biggest plays of the day right after coming off of the bench, she gave credit to her teammate for the goal.
“I honestly feel that I was in the right place at the right time, and Vanessa created that opportunity with a great shot that rebounded off the keeper,” Davidson said.
Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll was impressed by — and appreciative of — Davidson’s effort. “Carolyne is a perfect example,” he said. “She knows how to grind, and she’s a very gritty player. When we saw her in preseason, we knew we got a really good deal with her.”
Princeton had control of the game, and it seemed that the Tigers would be able to hang onto their lead. However, NC State’s Tziarra King was able to tie the game with less than 10 minutes to go. Despite the late momentum shift, Princeton was able to hold off NC State’s attack and send the game to extra time.
“There was definitely a momentum shift. We were that close, eight to nine minutes away from the final whistle, and we conceded. To be fair, they deserved it for the body of work they put in during the game,” Driscoll said. “I think our team responded well. We didn’t get down.”
“They believe that they can play with anybody in the country, and I think that’s a testament to their drive and their competitive nature. For me it’s a dream come true.”
— Head coach Sean Driscoll
Neither team could muster a goal in the two 10-minute overtime periods, so the game would be decided by penalty kicks.
NC State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but after a series of clutch saves by Princeton goalkeeper Natalie Grossi ’20, the Tigers evened the score at 4-4.
In the seventh round, Davidson stepped up with an opportunity to win the game for Princeton, and she delivered with a shot that bounced into the net off the right post.
Despite a lack of experience with taking penalty kicks, Davison was confident that she would deliver.
“I haven’t taken any PKs here at Princeton yet. We haven’t had many, but overall I feel pretty comfortable usually taking PKs,” Davidson said. “I just had a great opportunity to win it, and I just wanted to score for everyone on the team that had worked so hard.”
After an emotional win that sent Princeton to the Sweet 16 — its deepest postseason run since the 2004 Final Four team — Driscoll conveyed his confidence in Davidson and his excitement about moving on in the tournament.
“I had no doubt in my mind when she went up for that kick that she was going to make it,” he said. “They believe that they can play with anybody in the country, and I think that’s a testament to their drive and their competitive nature. For me it’s a dream come true.”