When Princeton women’s soccer earned its third victory of the season against Villanova in mid-September, forward Tyler Lussi ’17 saw the Tigers coming together as a team.
“I think that the team has definitely formed a strong bond, we’ve connected really well, and the freshmen are figuring out how they fit in,” said Lussi, who scored her third goal of the year in the 3–1 win. “We’re just starting to get that connection on the field.”
A standout player who was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year in 2014, Lussi is playing an important role this fall for Princeton. The team has just one senior starter and a first-year head coach, Sean Driscoll, who previously was an assistant coach at Fairfield University.
Driscoll calls Lussi a “dual-impact” player. “She’s very good while attacking the ball but understands that defending is equally important to the game,” he explained. “That’s not always the case for very good offensive players.”
Lussi said that she and her teammates have responded to Driscoll’s coaching, which includes regular fitness tests that players must pass to earn playing time. “Sean has demanded such an urgency and intensity,” she said. “He’s very open about what he wants and we have a very similar personality — we’re very fiery and passionate about the sport.”
Lussi’s passion for soccer dates back to age 3, when she began playing. While in high school at St. Paul’s School for Girls, she played for the Bethesda Soccer Club in Maryland in the Elite Clubs National League. She also has played with her younger brother’s soccer club in Baltimore, an experience that prepared her well for collegiate play.
Lussi comes from a long line of athletes. Her parents regularly compete in Ironman triathlons, her older brother is a triathlete who has trained under Bob Bowman (best known as the coach of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps), and her younger brother is playing soccer while completing a postgraduate year at the Lawrenceville School. Her great-grandfather and grandfather — Malcolm Matheson Jr. ’36 and Malcolm Matheson III ’59 — also played sports, Matheson Jr. on the Princeton varsity football squad.
With 33 goals at Princeton, including a record-tying 18-goal season last fall, Lussi already ranks among the women’s soccer program’s top five career scorers. She is optimistic about her team’s chances in the Ivy League this year. “I think if we stick to what we’re doing now, we’re going to be very successful,” she said.