Cary, N.C. — Princeton women’s soccer defeated North Carolina 2-1 in an extra-time NCAA Tournament thriller on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers will advance to face the winner of tonight’s UCLA-Virginia game in the elite eight.The Tigers took an early lead on North Carolina in the opening minutes. As North Carolina goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak was attempting to clear a ball away from the Tar Heels’ goal, Princeton forward Mimi Asom ’19 batted the ball down and into the net to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Asom’s teammate Abby Givens ’20 believed that the goal gave the Tigers an extra boost of momentum early in the game.
“We came out at the beginning of the game hyped and ready to go,” Givens said. “After flying out there with everything that we had, we got the goal, and that lifted us again.”
As the first half progressed, the Tar Heels were able to mount a few offensive attacks. However, none of them proved to be fruitful until North Carolina forward Bridgette Andrzejewski buried a goal off of Zoe Redei’s pass that sliced right between two Princeton defenders. Andrzejewski’s goal tied the game art one.
After the game headed into halftime tied 1-1, both sides desperately fought for the lead in the second half. Despite North Carolina and Princeton recording a combined 15 shots in the second half, neither team could crack the scoreboard. As a result, Princeton would head to extra time for the second time in as many games.
A little less than 10 minutes into extra time, Givens broke through the Tar Heel defense and booted a shot towards UNC’s goalkeeper. Leshnak was able to get a piece of the ball, but the shot had enough momentum to continue towards the goal. A North Carolina defender chased after the ball, but it was all for naught. The ball rolled into the back of the net, and Princeton stormed the field in jubilation.
After the game Givens was emotional, and she attributed the win to the work of the entire team. “That pretty much goes down as one of the best moments of my life,” she said. “That was a team effort from start to finish. Not one person did that; that was an entire team on the field, from start to finish.”
View Givens’ game-winning goal (video courtesy Princeton Athletics)
While Princeton was certainly excited to advance to the elite eight, the fact that the team was able to grab such a win against a women’s soccer juggernaut and legendary North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance meant a lot to Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll.
“It’s hard to actually put into words for me,” Driscoll said. “Anson Dorrance is the reason I coach women’s soccer. Many years ago, I had the chance to sit next to him, and he inspired me to get into the profession.”
Not only did Driscoll consider the history of North Carolina soccer when anticipating this game, it was in the minds of many of the Princeton players.
“It’s UNC. You can’t deny the sheer magnitude that is this program. Everything that they’ve done for women’s soccer as whole,” Givens said. “That was something that going into the game was in the back of our mind.”
“To stand across the way from easily my idol was very overwhelming today,” Driscoll said. “The opportunity to come here and get a result is a dream come true.”