Princeton holds off West Virginia to move on in NCAA tournament
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Princeton held off a comeback attempt and punched its ticket to the NCAA round of 32 on Saturday with a 2-1 win against West Virginia. The Tigers got goals from Lynessa McGee and Jen Hoy.
"To be able to beat West Virginia on their home field is really special," Princeton head coach Julie Shackford said. "This team has found a way to win all season, with some injuries and setbacks, and as coaches we couldn't be any prouder of them."
It is Princeton's first NCAA tournament win since 2004 and fourth first-round win in the program's 10 trips to the NCAA tournament.
"I think it was a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster going through the game," Shackford said. "I think that in the second half especially, our defense tightened up and really made some big plays. We have to give a lot of credit to Claire for coming up big both in the first half and the second half."
McGee scored in the fifth minute over the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Sara Keane, who saved four of Princeton's six shots on goal.
Hoy added to the lead in the 54th minute, zipping past defenders for a tap-in shot that put Princeton ahead 2-0.
West Virginia got on the board with an 82nd-minute goal from scoring leader Frances Silva that halved the lead at 2-1, but that was as close as the Mountaineers came.
Princeton withstood a flurry of West Virginia chances late in both halves, as WVU outshot Princeton 20-12 on the game and forced Pinciaro to make seven saves.
"I think we just had the mindset of just staying organized and our communication was just really good in the second half," Pinciaro said. "I think we just wanted it so badly, we just didn't want to give anything up."