Princeton 1, Villanova 0 (2OT)



Christina Costantino had the word "Sweet" written on her wrist, along with the rest of her Princeton women's soccer teammates.

"Sweet," Costantino said. "As in, it'd be sweet to beat Villanova after last year, and it would put us in the Sweet 16."

Maura Gallagher's goal off a corner kick in the second overtime, and a controlling effort by Princeton's defense, accomplished both Sunday afternoon in the mud at Lourie-Love Field.

Gallagher's goal, which curled toward the net and deflected in, came 3:10 into the second overtime and gave Princeton a 1-0 win over Villanova in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The win avenged last year's NCAA tournament loss to Villanova and vaulted the seventh-seeded Tigers into a Sweet 16 round game next weekend against Boston College, a 2-1 winner of Central Florida Sunday afternoon.

The teams were playing two days after winning opening round games at Lourie-Love in driving rain and near-freezing temperatures Friday.

The Princeton-Boston College game will be played at a site, time and date to be announced.

"I didn't hit the ball well," said Gallagher. "And the sun was in my eyes, so I couldn't see it. All I know is I tried to kick it as hard as I could, and it went in the net."

Princeton, who had defeated Villanova 1-0 in early September this season, improved to 17-2 with the win. Villanova's season ended at 14-6-2.

Gallagher's goal came after Princeton had outshot the Wildcats 24-3 and had opportunity after opportunity come up empty, largely due to a 10-save effort by Villanova's Jillian Loyden.

Princeton had three great chances in the first half, when Romy Trigg-Smith drilled one off the inside post, Emily Behncke missed from in close and Diana Matheson curled a free kick that Loyden barely stopped.

The second half was more of the same, as Princeton outshot Villanova 15-1 in the half. Each time, either Loyden made a huge save or Princeton could not connect on a shot in close.

"I thouht with the conditions, we played some great soccer," said Costantino, who along with Brea Griffiths, Elizabeth Pillion and Janine Willis completely neutralized the Villanova attack. "It would have horrible to lose this game after that."

Villanova had the best chance in the first overtime, when Regina Villari just missed putting one in the top right corner before having it sail over the bar.

The Tigers finally broke through 3:10 in the second overtime, when Gallagher's kick became her fourth goal of the season.

"I thought we were going to get one," said Princeton coach Julie Shackford. "I didn't even see the goal, because I was getting ready to put a sub in the game. It's like a dream. The second round is so tough, because you're so up from winning the first game and you have to come right back. This is just great for this team."

-- Courtesy Princeton