Princeton 2, Boston College 0



Julie Shackford called it the best half of the season for her Princeton women's soccer team. It couldn't have come at a better time.

Princeton, after starting its NCAA Sweet 16 game against Boston College tentatively, surged in the second half and finally broke through on a pair of Emily Behncke goals 1:34 apart late in the game to lead the Tigers to a 2-0 win over the Eagles in front of 1,822 at Lourie-Love Field Saturday night.

The win advanced Princeton to the quarterfinal round for the second time in school history and the first since the 1982 Tigers made it in what was then a 12-team tournament. For the 2004 team, it was the third NCAA win, and it kept the Tigers alive as the field has gone from 64 to eight.

Princeton will now play the winner of Saturday's late game in Seattle between Maryland and Washington. That game will be played next weekend at a site, time and date to be determined Sunday.

"This is special," Shackford said. "A team like Princeton doesn't get a chance to do this every year, and we're enjoying every minute of it."

Princeton outshot BC 11-1 after intermission and 17-3 for the game. It was Princeton's third straight shutout in the NCAA tournament, and the Tigers have outscored their NCAA foes - Central Connecticut, Villanova and Boston College - 8-0 and outshot them 71-9.

"This team is so much fun to be a part of," said Behncke, a first-team All-Ivy selection for the second straight season. "It's just been great. We're having a great time, and we want it to keep going."

Princeton extended its school record for wins in a season to 18 in improving to 18-2, including now 5-0 in games against Big East teams. BC's season ended at 15-7-1.

The Eagles controlled the tempo in the beginning of the game but couldn't get any strong opportunities. The Tigers had the three best chances in the first 45 minutes, as Romy Trigg-Smith's drive as stopped by Eagles' goalkeeper Kate Taylor and shots by Diana Matheson and Behncke just curved wide.

The Tigers dominated play in the second half, but BC's only shot after intermission was a huge one, as Kia McNeill found herself one-on-one with Tiger goalkeeper Madeleine Jackson with 12 minutes remaining. McNeill made good contact, but Jackson came out and smothered the shot for her only save of the night.

It took Behncke four minutes to finally break through. The first goal came when Matheson set Bencke up right in front, and her low shot just got past Taylor and rolled into the lower right portion of the goal with 8:12 to play.

Rather than sitting on the lead, Princeton continued to push forward, and Kristina Fontanez set Behncke up for the second one 1:34 later.

Behncke's goals were her 11th and 12th of the season, giving her the fourth-highest single-season total in school history. She also has three in this NCAA tournament and now 24 for her career, tied for fifth all-time at Princeton.

Princeton has outscored its opponents by a combined 55-8 on the season.

"We get a lot of chances," Behncke said. "We were getting good chances for most of the game. I was confident someone would break through."

Princeton is making its sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance and eighth straight overall, and the Tigers had never won more than one game in any of the others.

Taylor made five saves for the Eagles. The shutout was the 11th of the season for Princeton and the seventh for Jackson.

"It's been so much fun to be a part of this," said Matheson, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. "It's been just a great experience. This is a team that gets along really well, and that's helped give us so much confidence in tough situations."

Boston College (15-7-1) 0-0 -- 0
Princeton (18-2) 0-2 -- 2
Scoring: P: Emily Behncke (Diana Matheson) 81:48, P: Emily Behncke (Kristina Fontanez) 83:22
Shots BC 3, P: 17
Saves BC Kate Taylor 5, P: Madeleine Jackson 1

-- Courtesy Princeton