Women’s Lacrosse, the Top Ivy Seed, Falls to Penn State Despite High-Scoring Finish

Sarah Lloyd ’14 scored four of Princeton’s 12 goals in the loss to Penn State. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Sarah Lloyd ’14 scored four of Princeton’s 12 goals in the loss to Penn State. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The women’s lacrosse team lost by one to Penn State Saturday, scoring eight second-half goals that may prove more important in the long run than the out-of-conference loss.

The Tigers would no doubt have preferred to win their regular-season finale, but their record — 10-5 overall, 6-1 Ivy League — is probably a considerable comfort. And entering the postseason with the offense in sync is a good sign for Princeton, which guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy title with an April 16 defeat of Penn and locked up the regular-season crown with an April 19 win over Dartmouth.

Princeton has lost just one league game — in overtime to Brown in early March — and the top-seeded Tigers will host the Ivy tournament, which begins Friday, May 2.

After a 6-2 stretch over which their worst Ivy performance was a two-point victory, it may have done the Tigers some good to get a wake-up call in University Park. They came in ranked 19th in the country (the Nittany Lions were No. 8), and the first half unfolded as one might have expected given that differential. After trading goals with Penn State for the first fifteen minutes, the Tigers let up five goals while managing just one, midfielder Anya Gersoff’s 20th goal of the season.

Erin McMunn ’15 leads Princeton in goals (30) and points (41). (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin McMunn ’15 leads Princeton in goals (30) and points (41). (Office of Athletic Communications)

The Tigers were taking plenty of shots throughout the first half, but they didn’t start finding the net with regularity until the final 10 minutes. Just half a minute after a Penn State goal made it 13-6, Alexandra Bruno ’16 fed Erin McMunn ’15. Blake Dietrick ’15 kept up the pace, scoring her first goal of the season just a minute later.

With time running down, the Tigers committed a turnover that led to two Nittany Lion shots but no goals, and Anna Menke ’16 scored after the defense had successfully stopped the onslaught. Penn State drove again but turned the ball over, Dietrick scooping up the ground ball, and after a foul Bruno took advantage of a free position attempt, making it a 13-11 game.

Dietrick picked up another ground ball with under a minute to go, leading to Sarah Lloyd ’14’s team-high fourth goal. This one came with just 12 seconds to go, not allowing the Tigers time to add another.

The match served to remind the Tigers of the importance of getting possession — they won six of 13 draw controls in the first period and took 10 of 14 in the second. They currently have the second-most of any team in the Ivy League, and that’s not the only reason they have to feel confident going into the tournament: They lead the Ancient Eight in goals per game with 12.67.

Princeton, which faces Cornell in the semifinals, will be going for its second tournament championship since the league switched to the current format in 2010 (the Tigers beat Harvard 12-10 in the 2011 final). Last season, Princeton was the runner-up after a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Harvard. The Crimson will face Penn in the other Ivy semifinal on Friday.

Quick Takes

The women’s open crew varsity eight improved to 6-1 in the Ivy League after retaining the Class of 1984 Cup against Dartmouth and Penn this weekend. The 9.1-second victory bodes well for the Tigers, who will see both opponents again at the Ivy League Championships May 18. Princeton’s second-varsity eight completed its second-straight undefeated Ivy season.

After a defeating Harvard 3-1 in the EIVA semifinal, men’s volleyball fell in three sets to Penn State. Despite nearly taking the first set, which ended 25-23, the Tigers were unable to dethrone the No. 12 Nittany Lions, who have won 16 straight EIVA titles. Outside hitters Cody Kessel ’15 and Pat Schwagler ’14 were named to the all-tournament team and combined for 24 kills Saturday night at Penn State.

No. 9 women’s water polo downed Harvard and Hartford but lost a tight championship game to No. 12 Indiana, 11-10, at the CWPA Championship. The teams were never more than two goals apart and goalie Ashleigh Johnson ’16 logged nine saves, but the Tigers got the short end of the stick in their second loss of the season. Their 30-2 record is good for best in program history, besting the mark they set last season.

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