Author Archives: Stephen Wood

Women’s Soccer Dominates Brown, Keeps Pace in Ivy

On a gray Saturday in the Orange Bubble, the women’s soccer team put on a dazzling performance for their head coach, Julie Shackford. The Tigers recorded their 200th win under Shackford and had plenty of time to celebrate, scoring in the third minute and adding four more goals as goalkeeper Darcy Hargadon ’15 and her defense kept Brown scoreless.

Haley Chow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Haley Chow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

The 5-0 margin of victory was the team’s biggest since 2012, and it may have been a sign of things to come. All the scoring was done by two sophomores: Haley Chow ’17 scored at 2:19 and 15:02, and just three minutes after Chow’s second goal Tyler Lussi ’17 netted the first goal of her hat trick. Chow’s first score came from well out of the box as Brown attempted to clear, and she headed in her second goal on a Natalie Larkin ’18 free kick.

Defender Lauren Lazo ’15 set up Lussi’s first goal of the night with a perfect cross. Lazo set up another cross 11 minutes into the second half, and Lussi found the net again after Mikaela Symanovich ’18 got control in front of the net and slipped the ball past a Brown defender and to her sophomore teammate. Lussi completed the hat trick in the 62nd minute, heading a long pass to herself and firing the ball off the far post and into the net. Continue reading

Princeton Football Shows Room to Improve After Opening Loss

Tiger fans don’t need to panic after the football team lost its season opener to San Diego — last year’s 8-2 season, after all, began with a loss. But the team has much to learn from the 39-29 result.

Bad news first: Princeton’s defense let up some explosive plays. The Toreros scored on passes of 29 and 48 yards, and that’s not to mention quarterback Keith Williams’ 82-yard completion to Reggie Bell, which took San Diego from its own 7 to Princeton’s 11 yard line, setting up the first touchdown of the game.

Receiver Seth DeValve caught nine passes for 123 yards in Princeton’s loss to San Diego Sept. 20 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Receiver Seth DeValve caught nine passes for 123 yards in Princeton’s loss to San Diego Sept. 20 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Khamal Brown ’16 had two tackles in his first game since 2012 and Matt Arends ’15 was in on five, one for a loss, but overall it was a disappointing day for Princeton’s defensive backfield. Linebacker Mike Zeuli ’15 led the team with eight tackles and recorded the Tigers’ only two sacks, but his teammates could not keep up the pressure he put on Williams. The worst fears about the defense seemed to be realized: Without Caraun Reid ’14 to terrify the quarterback, Princeton’s opponent was free to carve up the defensive backfield.

The offense got off to a slow start as well. Quinn Epperly ’15, whose completion percentage is usually not a concern, went 25 of 53, throwing two touchdowns but also two interceptions. He was sacked twice, canceling out his 15 yards rushing, although he did score a touchdown on the ground. Epperly by no means had a bad game, but San Diego was able to disrupt his much-lauded rhythm in a way that few teams have in the past. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Pitchers Lead Princeton Baseball to Strong Ivy Start

The big question coming into this baseball season was, “What are they going to do without Zak Hermans ’13 and Mike Ford ’14?” The two pitchers combined for nine wins, 87 strikeouts, and only 22 earned runs over 120 1/3 innings last season with 11 complete games between them. Hitting .320 with 38 RBI, Ford made history by becoming the first player in league history to be named Ivy League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

Pitcher Michael Fagan ’14. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Pitcher Michael Fagan ’14. (Office of Athletic Communications)

When they left, both for professional teams, it looked like Princeton’s pitching was bound to struggle. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Thanks to an influx of young talent for which virtually no adjustment period was necessary, the Tigers have jumped out to a good start in Ivy League play (4-2 after a pair of close losses at Yale Sunday). While the offense has been surprisingly productive early on, the Tigers would not have a winning record in the league without pitching.

When the Tigers mustered just three runs against Brown Saturday, the pressure was on starter Michael Fagan ’14. The veteran lived up to the challenge, allowing two runs on just four hits while fanning 11 Bears. This from a guy who was dogged by control issues for his first three seasons, to the extent that last year I argued that he shouldn’t be in the starting rotation. I take it all back. Fagan’s 3-1 record is the best on the team, and his ERA is a staunch 2.15.  Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Rolls in Final Weekend, Setting Up De Facto Championship Game vs. Penn

Alex Wheatley ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Alex Wheatley ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Nicole Hung ’14 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Nicole Hung ’14 (Office of Athletic Communications)

After taking care of business with two blowout wins this weekend, the women’s basketball team has set the stage for a high-stakes showdown Tuesday night against Penn.

“You always want to have a chance to play for an Ivy League title,” head coach Courtney Banghart said. “And to be able to do that after what this young team has had to go through and all the growing we’ve had to do in a short period of time, it’s really exciting.”

The Tigers, who had just two Ivy League losses over the last four seasons, find themselves in a much tighter title race than they are used to. A loss to Harvard in Jadwin Gymnasium near the start of Ivy play and a March 1 loss to Brown have put them in a tie for first place with the Quakers. Each team has an 11-2 record in the Ancient Eight. Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Sweeps Brown, Yale, Looks Ahead to Key Matchup at Harvard

Though it has won each of its last five games by 11 or more points, the women’s basketball team finds itself in an unusually precarious position going into next weekend. For the first time in recent memory, the Tigers will face a must-win situation in an Ivy League game when they travel to Cambridge on Feb. 22.

Winners of four straight Ivy titles, the Tigers have lost just three league games since the 2009-10 season, all to Harvard. When the Crimson broke their 33-game conference winning streak last season, it was disappointing for Princeton but came late enough in the season that it wasn’t much cause for alarm. The Tigers still had a better record than the Crimson, which came into the game with two losses, and easily did away with their four remaining opponents to win the league.

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Blake Dietrick ’15 (Photo: Courtesy Office of Athletic Communications)

This year, however, a late-season slip-up against Harvard could be fatal to the Tigers’ postseason hopes. On Jan. 31, the Crimson handed the Tigers their first home league loss since 2009 and did so rather convincingly. (Harvard lost at Penn the following night, the Crimson’s only Ivy loss to date; Penn also has one loss, to the Tigers.) Last year’s Princeton-Harvard game in Cambridge was decided by three points — Harvard won by hitting its free throws down the stretch and the game would have gone to overtime if either forward Kristen Helmstetter ’14 or guard Blake Dietrick ’15 had hit the three-pointers they attempted as the clock ran down. Last month in Jadwin Gymnasium, however, it was very much Harvard’s game, with the Crimson going up by as much as 18 and winning 78-68.

Harvard held Helmstetter and Dietrick, who have emerged as the Tigers’ dynamic duo this year, to seven and eight points, respectively. Meanwhile, Harvard guard Christine Clarke had a monster night with 25 points and five rebounds. Clarke’s 16.7 points per game clip is the best in the league, while Dietrick’s 16 puts her at third.

Both players seem set to have another big night next weekend. Clarke has scored 41 points in her last two games, while Dietrick has looked even better. She set a personal best with 27 points against Brown Friday night, but the record did not last long. The next night, as the Tigers put up their highest points total of the season — 96 — against Yale, Dietrick outdid herself with 28 points. She also contributed six assists and six rebounds, and made 50 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.

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