Author Archives: Stephen Wood

Duke Eliminates Princeton Women’s Lacrosse in NCAA Quarterfinals

Erin McMunn ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin McMunn ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin Slifer ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Erin Slifer ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

It was an odd way to go out, even though the No. 11 women’s lacrosse team was facing stiff competition in No. 5 Duke. The Tigers were held to just three points in their NCAA quarterfinal loss, ending a tournament run and a season that had been marked by offensive prowess.

Midfielder Olivia Hompe ’17 scored one of Princeton’s three goals, but the Blue Devils managed to silence senior standout Erin Slifer ’15, who had 41 goals on the season and moved into second place on Princeton’s all-time assists leaderboard Saturday. Princeton’s all-time assist leader, attacker Erin McMunn ’15, added another to her total but also failed to find the net herself.

The Tigers did not lose for lack of possession. Princeton scooped up ground balls left and right, particularly during the first half, and had just four turnovers to Duke’s seven in the second. The problem was simply that the Blue Devils never gave them an easy shot. Time and time again, the Tigers took possession and circled the crease, but even when they found an inroad Duke’s sticks were right there to break up the attempt.

“They were starting well, they were really out on our hands,” head coach Chris Sailer said. “We did get opportunities, but we just weren’t able to get great shots off.”

Duke’s offense did not fare much better. Ellie DeGarmo ’17 played the entire game in the net for the Tigers and notched eight saves, holding the Blue Devils to three points in the first half. Continue reading

Princeton Women’s Water Polo Wins CWPA Crown, NCAA Berth

Goalie Ashleigh Johnson ’16 was named MVP of the CWPA Tournament. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Goalie Ashleigh Johnson ’16 was named MVP of the CWPA Tournament. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The game wasn’t pretty, but the revenge was sweet for the Princeton women’s water polo team Sunday.

After breezing by George Washington and Hartwick in the first two rounds of the CWPA Championship this weekend, the Tigers advanced to the final, facing No. 11 Indiana, a team that had twice beaten them by one point this season. Like the earlier losses, Sunday’s match was decided by just one point, but this time it was Princeton that emerged from the pool victorious.

“We felt prepared for this game for so long, but I felt like we just didn’t want it enough [in previous games], and we knew this was the last opportunity as this group to face them,” goalie Ashleigh Johnson ’16 said.

Unlike Princeton’s 13-12 overtime loss to Indiana on April 10, the story of the day was tough defense and hard-earned goals. The Tigers got on the Hoosiers’ case early, disrupting their offensive flow and limiting their shooting opportunities. The tight defense led to numerous penalty whistles, but the Hoosiers failed to take full advantage of man-up situations in the first half.

“We just applied the right amount of pressure,” Johnson said. “Before, we dropped off of them too much and were just a little bit unaware, but we really pulled together and communicated and put the pressure on them, and they weren’t able to get many shots off.” Continue reading

Unselfish Seniors Help Women’s Basketball Top Brown, Improve to 27-0

On Senior Night, all seniors traditionally start, even those who usually come off the bench. The seniors of the women’s basketball team, however, were less interested in that tradition than in preserving something else: their undefeated record. Seniors Mariah Smith ’15, Alex Rodgers ’15, and Jess Shivers ’15 told head coach Courtney Banghart they didn’t want to start.

“That’s the kind of senior class they’ve been,” Banghart said. “They have decided what’s important to them. What’s important to them is that the group excels.”

From left, the Princeton women’s basketball Class of 2015: Mariah Smith, Alex Rodgers, Blake Dietrick, and Jess Shivers. (Beverly Schaefer)

From left, the Princeton women’s basketball Class of 2015: Mariah Smith, Alex Rodgers, Blake Dietrick, and Jess Shivers. (Beverly Schaefer)

Of course, Banghart showed her appreciation for the group by starting them against Brown anyway. Rodgers and Shivers had an assist and a rebound apiece while Smith contributed eight points. It was the first time this season any of the three had started — only Smith had ever started at Princeton — but it only served to highlight the ways they have contributed to the team.

While Blake Dietrick ’15, the fourth senior on this year’s squad, has carved out a place in the record books and received attention from the national media, her classmates have helped hold the team together in ways that are harder to discern. Career substitutes, they have learned to gauge the tempo of the game, the feelings of the crowd and the mindset of both teams, mentally preparing to provide a shot of energy when Banghart calls them into action.

“They’re kind of my assistant coaches,” Banghart said. “They know that their piece in [the game plan] is the energy on the bench and all that.” Continue reading

Men’s Lacrosse Opens With Win Over Manhattan

Jake Froccaro ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Jake Froccaro ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

The Princeton men’s lacrosse team was at midseason form despite the Valentine’s Day snow, burying Manhattan 14-4 in its first game of the season Feb. 14. The Tigers return nine of their 10 2014 starters, and it was clear that they were already in sync Saturday.

The Tigers got to work before the snow started to fall with a flurry of goals in the first quarter. In less than three minutes, Princeton drew first blood and built up a 4-0 lead, with attacker Bear Altemus ’17 opening the scoring with 8:16 to go in the period. Midfielder Zach Currier ’17 struck next, assisted by midfielder Jake Froccaro ’16. After assisting Gavin McBride ’17’s first career goal, Froccaro won the ensuing faceoff and quickly dished the ball to Ryan Ambler ’16, who found the back of the net for the Tigers’ second goal in eight seconds.

Attacker Mike MacDonald ’15 notched an unassisted goal with under a minute to go in the quarter, and the Tigers never looked back. Ambler would add three more goals while MacDonald scored again and logged three assists as Princeton built up an imposing lead.

Manhattan showed only flashes of offensive prowess, striking at the beginning and end of the second quarter and twice at the end of the game after Princeton head coach Chris Bates replaced his backup goalkeeper with rookie Tyler Blaisdell ’18. Blaisdell made two saves in his first collegiate game. Continue reading

Contini ’17, Women’s Hockey Look to Return to Winning Ways

Molly Contini ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Molly Contini ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

A year ago, Molly Contini ’17 was taking a year off from school to recover from hip surgery. This season, the Tiger forward has returned to the ice at full strength — and then some — earning ECAC Hockey Player of the Month honors in November.

Contini led Princeton’s freshmen in scoring in 2012-13 with 10 points (nine goals and an assist), despite an injury that plagued her throughout the second half of her season. Through 15 games this year, she has scored six goals (a team high) and added seven assists.

Before coming to Princeton, the Ontario native spent three seasons in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League — the highest level of junior women’s amateur hockey in the province — twice leading her team, the Waterloo K-W Rangers, in scoring. Continue reading

Penn Spoils Princeton Women’s Soccer Finale

Not every ending can be storybook. Saturday afternoon’s heartbreaking loss to Penn was certainly not the way women’s soccer head coach Julie Shackford wanted to end her 20-year, 203-win career at Princeton, but she could not have asked for a harder-fought or more exciting finale.

Lauren Lazo '15 scored her 28th career goal in her last game for the Tigers. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Lauren Lazo ’15 scored her 28th career goal in her last game for the Tigers. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The Tigers conceded a goal early and let up another just before the break as Penn came out in surprisingly strong form. During the first half, news broke that Harvard had defeated Columbia 2-1, dashing the Tigers’ already dwindling hopes for an Ivy League title.

If there was nothing left to play for, nobody told forward Tyler Lussi ’17. Lussi was constantly in the attacking third, pressing even the slightest advantage and once colliding mid-air with Quaker goalie Kalijah Terilli. She hugged the sidelines all afternoon, frustrating one defender after another, and stayed in the game after a shot hit her in the head at point-blank range.

Lussi started the second period with a cross to Lauren Lazo ’15, who netted her 28th and final collegiate goal, good for fifth on Princeton’s all-time list. After that, it was all Tigers: Princeton took 16 shots to Penn’s two in the second half, earning seven corners. After 30 minutes that saw several inspired saves from Terilli, the Tigers broke through again as Beth Stella ’18 bounced the ball in off the crossbar from the top of the box. Continue reading