Category Archives: Sports

Princeton Fencing Places Third at NCAAs

Courtesy Princeton Fencing

Courtesy Princeton Fencing

On Sunday afternoon, after four days of competition, the NCAA fencing tournament came down to one last deciding round of bouts. Princeton was neck-and-neck with St. John’s, fighting for a spot in the top three.

“We knew that Ohio State and Columbia were already out of reach, but we knew we could beat the other two teams,” coach Zoltan Dudas said.

Cheering teammates were running back and forth across the room. The women, who had finished fencing a few days before, were particularly loud. Junior Alex House had finished his bouts in épée, but couldn’t bring himself to watch. He knew the tournament came down to those final minutes — he was too nervous. Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Falls to Penn in Finale, 62-60

For the second time in three years, the Ivy League women’s basketball title came down to one game, the season finale between Princeton and Penn. And for the Tigers, this year’s result was disappointingly familiar.

Princeton fell to Penn, 62-60, at Jadwin Gym March 8. The Quakers (24-4, 13-1 Ivy) earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while the Tigers (23-5, 12-2) will have to hope for an at-large berth, which would be a first for an Ivy team.

Alex Wheatley ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Alex Wheatley ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Princeton trailed for most of the contest, as Penn seemed to have an answer for every challenge. When Alex Wheatley ’16 finally put the Tigers ahead, 56-55 with two minutes remaining, Quaker guard Anna Ross replied with a layup and was fouled. She converted the free throw to put Penn up 58-56. Penn made four more foul shots in the final minutes to seal the win.

Open shots were hard to come by on both ends of the court. Penn was able to slow the Tigers with full-court pressure. “They’re very skilled and they have a lot of kids that can score,” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We didn’t want to guard them [in the half court] for 25 seconds a possession.”

Penn forward Michelle Nwokedi finished with a team-high 17 points, including back-to-back layups to stretch a two-point lead to six at the end of the third quarter.

Wheatley led Princeton with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting and also tied for a team-high with seven rebounds. “She was our most aggressive player tonight,” head coach Courtney Banghart said. “She was tremendous. I’m really proud of her.”

Both Princeton and Penn rank in the top 40 of the Division I RPI. McLaughlin said that the Tigers were a tournament-worthy team, and Banghart agreed. It may be an anomaly for two Ivy teams to be this strong in one year, she said, but “if they go on the strength of the current year, we’re two of the best teams in the East.”

Surace ’90: Proposal to Drop Full-Contact Football Practices Sets an Example

Discussion swirled in the football community last week when The New York Times reported that Ivy League football coaches had made a decision to eliminate all full-contact hitting from practices during the regular season. The move would mark a major step in combating heightened concerns about brain trauma and other related injuries in football.

Princeton head coach Bob Surace ’90 clarified that the move to eliminate full-contact hitting from regular season practices has yet to become established as official rule. “This is still a proposal that the Ivy League coaches have passed unanimously,” Surace said. “It will go to next steps with the league administrators and president, and they’ll make a decision before the start of next season.”

While the new rule may sound like a bold move, it would not change much about how Princeton or a number of other Ivy League teams operate their regular season practices, according to Surace. Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens told the Times and ESPN’s Outside the Lines that his team eliminated full-contact practices throughout the year in 2010. Surace said that his players do not go full-contact during regular season practices either, but that the passage of the proposal still sets an important precedent for football at the high school and younger levels.  Continue reading

Men’s Basketball’s Championship Hopes Shattered On Final Weekend

This year’s men’s basketball team might be the best team in modern Ivy League history not to win a championship.

That’s not an honor it hoped to achieve, of course. Princeton entered the final regular-season weekend with only one Ivy loss, effectively tied with Yale atop the league. But a heartbreaking 73-71 defeat at Harvard left the Tigers’ fate out of their hands. Though they bounced back to beat Dartmouth the following day, the Bulldogs swept their weekend games to win the solo conference title at 13-1.

In one of the strongest Ivy Leagues ever, the Tigers have outscored conference foes by 11.5 points per game. If they beat Penn at home on Tuesday, they will finish 12-2 in league play, a record that would have won at least a share of the title in four of the last five seasons. According to College Basketball Reference’s Simple Rating System, Princeton has been 7.8 points per game better than the average D-I team this season (adjusted for its schedule) — better than all but nine Ivy teams since 1980, all of them champions. Continue reading

Bragg ’16 Sets Sights on NCAA Championship, Olympic Trials

Adam Bragg ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Adam Bragg ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

In June, hundreds of athletes will descend on Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. While only the upcoming spring season will tell if Adam Bragg ’16 will qualify for the collegiate pole vault championship, he will definitely be heading to Eugene at least once this year — the U.S. Olympic Trials are set to be held there in July.

“The goal is to go out there and win a national championship for Princeton,” Bragg said, “and then compete two weeks later for a chance to represent the U.S.”

At least 24 pole vaulters will attend the Olympic Trials, but just three will make the team for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro this August. Despite these odds, Bragg, who qualified by clearing 5.65 meters at the Fastrack National Invitational Feb. 12, is “pretty confident” in his chances, especially if his training keeps progressing as planned. Continue reading

Women’s Swimming Falls Short of Title Repeat at Ivy League Meet

The atmosphere in DeNunzio Pool was electric from the start of the Ivy League Championships on Thursday to the last swim on Saturday. Head coach Susan Teeter was in her usual spot under the scoreboard, waving around a black and orange striped tiger towel for the swimmers in the water. It’s hard to see much else when you’re in the water, captain Nikki Larson said, and the towel stands out as an emblem of support from Teeter.

Though the Princeton women’s swimming and diving team didn’t manage to beat out Harvard for the Ivy League title, taking third at the end of the meet, Larson couldn’t have been prouder of the team. “I think this is the most fighting team I’ve ever been on,” said Larson, whose team brought home the Ivy title last year. “Each person can only control the things that happen in their race. And I don’t think I could be more proud of the team and the effort that they gave.”

Larson finished fifth in the 50-yard freestyle and third in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Larson said she was happy that she focused on the morning sessions and heeded Teeter’s warning: If you don’t swim well in the morning, you don’t get a chance to swim well at night. Every Princeton swimmer’s goal is to get into the top eight to get themselves in scoring position in the evening, and Larson said they managed that goal incredibly.

“I think the reason [coach Teeter] is so successful is that she makes a huge effort to make sure all the girls know she cares about them as people. It’s easy to swim for someone who cares about you as a person,” Larson said, adding that Teeter takes special care to ask her swimmers about their lives outside of athletics. “It’s always been a holistic approach,” she said.

Continue reading

Track Standout Curham ’18, Alumni Dimoff ’05, Cummings ’11 Compete at U.S. Marathon Trials

Megan Curham ’17. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Megan Curham ’18. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Last Saturday afternoon, Megan Curham ’18 toed the starting line at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Los Angeles with about 200 of the top female distance runners in the country.

The prospect of running 26.2 miles on a hot day in an elite field didn’t faze her.

“I really did not expect to be running Trials for the marathon as I am focusing more on the 10K later this year,” Curham wrote in an email. “While I do some fairly long training runs, the marathon distance was a step up, but I approached it as a fun way to orient myself to running with such phenomenal competitors, and maybe to prep me to run the race in earnest some day after graduation.”

And although Curham didn’t complete the race — she developed a cramp after 17 miles and didn’t want to risk injury by pushing too hard — she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“The race was actually great,” Curham said. “So many people cheering along the route and such fanfare. It is definitely a great spectacle. I also got to see Princeton alums Sarah Cummings [’11] and Carrie Dimoff [’05] before the race.”

Dimoff placed 40th, finishing in 2:44:58, while Cummings was close behind in 53rd (2:47:55).

Curham, a two-time cross country All-American and the 2015 Ivy League champion in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, is taking the year off school, dividing her time between two internships and training. Continue reading

Princeton Wrestling Splits Final Pair of Ivy Matches, Finishes 4-1 in League

High hopes for the Princeton wrestling team’s Ivy League season came to a head over the weekend, as the Tigers took a 3-0 record in Ivy competition into their final conference matches against Columbia and Cornell Feb. 13. After defeating Columbia 23-13, the Tigers fell just short of the conference title in a 23-16 loss to Cornell.

Jordan Laster ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Jordan Laster ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

After posting nail-biting victories in their first three conference matches against Penn, Harvard, and Brown, the Tigers took control of Columbia on Saturday afternoon by winning four of the first six bouts. Five of the Tigers racked up bonus points in major-decision victories, including freshman 149-pounder Mike D’Angelo and freshman 125-pounder Pat D’Arcy. With the Tigers leading 19-13 going into the final bout at 141 pounds, junior Jordan Laster sealed the victory for Princeton with a dominant major decision over Columbia’s Joe Moita.

Princeton’s win over Columbia on Saturday afternoon, coupled with Cornell’s victory at Penn earlier that day, set up Saturday evening’s match to decide which of the two undefeated Ivy sides would take the conference title. Looking to claim their 14th consecutive Ivy League championship, the Big Red took control early against the Tigers, winning six of the first seven bouts to build an insurmountable lead. Princeton had its bright spots, though, including a dominant performance from Laster over Cornell’s Mark Grey. Close bouts for D’Angelo and senior 157-pounder Adam Krop did not go the Tigers’ way, and after the 174-pound bout Cornell led the team score 23-3. Continue reading

Princeton Men’s Basketball Beats Harvard, Dartmouth by Drilling the Details

Princeton men’s basketball improved to 4-1 in Ivy League play with wins against Harvard and Dartmouth Feb. 5 and 6. On Friday night, the Tigers beat Harvard, the reigning conference champion, for the first time since March 2013. Harvard has won the league’s “14 game tournament” for the past four years, but this year, a trio of contenders — Yale, Columbia, and Princeton — appears to be on its way to breaking that streak.

Steven Cook ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Steven Cook ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Steven Cook ’17 led the Tigers to a win over Harvard with 21 points — a season-high that he beat the next night, scoring 27 points against Dartmouth.

“I thought Steve Cook had a terrific weekend. He’d been hard on himself going into this season. He’s one of the leaders on this team, and he showed that this weekend,” head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 said.

But Cook takes none of the credit. He said the win over Harvard came from the defensive side. “Defensively we really stepped it up compared to Yale. We really wanted to focus on that. We were more prepared for Harvard this year,” Cook said. “We managed to stop their three-point shooters for the most part and rebound as well, because that’s a big strength of the Harvard team.”

Continue reading

Men’s Basketball Improves to 7-3, Looks Ahead to Game at No. 13 Miami

Spencer Weisz ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Spencer Weisz ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Ten games into its season, Princeton men’s basketball has a 7-3 record, the best nonconference start of any Ivy League team. But that good news comes with a caveat: The teams that the Tigers have beaten have a combined record of 22-56. (The teams that have beaten Princeton, on the other hand, are 26-7.)

Tuesday night’s win over Bucknell fit the pattern. The visiting Bison, who won the Patriot League’s regular-season title last year, have struggled this season (3-7 overall). When Bucknell’s shooting cooled midway through the first half, Princeton pounced. The Tigers made a 29-5 run that included scoring from all spots on the floor: four three-pointers, a pair of mid-range jumpers by Amir Bell ’18, and inside baskets by Pete Miller ’17 and Myles Stephens ’19.

Bucknell trailed by 20 or more for much of the second half before narrowing the gap late in the game. Princeton won, 89-77.

“This is a little bit more of what we thought the team would be like,” head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 said afterward. “I think the scoring needs to be balanced for us. Henry [Caruso ’18] has been putting us on his back here lately. But I think even he would acknowledge that we’re going to be balanced, going forward.” Continue reading

Berntsen ’16, Miller ’16 Set Sights on Challenging Ohio Road Trip

Michelle Miller ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Michelle Miller ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Princeton women’s basketball goes on the road next week, playing Ohio State on Dec. 18 and Dayton on Dec. 20 in what head coach Courtney Banghart views as one of the hardest road trips of her career. Ohio State is expected to place in the top 10 teams nationally this year and Dayton, currently ranked first in mid-major rankings, fought its way to the Elite Eight in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

For Michelle Miller ’16 and Amanda Berntsen ’16, who with two other seniors and a junior form the team’s seasoned starting squad, the road trip offers a welcome challenge.

“I’m looking forward to it a lot. Any time we go play at a big BCS school it’s a lot of fun because we don’t get a ton of those games,” Miller said, noting her excitement to play against Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell, a sophomore currently ranked as the fourth scorer in all of women’s college basketball.

“This is probably the toughest part of a very hard schedule we have this year,” Berntsen said, “but there’s nothing better than good competition and playing teams that will make us better.” Playing such tough opponents will reflect favorably on the team’s Rating Percentage Index, Berntsen said, something that in combination with the team’s record (8-1 heading into tonight’s home game against Fordham) will be important for the Tigers’ seeding if they return to the NCAA Tournament in March. Continue reading

Princeton Wrestling Hangs Tough in Challenging Matches

Princeton split its matches against Northwestern and Lehigh Dec. 5. (Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton split its matches against Northwestern and Lehigh Dec. 5. (Beverly Schaefer)

After sending half of its starting lineup to the NCAA Championships last March, the Princeton wrestling team had high hopes for the 2015-16 season. So far the Tigers have not disappointed, racking up major victories on both individual and team levels that have elevated them to national recognition.

Princeton, which was tied with Northern Iowa for the No. 25 spot in the Dec. 1 USA Today/NWCA Coaches rankings, opened its home season Dec. 5 with a pair of challenging opponents. The Tigers defeated Northwestern 24-18 on Saturday morning in its first home match of the season, but fell to No. 12 Lehigh 33-3. Princeton returns to competition on Friday evening against Navy at home in Dillon Gymnasium.

Returning eight of their 10 main starters from last season, the Tigers began competition last month with open tournaments at Binghamton and Navy. The Tigers had nine place winners at the Binghamton Open Nov. 8, which included a first-place finish for junior captain and 197-pounder Brett Harner. The Tigers had an even more impressive performance Nov. 21, when they had four individual champions and 10 overall place winners en route to a team title at the Navy Classic. Continue reading

Princeton Men’s Basketball Holds Off Saint Peter’s in Return to Dillon Gym

Princeton beat Saint Peter’s in the first game at Dillon Gym since 1969. (Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton beat Saint Peter’s in the first game at Dillon Gym since 1969. (Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton men’s basketball took a lead in the opening seconds against Saint Peter’s Saturday night and kept the edge for the rest of the game’s 40 minutes. But while the Tigers never trailed, they also never pulled away, holding off a series of late charges by the Peacocks to win 75-72 in the first game at Dillon Gym since 1969.

Forward Henry Caruso ’17 scored 20 points in the second half, tying a career-high of 23 points in the game, on 7-for-9 shooting. He added eight rebounds as well. Starting in place of Hans Brase ’16, who suffered a season-ending knee injury just before the Nov. 13 opener at Rider, Caruso showed a knack for working his way inside against the Saint Peter’s defense.

“Henry saved us in a lot of different ways, getting to the rim,” head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 said. “Our defense has been very good so far but tonight let us down a little bit, just lapses — but overall, happy to get a win.”

Princeton (2-0) scored more than half of its points in the paint, a significant development for a team that launched 46 percent of its shots from behind the three-point arc last year.

“We’ve got to go inside, because eventually you’re going to play some ugly games,” Henderson said. “Last year we got a little perimeter happy, so we’ve put a lot of emphasis on that.” Continue reading

Princeton Women’s Soccer Advances in NCAA Tournament

Mimi Asom ’19 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Mimi Asom ’19 (Office of Athletic Communications)

The scene had all the makings of a nail-biter for the Princeton women’s soccer team. The Tigers entered the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday with an undefeated record in Ivy League play and a high-powered offense that held four top-10 Division I statistical rankings: third in assists per game, sixth in points per game, eighth in goals per game, and 10th in shots per game. Princeton’s opponent, Boston College, has been a perennial competitor in the NCAA Tournament. This year marked the Eagles’ 14th appearance in the last 17 seasons. Prior to missing the tournament last year for the first time in 11 years, Boston College had not lost in the first round since falling on penalty kicks to Connecticut in 2007.

But the game was not so close, as Princeton advanced to the Round of 32 over the Eagles in a 4-2 victory on Saturday evening at Roberts Stadium. Freshman forward Mimi Asom, who was unanimously voted Ivy League Rookie of the Year last week, continued her dominant season by scoring goals in the 23rd and 35th minutes of the first half. The goals also tied Asom with Linda DeBoer ’86 for the Princeton freshman record of 12 goals in a season.

Asom would get assistance from veteran teammates, as junior forward Tyler Lussi added a strike at the 41st minute to put the Tigers ahead 3-1 at the half. Lussi would add another goal at the beginning of the second half, bringing her career total to 43, just four shy of Esmeralda Negron ’05’s program record. Senior defender Emily Sura had a career night as well, as her three assists gave the co-captain the first multi-assist game of her career.

The score remained 4-1 for almost the entire second half until Boston College scored again in the 89th minute. Too little too late for the Eagles, though, as Princeton advanced to the next round of NCAA Tournament play on a cold November night in front of a crowd of nearly a thousand.

The Tigers will now face the University of Southern California in the Round of 32, with the match set for Friday on Virginia’s home field. The winner of that match will face the winner of Virginia and UNC-Wilmington. Princeton and USC have never met in women’s soccer.

Quick Takes

Football fell in a tight contest against Ivy nemesis Yale on Saturday afternoon. Despite senior wideout Isaiah Barnes’ career day, which included six receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns, the Tigers were not able to maintain their 28-24 lead going into the fourth quarter. Princeton fell 35-28 in front of a crowd of 11,623.

Women’s volleyball completed a third consecutive weekend sweep — this time defeating Cornell and Columbia on Friday and Saturday nights — to earn a share of the Ivy championship. The Tigers will play Harvard in Cambridge next weekend in a match for the league’s NCAA Tournament bid.

Field hockey knocked off No. 5 Maryland with a 3-1 victory in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. Sophia Tornetta ’19 scored twice in the win. The Tigers fell in the second round to No. 2 Syracuse, 5-0.

Women’s cross country placed third at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional held in Princeton on Friday. Senior Emily de La Bruyere and junior Lizzie Bird placed second and third in the race respectively, as the Tigers placed six runners in the top 50. The Tigers were awarded one of the 13 at-large team bids to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 21.

Time to ‘Cafturate’: Princeton Field Hockey Prepares for NCAA Opener Against Maryland

Maddie Copeland ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Maddie Copeland ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Late Sunday night, the Princeton field hockey team drew Maryland for its first round match in the NCAA Tournament. The team, coaches included, watched the selection show together in Dillon Library over chocolate-chip cookies and milk.

The Tigers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with a 2-1 win in overtime against Penn on Saturday night. This is the Tigers’ 11th straight Ivy League championship and the 21st in the past 22 years.

Senior forward Maddie Copeland was named Offensive Player of the Year and freshman Sophia Tornetta was awarded Rookie of the Year. After Saturday’s victory, Kristen Holmes-Winn, who has been head coach for the last 11 Ivy titles, was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Before the selection show began on Sunday night, the team entered into TTM: “Turbo Tournament Mode.” Continuing a tradition that began in 2009, the team watched a video that laid out the rules of TTM. First, your nails must be painted orange and black at all times. Second, you must wear Princeton field hockey clothes. Third, keep your muscles moving at all times. Fourth, “cafturate” (a portmanteau of caffeine and hydrate). And the list goes on.

Holmes-Winn said that while TTM is sometimes silly, it carries with it a significant sense of legacy and tradition on the team. “It helps [the women] connect to the past in a powerful way,” Holmes-Winn said. Though the team has made it to the NCAA tournament 11 years in a row, TTM aims to remind the team that it is tough to get into the tournament and celebrate this accomplishment, she said. Continue reading

Sports Shorts: Weekend of Champions

Lizzie Bird ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Lizzie Bird ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Princeton teams earned three Ivy League titles in the span of two days in an eventful weekend on the athletics calendar.

On Friday, women’s cross country held off second-place Yale at the Ivy Heptagonals at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, placing three runners in the top six spots. Lizzie Bird ’17 won the individual title, becoming the seventh Tiger woman to win a Heps cross country crown. Seniors Emily de La Bruyere (fourth) and Kathryn Fluehr (sixth) also earned All-Ivy honors.

On Saturday, field hockey’s Maddie Copeland ’16 scored two goals in a 4-0 shutout win over Cornell and the Tigers (6-0 Ivy) clinched at least a share of the Ivy title. Princeton’s Nov. 7 game against Penn (5-1 Ivy) will determine whether the Tigers win the championship outright; the winner also will represent the league in the NCAA Championships.

Women’s soccer completed the title triple with a 2-1 win over Cornell, a victory that, with help from a Harvard-Dartmouth tie, clinched the Ivy championship and earned the Tigers their first NCAA postseason bid since 2012. Tyler Lussi ’17 scored her 13th goal of the season in the Cornell game.

The weekend’s final championship for a Princetonian came after midnight on Sunday when veteran major-league pitcher Chris Young ’02’s Kansas City Royals clinched the World Series title. Young, who pitched four innings in the Royals’ game four win on Saturday, is the first Tiger to earn a World Series ring as a player.

Other highlights for Princeton teams: Women’s volleyball swept Dartmouth and Harvard Oct. 30 and 31, moving up in the Ivy standings to just one match behind first place with four matches remaining. … Football improved to 5-2 with a 47-21 win over Cornell. … Men’s hockey picked up its first win of the young season, topping Maine 3-1 in the Capital City Classic in Trenton.

Young ’02 Makes Princeton History, Pitches Royals to a World Series Win

Chris Young ’02 pitching in the World Series Oct. 27. (John Reiger/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Young ’02 pitching in the World Series Oct. 27. (John Reiger/USA Today Sports Images)

When Chris Young ’02 returned to campus in December 2013 for a Princeton Varsity Club panel featuring the four alumni in the major leagues, he was the elder statesman of the group. He told PAW that after offseason shoulder surgery, he was optimistic about the future. Young, who was 34 at the time and had missed parts of the last four seasons due to injuries, said, “I feel like there are still some good years ahead of me.”

Flash forward to Tuesday night: Young’s Kansas City Royals were tied in extra innings in a tense World Series opener against the New York Mets, and manager Ned Yost called for the 36-year-old right-hander to pitch in relief. Young delivered with three hitless innings, striking out four Mets while walking one, and his team prevailed, 5-4, in the bottom of the 14th inning.

Young made school history by entering the game, becoming the first Princetonian to appear in the World Series. (Moe Berg ’23 was a backup catcher for the 1933 Washington Senators, a World Series team, but his name does not appear in the postseason box scores.)

Afterward, Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews asked Young how much longer he could have pitched, if the game had continued beyond the 14th. “Look, it’s the World Series,” he said. “Whatever they need. We’re leaving it all out there at this time of the year.”  Continue reading

New Zealander Bowkett ’18 Making His Mark for Princeton Men’s Soccer

Daniel Bowkett ’18 in action against American earlier this season. (Beverly Schaefer)

Daniel Bowkett ’18 in action against American earlier this season. (Beverly Schaefer)

On a Princeton men’s soccer team led by a strong group of upperclassmen, sophomore midfielder Daniel Bowkett is one young player who has become a regular in the lineup this fall. This is Bowkett’s first true season on the squad, as a season-ending injury during the opening weeks of his freshman year kept him off the playing field last fall.

Bowkett’s background sets him apart from most of his teammates. Born in Australia, he spent the first few years of his life there before moving with his family to New Zealand. Bowkett quickly took to soccer growing up, progressing through elementary and middle school to become one of the strongest young talents in New Zealand. Bowkett eventually joined the New Zealand Under-19 Schoolboys National Team, and was named Player of the Tour during a trip to the United Kingdom.

But Bowkett knew at a young age that he wanted to attend college and play soccer in the United States.

“My thought of playing in the U. S. came along quite soon into high school, around Year 10, when I was 14 or 15 years old,” Bowkett said. “With New Zealand and soccer there, unless you go straight from school into the pros, there’s no intermediate pathway where you can pursue sports to a very high level. A lot of New Zealand players have come through the U. S. and the colleges here.” Continue reading

Putting the Pieces Together: Women’s Soccer Wins Seven in a Row

With wins over Brown (4-0 Oct. 10) and Army West Point (4-1 Oct 7), the Princeton women’s soccer team improved its winning streak to seven in a row.

Tyler Lussi ’17 has scored nine goals in 12 games for Princeton, which improved to 9-3 this weekend. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Tyler Lussi ’17 has scored nine goals in 12 games for Princeton, which improved to 9-3 this weekend. (Office of Athletic Communications)

“You’re as good as your last game. And when your last game is consistent, that’s a good thing,” head coach Sean Driscoll said, speaking to the positive momentum of the players have been feeding off of.

The Tigers started off the season with two wins followed by three losses. Villanova, the sixth game of the season, proved to be a watershed moment, Driscoll said. Since then, the Tigers have been unstoppable, with the three of their seven wins coming in Ivy League play.

Driscoll attributes the team’s success to its cohesiveness and competitiveness. “This is by far the most competitive team I’ve ever coached. They have a desire to win that I’ve never seen before,” he said.

This drive to win is especially noticeable during Ivy play. Driscoll, who joined the Princeton program in January, said that there is a difference in focus level when it comes to the Ivies. “Every time you change the game from a want to a must, the whole complexion of the game changes,” Driscoll said.

Even the style of play changes during Ivy games. The team, which usually plays a very pretty, possession oriented game, plays a “less aesthetically pleasing game” because both teams are playing with such intensity, according to Driscoll.

“We treat every Ivy League game as a championship game, because it is,” Driscoll said. “The Ivy League has never produced a champion that has had more than two losses [against other Ivies]. This puts incredible pressure on the players and on the coaching staff.” Continue reading

Young Talent Kickstarts Men’s Cross Country Team’s Season

The West Windsor Fields were far from their top condition for the Princeton Inter-Regional Meet on Saturday — it poured for the entirety of the day before, and strong gusts prevailed throughout the day — but the Princeton men’s cross country team wasn’t concerned.

“I think a lot of us ran personal bests on Saturday despite a wet course and all the wind,” said Brett Kelly ‘16, co-captain of the Tiger men’s squad. “The race really built our confidence.”

Steven Sum ’19 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Steven Sum ’19 (Office of Athletic Communications)

The team finished second at the meet out of 11 teams, placing behind No. 19 Indiana and ahead of ranked squads from Providence, UNC, and Virginia Tech. Such a strong performance against top teams means the Tigers themselves likely will be nationally ranked soon.

Steven Sum ’19 crossed the finish line of the 8,000-meter course in 24:12.4 (6th overall), followed by Michael Sublette ’16 (24:18.8, 8th), Noah Kauppila ’18 (24:17.5, 11th), Sam Berger ’16 (24:25.4, 21st), and Jeremy Spiezio ’19 (24:26.5, 24th).

“We competed really well on Saturday,” said head coach Jason Vigilante, noting the win was part of an exciting start to the season — on Sept. 11, the Tigers defeated Harvard and Yale for a first-place finish in the HYP meet at Cambridge.

The West Windsor race showcased the talent of freshman runners Sum and Spiezio, who have been contributing throughout the season. “Jeremy was our fourth guy at HYP and Steven was our fifth,” Vigilante said. “I have to be very careful with them and do everything I can to make sure we don’t push them too hard as we go through.” Continue reading

Balanced Offense, Big Plays on Defense Help Football to First 2-0 Start Since 2006

For New York Mets fans, it has felt like a lifetime since their team last made the playoffs in 2006. As the Mets clinched their first National League East title in nine years on Saturday night, the Princeton football team also completed an important feat for the first time since ’06: starting the season 2-0, thanks to a 52-26 win over Lehigh at Princeton Stadium.

Quarterback Chad Kanoff ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Quarterback Chad Kanoff ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Leading the explosive Tiger offense, junior quarterback Chad Kanoff is beginning to reap the fruits of his labor. A native of Pacific Palisades, Calif., Kanoff arrived at Princeton as one of the top recruits in the country, ranked 14th nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks by ESPN.com. Kanoff’s arrival in 2013, however, gave him little opportunity to start: Standout quarterback Quinn Epperly ’15 was at the helm, and went on to earn 2013 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year honors while leading the Tigers to a share of the conference title. With hopes of getting more reps during the 2014 season, Kanoff was sidelined by an injury for his entire sophomore season.

After Kanoff’s first two performances this fall, people unfamiliar with the new quarterback’s background would hardly be able to guess that he has spent a majority of his college career on the sidelines. He has racked up 451 passing yards and three touchdowns in blowout victories over Lafayette and Lehigh. Behind Kanoff’s strong passing game and the Tigers’ remarkable rushing, Princeton has scored 92 points in its first two games, better than any squad since the 1950 team scored 100 points in the first two games of its national championship season. Continue reading

Princeton Football Rolls to 40-7 Win at Lafayette

On Saturday night, Princeton became the last Division I football team to start its season, and the Tigers began it in style, bringing home the first season-opening win in Head Coach Bob Surace ’90’s five years with the program. Princeton beat Lafayette 40-7, the largest margin of victory in an opener since a 1955 win over Rutgers.

Quarterback Chad Kanoff ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Quarterback Chad Kanoff ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Neither team scored in the first quarter, but by halftime, the Tigers were up 23-0. Two years ago, the team had been in the same position, up 22-3 against Lehigh in a game Princeton eventually lost, 29-28.

“We have a lot of returners, so probably 45 of the guys were there when we lost to Lehigh, and the first half had looked just like that,” Surace said.

The veteran team remembered the lesson of the 2013 opener. “We sustained our energy and had some really strong plays,” Surace said. “We were able to put blinders on and just play.”

Surace said he was excited to see Trevor Osborne ‘17 on the receiving end of Chad Kanoff ’17’s first career touchdown pass. (Kanoff, in his first game as a starter, completed 20 of 31 attempts for 256 yards with one interception.) The coach also was happy to see Khamal Brown ’16, who played as a cornerback his first three years, look comfortable playing as a safety in his first game in that position.

The offensive line had an impressive debut, paving the way for more than 300 rushing yards and excelling in pass protection. “I think they only touched quarterback twice,” Surace said.

Offensive tackle Mason Darrow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Offensive tackle Mason Darrow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Part of that offensive line was junior tackle Mason Darrow. For Darrow, Saturday night’s win marked the end of a tremendous week. He publicly came out as gay on Tuesday, when an OutSports article featured his account of coming out to his teammates. Since then, the article has been shared on Facebook more than 26,000 times.

To top it off, Saturday night was the first time Darrow played since early in the 2014 season, when he tore his ACL against Columbia. After over months of slow rehab, Darrow was thrilled to be competing for the Tigers again.

“Honestly, it was just great to be back. That was the best I’ve ever felt walking out onto a football field,” he said.

As for the attention the OutSports article has given him, Darrow said everyone has been incredibly supportive and congratulatory, but the attention has been a little weird. Continue reading

Olson ’16 Competes at World Ultimate Tournament

Lyra Olson ’16 accepts the team spirit trophy for the United States at July’s World Under-23 Ultimate Championships. (Ultiphotos/Kevin Leclaire)

Lyra Olson ’16 accepts the team spirit trophy for the United States at July’s World Under-23 Ultimate Championships. (Ultiphotos/Kevin Leclaire)

When Lyra Olson ’16 went to the Eastern tryouts for the U.S. under-23 women’s ultimate Frisbee team last fall, she was amazed by the talented players around her. “These girls were just ballers,” she said. “It was the highest level of competitive ultimate I’d ever been in.”

Olson, in just her third year playing ultimate, admits that her skills may have been a notch below the top players. But she made her case with fitness, a valuable asset in a sport of near constant running and tournaments that routinely include two or three games in a day.

Olson was one of 24 women selected for the team, which traveled to London in July for the World Under-23 Ultimate Championships, held every four years.

For Olson, it was another highlight in a remarkable year that also included a trip to the national collegiate championships with the Princeton women’s team.

Olson began throwing a disc at an early age with father, Eric Olson ’80, who played ultimate as a Princeton undergrad. But she didn’t have a chance to play on a team until college. (In high school, she was a devoted violinist as well as a field hockey player and self-described “fitness junkie.”) Continue reading

Princeton Athletes Compete for Their Countries

Katie Reinprecht ’13 (Team USA)

Katie Reinprecht ’13 (Team USA)

U.S. field hockey midfielder KATIE REINPRECHT ’13 wasted little time in her squad’s debut at the Pan Am Games July 13. She scored in the second minute against Uruguay, sparking what would become a 5-0 victory for the United States. Sister JULIA REINPRECHT ’14, also a starter, helped to preserve the shutout on defense.

The field hockey stars are among more than a dozen Princeton athletes — alumni and undergraduates, from varsity and club sports — competing internationally this summer.

Men’s basketball standout HANS BRASE ’16 led Germany to a silver medal at the World University Games in South Korea July 13. The German team pushed the United States to double-overtime in the championship game before falling, 84-77. Brase’s Tiger teammate SPENCER WEISZ ’17 is representing Israel at the FIBA U-20 European Championship in Italy.

Women’s water polo teammates ASHLEIGH JOHNSON ’16 and ASHLEY HATCHER ’15 faced off in the Pan Am Games. Hatcher, playing for Argentina, scored three goals in three games (a win and two losses), while Johnson, a goalkeeper for the United States, held Cuba to three goals in a commanding 18-3 win during the group stage. Johnson will be playing for gold tonight when the Americans face Canada in the championship game. Continue reading

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

Tremendous Triple: Princeton Men’s Track and Field Wins Outdoor Heps

In Ivy League track circles, teams chase their own version of the Triple Crown: Heptagonal Championships victories in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. On Sunday, Princeton completed that feat, winning the outdoor championship by a 161-159.5 margin over Cornell.

“It’s rare, but when it happens it’s worth protecting,” junior pole-vaulter Adam Bragg said. For the Tigers, it marks the seventh triple-crown season in program history.

Heps pole vault champion Adam Bragg ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Heps pole vault champion Adam Bragg ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

A crucial part of this first place finish, Bragg was one of three Tigers who won events on the opening day of the meet to give the team the necessary momentum and scoring cushion going into the second and final day. Also earning individual titles were senior Tumi Akinlawon in the long jump and senior Matt McDonald in the 10,000 meter run. “Going into the second day with that much momentum, I think it just set the tone,” Bragg said.

While not a personal record, Bragg claimed his second consecutive outdoor Ivy League title by clearing 5.1 meters (16-8.75 feet) on his first attempt.

“The day wasn’t so much about [individual] height as it was about going out there and getting the 10 points for the team,” Bragg said. “Heps is bigger than the individual performer and that shows in everybody in who goes out there, even if they don’t score, or if they score a sixth place finish for that one point. At the beginning of the day I had told my coach, whatever you need me to do to score the points and come out with the win, you make the decisions, you make the calls, and we ended up making some good calls and coming out with the win.” Continue reading

Women’s Lacrosse Wins Title, Automatic NCAA Bid; Men’s Lacrosse Falls Short in Championship Game

Olivia Hompe ’17 (Noel Valero ’82 *85)

Olivia Hompe ’17 (Noel Valero ’82 *85)

Despite being the only undefeated team heading into the Ivy League Tournament this weekend, the No. 11 Princeton women’s lacrosse team was also entering into the competition an underdog of sorts against No. 13 Penn. The Quakers had won the last two Ivy League titles, and history can go a long way.

Also in this post:

Yale edges men’s lacrosse in Ivy final

But after dominating Harvard 15-8 in the tournament semifinal on Friday, the Tigers defeated Penn 14-11 on Sunday to win an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and its first Ivy League Tournament title since 2011.

“Penn has been the dominant team in the Ivies, but we knew that we wanted to get Princeton back on top and be able to compete at the highest level,” coach Chris Sailer said. “We just really worked hard for it.”

Leading the way for Princeton was the Class of 2017, which worked hard to dispel the “sophomore slump” myth as four Tiger sophomores were named to the All-Tournament Team. Midfielder Olivia Hompe’s nine-goal tournament earned her the tournament MVP title. Her career-high six-goal performance against Harvard was just one shy of senior Erin McMunn’s seven-goal Ivy League Tournament record that she set last year. 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

Men’s Lacrosse Clinches Share of Ivy League Title

Kip Orban ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Kip Orban ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Mike MacDonald ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Mike MacDonald ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

With the top spot still up for grabs in the last week of regular season play, Princeton men’s lacrosse is sure to be extending its season into the Ivy League tournament. After defeating Harvard 12-11 on Friday night, and with a little help from Brown, who beat Cornell on Saturday, the Tigers are guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy title for the first time since the 2012 season — and the 27th time in program history.

The Tigers will face Cornell in the final weekend of regular season play, needing a win to clinch the outright title and home-field advantage throughout the tournament. Yet, with Yale at Harvard and Brown at Dartmouth, the playoff picture is still very much anyone’s for the taking. A Princeton loss and a Brown win would give Brown home field advantage and make the two co-champions. In fact, with Brown, Yale, and Cornell all only a game behind the Tigers, a four-way tie for the championship is still possible.

Seniors Mike MacDonald and Kip Orban continued to make their marks in the Princeton record books against Harvard Friday night while leading their team to victory. Continue reading

Quick Takes: Women’s Tennis Clinches Title Share; McMunn ’15 Sets Record; Men’s Lacrosse Wins Big

Katie Goepel ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Katie Goepel ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Dorothy Tang ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Dorothy Tang ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Princeton women’s tennis posted weekend wins on the road at Dartmouth (4-3 on Saturday) and Harvard (5-2 on Sunday) to improve to 5-0 season and clinch at least a share of the Ivy League championship for the second straight year.

Dorothy Tang ’17 and Katie Goepel ’15, the Tigers’ No. 5 and 6 players, earned singles wins in both matches. No. 1 singles player Lindsay Graff ’15 suffered a rare loss in a three-set match against Dartmouth’s Taylor Ng but bounced back with a win at Harvard.

Princeton completes the regular season with matches at Columbia April 17 and at home against Cornell April 19. Continue reading