Sports » Field Hockey
After a tough loss to the best team in the nation on Friday, the No. 9 field hockey team ended its weekend on a high note Sunday afternoon. Delaware evened the score in the second period and threatened to hand the Tigers (7-4 overall, 3-0 Ivy League) their second consecutive loss, but senior back Amanda Bird found the net with fewer than 10 minutes remaining and put them up for good.
Both games were very evenly matched, though No. 1 Maryland is undefeated and Delaware (9-4, 3-0 CAA) is unranked.
On Friday, the Tigers held their own with the Terrapins (14-0, 3-0 ACC) for the entire first half. Princeton outshot Maryland 6-5 in the half, and sophomore goalie Anya Gersoff had four saves. She had made three of those saves when Maryland’s Jill Witmer – currently second in the NCAA in points per game – took two shots, ultimately finding the net for the 11th time this season. It was still anyone’s game at the half.
“You could tell they were getting a little nervous in the first half,” sophomore midfielder/back Teresa Benvenuti said of the Terrapins.
Just three minutes into the second half, however, it was Maryland’s game. Emma Rissinger scored just over a minute into the half, and Witmer’s long shot was deflected past Princeton’s reeling defense for her second goal of the game fewer than two minutes later.
Head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn called a timeout, after which the defense reorganized and stopped the bleeding. In the 49th minute, a shot from sophomore striker Maddie Copeland trickled past Maryland goalie Natalie Hunter, who is eighth in the nation in save percentage.
Though they earned two penalty corners in the half and earned three more than the Terrapins over the course of the game, the Tigers could not capitalize again, falling to Maryland in College Park.
Benvenuti noted that the score was deceptive, and that her team was happy with the way it played against the top team in the nation.
“The team chemistry was just better than it has been all season, and you could really see it in the passing patterns,” she said. “There were long stretches of the game that we just completely dominated, but in the end they were able to convert more opportunities than we were, so they won.”
Princeton came out strong against Delaware, as Gersoff notched two saves in the first 10 minutes and senior midfielder Michelle Cesan’s backhander from 15 yards out gave the Tigers the early lead.
That lead held for the rest of the half, as the Blue Hens got just one more shot off and failed to find the net on a penalty corner. Once again, however, Princeton’s opponent scored early in the second half, as Clare O’Malley tied the game up in the 42nd minute. Possession went back and forth as the half wore on, as Delaware took four shots and earned three penalty corners, but it was the Tigers who finally broke through on Bird’s penalty corner. Princeton took two more shots and a penalty corner but could not cushion its lead – luckily for them, their defense held on for the win.
The Tigers have now played two of five straight road games. They travel to Brown next weekend and will visit Harvard and Albany in the coming weeks.