The No. 9 women’s field hockey team took on Cornell and Rider this weekend. Two victories — a shutout of Cornell (9-7 overall, 3-3 Ivy League) that earned it a share of the Ivy title and an overtime triumph over Rider Sunday afternoon — extended the team’s win streak to six, with its last loss coming at the hands of top-ranked Maryland.
Saturday saw Princeton (12-4, 6-0) continue its in-league dominance, as it outmatched its opponents on the offensive and defensive ends. Cornell, traveling after a 3-2 OT loss to No. 2 Syracuse, looked to avenge last season’s 5-0 loss at home.
The home offense tested Cornell keeper Carolyn Horner with three shots before five minutes had elapsed, two shots of which resulted from penalty corners inserted by senior striker Michelle Cesan.
Just before the 23rd minute mark, freshman striker Cat Caro beat the keeper to earn a lead that her team would not relinquish. Senior midfielder Julia Reinprecht took advantage of a foul outside the defensive circle and found an open Caro by the goal for her first assist of the season.
Caro earned her sixth goal of the season after her efforts the previous weekend resulted in her first Ivy League Rookie of the Week honor.
Sophomore keeper Anya Gersoff and her defensive line saw six shots with four on target in the first half. The Tigers stifled their opponent’s attack in the second period, racking up a 15-0 shot differential.
In the 45th minute, senior back Kelsey Byrne earned her first goal and points of the season. Off a deflected shot by Reinprecht, junior striker Sydney Kirby managed to find her classmate Byrne in front of the cage for a straight-on shot.
Just short of the 49th minute, Cesan took another deflection off Horner’s pads just outside the goal for a tap-in and her seventh goal of the year.
The final goal for Princeton came in the 61st minute after a flurry of shots — six in a five-minute span — as Cesan found junior striker Allison Evans, who notched her eighth goal of the season.
By the end of 70 minutes, Princeton had tallied a total of 26 shots to the Big Red’s six.
The Rider Broncs (13-6, 5-1 MAAC) faced a travel time of less than 20 minutes from their Lawrenceville campus. In this series — dubbed by the official PUFieldHockey twitter (@TigerFH) the Rt. 206 Megabowl — Princeton holds a 7-1-1 edge.
However, neither side was able to capitalize on possession in the first 35 minutes, though Princeton earned three penalty corners and tallied 10 shots.
With 55 minutes elapsed, Caro broke through and scored her second goal of the weekend off the Tigers’ 11th attack penalty corner.
Once more, the Tigers established a massive disparity in shots, striking 39 times at the opposing cage and only allowing six shots.
Just as time expired, Rider earned its third penalty corner, which it managed to convert. The equalizer sent the game to a 15-minute overtime period, to be decided by sudden victory.
Early in the extra period, senior back Amanda Bird assisted Cesan on the winning goal. The scoreboard read 2-1 in favor of Princeton with 75:31 elapsed in its final home match of the regular season.
The program honored the team’s six seniors on Sunday before the contest — Bird, Byrne, Cesan, Reinprecht, goalie Christina Maida and striker Allegra Mango have seen 57 wins and only 18 losses at Princeton. They have also played a part in a run of total league dominance, notching 26 wins and only one loss in the Ancient Eight. With NCAA appearances in their freshman and sophomore years, the six contributed to the program’s first national championship last year.
The 4-0 shutout of Cornell guaranteed the Tigers a share of their ninth-straight Ivy League title. The team will travel to Philadelphia this Wednesday and attempt to earn the outright league title for the second consecutive year. Should Princeton secure a win in its final regular-season contest, it would earn a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated the class year of junior striker Sydney Kirby. The ‘Prince’ regrets the error.