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Sports Shorts: Women’s water polo continues undefeated streak, softball and baseball off to slow starts

Harvard unable to get past undefeated Tigers

According to the national rankings put out at the beginning of the season, Princeton’s water polo team, ranked No. 7, is the lone top-10 team on the East Coast. Compiling a perfect 11-0 record to start the season has been no cakewalk. This past weekend’s showdown against Harvard (7-2) proved this talented and deep roster can overcome adversity, having fought back from a 6-4 Crimson lead in the early second period.

If it were controvertible before, this weekend likewise proved there is no better college goalie in the country than sophomore Ashleigh Johnson. The US Junior National Team competitor and gold-medalist compiled 17 saves and two steals in the winning effort against Harvard. Reigning Southern Division Player of the Year senior utility Katie Rigler has also been outstanding, notching three goals this past Saturday at DeNunzio Pool.

Though the squad will visit Cambridge, Mass. this upcoming weekend for the Harvard Invitational, they will not get a rematch with the Crimson until April.

Baseball sweeps in weekend series at UCSB

A rainout on Saturday did not change the momentum for the baseball team over the weekend, as the Tigers (0-3) suffered a three-game sweep over the course of Friday and Sunday to open the season at University of California at Santa Barbara (7-1). The first game on Friday saw the Tigers fall 9-1 to the Gauchos, as the Tigers put a slew of rookies onto the diamond to test their grit against UCSB. Playing at first base and right field, respectively, freshmen Nick Hernandez and Paul Tupper recorded their first career hits in the first inning, which also accounted for the Tigers’ first two hits of the season. Things unraveled quickly, as the Tigers gave up three walks and three runs to fall into a 5-0 hole that proved too great to recover from.

In the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, the Tigers and Gauchos exchanged slews of offensive outbursts, as both teams had tallied ten runs apiece by the sixth inning. But eight UCSB runs over the seventh and eighth innings put the game out of reach as the Tigers fell 18-10. The Tigers struggled at the plate in the second game of the day, as they only managed five hits compared to the Gauchos’ nine-hit, 11-run performance. Sophomore infielder Danny Hoy had two hits, three walks, two RBIs and a run over both of Sunday’s games, and freshman outfielder Danny Baer recorded three hits, two runs and a walk over both games.

Softball sweeps in UCF Tournament

The softball team had a rough start to the season in Orlando, as the team lost all five of its games over a three-day span. The Tigers (0-5) first squared off against University of Central Florida (10-7), but fell 4-0 to the Knights in the first meeting between the teams since 2002. Junior centerfielder Rachel Redina, junior shortstop Alyssa Schmidt and senior third baseman Tory Roberts each recorded a hit, but no other hits from the rest of the lineup led to a scoreless start to the Tigers’ season. The Tigers’ largest margin of loss came against the Stetson Hatters (8-3) on Friday when the Tigers gave up 12 runs on 11 hits to lose 12-4. Senior catcher Maddie Cousens went 2-3 at the plate with an RBI, but only four hits for the rest of the team made for a lackluster offensive response to the Hatters.

The Tigers lost both games on Saturday and their final game on Sunday by close margins, falling by four, one and two runs respectively in matchups against the University of Tennessee at Martin, College of Charleston and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. But the team’s meager four total runs over the course of the three games could not back up strong defensive play.

Buffalo and Stony Brook fall to men at Jadwin, women sweep all opponents

A trio of losses to very competitive and highly ranked southern opponents two weekends ago put a damper on the men’s tennis team’s (8-4) hot start to the season. The squad got back on track this past weekend with a pair of wins against the State University of New York at Buffalo (6-2) and SUNY Stony Brook (3-2) at Jadwin Gymnasium by match scores of 4-3 and 7-0.

Junior Zach McCourt continued his impressive form with two wins at the first singles spot (6-1, 6-3; 7-6, 6-1). His national rank of 108 makes him the only Tiger currently on the NCAA Division I singles rankings. Freshman Tom Colautti has likewise continued to impress. He followed a 6-3, 6-4 win over Buffalo’s Pablo Alvarez at third singles with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Stony Brook’s Raphael Termat at second singles.

Head coach Billy Pate mixed up the top two doubles pairings on the day. Freshman Alexander Day played with McCourt at the first spot against Buffalo, while seniors Augie Bloom and Dan Davies matched up against Stony Brook’s first doubles spot. The former pair won in a convincing 8-2 pro set, while the second duo lost in an 8-5 contest.

And yes, there are indoor tennis courts in Jadwin. The Tigers will host the University of Denver and Penn State this upcoming Friday and Saturday before heading to sunny San Diego over spring break. On March 29, they will begin their Ivy League schedule at Penn.

Along with the men’s action, the women put together an impressive set of three 7-0 wins over Stony Brook (3-3) and Seton Hall (1-4) on Friday and SUNY Albany (5-4) on Saturday.

The Tigers were more or less dominant across the board. Junior Lindsay Graff dropped the first set to Stony Brook’s Polina Movchan, but won the next set and won the 10-3 tiebreaker to take the match. Otherwise, Jadwin’s courts saw very few game wins for the visiting side.

A weekend trek will take the Princeton women to Columbus, Ohio to take on Ohio State. Spring break will take the Tigers to Florida for a pair of matches. When they return, they will face seven consecutive Ivy League opponents as they look to improve upon their 4-3 in-league finish last season.

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