It has been almost a month since the Tigers have played in their home water in DeNunzio Pool, but Princeton, which has not lost a league match in two years, has taken its winning ways on the road. The No. 9 Tigers (23-1 overall, 2-0 Southern Division) won their pair of conference openers on Saturday and extended their firm grip on the Southern division.
The Tigers opened up the doubleheader with a solid 13-9 win over Mercyhurst University. It started out as a close game, however, with Princeton edging out Mercyhurst just 2-1 after the first quarter. The Tigers netted five goals in the second, and the Lakers responded with four of their own to put the score at 7-5 going into halftime. It was Princeton’s strong defense in the third quarter that gave it the final push: junior goalie Cece Coffey allowed just one goal, while the Tiger offense found the back of the net four more times. The Lakers outscored Princeton 3-2 in the final quarter, but the damage had already been done.
Senior utility Katie Rigler and junior utility Jessie Holechek each had a hat trick, with sophomore utilities Pippa Temple and Kimi Klein contributing two goals. Sophomore utility Diana Murphy, junior utility Ashley Hatcher and senior utility Molly McBee recorded a goal each, and Hatcher, Rigler and Holecheck led the defense effort with three steals apiece. Coffey recorded one save and one assist in her third career win in the net.
Later that day, Bucknell University did nothing to slow Princeton’s goal-scoring momentum as the Tigers picked up a comfortable 14-6 win, in which 10 different Princeton players found the back of the net while the Bison were limited to two goals at most per quarter. McBee led the offensive charge with four goals, and freshman two-meter Hannah Lapkin followed with two. Junior utility Taylor Dunstan added three assists, a team-high for the day. In net, sophomore goalie Ashleigh Johnson made six stops in the first three quarters of the game, while Coffey subbed in for the final quarter-plus and stopped four shots from finding the back of the net.
The victory marks Princeton’s eighth straight win this season. The Tigers’ last loss was to No. 10 San Jose State University on their spring break trip to San Diego, Calif. for the Aztec Invitational. A pivotal moment of the team’s trip in the Golden State was the gut-wrenching match in which the Tigers edged out the win in a 14-13 triple overtime thriller against No. 13 UC San Diego that extended the squad’s win streak to 15. The Tigers fell to San Jose State later that day.
The Tigers will spend next Saturday on the road again, playing Ivy League rivals Brown and Harvard in a doubleheader in Lewisburg, Pa., before finally returning to DeNunzio to play their last match against George Washington University before the kickoff of the Southern Division Championship on April 12, hosted by Harvard. Princeton thrashed its opponents at the championship last year, winning each of its three games by an average of over 10 goals.
Princeton’s match against Brown starts at 11:30 a.m. this Saturday at Bucknell.