It appears likely that the women’s lacrosse regular season champion will be decided this Wednesday night on the 1952 Stadium’s Sherrerd Field. Penn and Princeton, currently one and two in the table, come into the pivotal matchup in top form.
- Princeton (8-4 overall, 4-1 Ivy League): The Tigers started off the year slow, with a 1-3 record and overtime losses to Georgetown and Brown. They have since gone 7-1, with the lone loss coming last Wednesday to No. 2 Maryland by a score of 8-7. Princeton is outscoring its league opponents by nearly six goals a game, a much higher differential than any other Ancient Eight squad. However, the pollsters have not been kind to the Orange and Black, keeping them out of the top 20 even though they rank No. 15 in the Rating Percentage Index. Reigning Ivy League Attacker of the Year junior Erin McMunn is at it again, pacing the league in conference play with 20 points.
- Penn (7-3, 3-0): At No. 10/11, Penn has been the most consistent Ivy League team this year, having only lost to top 10 squads. However, the closest of those contests were a couple five-goal losses to North Carolina and Northwestern. The Quakers got blown out 15-5 by Maryland, whom Princeton nearly beat, hence the order of our rankings. They are the preeminent defensive unit in the league, holding conference opponents to just 6.33 goals per game. It will be very interesting to see how that unit holds up when it faces the high-octane Princeton Wednesday night. Additionally, a recent incident involving off-the-field team activities calls into question the character of this league-leading side.
- Harvard (7-5, 3-2): The Crimson has managed a winning conference record despite rather poor statistics. It ranks above only winless Columbia in conference scoring with 8.2 goals per game and in save percentage at 45.6 percent. Regardless, Harvard has managed to beat Yale, Cornell and Brown by at least three goals apiece. Of course, it also got crushed 15-6 by Princeton last weekend and 17-4 against top-ranked Syracuse a month ago. The Crimson features the league’s leading goal scorer, Marisa Romeo, who has found the back of the net 39 times in the season.
- Cornell (6-6, 3-2): Only a couple overtime goals separate the Big Red from the top half of the league table and seventh place. The last two weekends have seen them top Dartmouth 11-10 in two extra periods and then Brown by the same score in a single overtime. Remarkably, Cornell could be sitting atop these rankings if it had edged Princeton in yet another overtime contest from three weekends ago. Much unlike Harvard, the Big Red has put together quality in-conference statistics thanks to a penchant for close games. The Ithaca women rank third in goals scored and allowed per game with 9.80 and 8.61, respectively.
- Dartmouth (5-7, 2-3): The Big Green had a solid look at a top-four finish this year, until a three-game losing streak mostly sunk the New Hampshire side. One-goal losses recently came at Cornell in overtime and at home against Hofstra. Their top three scorers, two attackers and a midfielder, have contributed 67 percent of their total points. Should Dartmouth manage an upset or two over Princeton or Cornell, they could sneak their way into the four-team tournament by year’s end. This scenario, however, remains quite unlikely.
- Brown (9-4, 2-3): An early season 14-13 overtime upset over Princeton remains the brightest feather in Bruno’s cap. Prolific attack Danielle Mastro has tallied a league-leading 54 points on 28 goals and 26 assists. Most of these tallies, however, came against fairly weak out-of-conference opponents. By virtue of 17, 19 and 21 goal efforts against lowly Iona, Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut State, the Bears have the league’s highest scoring offense. In league, however, they have been outscored 46-50.
- Yale (8-5, 2-3): In tandem with a pair of Princeton players, two Bulldogs were just awarded co-offensive and defensive Player of the Week awards. The latter winner, midfielder Christina Doherty, is the older sister of Tiger freshman standout midfielder Anna. While they managed to play a reasonably close 11-9 game with Penn a month ago, the New Haven laxers suffered a demoralizing 15-8 loss to Princeton. While they have remarkably tallied 237 shots on goal to their opponents’ 86, their goals per game of 10.62 is not quite enough to hang with top NCAA talent.
- Columbia (3-7, 0-5): According to the NCAA’s Rating Percentage Index, the Lions sit in the 81st spot out of 103 Division I schools. That’s 39 below the next Ivy side — Yale — to whom they lost in a 9-6 contest in which the Bulldogs dominated. One bright side has been the strong play of senior midfielder Paige Cuscovitch. The four-year starter has earned four Ivy League weekly honors this season, having tallied 28 points through 10 games. Columbia will not see the top of the Ivy table for some time, but such are the lacrosse limitations of a city school whose athletic facilities are located a 20-minute walk north on Broadway.