Coming off a heartbreaking 8-7 defeat at the hands of then-No. 2 Maryland that came down to the final minutes, women’s lacrosse made sure its game at Harvard would not be so close. The Tigers (8-4, 4-1 Ivy) blew away the Crimson (7-5, 3-2 Ivy) by a score of 15-6, highlighted by inspired performances from juniors midfielder Erin Slifer and attack Erin McMunn. Slifer put in a career-best seven points on four goals and three assists, while McMunn netted a season high five goals in addition to one assist.
The Tigers were led defensively by sophomore Liz Bannantine, who has developed into a daunting force in her second season. Bannantine forced two turnovers and also added three of Princeton’s 19 ground balls on the day. The visitors’ team total compared to just 12 from the Crimson.
For their efforts, Slifer and Bannantine earned Ivy League co-offensive and co-defensive Player of the Week honors.
Indeed, ground balls and overall hustle may have been the difference in a game where other team statistics were a push. Princeton outshot Harvard 25-20, but the Crimson edged the Tigers out in draw controls 12-11. Despite Princeton’s narrow lead in shots, the goalkeeping statistics were similar, as Harvard’s Kelly Weis saved six shots versus the eight stops of junior Annie Woehling.
Princeton also played a smarter brand of lacrosse on the day, as it turned the ball over two fewer times and had significantly fewer fouls: 18 to Harvard’s 31. The visitors also took smarter shots and made more of their possessions, with the Tigers attempting 50% more shots on goal compared to the Crimson (21 to 14).
Other notable individual performances included a hat trick off the bench from sophomore midfielder Anya Gersoff who has been clinical in front of net this season. Her season shot percentage of 60.7 percent in fact leads the team (of players who have taken more than one shot). Sophomore attack Alexandra Bruno was held scoreless on two shots, but managed to dish an assist to McMunn. Senior defensive presence Liz Cutting led all players with four ground balls.
While national rankings do not command much attention from the Princeton players, the performances this past week should have put the Tigers back in the Top 20 nationally. Surprisingly, according to the most recent Brine Media Poll, Penn is the only Ivy League team currently ranked. The current NCAA’s Rating Percentage Index has the Orange and Black ranked 14th in the nation.
The upcoming week will see Princeton take on a pair of Ivy League opponents at home. On Wednesday night, the Tigers will host a powerful Penn squad, currently ranked No. 10 in the country. The Quakers handed Princeton its lone in-conference loss last season in a 9-10 overtime contest. This year promises to provide another exciting installment in the Penn-Princeton rivalry.
Saturday, the Tigers will play their regular season home finale in a senior day matchup with a weak Dartmouth side. It may not be their final home game, however, as the Ivy League Tournament will be played at the site of the team with the best record, still to be determined in the upcoming weeks.