Following Wednesday’s tough home loss to No. 2 Maryland, the Princeton women’s lacrosse team is set to take on Harvard in Cambridge this Saturday afternoon. Princeton (7-4 overall, 3-1 Ivy League) and Harvard (7-4, 3-1) are currently tied for second place in the Ivy League standings, and therefore Saturday’s matchup will hold particular significance as the regular season comes to a close this month.
The Tigers will travel to Harvard on the heels of their 8-7 loss to the No. 2 Terrapins (14-1, 4-1 ACC) on Wednesday evening, which snapped Princeton’s six-game winning streak. Before that contest, the Tigers had not lost a game since March 8, when the team fell in overtime at Brown (9-3, 2-2). But Maryland’s experience and determination proved too much for Princeton on Wednesday, when the Terrapins clawed back from an early 4-1 deficit to win 8-7. Although both teams led at different points in the contest, Maryland got the last laugh. Kelly McPartland converted on a free-position attempt with 1:39 remaining, giving her team an 8-7 lead that would hold.
Princeton will look to rebound this weekend in Cambridge, where the squad will need to find a way to score goals on Harvard’s strong defense. The Crimson has allowed only 9.1 goals per game this season and only 7.5 in Ivy League contests. The Tigers, on the other hand, have made a habit of piling on goals this season. Princeton is averaging almost 13 goals per game and has scored over 10 goals in every game this season save for Wednesday’s 8-7 loss to Maryland. In addition to Harvard’s staunch defense, the Crimson net is protected by goalkeeper Kelly Weis, who leads the Ivy League in both save percentage (.497) and saves per game (8.82). Meanwhile, Princeton’s goalie Annie Woehling ranks fourth in save percentage (.466) and sixth in saves per game (6.11).
Historically, the Tigers have held the edge over the Crimson in women’s lacrosse matchups. Princeton defeated Harvard 11-9 at home in their most recent matchup last April. The Tigers also hold a 7-3 advantage over the Crimson in the squads’ last 10 matchups. Harvard last defeated Princeton in 2012, pulling out a 10-7 victory in Cambridge.
Following Saturday’s contest, the Tigers will close out their Ivy League season next week with home games against Penn (6-3, 2-0) and Dartmouth (5-5, 2-2). Next Wednesday’s matchup with Penn could be particularly significant in the Ivy League standings, as the Quakers currently sit in first place in the conference. Dartmouth remains tied with Brown and Cornell (5-6, 2-2) for fourth place in the league. Princeton finished a close second in the league standings last season and will need to capitalize on its three remaining conference games if the squad hopes to win the conference this season.