Field Hockey: Princeton thrashes Dartmouth, Delaware to stay perfect
Saturday afternoon the field hockey team extended its undefeated streak to five wins when the Tigers (6-0 overall, 1-0 Ivy League) defeated Ivy League rival Dartmouth 4-1 in their opening conference game. This loss marks the fourth in a row for the Big Green (1-4, 0-1), which was the only conference opponent to beat the Tigers last season.
Despite an hour-long delay waiting for officials to arrive, Princeton dominated all over the field from the start.
“The hour-long delay was frustrating, but we were able to remain focused,” senior attacker Kat Sharkey said. “We stayed out of the sun and conserved our energy during the break. I don’t think it affected us too much.”
The team worked hard to maintain possession in transition, send crisp passes to teammates and challenge the Dartmouth back line. Firing 27 shots at the Big Green keeper during the game, the constant pressure by the Tiger attack set them up for many goal-scoring opportunities.
“We didn’t finish many of our attacking opportunities, but the number of opportunities we were able to create over the course of the game is promising,” Sharkey said.
In the sixth minute of the first half, a corner allowed Princeton to convert for its first goal of the game. Junior midfielder Kelsey Byrne sent in the corner and senior midfielder Katie Reinprecht sent it over to her unmarked teammate Sharkey, who finished with a low shot past the keeper to put the host ahead by one. There were a total of 17 corners taken by both teams, with 14 of them for the Tigers. Princeton and Dartmouth both struggled for the rest of the first half to capitalize on the corner chances and no goals came from the run of play, so the teams hit the locker room at halftime with a one goal advantage for the Tigers.
“Dartmouth packed their circle with defenders, which makes it difficult to get clean shots off,” Sharkey said. “In those situations, our goal is to get corners. We did earn a lot of corners but were only successful on two of them. The Dartmouth goalie and defenders played a great game.”
Princeton came out strong again in the second half. Less than five minutes into play, Sharkey connected with junior Michelle Cesan who sent a rebound from a corner past the Dartmouth keeper. The Tigers now led 2-0. Not ready to play complacently, Princeton struck three minutes later for another goal. Freshman midfielder Teresa Benvenuti recorded her first career assist when she passed the ball to Sharkey, who finished for her second goal of the day and 10th of the season. Over 15 minutes ticked off the clock in the second half before Dartmouth would get a shot off.
Halfway through the second period, the Tigers earned their fourth and final goal of the day. Reinprecht tallied her second assist, as she helped senior attacker Molly Goodman find the back of the net for her first goal of the 2012 season. The Big Green answered six minutes later with its first and only goal off of a corner.
“Our spacing was really good today,” Sharkey said. “We were disciplined in our positioning and were really able to break through their defense. Our passing combinations were very successful today.”
Sunday afternoon, the Tigers hosted Delaware (3-6) and claimed their sixth straight win of the season with a decisive 10-2 victory. Up early after scoring the opening goal less than three minutes into play, Princeton never trailed for the rest of the game. At the half, the Tigers already held a 7-1 advantage. Princeton’s attack has the strength of being able to rely on many players to make key contributions in front of the cage, with five goal scorers in the Delaware game. Sharkey netted a hat trick in the first half and added two assists to bring her weekend total to five goals and three assists. Cesan, Katie Reinprecht and Benvenuti found the back of the net twice and combined for two assists. The freshman class left their mark yesterday, with Benvenuti putting up her career first goal and getting two helpers, while classmate Kate Ferrara also earned her career first assist.
The Tigers have a full week to rest and recover as they prepare for another double-dip this weekend, when they travel to Yale for their second Ivy League game and then host Syracuse the next day.
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