Women's Lacrosse: Tiger rally falls short at No. 1 Maryland
Going on the road to face the number one team in the country is never an easy task, but the women’s lacrosse team could not have picked a better point in their season to give it a shot. Princeton (7-4 overall, 3-0 Ivy League) came into Wednesday night’s game on a four-game winning streak, with two victories coming against teams ranked in the top 12. The Tigers’ offense has been the key over the streak, taking the life out of the other team with streaks of four, five or six goals at a time.
Down 9-2 heading out of halftime, the Tigers needed to play their best 30 minutes of the season to come back against an experienced Maryland squad (15-0, 4-0 ACC). Princeton began to chip away at the lead with goals from junior midfielder Sarah Lloyd and senior attackers Sam Ellis and Jaci Gassaway. The Tigers closed the lead to 10-6 before junior goalie Caroline Franke surrendered another goal.
“We started winning the draw controls” head coach Chris Sailer said. “We were working well in our offense sets, opening up good looks, shooting well and controlling the ball. We started doing the things that we hadn’t done in the first half.”
But the Terrapins’ first half lead proved too large to overcome. Maryland outplayed Princeton in nearly every aspect of the game in the first, but what stood out most was the shot ratio: 19 to seven in favor of the Terrapins. The Tigers played sloppily with nine first half turnovers, compared with Maryland’s two.
“We didn’t adjust quickly enough to the pace that they were moving the ball and making cuts. It says a lot about the athleticism of their team. They got some great outside looks, while we were not efficient enough with the ball. We weren’t playing with the confidence that we needed,” Sailer said.
Princeton hung with the number one team in the country for the entire second half, outscoring Maryland 7-6. Franke made seven saves in the half, adding on to six from the first.
Another highlight for the Tigers was two-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week sophomore attack Erin McMunn, who had two goals and two assists. McMunn also had nine draws, which helped spark Princeton’s momentum in the second half. McMunn is the team’s leading scorer with 28 goals and 21 assists on the season.
Maryland came into Wednesday fresh from its biggest win of the season, defeating the second ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 14-13. The Terrapins have maintained the top spot in the IWLCA rankings all season long.
Princeton, meanwhile, looks ahead to some favorable Ivy League matchups. They face Harvard this weekend, followed by matchups against Penn and Dartmouth. Sailer is optimistic going forward. She plans to work on the areas that have provided some difficulty for the Tigers against Maryland: turnovers, ground balls and getting quality shots.
“We know we can play better than we did,” Sailer said. “The bottom line is that we have to get out there and do it. We will see if we are lucky enough to play them again. Can we do it? Yes.”
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