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After a dominant win and a loss to one of the best teams in the country, the field hockey team now looks toward Ivy League play.

The Tigers (2-4 overall), currently ranked 20th in NCAA Division I field hockey, proved their mettle with a 5-1 beatdown over the visiting the American University Eagles (5-3 overall). Princeton took a 2-0 lead before halftime thanks to goals from junior back Hailey Reeves and freshman back Nicole Catalino, and continued the onslaught from there. The star of the game was senior striker Maddie Copeland, who scored all three goals of the second half of the game, earning her first career hat trick.

The Tigers then hit the road to face a daunting task – battling the University of Maryland Terrapins (6-3 overall) on the road. The Terps were the aggressors on the game, holding a 24-5 shot advantage over the Tigers on the day. Despite an 11-save effort from senior goalie Anya Gershoff, Princeton ultimately ended up falling 3-0.

When asked about potential areas for improvement after the Maryland game, head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn pointed out that offensive fundamentals are key against top teams like Terps.

“Maryland is a very good defensive team — it’s about figuring out how to manipulate teams with a sound defensive structure.” Holmes-Winn said. “For us, it’s part of the little things that are going to give us higher quality opportunities, doing some of the off ball work, even against the best teams. We didn’t do enough of that to open up the game for ourselves.”

With the Maryland game in the books, the Tigers hit the road again this weekend to face the first of their Ivy League opponents — the Dartmouth Big Green (3-3 overall). The Tigers have had tremendous success in the Ivy League for an astonishing period of time, having won the league title ten years straight. In their last three matchups against Dartmouth, they’ve won by an average of 4.3 goals a game.

Despite their recent positive results against this team, Holmes-Winn reiterated that her team heads into every game with the same type of preparation — objectively judging the strength and weaknesses of their opponents.

“We see where the opportunities will be for us, [and] where the threats will be. That’s how we analyze our opponents.” Holmes-Winn said.” “Every single time we step on the field, we want to be the very best. We try not to let [the past] come into our mindset at all.”

With the season just about a third of the way over, the Tigers are already in full swing. Holmes-Winn said that, in their quest for a strong postseason, the team needs to remain focused on their craft both on and off the field.

“[It’s about] staying as present as possible, making sure we are dialed into the little things we know are going to make a difference in the long term — eating properly, sleeping properly, the small details of the game, the core principles that we’ve identified as central to the kind of hockey we want to play.” Holmes-Winn said.

“It’s easy to get distracted, and we just have to stay completely locked in. [It’s about] making sure we’re dialing into the details of the physiology and taking care of ourselves.”

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