The Princeton women’s lacrosse team is poised to secure its fourth consecutive Ivy League title this spring. With a record of 8-1 overall, 2-0 Ivy, and a strong legacy of success, the team has built great momentum going into the second half of the season.
“One of our team’s biggest strengths is that we have a lot of depth,” senior defender Madeline Rodriguez said. “We have a lot of players across the entire field who can come in and step up in big games when we need them to.”
The team has been putting in hard work throughout the season, opening its season with a huge 19-3 win over Temple University and proceeding to win four more consecutive games. After a single loss to Penn State over spring break, the team rallied for three more consecutive wins.
According to Rodriguez, the team’s depth has been a major factor in its success this season, with many returning players and a strong freshman showing strong performances.
The number of returners has also benefited the team’s chemistry.
“We all really love playing together, and that’s an intangible factor that has really helped,” Rodriguez said.
“We definitely have good chemistry,” senior goalie Ellie DeGarmo said. “We work so well on the field because of our bond off of the field.”
Individual performers have also played a large role in the Tigers’ impressive season. DeGarmo was named the best goalie in the nation last year after receiving the C. Markland Kelly Division I Goalkeeper of the Year Award at the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-American Banquet; she now serves as the backbone of the team's strong defense. Rodriguez has also been dominant on the defensive side; this week, she was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week.
On the offensive side, All-American senior Olivia Hompe has demonstrated an impressively high scoring rate throughout the season, currently holding the second most scores in the Tigers’ history. She was also selected to play for the English national lacrosse team after completing training visits in September and January. Freshman Tess D’Orsi has also been scoring very frequently.
Along with strong team chemistry comes a competitive attitude that is even more focused than it has been in previous years, both Hompe and DeGarmo agreed.
“Our senior class brings a lot of talent,” Hompe said. “But also I think it’s a sort of a culture shift. We all buy into the team and buy into the same goals for success.”
“Top to bottom, our team is really cohesive and motivated,” she noted.
“This year in general we’ve held each other more accountable, even just in the workouts leading up to the season,” DeGarmo added.
Not only have practices become more game-like, DeGarmo said, but the team is also clearly focused on a single goal: to go as far in their season as they can.
The regular season Ivy League champion is determined by the team’s record; the teams with the four best records will compete in the Ivy League Championship at the end of the season. Winning that championship grants the team an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
“We’re aiming to win the Ivy championship, which I think we have a really great shot [at],” Rodriguez said. “Beyond that, we are sure looking to win the tournament and get the automatic bid to the NCAA.”
One challenge is the competitiveness of the entire Ivy League this year. Rivals Penn (8-2, 3-0) and Cornell (8-1, 1-1) have both had strong seasons and, like Princeton, are ranked in the Top 10 nationally.
“It’s really good for the Ivy League that so many teams are doing so well,” Hompe said. “It’s a really competitive conference and that’s been a great thing for the League thus far. The games coming up are going to be really intense.”
The Tigers will face Penn and Cornell in away games on April 19 and 22, respectively.
Hompe noted that there are many expectations resting on the Tigers, and the senior class in particular, to earn their fourth consecutive Ivy League title, which has only happened once before in the program’s history.
Ultimately, the well-prepared team members believe their confidence and training will pay off.
“I think performing in the moment and executing will be important,” Hompe said. “The coaches do a really great job of preparing us mentally.”