The Princeton field hockey team had a successful weekend on the road on Sept. 23 and 24, winning their first Ivy League opening game against Dartmouth and beating Boston University the day after. Playing two games back-to-back is not an easy task for any team, especially when compounded with the intense travel schedule that the Tigers have faced in the last 10 days, but this winning weekend now sees the Tigers sit at No. 16 In the NFHCA Coaches poll with an overall of 4-4.
Princeton dominated Dartmouth from the off, and just over 10 minutes into the game, first-year Clara Roth scored off of a loopy ball from senior and Ivy League Player of the Week Ryan McCarthy, which Roth poked through the goalkeeper. The two captains combined for the second goal. Captain McCarthy doubled the lead for Princeton, and a smart press by junior Captain Sophia Tornetta won the ball off the Dartmouth defender and passed it to McCarthy who calmly slipped it past the goalkeeper. The final goal of the half was from Junior Jane Donio-Enscoe, whose first goal of the season was one to remember. Donio-Enscoe received the ball on the move to her backhand, then touched it to her forehand stick where she smacked it into the back of the cage.
At the half, although Princeton was three up and had dominated possession, the team seemed somewhat frustrated as they failed at converting a few great opportunities. However, in the second half the Tigers came out strong and, despite scoring less in this period, looked more composed and settled on the ball. The Tigers' fourth goal was scored by first-year MaryKate Neff. On the tail of Neff's goal, Princeton then managed to convert one of the penalty corners they earned, and in the final few minutes of the game, senior Rachel Park inserted the ball to McCarthy at the top of the circle, who then swept it low to the Dartmouth goalkeeper's right-hand side.
The quick turnaround, in very hot conditions on Sunday, Sept. 24, made the team's game against BU no easy task. Both teams managed to get shots off on cage in the first half, but solid goalkeeping by the BU keeper kept the Terriers in the game. Multiple balls were sent flying across the face of the goal by Princeton, one of them hitting the crossbar and another escaping past the post narrowly. The first half remained 0-0, with all to play for.
Going into the second half, Princeton looked more comfortable, earning several penalty corners, one of which sophomore Maddie Bacskai converted to give the Tigers the lead. Both teams fought hard for the entire game, but solid and disciplined defending from Princeton, along with a particularly noteworthy performance by Bacskai, sealed the Tigers’ victory.
According to the Tigers, this weekend is exactly what they needed going into their first home Ivy league game against Yale on Friday, Sept. 29.
“This weekend was great for us. It's always super fun and exciting to start Ivy play. ," Donio-Enscoe said. "I think it just shows how after a few tough games we can really come back and have solid performances and get the results we want. We are definitely growing each game and connecting better, and I'm excited for our next game this Friday.”
The Tigers play at home against Yale on Friday at 6 p.m.