2017 year in review: From Big Dances to Elite Eights, we look back at a year of Tiger sports
As 2017 winds down, The Daily Princetonian looks back at all of the highs and lows from the last year of Princeton sports. From a trip to the Big Dance, to a player that wears both Tiger and U.S. national team uniforms, to a disappointing end to a promising season start to a wild double overtime victory to extend a streak of success, we take you through the recap of every sport this past year. Join us in remembering all of the season highlights, record breaking moments and close the book on an entertaining and wild 2017.
Men’s fencing: As a team in the spring of 2017, the Tigers went a combined 23–7 overall and placed sixth in the NCAA Tournament last season. Many of the men placed high individually in the tournament as then-sophomore épées Wesley Johnson and Michael Popovici finished tied for third and eighth respectively, saber Peter Pak ’17 concluded his career with the Tigers by placing 17th individually for his group and became a three-time All American honoree as a Tiger. The Tigers are off to a hot 2018 campaign with six wins in just two tournaments.
Women’s fencing: The women’s fencing team’s historic stretch continues for another year. With their fourth place finish, the Tigers extended the longest active trophy streak of any NCAA team, placing for the seventh year in a row. Highlighting the season was an all Tiger final: The final match between épées Katherine Holmes ’17 and Anna Van Brummen ’17 was in the championship match, with Van Brummen taking the victory and defeating her teammate, the four-time All American. Like the men’s team, the women are also off to a hot start in 2018 with already seven wins in just two tournament appearances
Men’s golf: In the second half of their 2016–17 season, the Tigers responded from a slow start to place third as a team in both the Princeton Invitational and the Ivy League Championships. Alex Dombrowski ’17 ended his Tiger campaign with a historic 67 on the final day of the Ivy League Championships — the best round since 2009 for any Ivy Leaguer. He would finish tied for second in the tournament with an overall score of +1. In 2018, he Tigers placed second in the Quechee Collegiate Invitational and fifth in the Macdonald Cup. First-year Jake Mayer made his case for shot of the year when during the Macdonald Cup, he drilled a hole in one on the par three fifth.
Women’s golf: The Tigers put together an incredible campaign in the spring of 2017, placing third and second in two different tournaments and then taking first overall at the Harvard Invitational and the Ivy League Championships. The great success led to an invitation to the NCAA regionals, where they finished a respectable 11th. First-year Maya Walton was the spark plug last season for the team and received an invitation to compete in the NCAA Individual Championships. Princeton finished fourth in its home invitational in the fall of 2017, with Walton finishing third individually.
Men’s crew: 2017 was highlighted by a 2V third place finish and 1V fourth place finish for the heavyweight team in the IRA Championships. In the 2017 Princeton chase, the men’s heavyweight team claimed 1st in the 8+ race and won the 4+ extended chase. The lightweight team placed fifth in the IRAs in 2017 and second in the V4 IRA race. They concluded the season with the a first-place victory in the Head of Charles Regatta and third in a super-competitive chase event. Both will look to continue succeeding with strong 2018 seasons.
Women’s crew: The women’s lightweight rowing team smashed the Princeton Chase record with a time of 14:55.807, 16 seconds better than the second place Georgetown Hoya boat. This came after a strong finish to its spring 2017 season with medal finished at Sprints and IRAs. The openweight women’s team claimed victory in the 8+ race during the Chase, capping off a season in which they took first in the Ivy League championship.
Field hockey: What. A. Year. Princeton faced a ranked team almost every other week, and advanced all the way to the NCAA quarterfinals before falling to UNC 3–2. The Tigers were Ivy League champions and played in the NCAA quarters for the third straight season. Senior Ryan McCarthy had an incredible season with 17 goals and 37 points for Princeton. She will definitely be missed next season but the Tigers will be well set up for a repeat campaign in 2018.
Men’s lacrosse: The Princeton men’s lacrosse team had high expectations going into the 2017 season, but it culminated in a heartbreaking 17–15 loss against Brown in the first round of the Ivy League tournament. The Tigers finished 9–6 overall and 4–2 in the conference. However, they will be led by sophomore Michael Sowers, who led the team last year with 41 goals and 41 assists. The Tigers are in good shape to rebound in 2018.
Women’s lacrosse: The women’s team had quite the season in 2017. After beating No. 12 Cornell in the finals of the Ivy League tournament, the Tigers beat them again in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before ultimately falling to No. 6 Penn State 14–12. However, the Tigers will really miss Olivia Hompe ’17, who led the Tigers with 110 points — more than twice the amount of the second leading scorer. We’ll see if the class of 2021 can help fill the void left by the strong seniors.
Men’s water polo: The men’s water polo team concluded their season with a heartbreaking 12–11 loss in double OT to Harvard. Yet this should not discount the great success they had in the pool, finishing 22–6 overall and establishing themselves as one of the East Coast’s best water polo teams. Seniors Jordan Colina and Vojislav Mitrovic and sophomore Sean Duncan all received honorable mentions in the All America team for their impressive seasons.
Women’s water polo: The women’s water polo team was one of the most underrated Princeton sports teams in 2017. It finished with a record of 24–4, won its conference, and advanced to the third round of the CWPA national championship tournament before falling to No.-7 Michigan in a 5–4 defensive struggle. That game also marked the final game for goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson ’17, who represented the Tigers on the U.S. national team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Men’s squash: After a tough 2016–17 season in which the Tigers managed only a .375 winning percentage, Princeton has hit the ground running in 2017–18 starting out 4–1 and beating the No.-7 Drexel Dragons in a statement win just a few weeks ago. One of the big reasons for the turnaround is the emergence of first-year Youssef Ibrahim who was unbeaten in 2017 and will look to continue that when the calendar changes.
Women’s squash: Last season, the women’s team finished 12–5 and took fourth place in its conference, advancing to the semifinal before losing back to back matches to Harvard and Trinity. This season, it is off to a hot 5–0 start; as a team it has lost only a combined four individual matches thus far. Senior Olivia Fiechter is making the most of her final season with the Tigers, representing the Tigers as the number one and leading them to their great start to the season. They will be looking to continue their success in the second half of their 2017–18 season.
Women’s soccer: 2017 was a historic year for Princeton’s women’s soccer team. The Tigers advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals, concluding their best run since 2004, where they were defeated by UCLA. The women also ended with a record high of nine All-Ivy League honors, including Sean Driscoll winning Ivy League Coach of the Year for the second time in the past three years. Great run this year, Tigers!
Men’s soccer: The men’s soccer team finished their 2017 season 6–7–4 overall and 2–3–2 in conference play. Along with this .471 winning percentage, the team also picked up five All-Ivy League mentions including junior Jeremy Colvin and freshman Richard Wolf being named to the second-team All-Ivy League.
Women’s volleyball: For the third year in a row, the women’s volleyball team were Ivy League Champions. The Tigers went dancing in their first matchup of the NCAA tournament against Iowa State where they were defeated in a 3–0 game. The Tigers also came out of their 2017 season with Ivy League Player of the Year, sophomore Maggie O’Connell, who also made history by receiving AVCA All-Northeast Region honorable mention.
Men’s volleyball: Coming off of a tough 2016 season, the men’s volleyball team started the rebuilding process during the 2017 season earlier this year. Ending with an overall record of 12–14, the Tiger men made it to the EIVA semifinal against Penn State but ended their season with a tough loss. Despite the rocky ending, two Princeton athletes, then freshmen and current sophomores, Parker Dixon and George Huhmann, earned All-EIVA recognition and were invited to compete with the 2017 Men’s Junior National Training Team. We can’t wait to see what these Tigers accomplish in 2018!
Women’s basketball: At the end of its 2016–17 season, the Princeton women’s basketball team made it to the Ivy League Championship where it got slightly tripped up by UPenn but they were still able to compete in the Women’s Invitational Tournament where they lost a close battle to Villanova. Heads held high after a great season, head coach Courtney Banghart was named assistant coach to the USA Basketball’s Women’s U-23 National team and then-freshman Bella Alarie was selected to play on the 2017 USA Basketball U19 World Cup team. During the current 2017–18 season, the Tigers are 6–3 overall, looking to start their conference games strong. Best of luck to the tiger women in the rest of their 2017–18 season!
Men’s basketball: Did someone say March Madness? In 2017, the men’s basketball team did! This past March, the Tiger men made the March Madness tournament for the first time in six years after being name Ivy League Champions. After being defeated in the first round by Notre Dame, Mitch Henderson, head coach, was named NABC UPS All-District 13 Coach of the Year, Steven Cook ’17 was named to the NABC All-District 13 first team, and then-sophomore Devin Cannady as well as Spencer Weisz ’17 were named to the second team. Weisz was also named the 2017 Ivy League Player of the Year during their undefeated Ivy League Season and he was named Associated Press honorable mention All-America and he is now playing for Hapoel Gilboa Galil of the Israeli Premier League. Currently, the Tigers are 3–6 overall with high hopes for their Ivy League Play starting in 2018.
Women’s swim and dive: The beginning of 2017 was emotional for the women’s swim and dive teams and it was the end of head coach Susan Teeter’s career. Fighting through their emotions, the Tigers took third place overall in the Ivy League. This season, the swim and dive teams are 5–0 against their Ivy League competitors and hoping to stay that way through the Ivy League Championships.
Men’s swim and dive: After being suspended during the rough end to their 2016–17 season, the men’s swim and dive team reopened with a program initiative toward building a more positive culture. They also welcomed a new assistant coach, former Olympian Doug Lennox ’09. The Tigers are also currently 5–0 in Ivy League meets and are hoping to keep fighting for an Ivy League championship.
Baseball: After a 2016 Ivy League Championship in 2016, the Tigers baseball team had a rough season in 2017, finishing 12–28–1 overall and 7–13 in conference play. With their hopes high after welcoming seven new players for the 2018 season, the Tigers are eager to get onto the field in 2018.
Softball: The softball team went back to back with Ivy League Titles in 2016–17! The tigers ended their 2017 season with an Ivy League Championship after sweeping Harvard. Their trip to the NCAA tournament came to an end in a loss to Jacksonville State on Florida State’s home field. Despite the loss, alumna Claire Klausner ’17 went on and pitched the U.S. entry in the Maccabiah Games softball tournament, leading the U.S. team to a gold medal in Israel. The softball team is looking forward to their 2018 season as they welcome five members of the class of 2021!
Women’s tennis: As a sport with a dual season, the tennis team stayed busy during 2017. The Tigers ended Ivy League play in the beginning of 2017 5–2. Three players, Caroline Joyce ’17, then-sophomore Nicole Kalhorn, and then-junior Katrine Steffensen, all named All-Ivy League players. The Tigers ended their 2017 fall season at the LSU Fall Classic and are looking forward to picking back up next month with their first match of 2018 versus Temple on Jan. 27!
Football: After winning the Ivy League Championship in 2016, the Princeton Tigers were looking forward to a strong 2017 season. After a rough season and ending with an overall record of 5–5 while going 2–5 in Ivy League play, the Tigers had seen better years. Despite the rough season, the Tiger football team had 12 players named All-Ivy, including junior Jesper Horsted and senior Chad Kanoff. Kanoff also set passing records during his senior season while also having the honor of being named the 11th Princeton Bushnell Cup winner as well as the second player in eleven years to win Offensive Player of the Year.
Men’s cross country: Men’s cross country had an outstanding season. They demolished Ivy League competition and claimed first place at HEP championships; the team score of 28 was the lowest score at HEPs since 1987. In NCAA championships, they came in 28 out of 31. The team loses a strong senior class of 10 runners, and five of the top seven on the team are seniors. 2018 may be a rebuilding year for the tigers.
Women’s cross country: Women’s cross country finished fourth of eight in HEPs this season, and fourth of 26 in the Mid-Atlantic NCAA region. Gabi Forrest had a stellar season, winning HEPs and representing the Tigers at NCAA nationals, where she came 37th and earned All-American honors.
Women’s track and field: Women’s track and field had a solid 2017 spring campaign, placing third of eight at HEPS and 52nd in NCAAs. The Tigers just had their first meet for the 2017–18 season last weekend, where several Tigers had top finishes. This year’s roster has tremendous depth and the 2018 spring season looks promising.
Men’s track and field: Men’s track and field won HEPs in spring 2017, and hopes to claim another title in 2018. Seniors August Kiles and William Paulson represented Princeton in NCAA championships, but Paulson suffered a hamstring injury in the middle of his race.
Men’s tennis: Princeton finished the spring 2017 season with a 14–12 record and graduated a strong senior class in 2017. However, the team is bolstered by the addition of four first-year students, including Ryan Seggerman, who had an outstanding fall rookie season. The team competed well in the fall, and anticipates a solid spring season.
Men’s hockey: Men’s hockey ended their 2016–17 season with a 15–16–3 record. They competed hard in the ECAC tournament, making it past the first round over Colgate, but losing in the ECAC quarterfinals to Union. Currently, the team has a 6–7–1 record and hopes to take revenge in its rematches against Brown, Quinnipiac and Cornell in 2018.
Women’s hockey: Women’s hockey had a dominant 2016–17 season, ending 20–10–3. Its 2017–18 season is off to a slower start, as they currently hold a 4–9–3 record. 2018 may be a growth year for the Tigers: Freshman and sophomores comprise two-thirds of the team, with two lone seniors leading the squad.
Wrestling: Sophomore Matthew Kolodzik had an outstanding freshman season in 2016–17: He was Princeton’s first freshman All-American and finished seventh overall at NCAAs. Currently, he is undefeated in his sophomore season. Princeton is off to a 0–2 start in its 2017–18 season.
We hope you all have a happy holiday season and happy New Year. We’ll see you in January for another year of exciting sports!