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Led by senior captains Camille Sullivan and Abby Finkelston, the reigning Ivy League champion women’s lacrosse team is hoping to continue the momentum from last spring’s successful season to reclaim its conference title and clinch a spot in the NCAA Final Four.

Senior goalie Mary Kate McDonough described the tenacity with which the team will tackle the season, hoping to advance past the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. 

“Our team has identified multiple goals for this season. The first is to play good quality, team lacrosse,” said McDonough. “Princeton lacrosse is a storied program with an incredibly illustrious history so we always want to make those who came before us proud to watch us play. The second is to win the Ivy League. Our senior class has won the league each of the past three years and a win this year would make four in a row for our class (making us only the third class in program history to win four in a row), and five in a row for the team.”

The spring season concluded last year with a disappointing loss in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament, with the team falling 12–14 in a contentious playoff match against Penn State in late May.

The loss was a discouraging end to a remarkable season in which the Tigers racking up 15–4 and 6–1 seasonal and Ivy League records, respectively. Penn State, Maryland, and Penn were responsible for the team’s only losses of the season.

“The Ivy League encompasses some of our biggest rivals and most formidable opponents so wins in conference will be incredibly important for our success this year,“ said McDonough. “We also have the goal of making the Final Four.”

“I think our team came out of last season with a lot of confidence,” senior attacker Colby Chanenchuk said about her team’s exciting 2017 spring season and its impact on this year’s squad. “We saw the potential we had as a group and how hard work could pay off. I think we also learned that any opponent on any given day can rise up and take on any team. Powerhouses like Maryland can fall to lesser-ranked teams and unranked teams can rise to the occasion and take down formidable opponents. We have to keep in mind that it’s anyone’s game . . . .”

The Orange and Black have experienced this unpredictability already in the 2018 spring season, succumbing to Virginia in their home opener last Saturday.

The team entered the season at No. 9 in the IWLCA poll, easily defeating Temple 17–4 to launch the season, but soon fell 10–14 to No.16 Virginia. Though the Tigers rebounded to win 18–12 over Lehigh on Tuesday, they now are ranked 14th in the poll.

McDonough attributes this inconsistent start to the season to regular early-season kinks and significant roster changes. 

“I believe we have performed relatively well so far, but are exhibiting some growing pains that we hope to work out in the coming weeks,“ explained McDonough. “We are looking to solidify our team play on both offense and defense but certainly have the talent to play really fantastic lacrosse on both ends of the field.”

Among the losses in the class of 2017 were former goalie Ellie DeGarmo and former attacker Olivia Hompe. DeGarmo made a lasting impact in the net, earning First-Team All-American honors and chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award. At the other end of the field, Hompe also earned First-Team All-American and Tewaaraton finalist honors among other accolades, leading the team with a record-breaking 285 points and 198 career goals. Hompe, however, is still involved with the program as a Graduate Student Coach.

Though the Tigers lost key teammates after last year’s season, younger players have already stepped up to fill the void. While freshman midfielder Kyla Sears, the 2017 U.S. Lacrosse National Player of the Year, has scored ten goals and garnered thirteen points in her first three collegiate games, freshman defender Mary Murphy was named Ivy League Defender of the Week for her performance in the first match against Temple.

Sophomore midfielder Tess D’Orsi and junior midfielder Kathryn Hallett have also made an impact, D’Orsi with seven total goals and Hallett with nine.

With a strong team roster, the Tigers will commence Ivy League play this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Brown. The game will be broadcasted live on the Ivy League Network.

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