This past weekend was a big one for Princeton field hockey. On Friday night, the Tigers (10–3 overall, 3–0 Ivy) traveled to New York City to take on Columbia (6–4 overall, 2–1 Ivy) under the lights. At halftime, Princeton led by only one goal, but in the second period, the team added three more tallies. The commanding 4–0 win was sophomore striker Clara Roth’s sixth career multi-goal game. For sophomore goalkeeper Grace Brightbill, the game was her collegiate debut, as she stepped into the net to replace junior Grace Baylis for the final 3:54. Princeton is now 21–1 all time against the Lions.
The main attraction would be the Tigers’ Sunday afternoon meeting with the third-ranked UConn Huskies. Princeton last beat UConn (11–2 overall, 4–0 conference) during the 2012 National Championship season, but their most recent victory playing on the Huskies’ turf in Storrs, Connecticut, came in 2002. UConn came into the game having suffered just one loss this season, a two-goal defeat at the hands of No. 2 Maryland.
The Tigers provided the only spark in an otherwise quiet first half of play, with Roth scoring her only goal of the match from the right end line. Freshman midfielder Hannah Davey added her second goal of the season just five minutes into the second half, but UConn countered quickly, scoring on the very next possession. Minutes later, junior fullback Maddie Bacskai, a first team All-American last season, pushed another ball into the net after a corner to give Princeton a two-goal lead.
The next two goals would come in quick succession, with UConn adding a second tally to bring the scoring margin to one. From that point on, the game was dominated by freshman striker Ali McCarthy. She netted two goals in less than two minutes to give the Tigers a three-point advantage. McCarthy’s first score came on a one-on-one with the UConn goalie, as she corralled a loose ball and slipped it by. She lined her second shot into the cage off a rebound for her first career multi-goal game.
Princeton’s five goals in the 5–2 win were the most that UConn has allowed since October 25, 2013. The Tigers dominated the match, coming away with a 17–8 advantage in shots and a 10–5 lead in corners. It was a superb performance for the Princeton defense, allowing just two scores by the Huskies, who lead the NCAA with an average of 4.73 goals per game. Princeton also quieted UConn star Cecile Pieper, who is fourth in the nation with 3.09 points per game, holding her to no goals and just one shot.
At press time, Princeton still sits at No. 5 in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches’ Poll behind North Carolina, Maryland, UConn, and Duke, but Sunday’s win will likely cause a shakeup in the rankings. The Tigers have lost to UNC and Maryland, but now have wins over both UConn and Duke.
Princeton will face Brown at home on Friday. The Bears sit at 4–7 (0–3 Ivy), having beat Sacred Heart by a score of 3–2 on Sunday.