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Sophomore midfielder Hannah Davey lines up for a shot.

Photo Courtesy of Beverly Schaefer / GoPrincetonTigers

Princeton field hockey (3–4), ranked sixth nationally last week, dropped two games at home this past weekend to No. 21 Rutgers (4–3) and No. 4 University of Connecticut (7–1). Both were close decisions, ending in a final score of 2–1.

The Tigers faced the Scarlet Knights on Friday night. Princeton struck first, in just the fourth minute of the game, off a well-executed corner. Junior striker Clara Roth inserted the ball to first-year forward Ophélie Bemelmans, who stopped it perfectly for sophomore midfielder Hannah Davey to drill the shot home.

Rutgers tied the match at one goal apiece just before the half, but the third quarter proved to be a defensive battle as neither team tallied a shot or a corner. The Scarlet Knights would net the game-winner off a corner late in the fourth quarter.

This is the second year in a row that Princeton’s in-state rival has pulled off the upset.

The Tigers would play in another close match against UConn on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies got on the board just before halftime, as Kourtney Kennedy’s shot off a corner ricocheted off a Princeton player and into the goal. The game was evenly matched in the first half; Princeton held a 5–4 shot advantage during that period.

Senior goalie and captain Grace Baylis proved the star of the third quarter, making countless saves to keep her team within one point. Princeton went on the offensive in the fourth, as Roth and junior midfielder MaryKate Neff each came within inches of scoring.

With just 3:13 left in the game, the Tigers secured a corner. Roth inserted the ball to first-year midfielder Sammy Popper, whose shot was deflected and converted by junior midfielder Julianna Tornetta. The score now tied, Princeton forced overtime.

The fifth period came to an end quickly, however, as UConn’s Svea Boker dribbled along the fire side of the circle and fired a shot past Baylis just four minutes in. 

Prior to last weekend, Princeton had won three straight games against ranked opponents. The Tigers are now 3–3 overall with all six contests coming against teams ranked in the Top 20.

Following the pair of losses, Princeton was ranked No. 10 in this week’s edition of the Penn Monto/NFCA National Coaches’ Poll. North Carolina (7–0) remains undefeated and owns the top spot. Duke (7–0), UConn, Maryland, and Virginia (7–1) complete the Top Five.

Princeton had to regroup quickly, however, in time to travel south to College Park for their final non-conference match, a meeting with No. 4 Maryland on Tuesday night.

The Tigers and the Terrapins have a long history. Maryland took both meetings last year, earning a 5–4 comeback victory in double overtime during the regular season and a 1–0 overtime decision in the National Semifinal. The Terrapins are 7–1 this season, their only loss coming against No. 2 Duke. 

Maryland would improve their record late Tuesday, posting a 4–3 overtime victory against Princeton. The Tigers pounced first with a goal by Popper, and Roth added two more in the third quarter. But the Terrapins came back to tie the score at 3–3 with only four minutes left to play, and then netted the game winner just before the overtime buzzer sounded.

Princeton is now 3–4 on the season. They will be back in action on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Dartmouth to open Ivy League play. 

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