Four minutes and four seconds remained in then-No. 12 Field Hockey’s (7–4 overall, 2–0 Ivy League) game against then-No. 2 Duke. The score stood at 4–4.
Junior striker Clara Roth lined up for the Tigers’ third corner of the period. The ball flew from her stick to junior midfielder Julianna Tornetta’s to sophomore midfielder Hannah Davey’s. Davey wove through a thicket of defenders in blue, almost tripped, wound up, and shot.
Duke’s goaltender doubled over. Sophomore striker Ali McCarthy threw herself into Davey’s arms. Princeton’s squad rushed the field.
David: Five. Goliath: Four.
It was the culmination of a thrilling weekend for the Tigers, who prevailed in two overtime matches this weekend and rose to the seventh spot in the Penn Monto/NFHCA National Coaches’ Poll.
Before the Tigers could ready for the showdown with Duke, they had to get through a struggling Ivy League foe. Princeton faltered in the early minutes of its game against Yale on Saturday, giving up two goals in the first five minutes of the match. The Tigers pressed on offense early in the second stanza, registering four shots in just five minutes. Princeton would finally score on a corner, as sophomore fullback Claire Donovan converted her first career goal on a ball from first-year defender Autumn Brown.
Heading into halftime, Princeton held a 18–3 shot advantage despite being behind 2–1 on the score board.
Roth evened the score at two goals apiece early in the third quarter. She took the ball along the far baseline and whipped a turnaround shot into the cage for her sixth goal of the season.
Minutes later, Donovan picked up a turnover at the top of the circle and wasted no time firing the shot home for her second goal of the game. The third quarter was also an impressive defensive stand for the Tigers, who did not allow a single shot by the Bulldogs in that period.
Yale would even the game late in the fourth quarter and send the match into overtime, but Princeton responded with five shots to open extra play.
With only three minutes remaining on the clock, Tornetta possessed the ball in front of Yale’s goal. She weaved through several defenders before unloading the ball to McCarthy, who slipped a shot into the back of the cage to complete the Tigers’ comeback.
And the two-goal comeback against Princeton’s Ivy League rival paled in comparison to the next day’s feat.
The Tigers’ Sunday match on the Blue Devils’ home turf saw a scoreless first quarter, as Princeton failed to convert on a pair of late corners. The Tigers would get on the board early in the second stanza, as junior striker Emma Street intercepted a pass in the circle and found McCarthy, who evaded a defender and scored.
Duke then responded with a flurry of goal-scoring, ultimately sending four balls past senior goalie Grace Baylis in less than 10 minutes of game time. Noor van de Laar and Leah Crouse would count consecutive tallies just 27 seconds apart before McCarthy added her second goal of the day on an assist by Davey.
All in all, the second quarter featured six goals and 11 shots, leaving Duke with a 4–2 lead at the half.
Princeton would hardly falter, however. Junior midfielder MaryKate Neff tapped in a shot by first-year midfielder Sammy Popper off a corner in the third, while junior goalie Grace Brightbill, inserted to start the second half, came up with two huge saves to start off the fourth.
With just 2:11 remaining, and Princeton still trailing 3–4, the ball was commanded by Roth, whose first shot was denied. The junior striker recovered possession and dribbled along the baseline before firing the equalizer with only 0:43 on the clock, forcing overtime.
Davey then scored the game-winner, slipping the ball between Duke’s goalie and the near post. She was honored as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week, having produced the decisive score against Duke and then-No. 11 Delaware earlier in the week.
The Tigers are back in action this Saturday when they will welcome Columbia to Bedford Field.