It is true that big surprises come in small packages.
The women's hockey team's victory last week was a surprise.
But don't call the Tigers a small package. Their 3-2 upset over second-seeded Northeastern last Saturday may have shocked people, but that game just goes to show how much strength and determination Princeton has.
"We know we are among the best teams in the league," sophomore center Danya Marshman said. "Last weekend, we proved it."
Tomorrow at 1 p.m., the seventh-seeded Tigers head once again to the Northeastern campus to challenge New Hampshire (28-4-3, 19-1-3 Eastern College Athletic Association ), the top team in the ECAC, in the semifinals of the ECAC League Championships.
Clearly the game will be no walk in the park. Earlier this year, UNH boasted a 24-game winning streak and UNH's Brandi Fisher currently leads the league in points.
Princeton (12-15-2, 8-13-1) has not beaten UNH in two previous matchups this year, nor for as long as head coach Jeff Kampersal '92 and the Tigers can remember.
"They are good all around, strong at all aspects," Marshman said. "Backchecking is crucial, (because) they are a tough team and they forecheck really hard."
Princeton is not afraid. On the contrary, last week's victory has the Tigers ready to deliver a win.
"I think we gave them more confidence and got them pumped up," Kampersal said. "We realize we are underdogs, but if we play a simple game we have a chance to beat UNH."
"We didn't get any really big wins this season," Marshman said. "I think the biggest thing is that (the win over Northeastern) gives us the confidence we lacked during the regular season."
Nor is the team at a lack for stars, sending freshman forward Annamarie Holmes, sophomore defender Dani Holtschlag and junior forward Ali Coughlin to the All-Ivy second team.
Also, UNH is not infallible, dropping one game 2-1 in overtime to last-place Harvard earlier in the season.
Kampersal said that there will be no change in the Tigers' usual style of play – good connecting passes, quick shots and follow-ups – designed power play routines for tomorrow's game. Instead, Princeton will rely on what it has worked on and knows best.
"We've been going about business as usual," Kampersal said. "Most of our strategies are the same."
"We just want to go out hard and combine everything we've done all year," Marshman said. "Everything lies within us. It is basically capitalizing on our opportunities (that will allow the team to win)."
One thing that is crucial, however, is to stop the Huskie offense. UNH has shown that it can and will shoot with deadly accuracy.
"The toughest part is going to be shutting down their first two lines," Kampersal said.
A main part of the team's effort will rest on the shoulders of senior goalie Tammy Orlow. If last week was an indication though, the Tigers are in good hands. Orlow tallied 44 saves against Northeastern and let in only two goals. If Orlow repeats last week's performance, then UNH will have a tough time putting the puck in the net.