The women's lacrosse team's early-season schedule has been full of tough opponents. During the first week of the regular season, Princeton defeated three teams of national prominence, the margins of victory becoming increasingly narrow with each game.
One can only imagine, then, the relief the Tigers felt as they cruised through the second half of their 17-1 demolition of Columbia yesterday in New York, the game's final minutes proving to be nothing more than a formality.
Unlike the game against Georgetown, Princeton (4-0 overall, 1-0 Ivy League) needed no help from the posts as its trio of goaltenders – sophomore Laura Field, junior Amber Mettler and sophomore Michelle Leong – had little trouble shutting down the Lions' attack.
The Tigers could also have survived without a huge game from junior midfielder Cristi Samaras, but Princeton was more than happy to have its top scorer in peak form. Samaras scored five goals and added four assists for a career-high-tying nine points.
Her outburst raised her goalscoring total to 14 on the year, and she appears well on her way to challenging the single-season record of 51 that she set in 1996. Her 23 points so far put her on pace to break her record of 72, also set two years ago.
Columbia (0-2, 0-1), in just its second season at the varsity level, had hoped to at least be competitive in its first-ever meeting with the Tigers. Any suspense in this game, however, disappeared after Princeton surged to a 10-0 halftime lead.
The only bit of drama present in the second half involved the Tigers' pursuit of their first-ever shutout. Princeton's defensive perfection held until Katie Bergstrom scored the Lions' lone goal of the game with 41 seconds remaining.
From every angle
Despite Samaras' individual accomplishments, the Tigers' domination of the Lions was a true team effort. Ten different players scored for Princeton, and 12 registered points on the afternoon. Junior attack Tice Burke added three goals and two assists, while junior midfielder Jen Alexander dished out four assists.
Although the Lions' first-ever Ivy League game (Columbia did not play a full conference schedule last year) was a humbling one, they need not feel alone in being drubbed by the Tigers. In Princeton's last four league games last season – all victories – Tiger opponents were defeated by an average score of 15-5.
If the rest of the conference didn't already realize it, Princeton's victory over the Lions drove the point home forcefully – the Tigers will not be an easy team for anybody to handle this year, let alone a program in just its second year of existence.