Men’s and women’s lacrosse sit atop their respective conference standings with one week remaining in the regular season. The men travel to Ithaca, N.Y., for their finale and will face Cornell for the right to host the Ivy League tournament. Postseason home field advantage already belongs to the lady Tigers. A home win over Brown would give the women their first perfect conference record since 2004, in which year they fell to Virginia 10-4 in the NCAA tournament final.
Women’s lacrosse looks to avenge 2014 overtime loss
The lowly Brown Bears had lost 23 consecutive contests to their rivals from New Jersey coming into the 2014 matchup. The teams scored back and forth in Providence, R.I., little separating Princeton and Brown until a 6-0 Tiger run blew the game open and gave the visitors a halftime advantage of 11-7. However, Bruno would not be deterred, and the home side scored six unanswered of their own out of the intermission. Brown emerged victorious with a 14-13 overtime decision, adding some variety to what had been a distinctly one-sided rivalry.
Currently, No. 10/13 Princeton women’s lacrosse (12-7 overall, 6-0 Ivy League) is riding a three-game win streak while Brown (7-7, 1-5) shares last place in the conference table with Columbia.
Despite the gritty home effort in 2014, Brown is unlikely to pose a challenge for Princeton. Brown’s Bre Hudgins, scorer of the game-winning goal in last year’s matchup and a first-team all-Ivy attack, graduated with the class of 2014. Danielle Mastro, an all-Ivy second-team attack who assisted Hudgins on that goal, likewise moved on from her Rhode Island haunts.
This season, junior attack Lauren Toy has been the top threat for Brown. Her 33 points (25 goals, 8 assists) are a team-high. However, this mark only ties for 13thin the conference tally.
Senior goalkeeper Kellie Roddy has been solid between the pipes for Bruno with a save percentage of 47.4.Roddy will face her season’s toughest test in the Tigers, whose offense combines experience, poise and plenty of talent.
Offensive player of the week honors came for Princeton sophomore Olivia Hompe, the Tigers’ leading goalscorer, thanks to her four and three goal efforts against No. 11 Penn and Columbia.
The emergent underclassman Hompe has complemented the dynamic senior duo of attack Erin McMunn and midfielder Erin Slifer. Slifer’s 52 points (33 goals, including three game-winners, and 19 assists) lead all Tigers with her remarkably efficient approach. 75.4 percent of her shots are on target with 47.8 percent successfully converted.
Class of 1952 Stadium will be the venue for Saturday’s contest, which is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
First-placed Tigers take on Big Red
This weekend will feature the 79thinstallment of the Ivy League’s marquee matchup. No. 14/14 Princeton (8-4 overall, 4-1 Ivy League) will look to avenge last season’s season-ending loss as they travel to face No. 12/12 Cornell (9-4, 3-2). The winner of Saturday’s tilt will earn home field advantage in the Ivy League’s sixth annual postseason tournament.
First facing off against the Big Red in 1922, Princeton leads the series 39-36-2. No team has won multiple consecutive matchups since 2009-10 when Cornell built up a three-game streak against the Tigers. Since then, the sides have traded wins back and forth in this unpredictable rivalry.
Two recently-named Tewaaraton nominees sit at the top of Cornell’s scoring tally. Attackmen Mike Donovan and Connor Buczek have followed up their 2014 first-team all-Ivy seasons with stellar campaigns. Second-teamer Dan Lintner from the Class of 2014 has added 25 goals to round out the top three Big Red goalscorers.
Speaking of Tewaaraton nominations, Princeton’s senior attackman Mike MacDonald was wrongly overlooked in this writer’s opinion. His 5.50 points per game rank fourth in Division I. On Saturday, the lucky lefty will likely draw the attention of Cornell’s senior close defenseman Jordan Stevens. Should he get the better of the Ivy League’s top man-on defenseman, it will provide even further evidence of his underrating.
Beyond the senior offensive trio of Donovan, Buczek and Lintner, Cornell’s roster boasts one of the most impactful players in the Ivy League: faceoff specialist Domenic Massimilian. The sophomore out of Dallas, Texas saw limited action in four games last season. In his second year, he has 64.9 percent of his battles at the faceoff ‘x.’ This mark places him first among specialists in the Ivy League and seventh in Division I.
Princeton has struggled to maintain consistent faceoff play after pre-season injuries sidelined senior Justin Murphy. Freshman specialist Sam Bonafede has won 48.2 percent of his matchups with sophomore midfielder Zach Currier having success on 46.8 percent of draws.
Hailing from Peterborough, Ontario, Currier, the Canadian sensation, leads the Tigers with 59 ground balls. This mark, achieved through persistent tenacity on the ground, exceeds the team’s next highest total by 20.
Speaking of underclassmen, Princeton’s goalkeeper Tyler Blaisdell took home Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for his 15-save winning effort against Harvard. The Massachusetts native validated the preseason hype with a truly clutch performance against a bitter rival.
Ithaca’s Schoelkopff will be the venue, with action scheduled to start on Saturday at 1 p.m. Fox Sports will broadcast the matchup.