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Women’s lacrosse ready to showcase grit and physicality

As the reigning Ivy League champion, the women’s lacrosse team opened their 2016 spring season against UVA at Sherrerd Field at the Class of 1952 Stadium, and pocketed an early win at 14-7.

The Tigers had an impressive season last year, finishing at No. 5 in the NCAA tournament and at 16-4 in their overall season. They easily claimed their second consecutive Ivy League title with a clean record of seven wins.

Returning are ten starters, including their entire defense anchored by captain senior Liz Bannantine, senior Maddy Lynch, junior Madeline Rodriguez and junior Amanda Leavell. Behind the defense is junior Ellie DeGarmo, who started in all 20 games and posted an 8.71 goals against average and a .467 save percentage with 23 ground balls.

Though the Tigers lost the offensive All-America duo of Erin Slifer and Erin McMunn, junior Olivia Hompe, the team’s leading goal scorer, is expected to lead the offense with 54 goals, 16 assists, 70 points and 27 ground balls under her belt. Senior Stephanie Paloscio, senior Anya Gersoff and junior Anna Doherty are also expected to provide a strong offensive front as they had scored a total of 64 goals. In addition, sophomores Camille Sullivan and Abby Finkelston return from their freshman year with a combined total of 24 points.

With an experienced set of players returning from a successful season and a talented, seven-member freshman class entering the scene, the Tigers have been training throughout the school year to help meet their goals for this season. “We really have been preparing for our first game since we got on campus back in September,” DeGarmo said about their preparation for the new spring season, “With such a long preseason, it was important for us to take each day at a time and really focusing on getting better with each practice, lift and conditioning workout. With the new freshman class came a degree of athleticism that I have not yet seen in my time at Princeton. This addition really allowed for each member of the team to really elevate their individual game and compete at a higher level each day.”

Lynch also didn’t hesitate to show her pride in her team’s hard work that translated onto the field during their season opener this Saturday. “We were held to higher physical standards this season, with prep starting over the summer. This team has worked incredibly hard to meet this standard, and there has been a lot of individual extra work put in outside of practice, which our play today really reflected.”

DeGarmo also credits their past success to their unity on and off the field and hopes it will help them reach new heights in the upcoming weeks of the 2016 season. “This year's team is the most close knit group I've ever been a part of,” she expressed about this year’s group, “We just mesh so well and the different personalities and unique interests of each person contribute to the bonds we form and the love we have for one another. I truly consider my teammates to be my best friends. I think us knowing one another so well off the field is one of the major reasons that we are so successful on the field. We want to work our hardest and push ourselves for the girls next to us.”