On Sunday afternoon, Princeton field hockey hosted No.1 and defending NCAA champions Northwestern University.
“We’re not thinking about the rankings. We just want to come out and play our game,” senior forward and captain Sammy Popper told The Daily Princetonian before the game. “[We’re] not really focusing on them too much, but just on us — we’re going to keep building and doing what we’re doing because we’ve had success with that.”
The Tigers have been quickly moving up in national rankings themselves. Just last week, new No. 8 Princeton was ranked No. 17.
While the Tigers (3–3 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) fell 2–1 in overtime to the Northwestern Wildcats (8–0, 0–0 Big Ten), Princeton didn’t make the win easy for them. For 25 minutes, Princeton held a 1–0 lead over Northwestern.
In the first half, the Tigers outshot the Wildcats 8–5, but were unable to successfully convert their shots into goals.
The opening of the third quarter, however, was a completely different story. Less than a minute in, the Tigers earned a penalty corner. Junior forward Grace Schulze provided a perfect feed for sophomore midfielder Beth Yeager, who sent the ball into the net with a drag-flick. This was the seventh goal off a corner for the Tigers this season.
Northwestern had come close to scoring multiple times, but their efforts to tie the game were matched by junior goalie Robyn Thompson’s resilience and talent. With 12:26 left in the final quarter, Northwestern thought they had finally done it when a shot off a penalty corner found the back of the Tigers’ net. However, the ball was high. The initial shot off a corner must remain low. In order for the goal to have counted, it required deflection.
Until five minutes left in regulation, the Tigers held onto the lead. However, with 5:02 remaining, the Wildcats finally found success. Midfielder Maddie Zimmer fed the ball to teammate Bente Baekers, who took a shot. Wildcat midfielder Peyton Halsey gave the final push and used her stick to deflect the ball just a little wider to get past Thompson and into the goal.
Despite an onset of corners and shots from the Tigers in the final minutes, the game remained tied.
It took the Wildcats a little over six minutes to score. Northwestern’s offense dominated OT, outshooting Princeton 6–0. At 3:33, Baekers sent the ball to midfielder and defender Alia Marshall on the left side of the field. Marshall took the opportunity to shoot. In an effort to stop the ball, a Princeton defender kept her stick extended, unfortunately deflecting the ball right into the net.
Regardless of the loss, the Tigers have proven that they’re able to match the rigor and talent of teams ranked above them. Next, Princeton will take on No. 3 Maryland for another home game at Bedford on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Julia Nguyen is a co-head editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at email@example.com or on Instagram at @jt.nguyen.