Continuing to review the past week in Princeton sports, the men’s water polo team, the field hockey team, and the women’s rugby team took on their first games of the season.
No. 6 men’s water polo begins season with two victories
After a program record win total (27) and an appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals for the second straight year, the No. 6 Princeton men’s water polo team (2–0 overall, 0–0 Northeast Water Polo Conference) returned hungry for more on Saturday as they kicked off the 2023 season.
The first game of the day was against Long Island (1–3, 0–0 NWPC) which resulted in a 14–6 win for the Tigers. Litvak’s squad was paced by four multi-goal scorers, with star Roko Pozaric leading the way with a hat trick. The star from Zagreb, Croatia led the Tigers in scoring his first two years and is undoubtedly one of the top players in the country. First year attacker William Swart also scored two goals in his debut.
The second game of the day was a much more convincing win for Litvak’s men. The Tigers held George Washington (1–1, 0–0 Mid Atlantic Water Polo Conference) scoreless for over 20 minutes of game time en route to a dominant 18–3 victory. Litvak showed off his deep squad with ten Tigers getting on the scoresheet. Sophomore goalie West Temkin picked up right where he left off, with 17 saves for the Tigers.
“The goal for the season is obviously to not just make it to, but to win the NCAA tournament at USC this year,” Temkin wrote to the ‘Prince’.
He added, “Beginning the season with two wins is always great for momentum. This weekend will be a good test of our stamina at this point in the season with five games in less than three days.”
No. 15 women's field hockey shows promise, but falls in first two games of season
The No. 15 Princeton women’s field hockey team (0–2, 0–0 Ivy League) dropped two games over the weekend to top 10 opponents, but proved that they can hang with the best of the best. After losing eight of its seniors from last year’s NCAA tournament squad, head coach Carla Tagliente started just three players who featured in last year’s tournament.
The first game of the weekend was against the Louisville Cardinals (4–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast Conference) on Friday. Louisville would score first, but the Tigers would tie it later in the first with sophomore Talia Schenck scoring the Tigers’ first goal of the year. Unfortunately for Princeton, Louisville would score the last goal of the contest 15 seconds into the second period. The Cardinals outshot the Tigers and controlled the majority of the game.
On Sunday, the team would play the defending NCAA champions, No. 2 North Carolina (3–1, 0–0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Senior forward Bridget Murphy would score four minutes into the contest to put the Tar Heels on upset alert.
Following this, UNC put the pressure on Princeton. During the game, they outshot the Tigers 23–5 and 12–3 in shots on goal. Still, the Tigers remained resilient, holding the lead for nearly 50 minutes. However, the defending champions would score with six minutes left and eventually score the game winner in overtime.
Rugby falls to experienced Brown side
In only its second year as a varsity program, the women’s rugby team (0–1) dropped a match to an experienced Brown (1–0) side, 86–0. The season is still young for a team adjusting to life at the varsity level. The second batch of recruits for the program made their debuts Saturday afternoon.
Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
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