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This week in Princeton Athletics

Senior forward Liz Agatucci on the Princeton women's field hockey team getting past a Delaware defender en route to a goal.
Senior forward Liz Agatucci helped pace the Tigers to their first win of the season with a goal against No. 19 Delaware
Photo courtesy of @TigerFH/X

Fall sports were in full swing this past weekend with women’s soccer, volleyball, field hockey, rugby, and volleyball all back in action. The men’s water polo team also hosted the Princeton invitational this past weekend. More on that here


Women’s soccer suffers first loss of the season against No. 6 Penn State

The week of action began Thursday night as the Princeton women’s soccer team (3–1–1 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) traveled to Pennsylvania to play the No. 6 ranked Nittany Lions (6–0–1, 0–0 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions would control almost every aspect of the contest en route to a comfortable 3–0 win for the home side. 

The Tigers would start strong, attempting the first three shots of the contest and showing they can be dangerous on the attack this season. They surprisingly outshot the Nittany Lions 11 to nine during the contest and six to five on shots on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net. 

Junior defender Mieke Schiemann, a German native, would score both goals off set pieces for Penn State. Sophomore midfielder Olivia Borgen would put the game to bed when she made it 3–0 late in the second half.

The Tigers were certainly able to create multiple chances, yet many questions remain for their back line that also gave up three goals in their previous game versus Army West Point. 

Princeton was scheduled to play Lafayette (4–2, 0–0 Patriot League) on Sunday afternoon, but the game was postponed due to inclement weather. The Tigers will be back at home on Thursday when they play host to the No. 10 ranked and undefeated Georgetown Hoyas (4–0–3, 0–0 Big East) at Roberts Stadium at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. 


Field hockey gets first win of the season but falls to Rutgers in an up-and-down weekend

The No. 15 ranked Princeton field hockey team (1–3, 0–0 Ivy League) picked up their first win of the season over the weekend after two hard-fought matchups with the No. 19 Delaware Blue Hens (3–3, 0–0 Colonial Athletic Conference) and the No. 10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6–0, 0–0 Big Ten). Both games went to double overtime, the Tigers prevailed on Friday against the Blue Hens by a score of 2–1 and lost to Rutgers on Sunday by the same score. 

Senior forward Bridget Murphy was the hero on Friday night as she scored the game-winning goal to get the Tigers in the win column. The win meant a lot to the squad, who were fresh off two tight losses to No. 4 Louisville and No. 2 North Carolina to start their season. 

The Tigers ran into undefeated Rutgers on Sunday and quickly found themselves facing adversity. A third-period injury to senior goalie Robyn Thompson left the Tigers exposed against an extremely talented Rutgers side. The Tigers, however, responded to the loss of their upperclass student leader with a game-tying goal, forcing overtime as a result.

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Rutgers defender Puck Winters ultimately scored the game-winning goal for the Scarlet Knights in a game that they largely dominated. The Tigers managed just two shots to the Scarlet Knights’ 15, but the team showed grit nonetheless as they have all season. 

The Tigers will be back in action on Thursday in College Park, Maryland to square off with the No. 5 Maryland Terrapins (6–1, 0–0 Big Ten).

Women’s rugby shows potential of the program, losing by one to Mount St. Mary’s, 27–26

During their 2023 home opener on Saturday afternoon, the Princeton women’s rugby team (0–2) played what many say was their best match to date. The newly minted varsity program that began just last year, put up an inspiring effort against Mount St. Mary’s (1–1) as they lost by just one, 27–26 in the final seconds of the game.

“All of the players we have right now are giving so much to do all this, to learn how to tackle, collide with people, control momentum,” head coach Josie Ziluca told the Daily Princetonian.

She added, “You have to be willing to show up and give the most effort, and our players do just that. Every single day that we train together, we want to level up the standard.”

Sophomore 8-Person Amelia Clarke, one of the three recruits for the inaugural varsity season, scored Princeton’s first try of the season. Right before halftime, first year outside back Celia Watson scored yet another try for the Tigers.

Clarke would score her second try of the game early in the second half to give Princeton a 15–5 lead. It looked like the Tigers may have been on their way to their first win ever, but the Mountaineers would respond.

Clarke would make it a hat trick later in the half, but Mount St. Mary would not back down. A game winner by the Mountaineers would seal the comeback and give them the 27–26 win. Nevertheless, this match will be remembered by many Tiger fans as the team gave the fans a lot to cheer for and look forward to.

Two sophomore recruits, outside back Alayshja Bable and second row Caroline Maguire, missed the game due to injury. They remain out indefinitely.

The Tigers will be back at the West Windsor Rugby Field this Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12 p.m. when they host Dartmouth (2–0). Last season, the Big Green got the better of the Tigers, 95–10. The Tigers will be hoping for a better result this time around with a year of varsity experience under their belt. 

“This team can really stand up for one another and help each other out. It is love on display,” Ziluca added.

Women’s volleyball faces disappointment against tough competition in Maryland

After losing a total of four games in the 2022 season, the Princeton women’s volleyball team (2–4, 0–0 Ivy League) is off to a rough start in the young season. The squad went 0–3 over the weekend at the Maryland tournament, dropping matches to Coastal Carolina (5–5, 0–0 Sun Belt Conference), UMBC (5–3, 0–0 Atlantic East Conference), and host Maryland (7–2, 0–0 Big Ten). 

First-year outside hitter Kamryn Chaney was the star of the first two games for the Tigers, recording a total of 28 kills and 10 digs against Coastal Carolina and UMBC. Sophomore middle blocker Lucia Scalamandre, who is coming off an Ivy League rookie of the year campaign, had 21 kills, eight blocks, and five digs against the two Friday opponents. The Tigers remained competitive in the two games, winning a set in each one, but ultimately losing both 3–1.

Against Maryland, the team had some bright spots, but ultimately struggled to piece everything together, getting swept by the Terrapins on Saturday afternoon. First-year setter Sydney Draper was the star for the Tigers with a match high of 30 assists. 

After the weekend of poor results, it sure seems like the team is still struggling to fill the void of the six seniors that graduated in 2023. The class included Ivy League defensive player of the year Cameron Dames ’23. It also included three Ivy League First-Team players last season (Lindsey Kelly ’23, Avery Luoma ’23, Melina Mahood ’23). 

The Tigers will be back in action on Wednesday, Sept. 13 when they travel to Philadelphia to play Temple (6–2, 0–0 American League) in an unusual season start for Head Coach Sabrina King, who has seen consistent success with the program since 2015. 

Women’s cross country shines at the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet

It was a dominant weekend for Princeton women’s cross country as they took first place with 29 points at the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton (HYP) Meet. Among the top-five finishers were seniors Tsion Yared and Maggie Liebich in third and fourth, and junior Mena Scatchard in fifth.

The team bus got stuck in traffic en route to the meet, and the Tigers squad arrived at the venue less than an hour before race time. “I think our team did a really great job of staying calm and collected,” Yared told the ‘Prince.’ Despite suboptimal conditions, the Tigers prevailed.

“I was really fortunate to have teammates to run with during the majority of the race,” said Yared. “And I was happy that I was able to find another gear in the last 1k of the race to finish,” she added. Yared moved from ninth place to third between the 1k and 3k markers.

The Princeton men’s cross country team had a far less successful afternoon at HYP. They finished last out of three competing teams but will look to bounce back on Sept. 23 at the University of Virginia Invitational.

Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

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