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Women’s lacrosse falls to Penn in Ivy League Tournament, await Drexel in NCAA Tournament

player in orange and white carries ball forward while Penn player tries to take it away
Women’s lacrosse will return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2022.
Photo courtesy of Go Princeton Tigers / Sideline Photos LLC.

On Friday in New Haven, Connecticut, the Princeton women’s lacrosse team (10–6 overall, 6–1 Ivy League) took the field to face off against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers (13–3, 5–2) in the first round of the Ivy League tournament. The No. 2 seeded Tigers previously upset the No. 3 Quakers at home exactly one month ago, coming out of the neck and neck game on top of their rivals. But this time, the Quakers came back with a vengeance, and were able to take down the Tigers 18–14, knocking the Tigers out of the running for the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

The Tigers came out strong in the first half, and within the first minute they were on the board. Like most of the season, Princeton’s offense showed incredible teamwork. Sophomore attacker Haven Dora led the team up the field and behind the goal, swung the action to each side of the field, and found senior midfielder Kari Buonanno, who fired through the defense for the first goal. Penn answered back with two goals for the first of four lead changes, as both teams fought their hardest to advance to the next round. 


Princeton took control of the half after sophomore attacker Jami MacDonald dove across the goal to add another for the Tigers. Senior attacker Grace Tauckus followed up with another goal for the Tigers after an impressive interception and assist from first-year attacker Meg Morrisroe. The Tigers showed their offensive dominance and kept the ball in front of the Penn goalie for most of the first quarter, but Penn was able to tie up the first quarter late, keeping the game tight at three all.

Buonanno once again opened the quarter’s scoring for Princeton with another goal, giving the Tigers a lead that they held for the rest of the half. Dora later found another opening, and was able to score from a drive off the eight-meter mark after an impressive ground ball and breakaway up the field by junior Sam Whiting. Both teams were growing scrappy, and Princeton committed a foul, giving Penn an opportunity and a goal on a power play. Just a few moments later, the Quakers also left the Tigers a woman up after their own foul, and senior midfielder Samantha Devito snaked one past the Penn goalie. MacDonald had one more goal for the Tigers, and Penn followed with two more. Junior attacker McKenzie Blake closed the half with her 57th goal of the season to give the Tigers a one goal, 8–7 lead going into the second half.

During the third quarter, the momentum fully switched in favor of the Quakers, who deposited seven goals in the quarter. The Tigers were able to fight back in the beginning, matching Penn’s first two goals with two of their own: one for Dora and Blake each. The last goal of the quarter for the Tigers was from Buonanno, who scored after a long possession time for Princeton. Offense was strong through most of the game, with continual pressure from the Tigers throughout the entirety of the game. Still, Penn outshot the Tigers, with shot attempts for the whole game at 43–27 in favor of the Quakers. Penn also caused more turnovers, forcing 12 to Princeton’s nine. But still, after Buonanno’s goal, the teams were tied 11–11.

The Quakers went on to shoot seven goals to Princeton’s one from Dora between the end of the third and start of the fourth, not only stretching the lead, but also snowballing their momentum in a crucial point in the game. While Princeton’s crash offense kept the Quakers on their toes, Penn created space that drew the Tigers out and gave themselves lanes to the net. With five minutes left in the game it was 18–12, but the Tigers would not give up just yet. Macdonald scored a Tiger goal from the eight-meter mark with two minutes left, and once again with two seconds left, finishing the game with four.

The Tigers finish their conference slate as regular season Ivy League runners up to undefeated Yale, and are graduating nine seniors as a part of the Class of 2024. This includes standout midfielders Kari Buonanno and Samantha Devito, who will play their final game with the Orange and Black in the coming weeks.


As announced Sunday night, the Tigers earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, and will face off with Drexel (13–5, 7–1 Colonial Athletic Association) next weekend. The winner will earn the right to play powerhouse Boston College (16–3, 7–2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who were the national champions just three years ago. 

Evelyn Walsh is a senior Sports writer for the ‘Prince.’

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