Sports

Women’s lacrosse snaps 23-year drought against Princeton

Bruno now tied with Yale and Penn for Ivy League lead two games into conference schedule

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2014

The women’s lacrosse team had never beaten Princeton in the lifetime of Bre Hudgins ’14. But a week after her 22nd birthday, the co-captain snapped the Bears’ 23-year losing streak to the Tigers Saturday with a last-minute, game-winning missile in overtime to secure a 14-13 victory. A packed home crowd looked on as the Bears topped No. 16 Princeton to win their fourth straight game of the season, extending their Ivy record to a perfect 2-0.

Janie Gion ’15 kickstarted the game for the Bears (4-0, 2-0 Ivy), scoring the first of her two goals in the opening two minutes of play. Princeton’s Alexandra Bruno retaliated with a goal of her own, initiating a back-and-forth contest in which no one led by more than two goals until the last two minutes of the first half. For Brown, Danielle Mastro ’15 and Gion each notched two during the half, while Hudgins, Lauren Toy ’16 and Richael Walsh ’16 each scored one. But after Brown had built a 7-5 lead, six unanswered Princeton goals from six different players allowed the Tigers to draw ahead by four, 11-7, at the midpoint.

“Lacrosse really is a game of momentum swings,” said Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00, adding that she saw resilience from her team all game long. “Princeton didn’t shake us. … The defense knew they had to play tough, and the offense knew they had to respond.”

Kellie Roddy ’15 keyed the comeback, consistently denying Princeton scoring opportunities. The Tigers (1-3, 0-1) scored only two goals to Roddy’s nine saves in the second half, giving Roddy an impressive save percentage of .818 for the half, almost .400 higher than the average Ivy save percentage. Roddy’s goals-against average is the third-lowest in the conference, while her save percentage is the second-highest.

In a reflection of the first half — reversed — Bruno took control of the game and scored six unanswered shots in the first 20 minutes to take a 13-11 lead. Four Bears contributed to the 6-0 run. Hudgins, combatting a Tiger defensive game plan that concentrated attention on her, scored her second goal a minute into the second stanza.

Toy followed with her second and third goals of the game, earning her third hat trick of the season. Co-captain Grace Healy ’14 scored once, and Mastro scored her third and fourth goals of the game, making Saturday’s match her second this season with four goals. But Brown could not score again during regulation time, and Princeton came to life in the last two minutes, tying the game with two goals.

Overtime began with a Bruno draw control from Alyssa DiBona ’15 but without shots until halfway through the six-minute block. Healy attempted a look at Princeton’s net in an attempt to give Brown the lead, but the ball narrowly ricocheted off the pipe. Healy picked up the resulting draw control, just as McDonald called for a timeout.

The Bears waited until the last 30 seconds of play to make their move. Mastro fed Hudgins, who hadn’t touched the ball since overtime started, from behind the Tiger net, and she fired it into the back of the cage to put the Bears up 14-13. Healy sealed the victory by winning the following draw control, allowing the Bears to kill the last 30 seconds of play and secure the first-in-a-lifetime win.

McDonald said the team stressed “possession and defense” before the game, and the Bears followed through in overtime, not allowing Princeton to touch the ball in the period.

The teams’ lopsided history was not lost on the Bruno players, as they rushed the field in celebration upon hearing the final buzzer.

With three separate hat tricks propelling Brown towards the win, as well as a rock-solid 13 saves from Roddy in net, Bruno’s win is a boost for the program. The Bears lost to Princeton 18-11 last year, and the Tigers went on to finish second in the league in 2013.

“It was a team effort from top to bottom,” McDonald said after the celebration. “Everyone knows they had a hand in the success.”

The Bears will travel to the College of the Holy Cross for a Wednesday game against the Crusaders and take on Central Connecticut State University at home next Saturday to begin a series of non-conference tilts that will last until March 29.