Princeton has owned the Brown field hockey team over the last three years. Before Saturday, not only had this year’s seniors never taken a lead against the Tigers, but 15 classes of seniors before them had not done so either — Brown had not led against Princeton since 2000, in a game the Bears lost 4-1. The Tigers have cumulatively outscored Bruno 12-2 over the last three seasons.
So when Hannah Rogers ’16 scored her sixth goal of the year just two minutes into the showdown with No. 19 Princeton (7-4, 4-0 Ivy) Saturday, Bruno (6-7, 1-3 Ivy) found itself in an unfamiliar position.
“It was really exciting to get that early lead,” Rogers said. “We all wanted to win so badly so we just came out on fire. We wanted to take it from the beginning and it was really exciting to be ahead.”
After the initial shock wore off, the Tigers settled into their usual offensive dominance. It took 10 minutes, but Princeton eventually got on the board when Elizabeth George scored her second goal of the season to tie the game. A problem for the Bears this season has been giving up goals in quick succession, an issue that also reared its ugly head in this game. Jane Donio-Enscoe got her first goal about a minute and a half later to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.
But the Bears responded almost as quickly as they went down. Katherine Kallergis ’18 got her second goal of the year on a corner, with Alexis Miller ’16 getting the assist. Kallergis made a name for herself last year with a game-winning goal against Providence and came up big against another strong opponent this weekend.
Unfortunately for the Bears, they were unable to take the lead into halftime, as Maddie Copeland got her third goal of the year a minute before halftime. Princeton registered a few corners and sustained offensive pressure that Bruno could not fend off.
The second half was similar to the first half in terms of Princeton’s pressure, but both defenses did well to hold the offenses off the scoreboard. The Tigers mustered five corners and nine shots in the half, scoring one goal with a little under 10 minutes left in the game. If the Princeton goal right before the half was a backbreaker, this one was the dagger. Brown was able to create a few chances but could not find the back of net, and the score remained 4-2 when the final horn sounded.
“The team has grown so much over the past four years,” Rogers said. “Every year we’ve progressed so much. When we first came in, we lost to Princeton 6-0. This year we really had a chance to win, so we were disappointed that we didn’t. But it was a great team effort.”
With a third loss in the Ivy League in four games, any slim chance that the Bears had of winning a title slipped away. But the two-goal loss was the closest game Bruno has played against the Tigers in the last 15 years and one of the closest conference games that Princeton has played this year.
Bruno will play one game at Cornell next week before the last home games of the season against Penn and Lehigh in two weeks.