After starting its season 2-0 in Ivy League play, the women’s field hockey team had high hopes for a potential conference championship and NCAA tournament berth at the end of the year. But a second consecutive loss, this time 5-1 at the hands of Princeton, dealt a blow to those aspirations.
After a setback 1-0 loss to Harvard last weekend, the Bears (6-5, 2-2 Ivy) took on perennial field hockey titan Princeton (9-5, 4-0) in a must-win matchup. In the Ivy League, two losses in a regular season effectively eliminates a team from title contention.
“Princeton’s definitely one of the top teams in the league, but going into playing them this year, we didn’t really want to change very much,” said co-captain Katarina Angus ’17. “We wanted to stick with our game plan and make sure we move the ball well, have high communication and play hard for 70 minutes.”
The Bears got off to an inauspicious start when the Tigers scored just a minute and 20 seconds into the game off a penalty corner. Cat Caro, who would later record a hat trick, scored her eighth goal of the year to put the Bears in an early hole before doubling Princeton’s lead 18 minutes later.
The Bears were completely overmatched in the first half, allowing 13 Tiger shots while failing to test the opposing goalie even once. Princeton added a third goal on a breakaway and a fourth just two and a half minutes before the end of the first half.
“We came out on our heels, which we didn’t want to do, but we definitely passed the ball well,” Angus said. “I felt everyone was competing harder, which was a step up from our last game.”
Brown evened the play out a bit to start the second half, as Gina Openshaw ’20 scored 10 minutes into the second half off a deflection to cut the deficit to three. Openshaw’s first year has been as prolific as her more seasoned teammates’, as she is tied for second on the team in goals with two.
Still, the upward swing signified by Openshaw’s goal proved short-lived. Caro got her third of the game with under five minutes to go to cap off the victory.
Katie Hammaker ’19 faced an onslaught of Tiger offense, saving 11 of the 16 shots that she faced.
“Katie has been playing great, and she has been such an integral part of our team’s defense,” Angus said. “She’s kept us alive in really close games and is always a positive voice in the backfield.”
The Tigers managed 27 shots in total while the Bears only recorded two, forcing one save. Princeton also had nine penalty corners to Brown’s zero.
The Bears have a quick turnaround this week, facing crosstown rival Providence Tuesday before facing off against Cornell Friday and Holy Cross Sunday.
“We’re excited for our upcoming matches, especially in the Ivy League,” Angus said. “If we continue to build on our past games and improve on the areas that are holding us back, we’ll see success in our upcoming games.”