Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 15
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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SHOOTING GALLERY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse senior star Kristin Schwab heads to goal in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, Schwab scored a career-high five goals as No. 4 Princeton drubbed Harvard 17-5. Schwab has scored 23 goals this spring on just 44 shots. Princeton, now 10-1 overall and 4-0 in Ivy League action, plays at No. 3 Penn (11-0 overall, 5-0 Ivy) on April 15, and at 15th-ranked Dartmouth (6-4 overall, 3-1 Ivy) on April 18.

With Schwab Providing Dead-Eye Shooting, No. 4 PU Women’s Lax Aiming for Big Week

Bill Alden

It was a classic trap game as the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team hosted Harvard last Saturday in a downpour.

The once-beaten and fourth-ranked Tigers had reason to look past downtrodden Harvard, which brought a 4-7 record into the contest.

Not only did Harvard not inspire much fear based on the record, Princeton was heading into the pivotal week of its Ivy League campaign, playing at unbeaten and No. 3 Penn on April 15 and at longtime nemesis and 15th-ranked Dartmouth on April 18.

But Tiger senior star Kristin Schwab and her teammates weren’t about to get caught in any trap sprung by the Crimson.

With Schwab scoring two goals in the first four minutes of the contest, Princeton jumped out to a 5-0 lead with 22 minutes remaining in the half.

The compact and speedy 5’4 Schwab added two more goals in the half as she established a new career single-game high and helped the Tigers build a 12-0 cushion by intermission.

The Tigers cruised from there, ending up with a 17-5 triumph as they improved to 10-1 overall and 4-0 in Ivy play.

In reflecting on the win, Schwab said the Tigers weren’t about to take Harvard lightly.

“We knew that this game was important not just for beating Harvard but also for preparing us to be as good as we can and continuing on our mission of winning the Ivy League,” said Schwab, who finished the day with five goals on just eight shots. “We know that this week is probably going to be the biggest week of our season.”

For Schwab, breaking her previous single-game high of three goals was a matter of getting in the flow of the offense.

“I think that we all were just clicking very well today,” said Schwab. “We were working well to open each other up and playing to all of our strengths.”

Schwab has been working to hone her chief strength, a sharp shooting eye which has seen her score 23 goals this spring on 44 shots.

“I have been shooting a lot after practice,” said Schwab. “I have been taking a lot of balls and I think just really focusing on sighting the cage well. It was exciting today. I am never too focused on my stats but it was good to come through.”

The team’s large core of seniors is determined to come through in their final campaign as they look to get to the NCAA Final Four for the first time in their careers.

“All nine of us have been here since day one and we have been completely committed to playing our best,” said Schwab of the class which helped Princeton advance to the NCAA quarters in 2006 and 2008.

“We want a lot this season. It is great to have such good leadership. Now that we are more than halfway into the season, I think that all of us are realizing that every minute on the field is precious.”

Princeton head coach Chris Sailer believes that her team collectively is focused on making the most of every minute this season.

“We are not looking past anyone,” said Sailer, who got four goals from Kristin Morrison with Holly McGarvie and Cassie Pyle chipping in two apiece.

“We know what we want to accomplish and it’s all about us playing our best. I think we came out and showed that today.”

Sailer enjoyed seeing Schwab playing at her best. “She had an awesome game; she always does things for us all over the field with ground balls, draw controls, and transition play,” said Sailer.

“She had a great offensive game today in terms of scoring goals. Getting her sharp with her shooting and finishing going into a critical part of our season is just great. She just has a good eye for the cage; she is very poised with the ball. She is very accurate with her shot. She sees the net and she finishes.”

Princeton is getting good finishing across the board as players like Morrison and Pyle are becoming more productive.

“Mo is really starting to hit her groove and Cassie has scored a lot of points in the last couple of games,” added Sailer.

“It’s great for us to have that balance at this point in the year. I feel like our attackers are just getting better which is what you hope they will do.”

The Princeton defense also seems to be getting better and better. “The defense just played so well; they had Harvard pretty intimidated there,” asserted Sailer, whose team held the Crimson scoreless for the first 39:19 of the contest and built a 15-0 lead before Harvard got on the board.

“We held their top 3 point scorers all without a point, that was a huge accomplishment for us. Marie [McKenna] and Coxie [Katie Cox] together are such great leaders. The entire starting unit back there is really solid. I think it is one of the best we have had in terms of working together. There is not a hole in that group. They are very strong and know each other well.”

Sailer knows her team faces a strong challenge in its matchup at two-time defending Ivy champ Penn, which has advanced to the last two NCAA Final Fours.

“I think we really just have to focus on our game which is what we are trying to do this year,” maintained Sailer.

“Penn is a good team; their defense is really strong. They pressure you more behind the cage and they put higher pressure on your settled attack than most teams that we play so that will be a bit of an adjustment. They are an attacking team with good balance themselves. I think we are going to be ready for it and we are excited for the game.”

Schwab is certainly excited about getting one last crack at Penn. “I think Penn’s defense is the best part of their game, so I think that we really need to focus on continuing with the offensive power that we have had lately,” said Schwab, who is heading to medical school after graduation and is deciding between Penn, Yale, and Michigan. “It is really great; a new person seems to step up and shine each game.”

And with Schwab stepping up in a big way, the Tigers should continue to shine this spring.

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