Vol. LXI, No. 16
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
Coming into last Saturday's game against Harvard, freshman Kristin Morrison had been making steady progress for the Princeton University women's lacrosse team.
The Manhasset, N.Y. native scored two goals in Princeton's 18-7 mid-week win over Temple last Wednesday, giving her five on the season.
By halftime Saturday, though, it became clear that Morrison was on her way to a break-out performance as she scored four goals to help Princeton build a 13-2 lead over the Crimson at intermission. Morrison added another tally in the second half as the Tigers cruised to a 19-5 win to improve to 6-4 overall and 2-1 in Ivy League play.
In assessing her coming out party, Morrison had the sense she was getting more in sync with her teammates.
"I've been playing well in practice, I tried to continue that today," said Morrison, who scored 275 goals in her high school career.
"My goals today came off of a bunch of assists, everyone just looking to make everyone a better lacrosse player out there. We try and set each other up; that's what teammates are for."
Morrison and her teammates have been feeling a greater sense of urgency since a disappointing 6-5 loss to Yale on April 7.
"I definitely think Yale will be a wake-up call for our team," asserted Morrison. "We sat down after that and had a bunch of meetings with each other. We realized that the spark needs to come from within the team to lift each other. When we are playing out there, we have to feel as though we are playing for each other as well as for a national championship."
Morrison's veteran teammates have helped her fit in quickly with the Tigers. "I knew Katie Cox from before on Long Island; I've always looked up to her when I was playing in high school," said Morrison.
"Having the opportunity to play with her is a great thing. Kathleen Miller is a great role model; she's a team captain. All of the older girls have helped me on and off the field."
Princeton head coach Chris Sailer believes Morrison's scoring surge could be a big help for the Tigers. "Kristin had a great game today," said Sailer, who also got three goals apiece from Cox, Miller, and Holly McGarvie.
"She has been playing well in practice and we wanted to get her a lot more time. If she keeps developing, it's going to really help us down the road."
Sailer liked the way her offense has developed in the wins over Harvard and Temple. "These were two good games for us," said Sailer. "We had a high level of play throughout the game. Hopefully we can take this and run with it."
In Sailer's view, her team has shown more intensity since the Yale setback. "I really think it was our mentality," explained Sailer, in reflecting on the Yale loss. "We're trying to work on that to get the energy level up. We're trying to play like a winner out there, having confidence in yourself and your teammates. Doing the little things and playing consistently no matter what the scoreboard says."
The Tigers have focused on the mental side of things. "We've been doing some sports psychology," added Sailer.
"We're doing some workbook stuff and some exercises to get them to think about how important their mentality is and to get themselves in the right frame of mind. To learn what they can control and when they feel things slipping mentally, how they can get it back."
As 13th-ranked Princeton heads to Philadelphia this Wednesday for a showdown at No. 5 Penn (11-1 overall, 5-0 Ivy), Sailer knows her players will have their heads on straight if they are to upend the Quakers.
"We all know that we need to win against tougher competition," said Sailer, whose team plays at No. 17 Dartmouth on April 21. "It's great for today but we have to focus on Penn. It's still possible for us to share the league title and get an NCAA bid if we get our act together and play well. We need to win the rest of our games; that's a real motivation for us."
Morrison, for her part, believes the Tigers are heading in the right direction. "We're getting there, we are taking it one game at a time," said Morrison.
"Our games are reflecting our practices, we played really well in practice this week. We have a key game coming up, we have great momentum from these two victories. We're really looking forward to playing Penn."
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