Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 8
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
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DRUMMING UP SUPPORT: Princeton University women’s lacrosse star Lizzy Drumm heads up the field in action earlier in her career. The Tigers will be depending on junior attacker Drumm to be an offensive force this season. Princeton opens its 2010 campaign when it plays at Johns Hopkins on February 27.

After the Exit of Its Stellar Class of 2009, PU Women’s Lax Will Have a New Look

Bill Alden

Although Chris Sailer is in her 24th season at the helm of the Princeton University women’s lacrosse program, she has a sense of starting at square one as the 2010 season approaches.

With Princeton having lost nine seniors to graduation from a 2009 team that went 14-4 and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals, there is a radically different look to the Tigers.

“Those seniors were the core of our program the last four years, they gave us so much leadership, experience, and talent,” said Hall of Fame coach Sailer, whose team opens up the 2010 season when it plays at Johns Hopkins on February 27.

“It’s a fresh start for us; there is a lot to learn and a lot to teach. It is the least experienced team we have had since I have been here. Even the upperclassmen do not have a lot of game experience; it’s the first time as starters for a lot of them. It feels like a whole new team.”

But with change comes opportunity for new faces to shine. “It’s an athletic group; there are a lot of strengths,” asserted Sailer, whose team is ranked ninth in the current Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll.

“Our freshmen could end up being a great group something like last year’s seniors even though there aren’t as many of them. We need people to step up all over the field.”

Sailer is confident that talented junior attacker and tri-captain Lizzy Drumm will step up in a big way this spring.

“Drumm had a great offseason and preseason; she is so talented,” said Sailer of Drumm, who is Princeton’s top returning scorer having tallied 47 points in 2009 on 38 goals and nine assists.

“I think she is going to have a fantastic year; she is probably our most experienced player. She is really working hard to develop the other kids and bring them along.”

Senior tri-captain Kristin Morrison developed into a force on attack last year for the Tigers as she scored 27 goals.

“Morrison has so much potential; she is so powerful,” said Sailer, who will also be looking at freshmen Jaci Gassaway and Sam Ellis together with juniors Kaitlyn Mauritz, Maisie Devine, and Princeton native and former Lawrenceville star Nellie Morris at attack.

“We were looking at the highlight film from last year and she made some really big plays for us.”

Princeton should get plenty of big plays from emerging star Cassie Pyle in the midfield.

“Cassie is really stepping up; last year was a great transition for her,” said Sailer of the sophomore who scored 19 points on 15 goals and four assists in her debut campaign.

“She has been dominant in practice and scrimmages; she is looking good on offense and defense.”

The rest of the midfield will be a mix of veterans in sophomore Allison Behringer and senior Jenna Washabaugh and a trio of promising freshmen in Jackie Klauberg, Charlotte Davis, and Jenna Davis.

“Allison Behringer is really consistent; she is strong at both ends of the field,” said Sailer.

“Klauberg is good and Charlotte Davis is a strong kid. Jenna Davis’s two older brothers have played for the men’s team (Tommy and Jimmy) and she is quite good. She is a good player on midfield or attack. We really need Jenna Washabaugh to come through this year; she had a kidney injury last year.”

The Tigers will be depending on senior tri-captain Sarah Vance and sophomore Lindsey deButts to come through on defense.

“Vance will be playing a big role on defense, she is one of our more vocal leaders,” said Sailer. “I am looking at deButts to be a leader back there in terms of her play.

The defensive unit will also include junior Caroline Markowitz, freshman Caroline Rehfuss, and a pair of sophomores, Cathy Bachus and Maggie Hines.

“We have moved Markowitz back there and she is looking good,” added Sailer. “Freshman Rehfuss is doing a great job, very athletic. I am also looking at Bachus and Hines.”

Princeton got a great job at goalie in 2009 from Erin Tochihara, who allowed 8.41 goals a game in earning second-team All American honors.

“Tochihara is playing so well; she is doing a really great job,” said Sailer in assessing her junior goalie.

“She has a much younger defense and midfield playing in front of her. We are relying on her to come up big.”

The Tigers have an insurance policy in back-up senior goalie Kaitlyn Perrelle, who has seen plenty of action in her Tiger career.

“Perrelle has been playing well,” said Sailer of Perrelle, a first-team All-Ivy performer this past fall for the Princeton field hockey team. “She has a great voice out there in the back.”

Sailer acknowledges that it may take some time for her team to make some noise this spring.

“We are taking things day by day, trying to improve every day,” said Sailer, who has guided the Tigers to three national titles in her distinguished tenure.

“I think we will get better as the season goes on; we are teaching everything right from the start. We are trying to get in as many game situations as possible and learn from that.”

The Tigers face a challenging situation with their opener against Hopkins.

“Year in, year out, they are a Top 20 team,” said Sailer of Hopkins, who opened its season with a 14-7 win over George Mason last Saturday.

“They have some good recruits and they didn’t graduate much so they are more experienced.”

Sailer believes this group of Tigers will ultimately experience plenty of success.

“It remains to be seen how quickly we will pick things up,” said Sailer, whose team will be playing all of its home games at Princeton Stadium this season rather than at Class of 1952 Stadium.

“I think we will be growing as the season goes on. We need to be really resilient within games. We have to be relaxed and confident with the ball. I really believe in the kids we have in the program and our future.”

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