Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 9
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
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READY TO LAUNCH: Princeton University women’s lacrosse star Katie Lewis-Lamonica races up the field in action last season. Senior midfielder Lewis-Lamonica, a former Lawrenceville School standout, is figures to be a key player this spring for the Tigers, who start their 2008 season by playing at Johns Hopkins on March 1. Last season, Lewis-Lamonica earned second-team All-American honors after scoring 57 points on 51 goals and six assists.

Princeton Women’s Lax Showing Cohesiveness; Hopes Unity Will Help It Make Final Four Run

Bill Alden

In the first few years of this decade, the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team developed a special chemistry that it parlayed into national titles in 2002 and 2003.

After having not been in the NCAA Final Four since the 2004 season, the Tigers are looking to rekindle that special sense of unity as they look ahead to the upcoming season.

“There is definitely a hunger with this group,” said longtime Princeton head coach Chris Sailer, whose team opens its 2008 season by playing at Johns Hopkins on March 1.

“There is such an energy and cohesiveness. They are playing hard for each other. They have experience playing with each other and they know where they are going to be on the field. They just want something this year, it’s exciting.”

The team’s togetherness will likely be most apparent on attack where the Tigers are looking to make up for the void left by the graduation of Kathleen Miller, the program’s fourth all-time scorer with 207 points.

“We are not going to make up for the goals and big plays Kathleen made with one person,” said Sailer, whose team went 10-7 in 2007, falling 19-10 to Virginia in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

“We are playing so much more as a team, everybody is setting each other up so well. Our strength is going to be our offensive balance, vision, and teamwork.”

A key to the Princeton attack could be the potent partnership developing between senior Ashley Amo and freshman Lizzie Drumm.

“Amo has already stepped up as a leader on attack,” said Sailer of Amo, who had 32 points last season on 21 goals and 11 assists. “Ashley and Lizzie work so well together.”

Others in the mix at attack include junior Christine Casaceli (23 points in 2007 on 14 goals and nine assists) and freshman Caroline Markowitz.

In midfield, the Tigers are loaded with a bevy of superb performers in senior Katie Lewis-Lamonica and a trio of juniors, Katie Cox, Holly McGarvie, and Kristin Schwab.

Lewis-Lamonica is first among equals coming off an All-American campaign which saw her score 57 points on 51 goals and six assists.

“Lewey is just fantastic; she’s poised to have her best year,” asserted Sailer. “She has been good at both ends of the field for us; now she is seeing the possibilities through the midfield.”

There are a lot of scoring possibilities in the midfield through the presence of Cox (25 points in 2007 with 4 goals and 11 assists), McGarvie (37 points on 23 goals and 14 assists) and Schwab (19 points on 13 goals and six assists).

“They are all juniors, they are all experienced,” said Sailer. “They have speed, playmaking, and vision. They are all dynamic players.”

The Tigers boast a dynamic leader on defense in senior Norris Novak, a third-team All-American last season.

“Novak sets such a great example,” said Sailer. “She is so quick and is great on her positioning. She is an outstanding leader.”

Others who should be key players on the Princeton defense include juniors Marie McKenna, Marine Graham, and Caity Manzo.

The Tigers will also feature some teamwork at goalie as sophomore Kaitlyn Perrelle and freshman Erin Tochihara figure to both see action in the cage.

“Perrelle is so vocal, she is such a leader out there and really organizes the defense,” said Sailer of Perrelle, who made 13 starts last season and compiled a goals against average of 9.35.

“She commands a defense better than just about any goalie we have had. Erin is very talented; she has extremely quick reflexes and can stone players when they have scored a goal. They are elevating each other and both will see time.”

Sailer is hoping that the team’s unity will elevate it into a national title contender.

“The question is — are we game ready?” said Sailer. “Our motto is “all day, every day, all game, every game.” We need to enjoy each game for what it is and have fun. We weren’t ready for every game last year. I’m enjoying this group, they get it. I think we have the talent, we need a little luck.”

Princeton will need to be ready from the opening draw when it plays in Baltimore this Saturday against Hopkins. “They are a physical team,” said Sailer, whose team topped the Blue Jays 11-10 in double overtime last season. “They have a lot of juniors and seniors; it’s a tough trip.”

But if Princeton can play together as a team, it could turn out to be a pleasant journey for the Tigers.

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