Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 13
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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PICKING IT UP: Princeton University women’s lacrosse star Cassie Pyle picks up the ball in Princeton’s 12-11 win over Georgetown last Sunday. Pyle tallied three goals and an assist as the Tigers rallied from a 9-5 deficit to pull out the victory.

Sparked by Pyle’s Aggressive Offensive Play, PU Women’s Lax Rallies to Top Georgetown

Bill Alden

Cassie Pyle got a little tip as she warmed up last Sunday before the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team faced Georgetown.

“I love challenging the crease but I never do it,” said Princeton junior midfielder Pyle.

“Before the game, DJ (Michelle DeJuliis), one of our assistant coaches, said just go for it today, just try it, so I was like I am just going to do it.”

Pyle’s aggressiveness paid an early dividend as she scored a first half goal to help the Tigers build a 5-4 halftime lead over the Hoyas at Princeton Stadium.

But after Princeton gave up five unanswered goals in the first seven minutes of the second half to fall behind 9-5, it was time for the Tigers collectively to show some aggressiveness.

“In past games we have gotten really nervous, like in the losses to Duke, and UVa,” said Pyle.

“I didn’t get a feeling from any person that we were out of it. We took it one goal at a time and fought our way back and before you knew it we were back in it.”

Pyle took a leading role in getting the Tigers back in the game, scoring a goal to narrow the gap to 9-6 and then assisting on a Jaci Gassaway goal less than a minute later as Princeton got within two goals.

“Being down two goals, that’s nothing, we can come back from that easily,” asserted Pyle. “From that moment we knew were in it, we knew we had a chance.”

The Tigers made the most of their chances, reeling off seven goals on the way to a 12-11 win and improving to 4-3.

In Pyle’s view, the victory was critical for a Princeton team which had lost three of its last four games coming into Sunday.

“We have lost to top 10 teams which is still respectable; we did a good job against UVa [a 10-9 loss] but we want to show we can compete really well against good teams,” said Pyle, a 5’4 native of Alexandria, Va.

“This is a really good Georgetown team; they don’t have the best record right now [2-5] but they have played some really tough teams and had really tight games. We just wanted to prove that we are really good and we can keep up with these great teams.”

Having scored 44 points in her first two seasons with the Tigers, Pyle looks to be a good scoring option in the Princeton midfield.

“I always want to be able to produce but if I can’t, we have so many talented players,” said Pyle who had three goals and an assist on Sunday to give her 14 points on the season with 11 goals and three assists.

“Our entire midfield and attack has the ability to get a large number of goals. I don’t feel a huge amount of pressure because everyone can step up.”

Princeton head coach Chris Sailer liked the character her team displayed in stepping up when it counted against the Hoyas.

“I think it showed tremendous courage and confidence by our kids not to let it totally slip away, to be able to turn the tide and go on a run of our own,” said Sailer, who got two goals apiece from Gassaway, Charlotte Davis, and Lizzy Drumm; with Maisie Devine, Barb Previ, and Kaitlyn Mauritz chipping in one apiece.

“I think that is what I am most proud of them for today. Falling behind like that easily could have changed things but we kept fighting and it was great to see.”

Sailer credited Pyle with helping to turn the tide of the game in Princeton’s favor.

“I thought Cassie had a great game,” asserted Sailer. “She is so quick and so hard to mark. The team was opening up some nice space for her, giving her good opportunities for her 1-on-1. It was nice to see her challenging from the crease as well as the top. She finished her shots really well today.”

A strong defensive effort from the Tigers in the latter stages of the contest helped finish off the Hoyas.

“I thought our defense did a really great job; we knew exactly what Georgetown was going to throw at us and we responded really well,” added Sailer, whose team held the Hoyas scoreless for a 23:34 stretch of the second half. “They had long possessions and we stayed in it and took away good looks from them.”

In Sailer’s view the win will be good for the team’s confidence as it snapped a two-game losing streak.

“It is just huge to pull out a game against a really good team,” said Sailer, whose club is now ranked 14th nationally.

“Georgetown’s record isn’t that good right now but if you look deeper and see the kind of teams they have played, this is a huge win for us. I think it is going to do a lot for our confidence; we just have to continue to work to compete at a high level.”

As Princeton looks ahead to six Ivy contests in its next seven games starting with a game at Cornell (3-5 overall, 1-2 Ivy) on April 2, Sailer knows her team will have to show a lot of competitive fire.

“There is a lot of parity; you have got to be ready everyday in the league,” said Sailer, whose team is currently 1-0 in Ivy play after routing Brown 17-5 on March 12.

“Harvard is off to a great start. Cornell just beat Notre Dame. Dartmouth is always out there and Penn obviously. There is just a lot of good competition in the league so it is exciting that we are going to start the heart of the schedule right now.”

Pyle, for her part, believes the win over Georgetown shows that Princeton has what it takes to be an Ivy title contender.

“This is huge going into the Ivy League,” maintained Pyle. “It just gave us such a big confidence boost. Obviously, we still have a lot to work on but this is really good for our team.”

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