Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 18
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
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KEEPING TIME: Princeton University women’s lacrosse goalkeeper Erin Tochihara controls the crease in recent action. Senior star and tri-captain Tochihara has played in every minute of Princeton’s 15 regular season games except for the last 2:50 of an 18-10 win over Columbia last Wednesday. This weekend, she will be looking to prolong her career as the 19th-ranked Tigers take part in the Ivy League tournament. The fourth-seeded Tigers (9-6 overall, 5-2 Ivy) play at top-seeded and host Penn (11-4 overall, 6-1 Ivy) on Friday night with winner advancing to the title game on Sunday against the victor of the Dartmouth-Harvard semifinal clash.

Senior Goalie Tochihara Savoring Every Moment; Aims to Prolong Tiger Lax Career at Ivy Tourney

Bill Alden

Erin Tochihara has kept busy this spring for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team.

The star goalie and senior tri-captain has played in every minute of Princeton’s 15 regular season games except for the last 2:50 of an 18-10 win over Columbia last Wednesday.

For Tochihara, being the team’s iron woman has been no big sweat.

“I am a senior and I really enjoy every minute I am in the game,” said the 5’6 Tochihara, a native of Englewood, Colo. who has posted a 10.10 goals against average with 140 saves to help 19th-ranked Princeton go 9-6 overall and 5-2 in Ivy League play.

“It’s a bit nicer to stand in the cage for most of the game than run around so it’s not too bad to play all 60 minutes.”

While Tochihara doesn’t have to race up and down the field, she utilizes her savvy in controlling the crease area for the Tigers.

“As a senior, I definitely understand the game a lot better; I try to bring some of that game experience to help dictate and run the defense,” said Tochihara, a two-time All-Ivy League performer who has started 51 games in her Tiger career.

“I try to be a more vocal leader on the defense; that’s something I have been working on the last couple of years.”

Tochihara exercised her leadership last Wednesday night as she helped Princeton top Columbia and rebound from a rough 15-10 loss at Dartmouth on April 23.

“We came out on fire from the get-go,” said Tochihara. “It was really nice to see a full effort and for us to bounce back.”

There were some defensive lapses late in the first half against the Lions that were addressed over the last 30 minutes of the contest.

“We definitely came out a lot more aggressive in the second half; we were trying to push out further and send the double teams early,” said Tochihara, who made nine saves in the second half on the way to a total of 11 for the evening.

“I felt a little more relaxed in the second half. I was just staying calm and reacting to the shot instead of jumping at it like I did in the second half.”

It has hard for Tochihara to stay calm when she contemplates the fact that her Tiger career will be over this month.

“It is very bittersweet; the season has flown by so quickly,” said Tochihara, who matched her career-best with 16 saves in a 19-10 win over Penn State last Saturday in the regular season finale which saw fellow senior Lizzy Drumm score five goals and junior Cassie Pyle add four.

“With the Ivy tournament coming up, I am hoping to prolong the season as long as possible.”

At the Ivy tourney this weekend, the fourth-seeded Tigers will play top-seeded and host Penn (11-4 overall, 6-1 Ivy) on Friday with the winner advancing to the title game on Sunday against the victor of the Dartmouth-Harvard semifinal clash. The winner of the title game gets the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tourney with the other teams needing an at-large bid to get in the national competition.

In Tochihara’s view, the Tigers need to relish the moment to overcome the 6th-ranked Quakers and get a shot at the championship.

“I think the big focus for us, especially at the end of the season, has just been focusing on our team,” added Tochihara.

“We are enjoying the time we are spending together and playing together. I think focusing on our strengths and playing our game will help us be successful in the Ivy Tournament.”

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