Top-Seeded Tiger Women's Lax Facing Colgate To Kick Off Quest for 3rd Straight NCAA Crown
By Bill Alden
The Princeton University women's lacrosse team enters the upcoming NCAA tournament as the hunted, having been designated as the top seed in the tourney for the first time in program history.
The two-time defending national champions, who kick off their quest for a three-peat when they host Colgate (13-6) on May 13 at Class of 1952 Stadium in a first-round contest, are 16-0 and riding a program-record 25-game winning streak.
If the Tigers get past the Raiders, they will have a home game on May 16 against the winner of the New Hampshire-Dartmouth matchup.
A win by Princeton in the quarterfinal clash would put the Tigers in the enviable position of playing in the friendly confines of Princeton Stadium in a national semifinal game on May 21. The title game is slated for May 23 at the same venue.
While the pressure is squarely on Princeton's shoulders, the team has the weapons and commitment to vanquish all comers.
As they have put together the first perfect regular season in program history, the Tigers have knocked off the likely main challengers to their crown, beating second-seeded Virginia, No. 3 Maryland, and fourth-seeded Loyola.
Princeton has clicked on all cylinders this spring, having outscored its foes 209-99. While the Tigers are coming off of one-goal wins over Brown (5-4) and Maryland (8-7 in OT), they have utilized their exquisite balance to roll through most of the opposition in their unblemished campaign.
The team possesses a deadly attack, keyed by junior star Lindsey Biles with 48 goals and senior Theresa Sherry, who has scored 42 this season and tallied the game-winner last spring in Princeton's 8-7 overtime triumph against Virginia in the NCAA title contest.
The midfield is sparked by the tenacious, speedy Elizabeth Pillion with 26 goals and 14 assists to her credit, and freshman sensation Kathleen Miller, who has fired in 25 goals so far in her debut campaign.
While Princeton's offense is unquestionably potent, the team's rock-solid defense has been the foundation for its success. Junior goalie Sarah Kolodner is leading the nation with a goals against average of 5.93 while senior All-American Katie Norbury quarterbacks the back line.
Princeton head coach Chris Sailer, who has guided the Tigers to three national titles in her distinguished 18-season tenure, maintains that her club relishes being atop the heap.
"We want to keep winning," said Sailer after her team's 17-8 win over Dartmouth in late April. "We don't want to lose, we're going to play every game to win. I don't feel that as a burden or pressure. I don't think the kids do either. No matter how you go into the tournament, everyone starts at 0-0. It's a whole new ball game. We wanted to be undefeated at the end of the playoffs."
While the Tigers won't have to travel far to accomplish that goal, achieving a three-peat would go a long way in marking this team as one of the best ever in its sport.