ay in the regular season finale for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team.
The star junior attacker managed just one goal on two shots as the Tigers fell 13-12 at Penn State on April 26.
Last Friday, McMunn made plenty of noise, scoring a career-high seven goals as top-seeded Princeton defeated fourth-seeded Cornell 12-5 in the semis of the Ivy League postseason tournament at Class of 52 Stadium.
“I was really lucky, the kids were looking to hit me today and the shots were falling,” said McMunn, reflecting on her outburst.
“I think more than anything it was just that we were really working together well tonight and we were looking for those feeds inside and I happened to get a little lucky that I got seven of them. It was a lot of fun to be out there today.”
Two days later, McMunn had a lot less fun, scoring three goals in a losing cause as Princeton fell 9-6 to second-seeded Penn in the Ivy title game.
The 17th-ranked Tigers, who dropped to 11-6 with the defeat, are still alive in postseason play as they received an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA tournament where they will get a rematch against No. 11 Penn State in a first round contest on May 9 at the University of Virginia. The victor will face host 15th-ranked Virginia in the second round on May 11.
In the view of Princeton head coach Chris Sailer, the lessons McMunn learned from her subpar game against Penn State helped her explode last weekend.
“I don’t think there is a bigger turnaround in six days than Erin McMunn showed on the field,” asserted Sailer after the victory over Cornell.
“Today, I think she learned how to play against a tight mark. She saw what is going to happen when she works hard and when she puts herself in a position to make a difference. She worked hard, she saw the opportunities, she got separation but then her teammates were ready to hit her and they didn’t hesitate to make the pass.”
In McMunn’s view, the team’s balanced attack opens things up for everybody.
“I think in terms of flow, it is just the fact that any person on our attack could score at any time; we have eight kids with 20-plus points and that is amazing to me,” said McMunn, who leads Princeton with 40 goals and 52 points.
“I think a huge part of it is that everyone is a threat when they have the ball, regardless of who it is.”
McMunn and the Tigers will look to use their performance against Cornell as the blueprint for a run in the NCAA tournament.
“We know that we have put in the prep work, we are excited to play but at the same time we know that we have to keep doing those little things to continue having this kind of performance,” said McMunn, a first-team All Ivy selection on the season and was an All-Tournament honoree last weekend.
“You want to be confident to the point that it really pushes you to play well and puts you in a good mental state but not so much that we become complacent. We are doing a good job right now of finding that balance so I think that is going to be big, not just for the attack, but for the whole team going forward.”