Gritty Senior Star Sullivan Shows Skill, Passion As Tiger Women’s Lax Pulls Away From Cornell
TRUE GRIT: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Cammie Sullivan unloads the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior co-captain and star midfielder Sullivan scored a goal and scooped up five draw controls to help Princeton defeat Cornell 15-10. The 18th-ranked Tigers, now 8-5 overall and 4-1 Ivy League, host No. 10 Penn (11-2 overall, 5-0 Ivy) on April 25 before playing at Columbia (6-8 overall, 3-3 Ivy) on April 28 in their regular season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
It was Senior Day for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team as it hosted Cornell last Saturday and handmade posters of each of the six seniors being recognized hung behind the Princeton bench.
The poster honoring senior co-captain and midfielder Cammie Sullivan included the words “hungry, soldier, guts, passion.”
The gritty Sullivan displayed those qualities as the Tigers fought an uphill battle against the Big Red in the early stages of the contest. Sullivan scooped up five draw controls in the first half providing a spark for Princeton, which trailed 7-6 at intermission.
In the second half, Sullivan scored a goal to give the Tigers a 9-7 lead with 19:08 remaining in regulation and they never looked back on the way to a 15-10 triumph.
“We have incredible respect for Cornell, they always come out hard,” said Sullivan, a 5’4 native of Bellevue, Wash. reflecting on the triumph which clinched a spot in the upcoming Ivy League postseason tournament for the Tigers as they improved to 8-5 overall and 4-1 Ivy.
“They are always working and pushing; they demand the best of us every single time we play them. We had to grind for every single possession, every single offensive set, and every single defensive set. We had to be on every time.”
Princeton reeled off five unanswered goals in the beginning of the second half to seize control of the contest.
“We wanted to play more of our game offensively,” said Sullivan, reflecting in the second half outburst by the Tigers.
“They have a really high- pressure defense, so it was making sure that we are staying calm and composed and running the sets that we wanted to do, and not just forcing stuff because we had someone on us and we saw someone open for a split second. It was taking the time to run through the pass, making the right pass. On defense, we were sliding a little bit harder and playing more of a square up on our one-on-ones.”
On her goal, Sullivan showed composure as she buried a free position opportunity in the back of the net.
“We have been drilling the 8-meters because we have struggled a little bit in that this year so props to the defense for prepping me and really going hard,” said Sullivan.
As Sullivan reflected on the Senior Day festivities, she pointed to working together with her teammates as a hallmark of her Princeton experience.
“In my whole four years here, we have had an incredible team culture,” asserted Sullivan. “Everyone loves each other so much here. It seems a cliche to say, but there is no animosity; everyone wants everyone else to succeed.”
Sullivan acknowledged that it took a while for her to enjoy success on the field.
“In your freshman year, you come in and you are a little bit of a grunt,” recalled Sullivan with a smile. “Everyone is kind of yelling at you and you have no idea what is going on.”
Rising through the ranks, Sullivan is serving as a team captain this spring along with classmate Abby Finkelston.
“We have a bunch of leaders on the team, so Abby and I have had so much support this year,” said Sullivan. “It has been great.”
Sullivan has demonstrated her leadership through becoming a greater threat at the offensive end for the Tigers as she now has a career-high 12 goals with two games to go in the regular season along with the Ivy tournament.
“I have always been a little more defensive-minded,” said Sullivan, who scored 11 goals in both 2016 and 2017.
“I have definitely tried to take advantage of the looks that I get and be really smart with the ball and put away the shots that I have.”
With the 18th-ranked Tigers hosting No. 10 Penn (11-2 overall, 5-0 Ivy) on April 25 and a shot at the Ivy regular season title on the line, Sullivan knows that Princeton will have to play a smart game to overcome the Quakers.
“We couldn’t take it easy on anything against Cornell, and that is how it is going to have to be against Penn,” said Sullivan.
“We are going to have execute even better on every single set. They are an incredible team and they are having a great year. It is definitely a formidable opponent. We are very excited to host them and get our match ups going. It will be a great battle.”
Sullivan believes that the Tigers are getting Penn at the right time as Princeton has won four of its last five games.
“We really have to put together a full game; I think we are on the up and up,” said Sullivan. “I am really hoping that we peak at the right time.”