Freshman Goalie Fish Catching On as Starter, Helping Tiger Women’s Lax Take Ivy Crown
CATCH OF THE DAY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse goalie Sam Fish makes a save last Friday night to help the Tigers defeat Columbia in the Ivy League Tournament semis. Two days later, Fish recorded 11 saves to help Princeton defeat Penn 13-10 in the Ivy Championship game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Sam Fish struggled when the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team played at Columbia in its regular season finale in late April.
Even though Princeton prevailed, freshman goalie Fish wasn’t sharp in the 22-16 win.
“I just think I didn’t have my head on right in that game last Saturday,” said Fish.
Last Friday when the foes met for a rematch in the Ivy League semis at the Class of 1952 Stadium, Fish had her head in the game, making six saves as Princeton pulled away to a 17-7 win over the Lions.
“Tonight our defense as a whole came out big,” said Fish. “My defensive unit really helped me. Some of the saves I would not have had unless they were playing really well.”
Fish credited junior star defender Alex Argo with spearheading things on the back line for the Tigers.
“Argo is amazing, she has a strong defensive presence and just having her out there in front of me is a huge help,” said Fish.
Making the jump to college lacrosse, Fish has worked hard to be a bigger presence in the cage.
“It is a much faster pace and the shots are coming harder and at faster speeds,” said Fish, a 5’10 native of San Diego who made 11 saves to help Princeton defeat Penn 13-10 in the Ivy championship game on Sunday. “It is making sure I am keeping my eye on the ball and just getting my hands to the ball.”
In the early stages of the season, Fish benefitted from competing with senior Mary Kate McDonough and sophomore Winnie Brandfield-Harvey as the trio shared the goalie duties.
“I knew I needed to step up my game. The other two goalies were playing so well,” said Fish, who made her first start against Dartmouth in the fifth game of the season and has now started the last nine contests in the cage for the Tigers. “We were all working so hard and it was just good competition between all of us. It raised us all to a higher level.”
Having compiled a goals against average of 10.28 and a save percentage of .505, Fish is finding a comfort level as Princeton’s top goalie.
“I am definitely trying to just maintain where I am at and play at the high level,” said Fish, a second-team All-Ivy performer this spring.
Although Princeton lost 11-10 to Maryland in early April, Fish saw that game as proof that she could thrive against high level competition.
“The Maryland game was so fun to play in. Just seeing those shots was amazing,” said Fish, who recorded 11 saves in the defeat to the second-ranked Terps. “Our defense was definitely playing so well in that game.”
With Princeton, now 12-5, facing Syracuse (9-9) in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Boston College on May 11, Fish believes the Tigers can keep playing well.
“We can get on a run; I think our team as a unit and as a whole is just so incredible,” said Fish, who made eight saves off the bench when Princeton fell 17-16 to Syracuse in a regular season meeting on March 29.
“We have so many incredible players on this team; we play so well together.”