March 29, 2017

Bouncing Back From Loss to Penn State, PU Women’s Lax Rolls Past Dartmouth

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kathryn Hallett looks for an opening in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore star Hallett scored three goals to help Princeton defeat Dartmouth 18-8. The eighth-ranked Tigers, now 6-1 overall and 2-0 Ivy League, host No. 11 Syracuse (8-3) on March 29 and Delaware (4-3) on April 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Hosting No. 9 Penn State last week, the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team found itself trailing 5-0 nearly five minutes into the contest.

While 6th-ranked Princeton produced a 6-0 run to forge ahead 6-5, it surrendered three unanswered goals in the waning moments of the half to trail 8-6 at intermission. The Tigers never got closer than that, falling 13-8 to suffer their first loss of the season.

In reflecting on the March 21 contest, Princeton head coach Chris Sailer believed her team gained some valuable lessons from the setback.

“No. 1 we learned how important it was to come out hard and ready to play,” said Sailer.

“We were back on our heels at the start of the game. We dug ourselves a big hole which we were able to dig out of so another lesson from that game is that we are a team that can fight. We are going to play hard and chip away when the other team has the lead.”

Four days later at Dartmouth, the Tigers appeared to have taken the lesson of starting fast to heart, jumping out to an 8-0 lead on the way to an 18-8 win.

“I was very happy with that; Dartmouth has been doing really great in draw controls,” said Sailer.

“I think they had a 97-63 advantage over their opponents coming into the game. We controlled the draw throughout that game pretty significantly, which was huge for us. Our defense was just lock down. In that first half, in particular, it was awesome. Ellie was on point in goal with 17 saves. I think that is a career high for her and she was just phenomenal in the cage. It was a great defensive effort.”

The Tigers also produced a superior effort at the offensive end of the field as Tess D’Orsi led the way with four goals and two assists with Olivia Hompe tallying three goals and two assists, Kathryn Hallett adding three goals, and Elizabeth George chipping in two.

“In the Penn State game we didn’t really run a secondary break,” said Sailer.

“On Saturday, we had some fast break looks, some secondary breaks, and we were able to score in our settled offense. It was nice to see the variety and types of scoring we were doing and also in the number of scorers we had. We had nine or 10 goals scorers in that game. Half our goals were assisted so kids were looking for each other really well and taking advantage of the opportunities that they saw.”

With Princeton having produced a 6-1 start, the Tigers have been seizing opportunity all spring long.

“I am happy with how we are continuing to improve; the energy that we have in practice,” said Sailer.

“Our kids are very confident in their abilities and they know what they want to get out of the season. They are are working hard towards it so that has been really great to see. That tends to show up on the field. I think this is the hardest schedule we have likely had in Princeton history. For the first half of the season, we have done well.”

There is another hard test on the horizon for Princeton as it hosts No. 11 Syracuse (8-3) on March 29.

“They are just so dynamic offensively; their players have exceptional skill and they are strong shooters,” said Sailer, whose team also hosts Delaware (4-3) on April 2.

“They play very well together and they are athletic kids. We will have our hands full defensively. Fortunately for us we have a great defensive crew and a very strong goalkeeper so I think we are going to be up for that challenge. On defense, they throw a lot of different looks at you. Our kids are going to have to be on their toes, knowing what defense they are playing in and how to best attack it. We will change it up throughout the game. We have never played them in a regular game so it is going to be fun to play a new opponent.”