With Mulham Emerging as an Offensive Force, PU Women’s Lax Routs Dartmouth, Now 3-0 Ivy
HAMMING IT UP: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kate Mulham heads to goal in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior Mulham scored three goals to help Princeton defeat Dartmouth 17-5. The 12th-ranked Tigers, now 8-3 overall and 3-0 Ivy League, host Penn on April 20 and then play at Harvard on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Kate Mulham’s freshman season for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team was derailed on the first day of fall practice when she suffered a leg injury that sidelined her for the 2019 campaign.
Recovering for her sophomore season, Mulham started three games in 2020, tallying six goals and two assists before that season was halted due to the global pandemic.
After taking a gap year, Mulham is making the most of her junior season, emerging as a key offensive weapon for the Tigers. Coming into Princeton’s game against Dartmouth, Mulham had tallied 24 points on 16 goals and eight assists.
“It has been a long time coming, it is just confidence,” said Mulham, a 5’8 native of Setauket, N.Y. “Everyone is so supportive on this team and really wants everyone to perform at their best. There are some great leaders on this team. I think everyone is starting to come into their own and feel more confident as the season goes on.”
In the matchup against Dartmouth, Mulham displayed her comfort level, scoring a team-high three goals to help the Tigers cruise to a 17-5 win over the Big Green as the improved to 8-3 overall and 3-0 Ivy League.
“I was feeling it, the ball was moving so well,” said Mulham. “Everyone was looking to the inside for those feeds and those one-more passes. The selfless play today really paid off in the end.”
Coming into Saturday, the 12th-ranked Tigers were looking to bounce back from a tough 19-9 loss to No. 8 Maryland last Wednesday evening.
“Maryland is obviously a great team and we really felt that loss,” said Mulham, who scored a career-high five goals in the defeat. “Today was about proving ourselves and getting back to the level of play we have been doing all season.”
After an up-and-down first quarter against Dartmouth which saw Princeton up 4-2, the Tigers outscored the Big Green 5-1 in the second to break the game open.
“I think the offense was really starting to click, we were riding on the momentum from our defense that (goalie) Sam Fish was giving us with those great defensive stops,” said Mulham. “All the credit to them, they gave us the extra opportunities on the offensive end.”
As Princeton pulled away to the win, the Tiger offense displayed its balance as nine different players found the back of the net.
“That is something we pride ourselves on, the depth of our bench,” said Mulham. “Different girls can come in and still make a difference. I think that is one of the stronger points of our game.”
Princeton head coach Chris Sailer was pleased with the strong performance she got from her squad as it rebounded from the Maryland loss.
“We were excited to get back on the field to continue with our April lacrosse; except for Maryland game, it is all about the Ivy League,” said Sailer. “To be able to come out here and play as well as we did from start to finish and both ends of the field was great to see. The ride was so much improved. We just had a nice day offensively, sharing the ball and feeding the ball.”
Sailer liked seeing so many players involved in the offense. Senior star Kyla Sears tallied two goals and six assists in the win and was later named the Ivy Offensive Player of the Week. In addition to the production from Mulham and Sears, Princeton got two goals apiece from Gaby Hamburger, Lillian Stout, Grace Tauckus, McKenzie Blake and Lucie Gildehaus with Shannon Berry and Nina Montes each scoring one goal.
“It was great, we have been seeing some players step up at practice so we have been intentionally trying to get more kids in the rotation,” said Sailer. “It was nice to see people coming through today and playing well.”
It has been nice for Sailer to see Mulham’s progress. “She is a junior but she is really like a freshman in terms of experience,” said Sailer of Mulham. “As the season has gone on and on, she has gotten more confident at reading the game better.”
The Tiger defense read the game well, highlighted by Mary Murray putting the clamps on Dartmouth star Katie Elders, holding her to a pair of goals.
“I thought Murphy did a good job against her,” and Sailer. “It was a good call that coach [Jenn] Cook made. I thought the defense rebounded well.”
With Princeton hosting Penn on April 20 and then playing at Harvard on April 23 as it heads into the Ivy stretch drive, Sailer knows her squad has to keep playing well to stay atop the league standings along with Yale (9-2 overall, 5-0 Ivy).
“The focus is on just continuing to get better every day, to be ready to play on game day and just execute the fundamentals, the small parts of the game that bring you success on the field,” said Sailer. “It is a grueling stretch over the next two weeks but we have to be ready every day. That is the thing about the league, you can’t have an off day.”
Mulham and her teammates are ready for the league battles ahead.
“We are really excited, the Ivy League is really competitive this year,” said Mulham. “Dartmouth was a good team and we are ready for the next one. We are going to ride the high of this win and take it to the rest of the Ivy League.”