April 19, 2023

With Tiger Women’s Lax Celebrating 50th Anniversary, Mulham Goes on Scoring Spree in Marathon Win over Brown

STEPPING UP: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kate Mulham brings the ball upfield in recent action. Last weekend, senior star Mulham tallied five goals and two assists as Princeton defeated Brown 20-16 in a game that started on Saturday and was suspended in progress due to the intense storms that pummeled the area that afternoon and finished on Sunday. The Tigers, now 6-6 overall and 3-1 Ivy League, play at Penn on April 19 and at Dartmouth in April 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team celebrated the 50th anniversary of the program by hosting Brown on Saturday afternoon, the festivities ended up going a little longer than planned.

The contest started around noon but didn’t end until after 1 p.m. on Sunday as the game was suspended in progress due to the intense storms that pummeled the area Saturday afternoon and evening.

The Tigers led 15-8 when the action was paused, and then closed the deal some 25 hours later by posting a 20-16 win over the Bears, improving to 6-6 overall and 3-1 Ivy League.

Princeton senior attacker Kate Mulham acknowledged that the delay posed a challenge for the players.

“It was so strange, we were looking to finish what we started yesterday,” said Mulham. “We felt like we were finding our rhythm. We were all really playing in synch, so the lightning delay was unfortunate. We were excited to finish out the game form where it stood and come back and get into that rhythm today.”

Mulham thrived in the marathon contest, ending up with five goals and two assists for a career-high seven points.

“I feel like I am finding my own personal rhythm as well; our attack is just working so nicely as a unit and were really moving the ball well,” said Mulham, a 5’8 native of Setauket, N.Y., who now has 22 goals and seven assists this season. “I just so happened to the open girl on a lot of those plays, all the credit to my fellow attacking unit. They are really awesome.”

With Princeton trailing 6-5 heading into the second quarter, the Tigers broke open the game, outscoring the Bears 10-2 over the next 21 minutes of the contest.

“Everyone was just felt it, you could feel it in the air,” said Mulham, reflecting on the run. “It was such a great feeling; we were really all playing together and we were on a roll. It was definitely upsetting to have that lightning delay put a stop to that, but we came through today which was most important.”

With a throng of former Tiger players on hand for the 50th anniversary celebration, Mulham and her teammates were determined to come through with a win.

“It was a huge focus for us coming into this game, honoring the legacy, being able to put on the Princeton jersey and doing it for the people who came before you and planting the seeds for all of those who will be coming after you,” said Mulham. “I think it is so rich and rewarding to be a part of this program. It is such a storied, successful program — it really is such an honor to play for it. The turnout yesterday was awesome. It is always great to have familiar faces come back who feel just as close to the program and strongly connected to it years out from graduation. It is really an awesome feeling. I am very grateful to be a part of it.”

As the season heads into its homestretch, Mulham is looking to make most of her final weeks in a Princeton jersey.

“It is bittersweet, it goes so quickly; these are the last few games on ’52 (Class of 1952 Stadium) which is such a great place to play,” said Mulham. “I think we are peaking at the right time.”

After falling 20-10 to No. 11 Loyola last Wednesday evening, the Tigers were viewing the Brown game as a potential turning point.

“This next stretch of games for us is Ivy League play which is important; it was definitely a disappointing loss against Loyola,” said Mulham. “We wanted this Brown game to be a statement win for us to find our footing again, bounce back, and set the tone for the rest of our Ivy play to finish out the season.”

Princeton head coach Jenn Cook liked the way her players took care of business in dealing with the delayed end to the game.

“It is difficult, it was not an easy situation to be in and I thought our players handled it really, really well,” said Cook. “All you can do is play the cards you are dealt, and I thought they did a good job with that and had really good composure. It is hard focus-wise, they handled it well.”

Doing a better job handling draws on Sunday proved to be a key for the Tigers.

“The draw was great, we won today on the draw,” said Cook, whose team went 11-of-19 on draw controls in the second half. “Sophie Whiteway had nine draw controls which was awesome to see.”

It has been awesome for Cook to see Mulham’s late surge, which has seen her score 15 goals in Princeton’s last five games.

“Kate is really getting on a roll, she is finding her stride and her rhythm and it is great to see,” said Cook, who got four goals from Grace Tauckus in the win over Brown with McKenzie Blake scoring three and Jami MacDonald and Kari Buonanno chipping in two apiece.

“Different people step up in different games on the offensive side of the ball which has been awesome. It is McKenzie at points, Jami, Kate, Grace, and McKenzie at others. It is great see that spread and it is exciting to see because that is what you want at this time of the year.”

The Tiger defense stepped up when it counted against the Bears.

“The second quarter yesterday, we really found our rhythm defensively,” said Cook, whose team yielded just two goals in that period. “I think it is a really big ask to come back and be extremely focused the next day. Some of those were 8-meter goals. You are never going to change that with how refs are calling certain things. I do think we got stops when we needed them, I think was important as well. It wasn’t pretty but sometimes it is not a pretty game.”

In reflecting on the big weekend for the program, Cook was glad that her squad made its alumnae proud.

“Really what makes Princeton lacrosse so special are the people,” said Cook, who served 10 years as an assistant coach for the Tigers before succeeding Hall of Famer Chris Sailer as the head coach last spring. “The support that we have from the alumni and the families  really makes this place what it is. It is so incredibly special. Having our alums remain so connected to our program is so important to us. It is important for our current team to see that support because that is what it is all about. Once you are a Tiger, you are always a Tiger and we really, really believe that. Our alums show that to our current players and that is the culture that will just continue to build.”

With No. 24 Princeton playing at No. 15 Penn (8-4 overall, 4-0 Ivy) in a league showdown, Cook hopes the Tigers can build on the win over the Bears.

“From this game forward, it was Ivies on out, which is what we have talked about; our goals are still our goals,” said Cook. “Penn is a really tough opponent. They are coached extremely  well, they have some really fantastic pieces. We have our work cut out for us. We are excited for the opportunity.”

Mulham, for her part, is confident that Princeton will take advantage of its opportunities over the rest of the season.

“I am just really excited to see how we perform down the stretch in the Ivy tournament and all of that,” said Mulham. “Knock on wood, we are going to do great.