Kathleen Sharkey ’12 (center)
Kathleen Sharkey ’12 (center)
Beverly Schaefer

Princeton field hockey lived up to its billing as one of the nation’s elite teams by winning its first four games, including a 3–2 overtime win at No. 3 Syracuse Sept. 6. Rachel Neufeld ’12 scored the final goal against the Orange, who had beaten the Tigers 3–2 in overtime in last year’s NCAA quarterfinals.  

Coach Kristen Holmes-Winn said her players showed a high level of on-field intelligence early in the season, making key adjustments that paid off in come-from-behind wins over Ohio State and Syracuse.

The Tigers have top-flight talent, including Katie Reinprecht ’12, a U.S. junior national team member who was last year’s Ivy League Player of the Year; Kathleen Sharkey ’12, last season’s Ivy Rookie of the Year; and co-captain Christina Bortz ’10, who tallied 23 goals in her first three seasons.

In 2008, Princeton won 17 games, but nine players from that team graduated, including seven starters. This year, Holmes-Winn is relying on freshmen and sophomores to fill more than half of the starting lineup.

Holmes-Winn said that she wants her young players to be aggressive and make quick decisions. “I think it’s risky to tell players to hold back,” she said. So far, the coach’s approach seems to be working. In their first four games, the Tigers outshot their opponents 86–43.