In the 14 years since Princeton last won the NCAA women’s lacrosse championship, four schools have won national titles: Virginia, Northwestern, Maryland, and North Carolina. All four play in the ACC or Big Ten, two conferences that have a combined seven teams ranked in the top 15 of the NCAA RPI as of April 30.
The Ivy League is right in step with those power conferences this year, with three teams in the top 15 — No. 5 Princeton, No. 8 Penn, and No. 14 Cornell, the league’s regular-season co-champions — and those three will join fourth-seed Harvard to play for an automatic NCAA Tournament bid at this weekend’s Ivy Tournament in Ithaca, N.Y.
Princeton (12-3 overall, 6-1 Ivy), which has won or shared the Ivy title in four straight years, faces rival Penn in the first semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday, May 5. The Tigers led all Ivy teams in scoring, averaging 14.9 goals per game. Olivia Hompe ’17 has paced the high-octane attack, scoring an Ivy-best 60 goals this season. Tess D’Orsi ’20 added 34 goals in her first collegiate season, and Colby Chanenchuk ’18 leads the team with 32 assists.
Goalie Ellie DeGarmo ’17 has saved 54.3 percent of the shots she’s faced, improving on her 53.6 percent rate in 2016, when she was a first-team All-American. Princeton has uncommon continuity on defense, with DeGarmo, Madeline Rodriguez ’17, and Amanda Leavell ’17 all in the starting lineup together for three straight years. The other defender, Alex Argo ’19, is a two-year starter.
Princeton opened the season 5-0, including impressive wins at Virginia and at home against Notre Dame, and all three of its losses came against top-10 teams. The Tigers’ lone Ivy loss was to Penn, a stout defensive team that took a 10-3 lead and held on to win, 17-12, in Philadelphia April 19.
Penn (13-2, 6-1 Ivy) is paced by Alex Condon (42 goals) and Emily Rogers-Healion (31 goals, 23 assists), but the Quakers’ calling card has been defense. Opponents have averaged just 7.7 goals per game this year. Goalie Britt Brown has saved a league-best 56.2 percent of shots on goal.
This is the fifth time that Princeton and Penn will meet in the Ivy Tournament, an event now in its eighth season. Each team has one once head-to-head in the tournament final and once in the semifinals.
The other semifinal pits host and defending-champion Cornell (11-4, 6-1 Ivy) against Harvard (8-7, 4-3 Ivy) at 7:05 p.m. Friday, May 5. Cornell opened the season 9-1 but stumbled in April with losses to Albany, Syracuse, and Princeton in a two-week span. With a share of the Ivy title on the line against Harvard last weekend, the Big Red won convincingly, 13-6, led by Catherine Ellis, who has scored a team-high 37 goals.
Harvard features a strong group of scorers, led by Marisa Romeo (47 goals, 22 assists), but the Crimson also surrenders its share of goals — an average of 13 goals against in seven Ivy games.
The tournament final will be played Sunday, May 7 at 11 a.m.