Remembering six days that shaped Princeton athletics in 2017–18

Daniel Zalkus

In a year that saw two Tigers win national championships and 11 teams capture Ivy League crowns, choosing the top highlights is a challenge. Read our top six selections here, and 10 more below.

Sept. 29, 2017 Field hockey’s Ryan McCarthy ’18 scored on a diving rebound off a penalty corner awarded as the second half expired, and Princeton edged Yale, 3–2. The Tigers would go on to a perfect 7–0 Ivy season before falling in the NCAA quarterfinals to North Carolina.

Nov. 19, 2017 More late-game heroics: In the NCAA women’s soccer tournament, Abby Givens ’20 chased down a long pass and poked it out of the air past the charging goalkeeper, propelling Princeton to an overtime win over North Carolina. The Tigers reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004, falling on the road at UCLA.

March 11, 2018 Bella Alarie ’20 blocked six shots and grabbed 17 rebounds as the top-seeded Tigers dominated Penn in the Ivy Women’s Basketball Tournament final, holding the host Quakers to a season-low 34 points. 

March 17, 2018 Max Becker ’18’s overtime goal completed men’s hockey’s miracle ECAC Hockey playoff run in Lake Placid as Princeton edged Clarkson, 2–1. The Tigers, seeded seventh, upset the league’s top three teams in successive rounds of the tournament. The same day in Cleveland, wrestler Matthew Kolodzik ’20 placed third in the NCAA Tournament’s 149-pound division, the top finish by a Tiger since 2002.

March 23, 2018 Princeton fencers have won NCAA team and individual titles before, but the women’s championship meet this year proved historic as Kasia Nixon ’20 (epee) and Maia Chamberlain ’20 (saber) each won their events, becoming the first Tiger teammates to bring home national championships in the same season. 

May 6, 2018 Winning Ivy track and field’s triple crown (the Heps meets in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track) used to be a rare feat. But with their 2017-18 sweep, the Princeton men have now done it a stunning four times in the last eight years. In the outdoor meet, the Tigers outscored Penn, their closest challenger, by 36 points.

Another 10 Memorable Days

Oct. 20, 2017 When Chad Kanoff ’18 won the Ivy’s Bushnell Cup as the top offensive player, several performances came to mind, but none was more vivid than his final appearance in Cambridge. The quarterback completed 31 of 35 pass attempts for 421 yards and two touchdowns, including a 66-yard connection with Jesper Horsted ’19 that broke the game open in the second quarter of Princeton’s 52-17 win.

Oct. 27, 2017 Men’s cross country posted the lowest score at Heps since the 1987 season, led by Noah Kauppila ’18, Conor Lundy ’20, and Garrett O’Toole ’18, who placed second, third, and fourth, respectively. The Tigers would also win the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Nov. 10, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. On the women’s side, Gabi Forrest ’19 won the individual Heps title, becoming the eighth Princeton woman to accomplish that feat.

Nov. 18, 2017 After splitting its regular-season matches with Yale, women’s volleyball came up with a 3-0 sweep of the co-champion Bulldogs in the Ivy playoff in New Haven, earning the league’s NCAA Tournament bid. Maggie O’Connell ’20 led the Tigers with 12 kills.

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Jan. 11, 2018 After trailing 4-1 early, women’s squash proved itself as a national-title contender with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over No. 2 Trinity at Jadwin Gym. The Tigers would finish the regular season 13-1, with the only loss coming at Harvard, the eventual national champion.

Feb. 4, 2018 Tiffany Chen ’20 notched the clinching victory as women’s tennis upset No. 12 Auburn. Princeton’s strong season would continue in Ivy play, where the Tigers were a perfect 7-0.

March 3, 2018 A heartbreakingly memorable night for men’s basketball: Princeton lost in overtime at Yale — the Tigers’ third overtime loss in the Ivy season — and in the process missed out on a bid to the four-team Ivy Tournament.  Back on campus, there was a silver lining: Men’s volleyball won a five-set thriller against No. 10 Penn State.

April 22, 2018 Top-10 finishes by Ananbelle Chang ’21 (second), Maya Walton ’20 (tied for fifth), and Amber Wang ’19 (tied for 10th) led women’s golf to the Ivy championship in a tournament decided by a sudden-death playoff between Princeton and Harvard.

April 28, 2018 It may have been too little, too late, but it surely didn’t feel that way when the men’s lacrosse team left the field with a 14-8 win over Ivy rival Cornell — the Tigers’ fifth straight win. Meanwhile, in Providence, Brown posted a similarly convincing win over Dartmouth, locking up the fourth Ivy playoff spot and leaving Princeton out of the postseason.

May 11, 2018 Colby Chanenchuk ’18 scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime period of the women’s lacrosse team’s NCAA Tournament game against Syracuse May 11. Princeton led 9–5 at halftime; the Orange rallied to take an 11–10 lead before Tiger midfielder Ellie McNulty ’18 tied the game at 11 and forced overtime. 

June 3, 2018 At the IRA Championships, two rowing teams won medals in their varsity eights — silver for the men’s lightweights, bronze for the women’s lightweights — and the men’s heavyweights also reached the grand final, finishing fifth. A week earlier, the Princeton open women placed fifth among varsity eights the NCAA Championships.