It was an odd way to go out, even though the No. 11 women’s lacrosse team was facing stiff competition in No. 5 Duke. The Tigers were held to just three points in their NCAA quarterfinal loss, ending a tournament run and a season that had been marked by offensive prowess.
Midfielder Olivia Hompe ’17 scored one of Princeton’s three goals, but the Blue Devils managed to silence senior standout Erin Slifer ’15, who had 41 goals on the season and moved into second place on Princeton’s all-time assists leaderboard Saturday. Princeton’s all-time assist leader, attacker Erin McMunn ’15, added another to her total but also failed to find the net herself.
The Tigers did not lose for lack of possession. Princeton scooped up ground balls left and right, particularly during the first half, and had just four turnovers to Duke’s seven in the second. The problem was simply that the Blue Devils never gave them an easy shot. Time and time again, the Tigers took possession and circled the crease, but even when they found an inroad Duke’s sticks were right there to break up the attempt.
“They were starting well, they were really out on our hands,” head coach Chris Sailer said. “We did get opportunities, but we just weren’t able to get great shots off.”
Duke’s offense did not fare much better. Ellie DeGarmo ’17 played the entire game in the net for the Tigers and notched eight saves, holding the Blue Devils to three points in the first half.
“I figured the team that could control the other’s offense better would probably come out ahead, but to have a 3-1 first half was kind of crazy,” Sailer said. “If you had told me heading into it that we would hold Duke to six or seven goals I would have thought for sure we would have won that game.”
When Slifer assisted Hompe’s goal less than a minute into the second half, the Tigers appeared to be hanging with the Blue Devils, but Duke struck back with two goals in less than two minutes, netting another halfway through the period after midfielder Lauren Steidl ’17 got one back for the Orange and Black. From then on, it was a stalwart Duke defense, led by Claire Scarrone, against a Princeton offense that took four more shots but shot itself in the foot with turnovers. Again, the Tigers could not capitalize on possession after possession, and the game had been decided long before Duke scored a final goal with nine seconds to go, making the final tally 7-3.
It was an unusual experience for a team that won 18-8 in the first round and knocked off No. 6 Stony Brook 8-4 in the second. The Tigers had not been held to three goals since March 25, 2006, and averaged 11 goals per game this season, putting up at least 10 points in each of their three regular season losses.
Sailer focused on the positives after the game, discussing how seniors like Slifer and McMunn “who’ve just been forces since their freshman year” helped younger contributors like DeGarmo, Hompe, and Steidl get to where they are today. “You don’t have a team that’s that young that does that well without a great group of seniors,” she said.
The women’s open crew could not beat out an undefeated Brown boat at Ivy Championships Sunday, but it did take home five medals, including bronze in the first varsity eight. The third-varsity eight eked out Radcliffe by 0.2 seconds to claim bronze, while the varsity four took gold, coming in 10 seconds ahead of the competition.
The men’s heavyweight crew took third at the Ivy League championship, which was won by a Yale boat that went undefeated in the regular season. Still, the Tigers won their first Rowe Cup since 2005, taking gold in the second-varsity eight and third-varsity eight to lead the team points race.
Quinn Prchal ’17 of the men’s golf team logged one of the 20 best rounds of the weekend with a 67 in his final day at NCAA Regional in New Haven, Conn. Despite starting off with two bogeys, Prchal managed to finish three under on the day. He finished his weekend at six over par, however, ending the Ivy League individual champion’s run at the NCAA Championships.