The varsity eight is now 2-2, 1-1 in the Ivy League, coming off last weekend's split against both Brown and Michigan State. Both of its losses have come to teams ranked in the Top 5 of the latest USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll.
"It was awesome to be able to face a really tough competitor like Virginia this early on," junior Nicki Byl said, "since we normally don't face them until the national championship."
The Cavaliers, coming off a win over sixth-ranked USC last weekend, won the varsity eight race in 6:41.9, while Princeton took second in 6:44.9. Columbia rounded out the field in 7:09.7.
The Princeton second varsity eight continued to be one of the best 2V boats in the nation. After an undefeated 2013 regular season, it moved to 4-0 early this season with a three-second win over Virginia. Princeton took the race in 6:47.3, while Virginia topped Columbia for second by more than 35 seconds.
"Our boat had a really solid race today," Byl said of the 2V win. "We had a great start and then stayed calm and confident through the halfway point, when Virginia tried to take a major push back. We were pleased with our piece last week but this week focused on trying to improve our sprint in the final 250, which I think also went well today."
Virginia won the remaining races in the regatta, which was the only home competition Saturday morning on Lake Carnegie. The Cavalier V4 won in 7:51.8, and the third varsity won in 7:11.0.
Though every victory is a good one, Princeton understands that it is still early in the process, especially with less water time than usual this spring. Byl has been happy with the work put in by the entire program, and looks forward to see how those efforts could pay off over the next two months.
"I think our team has done a great job making the most of every practice since getting back on the water," she said. "There's definitely a good sense of urgency, and I feel like our team is making solid strides forward."
Second Varsity Eight
Virginia B 7:52.5
Princeton B 8:03.0
Virginia C 8:24.0
Princeton C 9:03.0
Third/Fourth Varsity Eight
Virginia 3V 7:11.0
Virginia 4V 7:14.3