Leading up to the opening of the 2014 season, GoPrincetonTigers.com will feature a five-part preseason women's water polo series. Part five features head coach Luis Nicolao and sophomore Diana Murphy previewing the year.
Part One: The Schedule
Part Two: Meet the Captains
Part Three: The Veterans Check In
Part Four: Meet the Freshmen
Coming off consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, the ninth-ranked Princeton women’s water polo team will look to continue its success in 2014. The Tigers kick off the year with their annual Princeton Invitational running this weekend from Feb. 8-9 at DeNunzio Pool. Live streaming will be available for Princeton’s varsity competitions.
Princeton Invitational Schedule
Saturday, Feb. 8 • RV Wagner • 10 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 8 • Iona • 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 9 • NYAC (exhibition) • 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 9 • VMI • 1:30 p.m.
A Look at Last Year:
• Princeton went 28-6, 5-0 Southern in 2013, sweeping divisional play for the second straight season.
• Ranked in the top-12 all year, the Tigers won the Southern Division and CWPA Eastern championships for the second straight seasons.
• The Tigers capped off the year with their second NCAA appearance, this time finishing with a thrilling overtime victory over UC San Diego for a fifth-place finish, a program-best.
• The Tigers open their eight-game road swing at the Bucknell Invitational from Feb. 15-16.
• Princeton will face Bucknell, Marist, RV Michigan and No. 6 UC San Diego at the tournament.
About the Tigers:
• Princeton returns 12 letterwinners and welcomes three freshmen to the lineup in 2014.
• The lineup features an experienced and decorated group, including All-Americas Ashleigh Johnson and Katie Rigler.
• Senior Rigler and classmate Molly McBee lead the veteran charge, including a sizeable group that has been a part of the team’s success the past two years.
Senior Day Saturday: Due to Princeton’s unique schedule featuring only six home games, the Tigers will host their annual Senior Day ceremony on Saturday honoring the careers of the Class of 2014: Molly McBee and Katie Rigler.
• The Tigers opened the year earning a No. 8 ranking in the preseason top-20 national poll, matching a program high.
• Two weeks later, Princeton moved up to No. 7 for a program record.
• Princeton is the top-ranked East Coast team and is No. 1 in the CWPA Top 10 Poll for the fourth straight week.
Johnson Captures Gold:
• Following her incredible freshman season, goalie Ashleigh Johnson helped guide the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team to gold at the 10th FINA Junior World Championships this past summer.
• Playing against the world’s best at that age group, including 2012 Olympians, Johnson shone and earned the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.
Leaders of the Pack: Seniors Molly McBee and Katie Rigler will serve as co-captains in 2014.
Live on ESPNU: The national stage awaits the Tigers, as Princeton’s contest versus Harvard on Sunday, Mar. 2 at 11 a.m. DeNunzio Pool will be aired live on ESPNU.
• With the friendly confines of DeNunzio Pool not often on the schedule, the Tigers will become road warriors this season.
• 24 of 30 regular season games and the Southern Division and CWPA championships will all be played on the road.
• Princeton’s trips will span the Northeast and take them to Southern California for an eight-game trip.
A Look at This Weekend’s Opponents:
• Receiving votes Wagner enters with a 1-3 record, falling in its last three straight to Pacific, Indiana and Brown. The Seahawks’ lone win came in their season opener, 10-8, over No. 19 Hartwick.
• Iona is riding a three-game losing streak heading to Princeton this weekend. A pair of losses came to then-No. 15 Indiana, 17-9, and then-No. 13 Michigan, 15-6.
• VMI will open its 2014 season at the Princeton Invite. The Keydets went 12-22, 1-11 MAAC last year.