For ninth consecutive season the Princeton field hockey team has claimed at least a share of the Ivy League title following its 4-0 shutout victory over Cornell Saturday afternoon at Bedford Field.
The Tigers (11-4, 6-0 Ivy) will have to defeat Penn next week in Philadelphia to claim the outright championship and the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
Before thinking about Penn and next week’s title game, Princeton would like to close out the home and non-conference slate on a positive note Sunday versus Rider at 1 p.m. Prior to the match the Tigers will honor the Class of 2014 at their annual Senior Day ceremony.
Goalkeeper Anya Gersoff (8-3) earned her second shutout of the year, orchestrating a near flawless defensive line. Along with her four saves, the backline only allowed six Big Red shots, all in the first half.
On the offensive end, Princeton tallied 26 shots, including 18 on frame, and an 8-4 penalty corner advantage.
Freshman Cat Caro scored her second game-winner in as many games with her first half goal in the 22nd minute. After a Cornell foul, Julia Reinprecht took the direct pass from the top of the circle and found an open Caro on the left side to send it in past the Big Red’s goalie Carolyn Horner.
Princeton nearly doubled its lead with 13 second left in the half. Teresa Benvenuti’s shot beat Horner, but Cornell’s Mallory Bannon was able to jump onto the goal line for the defensive save.
The second half proved to be all Princeton, as the Tigers held a 15-0 shot differential.
In the 45th minute a Reinprecht shot deflected off Horner’s pads, but the Tigers were able to regain possession. Syndey Kirby corralled the ball and dished to an open Kelsey Byrne for the straight on shot in front of the cage for her first goal of the year.
Riding its momentum, Princeton quickly added to its lead three minutes later. This time it was Michelle Cesan picking up Amanda Bird’s deflection. Cesan was perfectly placed on the left post and grabbed the rebound off Horner’s pads to tap in the goal and improve the Tigers’ lead to 3-0.
As the Tigers continued to pepper in shots, Horner managed to hold off Princeton again until the 61st minute. On a sweeping drive down the field, Cesan collected the ball and drove it towards the circle. She dished it to an open Allison Evans who sent in her eighth goal of the year past a diving Horner to wrap up Princeton’s offensive output.