An early advantage combined with a second half surge lifted
the No. 2 Princeton field hockey team to a 5-0 victory over No. 15 Drexel in
the NCAA Championship First Round Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. With the win, the Tigers (18-1) advance to the second round and will face host-No. 7 Virginia matchup on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.
Princeton took possession of the ball nearly immediately,
intercepting the Dragon's opening offensive drive and charging into the Drexel
circle. Their urgency however was not rewarded initially, as it took three
penalty corners before Kathleen Sharkey found an open Amanda Bird on the left
side. Bird put the Tigers up 1-0 at 9:15 and her goal would be the eventual
Drexel did test the Princeton backline at 21:11, firing a
shot off a penalty corner into the Tiger net. The shot would be called back for
being too high, preserving the Tigers' one-goal advantage.
Despite being the constant aggressors, Princeton was unable
to capitalize on one of its eight penalty corners or 10 shots, including five
on frame, before the first half expired.
Following halftime a reenergized Princeton side returned to
the field and took every opportunity to continuously pepper in shots on the
Dragon cage. The Tigers did not waste any time adding to their lead, as Sharkey
again served up an assist, this time finding an open Sydney Kirby just to the
left of the cage to double Princeton's lead, 2-0, at 36:04.
In the 60th minute, freshman Teresa Benvenuti picked up the
ball to the right of the cage, drove into the circle and fired off a shot.
Drexel's goalie Jantien Gunter managed to stop the shot with her pads, but the
ball deflected right back to Benvenuti. The newly crowned Ivy Rookie of the
Year followed through on the loose ball to improve Princeton's advantage to 3-0.
With Drexel's defense on its heels, the Tigers added further
to their point cushion with a final pair of goals off penalty corners. Kirby
notched her second goal of the game off a perfect feed from Julia Reinprecht
from the corner at 61:42.
Reinprecht was not done yet getting in on the scoring game, as
she fed in Princeton's 13th corner of the match and found older sister Katie Reinprecht for the stop at the top of the circle. Sharkey was there to slam in
her 33rd goal of the year with 65 seconds left in regulation.
In goal, Christina Maida (15-1) had a pair of saves and
helped Princeton earn its ninth shutout of the year.
Princeton would finish the match holding advantages in
shots, 28-5, shots on goal, 17-2, and penalty corners, 13-2, while Drexel
tallied a 12-2 save differential.