2014 Princeton Field Hockey Season Preview
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Piecing together another successful campaign, the Princeton University field hockey team posted a 14-5 (7-0 Ivy) record en route to a 22nd Ivy League championship and 17th NCAA Tournament appearance. Squaring off against eight ranked opponents, the Tigers secured three victories against teams slotted in the top-15 of the NFHCA Coaches Poll (No. 10 Duke, No. 15 Albany, No. 9 Penn State).
Closing the season out strong, the Orange and Black strung together an eight-game win streak from Oct. 13 to Nov. 16. Avenging a regular season loss to regional rival Penn State, Princeton downed the Nittany Lions (5-4) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to then-No. 1 Maryland (3-2) in the national quarterfinals.
Despite the graduation of a decorated senior class that helped post a 59-19 (27-1 Ivy) record, the Tigers return a wealth of talent and once again stand poised to compete on the national stage.
Ranked seventh in the NFHCA preseason poll, Princeton returns three of its top five scorers from a squad that netted a conference-best 61 goals (3.2 gpg/4.6 gpg vs. Ivy opponents) in 2013.
Helping to lead the charge is senior Allison Evans. Netting the fifth-most points in the Ivy League (28), she started all 19 of the team’s games, scoring a goal in nine contests. A second-team All-Ivy selection a year ago, she factored into the scoring in 12 of her outings, ultimately finishing with 11 goals and a career-high six assists.
Also back in the fold are junior Teresa Benvenuti and sophomore standout Cat Caro. Third on the squad in points last season, Benvenuti garnered third-team NFHCA All-America accolades, while also picking up first-team All-Region and All-Ivy recognition. Starting all 18 of her appearances, she finished tied for seventh in the conference in assists (8) and eighth in points (24).
Enjoying a stellar freshman season, Caro made 16 starts while twice earning Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors (Oct. 29, Nov. 12). Fourth on the team and tied for ninth in the Ivy in points (22) she recorded a goal in seven of her final eight outings.
Hoping to also build on an impressive first season is Annabeth Donovan. Taking home Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year honors, the sophomore was a first-team all-conference and second-team all-region performer in 2013.
Returning to the mix are veterans Sydney Kirby, Cassidy Arner and Kate Ferrara, who each saw significant time in 2013. Staples on the Tigers’ backline, Arner and Cassidy started 13 and 17 games, respectively. Ferrara started 10 of her 13 appearances.
Defensively, Princeton led the Ivy League with a 1.76 goals-against average in 19 contests, while posting a 0.71 GAA against conference opponents. Hoping to anchor the Tiger backline are returning goalkeepers Julia Boyle and Anya Gersoff. Logging 891:13 minutes in net, Gersoff started 13 of her 14 appearances last fall, going 10-4 with a .697 save percentage. Surrendering the second-fewest goals in the league (23), she finished the year with an Ivy-best 1.81 GAA.
Supplementing Princeton’s core group of veterans is a talented five-member freshman class.
A four-year letter winner at Princeton Day School, Sarah Brennan picked up first-team All-Prep, All-County and All-State honors as a defender. Playing for Smith Academy, Danielle Duseau was named the Field Hockey Athlete of the Year by the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Springfield Republican in 2012, while also seeing time on the US U-17 and U-19 junior national teams.
Helping Oak Knoll to four county championships and three state titles, Ryan McCarthy garnered three All-State selections and a pair of Union County Player of the Year and All-America honors as a midfielder. A first-team All-State and Mid-Atlantic Regional All-America pick, Rachel Park was a four-year starter at midfield for the Bryn Mawr School, while Lexi Quirk was a four-year standout at Needham High, receiving Bay State MVP accolades in 2013.
Princeton opens its 2014 season at No. 4 Duke on Sept 5 before traveling to No. 6 Virginia on Sept. 7. Things don’t get any easier for the Tigers with a match-up at eighth-ranked Penn State on Sept. 12. In all, Princeton will face eight opponents ranked in the NFHCA preseason top-20.
The Orange and Black will open its home schedule on Sept. 14 against Bucknell before welcoming its first Ivy opponent in Dartmouth on Sept. 20. The Tigers will then embark on a four-game road swing at No. 19 American (9/21), Yale (9/27), Albany (9/28) and Columbia (10/3).
Returning to Bedford Field, Princeton begins a six-game home stand on Oct. 5 against No. 5 Syracuse (10/5) before facing off against No. 18 Delaware, No. 1 Maryland, Brown, Harvard and No. 3 UConn. The Tigers make their final road trip of the regular season on Nov. 1 at Cornell before returning home for a conference tilt against Penn (1/8).