May 10, 2009

Princeton Earns Another Crack at Northwestern

by Justin Feil | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Princeton's Katie Cox defends against Georgetown's Jordy Kirr during the Tigers' 15-9 NCAA tournament first-round win Sunday.

Photos: Kevin P. Tucker

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Kristin Schwab and the Princeton University women's lacrosse team are headed back to Chicago.

Schwab, a senior midfielder, tied a career high with five goals, and Kristin Morrison added four goals to help the eighth-seeded Tigers to a 15-9 win over Georgetown in the NCAA tournament first round Sunday and another shot at top-seeded Northwestern in the quarterfinals.

"We have a lot of experience in the tournament," Schwab said. "Having lost to Northwestern last year, we have a lot of revenge that is motivating us. Having played them last year is going to really benefit us going into the game on Saturday."

Schwab made sure that the Tigers (14-3) would have that chance. She scored 3:40 into the second half as Princeton broke open a one-goal game against the Hoyas (13-6). Princeton never trailed after Schwab's first goal 4:08 into the first half. The Tigers are 13-0 when leading at halftime.

Each of the previous six meetings between the Tigers and Hoyas had been decided by two goals or fewer, and they appeared headed for another when Georgetown scored twice in the final 26 seconds to cut the deficit to 8-7. The Hoyas never got closer, though they had chances.

"We won a lot of draws," said Princeton head coach Chris Sailer. "That was really big, especially in the second half. We outdrew them, 9-1. That was huge. That made a difference in terms of possession. And when they were able to get the ball down on attack, we played really great defense."

Erin Tochihara made eight saves for the Tigers, who even got a goal from one of their defenders, Marie McKenna. Holly McGarvie added three goals and an assist and had three ground balls for the Tigers, who avenged a 9-8 loss to the Hoyas in last year's regular-season finale.

Princeton led that game, 6-4, at halftime but lost McGarvie midway through the second half. This time it was the Hoyas who lost a Tewaaraton Trophy nominee, Ashby Kaestner.

Kaestner gave Georgetown a 1-0 lead, but the Hoyas' only lead of the game lasted less than two minutes. Morrison and Schwab scored back-to-back goals 32 seconds apart to give the Tigers the lead for good.

Kaestner left the game with a suspected broken right foot after her third goal of the game cut Princeton's lead to 7-4 with 9:33 left in the first half. She watched the second half from the sidelines with a bag of ice on her foot.

"This team has a lot of character," said Georgetown head coach Ricky Fried. "They knew she was out. I think a lot of people were starting to play for her instead of worrying that she wasn't in there.

"Obviously when you lose a player of that caliber, the defense can focus on some other people. She does so much for our team, through draw controls, and offense and defense, that you really miss that player, especially for three quarters of the game."


Georgetown All-American Ashby Kaestner is helped off the field by teammate Jacqueline Proch after Kaestner suffered a suspected broken foot with 9:33 left in the first half.


Georgetown's Molly Ford had a chance to tie the game in the first minute of the second half, but missed a wide-open cage after a feed from Jordy Kirr. Schwab scored two minutes later, the first of five straight Princeton goals in the second half.

Ford finished with three goals and an assist. Ford's goal with 3:12 left was the Hoyas' first goal of the second half.

"We limited the looks that Ford and Kirr were able to get, and when they were able to get shots through, Toch came up with some big, big plays for us," Sailer said. "They only had two goals in the second half, so it was a great defensive effort."

Princeton advances to play unbeaten Northwestern on Saturday in the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Last year, the Wildcats built an 11-4 halftime lead on their way to an 18-11 win. The Wildcats also eliminated them in the 2005 quarterfinals. Princeton will be looking for its first final four berth in five years.

"I told them, there's not a person in the U.S. outside of this locker room that thinks we can beat Northwestern," Sailer said. "That doesn't matter. We just need one day to be able to beat them. We have to put together a great 60 minutes. Clearly they're a tough opponent, but I've got a great team here with experienced kids and a lot of seniors. We've got nothing to lose. We're going to go for it."

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