October 25, 2000


Field hockey hopes to continue Ivy dominance

Foster's worth gold at Pan Am Games
Sophomore follows brothers into the pool

Team Records

Sports Web Exclusives! Matt Golden's From the Cheap Seats column

Field hockey hopes to continue Ivy dominance

The Princeton women's field hockey team began its season in familiar fashion: After posting a 5 - 0 victory against Ivy rival Dartmouth on September 23, the Tigers were undefeated and facing a late-September showdown with the top-ranked Maryland Terrapins. Princeton fell short in the Maryland game, but the Tigers look poised to win their seventh-straight Ivy League championship, and with it, an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The postseason is when the eighth-ranked Tigers (5 - 1 overall, 1 - 0 Ivy) will need to be ready to challenge the country's strongest teams. The Tigers have progress to make on both offense and defense, as shown by the 2 - 0 loss to Maryland. But head coach Beth Bozman has a knack for getting her teams to raise the level of their play at tournament time. In three of their last five appearances, the Tigers' NCAA run has taken them all the way to a Final Four appearance.

As usual, Bozman's 2000 squad features great speed on offense, led by explosive and experienced tri-captain Hilary Matson '01. Freshman Claire Miller also appears to be a standout, showing grit reminiscent of former Princeton star and now assistant coach Kirsty Hale '99. In addition, a European trio, German Ilvy Friebe '03 and Dutch twins Aviva and Melanie Meerschwam '01, bolsters the Tigers this year. Their precision stick work and passing help the Tigers move quickly to the attack. Against Dartmouth, Princeton dominated the flow of play, with its only struggle coming on penalty corners.

On the other side of the ball, Bozman says her team still has some work to do. "Defense is just teamwork," she says. "We're still getting organized and coming up with a set lineup, so we give teams some opportunities." These holes were noticeable, particularly against Dartmouth, which capitalized on some gaps to challenge Tiger goalie Kelly Baril '03 on two separate breakaway counterattacks. Princeton will have to close ranks in order to make a strong run down the stretch.

Princeton's midfield, led by sophomore Emily Townsend, may be the key to its success in the postseason. In the tradition of midfielders like Amy MacFarlane '98, Townsend serves as a key defensive stopper and also lends variety to the offense as a scoring threat. Through the first half-dozen games, Townsend had scored three goals and assisted on two others, playing an important role on penalty corners.

The speed and overall strength of Bozman's team should garner another Ivy League championship. The team's prospects for a Final Four also look good, but key matches against the country's top three teams - beginning with the loss to Maryland and followed by contests with third-ranked North Carolina and second-ranked Old Dominion - will show how close Princeton is to winning its first national title.

By Paul Hagar '91

Paul Hagar is a former assistant editor and a frequent contributor to PAW.


Return to Sports Main Menu

Foster's worth gold at Pan Am Games
Sophomore follows brothers into the pool

Following in the footsteps of older siblings can be a difficult trek. But for Kevin Foster '03, his older brothers couldn't have led him down a more fruitful path.

Foster, the 6' 5", 210-pound, 2-meter man for the Princeton water polo team, was a mere spectator of the sport only seven years ago. He watched his two brothers (Brendon, formerly at Stanford, and Sean, now at the Naval Academy) compete while he embarked on a career in mainstream sports, namely soccer and basketball. But in seventh grade, Foster dove headfirst into the hot, West Coast sport, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular.

"When I was a kid, I played basketball and soccer, pretty much like everyone else did," said Foster, a native of Davis, California. "But I was inspired by my brothers and decided to give water polo a shot.

"What really drew me to the sport was its aggressive nature and physical demands. It was so difficult when I started, very tough to improve. But that challenge is what motivated me, and once I was able to combat the frustrating early learning stages, I fell in love with the sport."

To say that Foster has experienced success during his seven-year tenure would be an enormous understatement. After leading the Tigers as a freshman with 58 one-point goals last season, Foster captained the junior national team in the Pan American Games this past summer. The U. S. won the gold medal - largely because of Foster's incredible performance. He set a tournament record, netting 25 goals, and earned most valuable player honors.

The top four finishers at the Pan Am Games - the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Puerto Rico - all qualified for the Junior World Games, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, next summer. If the World Games match the excitement and intensity of the Pan Ams, held in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Foster will be soaked with enthusiasm.

"It was awesome," Foster said of the Pan Am Games. "Everything in the city that week centered around the tournament. I would compare it to what an international basketball tournament would be like in the United States. The games were shown live on television, kids were approaching you for autographs, and the fans were unbelievable.

"The competition was very good, and I think my game really improved from having been able to play with and against such quality players. The World Games should be very similar, but we'll face even tougher competition. Teams like Yugoslavia, Russia, Croatia, and Spain will all be there to battle for the title."

With the scent of the Olympics still fresh in the air, the thought of Foster marching with the Americans during opening ceremonies in Athens, Greece, in 2004 would seem less a dream than a reality. Foster, however, is realistic about what his priorities may be at that stage of his life. "To play in the Olympics would be a dream come true," he admitted. "But the timing does not lie in my favor. I will be out of school for more than a year in the summer of 2004, and to continue training on my own would be extremely time-consuming. I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility of participating, but it just may not be in the cards."

Behind Foster, the Tigers are in the midst of a solid season. Currently, the team's record stands at 12-6. After opening with three wins in four matches at the Princeton Invitational, the Tigers traveled to California to face stiffer competition. Squaring off against national powerhouses like Long Beach State; Loyola, Marymount; and the defending national champion UCLA Bruins (the Tigers played well despite three losses) will undoubtedly pay dividends as the season progresses.

In the middle of his outstanding sophomore season, Foster experienced something he never would have expected seven years ago. In a collegiate match against Navy, Foster hopped into the pool and stared across the water at his mark. And there, possibly waiting to teach him one more lesson, was his closest brother, Sean.

"It was pretty cool because it was the first time we'd ever played against each other in a match," said the youngest Foster. "Their school and media made a big deal out of it. He plays the position that guards me, and we both scored on each other, but Navy won the match (14-13). I guess it will be something we can look back on."

As for the present, the only direction Foster seems to be looking is forward.

By Mark Gola

Mark Gola is the author of the Louisville Slugger Complete Book of Pitching.


Return to Sports Main Menu

Team Records


(overall 1 - 2, Ivy 1 - 0)

(overall 5 - 3, Ivy 0 - 2)

Sprint Football
(overall 0 - 1, Ivy 0 - 1)

Water Polo
(overall 12 - 6, Ivy 0-0)


Field Hockey
(overall 5 - 1, Ivy 3 - 0)

(overall 7 - 1, Ivy 3 - 0)

(overall 9 - 6, Ivy 0 - 0)

Return to Sports Main Menu