May 16, 2001:
lacrosse takes aim at Ivy title, Maryland
hurler becomes softball boss: Maureen Davies '97 moves up from volunteer
and Fighters square off in "Dream Match": Football makes spring
trip to Japan
Matt Golden's From
the Cheap Seats column
lacrosse takes aim at Ivy title, Maryland
the final weeks of the regular season, the Princeton women's lacrosse
team had a formidable record (11-2 overall, 5-1 Ivy) and a number-three
national ranking. So far, so good, according to senior defender
Dayna Federici, but there are still two things her team is aiming
First, Princeton wants
an Ivy championship, which it hoped to secure with a win against
Brown on April 28. The Tigers had a shot at the outright Ivy title
after starting league play with a 5-0 record. But Dartmouth drew
even in the Ivy race by handing Princeton a 13-5 whipping on April
21. The Big Green has proved a particularly difficult nemesis in
recent years. "I've never beaten Dartmouth," says Federici.
Second, the team has
its eye on another Final Four appearance. That probably means beating
top-ranked Maryland at least once, and perhaps twice - a daunting
task considering the Terrapins have been the dominant force in women's
collegiate lacrosse. "They're a key focus of our season,"
reveals Federici. "We don't talk about it, but in the back
of our minds we are thinking, 'Wouldn't it be great to beat them?'
And we do think about what we have to do to make that happen."
In order to upset Maryland
and make a return trip to the Final Four, the Tigers need to improve
their consistency. "We've had a good season to this point,"
explains Federici. "But there have only been moments when we
have clicked together."
Coach Chris Sailer agrees:
"In some games, we've played great defense, but our offense
didn't break into double digits. Other times we let in eight or
nine goals, but our offense still pulled it out. For the rest of
the year, we'll have to get all our cylinders running on both sides
of the ball."
On the attack, Lauren
Simone '02 and Kim Smith '02 have given Princeton's offense balance,
with Simone's crafty passing sparking scoring chances and Smith's
aggressive rushes to the net drawing fouls and leading to goals.
Against a gritty Temple team on April 11, Simone, Smith, and senior
Julie Shaner combined for 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in
a 15-7 win. That threesome has paced the Tigers to an average of
nearly 12 scores per game.
The Tiger defense, whose
vocal leader is Federici and whose anchor is goalie Meghan McInnes
'04, also strives for balance. "We try to make it a reciprocal
thing," says Federici. "We talk through our mistakes and
make sure they don't lead to goals by focusing on communication
and desire." Princeton has held opponents to seven goals or
fewer in eight of its games and has limited opponents to just three
goals twice (a 16-3 win over Rutgers on March 7 and a 18-3 victory
versus Columbia on March 27). With a freshman in goal, defensive
communication will likely prove crucial to the team's continuing
success in the postseason.
The Tiger's most integral
player is captain and midfielder Shaner, the team's leader on the
field. Shaner is the core of Princeton's "heart and hustle,"
according to Federici - the key to its defense and its offense.
Federici says, "She's who we look to for leadership when we
With plenty of talent
and a strong record thus far, the Tigers are making preparations
for the season's home stretch by narrowing their focus to some small
things - fundamentals like making a good pass, catching a ball,
sliding to cover an open player on a double-team, and scooping a
ground ball. "We're practicing with a lot of intensity now,
trying to come together at a higher level," says Federici.
"We're peaking at the right time and focusing on us."
But that doesn't mean
the Tigers aren't dreaming, just a little, about what could happen:
"If we beat Brown to win the Ivy title, that will be a successful
season no matter what," Federici adds. "But I know that
each player has a special place in their heart for beating Maryland.
We know how great that would feel." The last time Princeton
beat Maryland was in 1994 - a 10-7 victory that gave the Tigers
their first national championship.
By Paul Hagar '91
Paul Hagar is a frequent
contributor to PAW.
hurler becomes softball boss
Maureen Davies '97 moves up from volunteer assistant
she was pumping fastballs past opponents en route to College World
Series appearances in 1995 and 1996, former Princeton softball pitcher
Maureen Davies '97 was probably unaware that she was making her
future occupation more challenging.
Named the Tigers' new
head softball coach last summer, Davies will routinely face opponents
who benefited from the national exposure that Ivy League softball
received during those seasons. Davies, a Canadian national team
member since 1997, spent last season as a volunteer assistant for
Princeton and took over the program when Cindy Cohen stepped down
after 19 years at the Princeton helm.
"I love it here
at Princeton, and it's an honor to assume the position of head coach,"
Davies says. "I always thought I would coach, but to be honest,
I thought I would be coaching my kids like my mom did. Last year
as an assistant, I really developed confidence in my ability to
communicate and a passion for coaching. I've always wanted to work
with players, and everything seems to have just fallen into place."
Director of Athletics
Gary Walters '67 is hoping that means first place. Princeton has
not won an Ivy crown since Davies toed the rubber in 1996. A dominant
force during the 1980s and 1990s, the Princeton softball team won
12 league titles during Cohen's tenure, including seven consecutive
championships from 1983 to 1989.
Princeton's success in
the national spotlight created a ripple effect throughout the Ivy
League. The byproduct has been greater depth of talent within the
conference and a balance of power.
Davies explains, "The
level of play has definitely improved throughout the league, which
is great. There may have only been two or three teams competing
for the league title when I played, but now there's greater depth
throughout. We've got a great senior and junior class that give
us talent on the field and provide leadership. I don't see any reason
why we can't win the league championship."
The Tigers opened their
season with a pair of wins over Fairfield and LaSalle. Princeton
then split a double-header with Villanova before embarking on a
spring-break southern swing. After that trip, which was marred by
several rainouts, Princeton held a 3-5 record. The Tigers currently
stand at 17-14 overall and 6-6 in the Ivies.
Pitching wins ballgames
in softball, and the Tigers' top two hurlers, Brianne Galicinao
'02 and Sara Jane White '02 will undoubtedly benefit from Davies's
greatest area of expertise. "Pitching has always been my main
area of focus," Davies admits. "I will continue to work
with pitchers, but it's exciting to work in all other areas with
the team. I have great assistants who are very competent in teaching
and planning practice.
"I think my coaching
style will develop over time. I'm very comfortable with the game
itself. I've played all my life. The most difficult part so far
has been the administrative aspect of the job. I guess those were
things you always took for granted as a player. The easy part has
always been out on the field."
Those playing days may
not be over just yet for Davies. She was an alternate on the 2000
Canadian Olympic team and still maintains a roster spot on the national
squad. Visions of the 2004 Olympics are often difficult to ignore.
"I may try to play this summer a little when I'm not recruiting,"
she says. "I haven't officially retired, yet. It's too great
of a profession."
In the meantime, Princeton
is hoping that putting Mo Davies back in orange and black will return
softball to its championship ways.
By Mark Gola
Mark Gola is a frequent
contributor to PAW.
and Fighters square off in "Dream Match"
Football makes spring trip to Japan
game was billed as the "Dream Match." Two universities
with rich football traditions and half a world of distance between
them met in Japan's Osaka Dome on March 24. The Princeton Tigers
traveled across the globe to take on the Kwansei Gakuin University
Fighters, who have played in 42 of the last 50 Japanese collegiate
championship games, in a spring-break showdown that ended in a 27-25,
come-from-behind win for the Tigers.
Despite having only five
practices before the game, Princeton came out of the gate fast.
The Tigers converted the game's opening possession into a 35-yard,
Taylor Northrop '02 field goal. But KGU answered with a touchdown
to claim a 6-3 advantage. The teams exchanged scores for most of
the contest, and KGU crossed the goal line with 1:01 remaining in
the game to take a 25-24 lead. But the Tigers drove 60 yards, and
Northrop booted a game-winning, 41-yard field goal with two ticks
left on the clock.
coach Roger Hughes said after returning to Old Nassau, "If
you look at the score of the game, you can tell that the level of
competition was good. They have been playing football for 60 years
in Japan. Schematically they are very up-to-date, and in terms of
skill they are very comparable to us.
"From a football
standpoint the trip was valuable because it allowed our young players
to get a feel for what game tempo is. We are also now able to evaluate
people in some roles, like on special teams, that we don't usually
spend much time working on during the spring."
The Tigers returned to
the U.S. with more than just a win on the gridiron. The education
and experiences the players accumulated during their week's stay
in Japan will be as memorable as their victory. Hughes explained,
"The people at KGU went out of their way to make sure that
we had a tremendous experience. And we had three professors - Bob
Tignor (history), Sheldon Garon (East Asian studies and history),
and Dan Okimoto '65, an alumnus who teaches political science at
Stanford - among our contingent, who really added to the trip from
an educational slant."
After more than 24 hours
of travel to start their trip, the Tigers were greeted with a standing
ovation from their would-be opponents. The Princeton contingent
toured KGU's two campuses on Monday and practiced on Tuesday and
Thursday mornings. Wednesday brought a visit to the Todai-ji Temple,
which houses the Great Statue of the Buddha, and an authentic Japanese
meal that included squid, raw tuna, and crayfish that were meant
to be eaten whole (including the shell).
And though the trip made
spring practice logistically challenging - Princeton was forced
to start practice early and, at one point, took a week off between
practices - Hughes feels this experience will help his team next
fall. "We are starting to expect good things to happen when
we step on the field." said the coach. "We have made great
strides in our mental approach to the game"