February 13, 2002: Sports
Sports Web Exclusives! The Varsity Typewriter column
Caption: Sophomore Megan Van Beusekom has a 93 percent save average. Beverly Schaefer
Lending two of its top players to the U.S. national team this year has not slowed Princetons womens hockey team. Although the temporary departure of stars Annamarie Holmes 01 and Andrea Kilbourne 02 has forced head coach Jeff Kampersal to do it with mirrors sometimes, the Tigers are on their way to one of their best seasons in recent memory.
After a 13 start, the shorthanded Tigers rallied to tie with Brown for second place in their division of the ECAC. A 932 run from November to January put Princetons overall record at 1062 (63, ECAC) on January 12 as the team headed into exams and a 14-day break. That same week the Tigers hard work earned them national recognition when they cracked the USA TODAY/American Hockey womens poll at number 10.
The seasons success has been punctuated by wins over nationally ranked powers New Hampshire and Dartmouth, who was picked to win both the ECAC North division and Ivy League crowns. Princetons 31 win in Hanover on January 5 handed the fourth-ranked Big Green its first home loss in nearly two years. Nikola Holmes 03, Annamaries sister, notched a goal and two assists in the game to carry the Tigers.
The win temporarily put Princeton on top of the Ivy League standings, but a loss to Brown on January 12 left them tied with Dartmouth at 41 in the Ivies.
That [Dartmouth] win was particularly satisfying, says Kampersal, who has been impressed with his players ability to come through under pressure. They all knew they had to work a little bit harder and everyones picked it up. It makes this year special since we have a different player stepping it up in each game.
One of those players is sophomore goalie Megan Van Beusekom, whose stalwart play has already earned her ECAC Goalie of the Week honors three times this season. Van Beusekoms .928 save percentage leads the league and ranks eighth-best in the nation.
Kampersal also credits the teams success thus far to strong play and leadership from its four seniors, forwards Melissa Deland and Jessica Fedderly and defensemen Wanda Mason and Aviva Grumet-Morris.
They definitely set an example, he says. They lift hard, they practice hard, and theyve learned to hate to lose.
On offense the Tigers are paced by sophomore Gretchen Anderson, who leads the team in scoring with 21 points (12 goals and nine assists).
The long break could not have come at a better time for the Tigers, whose already depleted corps was forced to compete without Grumet-Morris in the final game before exams, a hard-fought 32 loss at home to Brown on January 12. Grumet-Morris, one of the top defensemen in the country, suffered an ankle injury in the 43 overtime win over Harvard the night before. Kampersal hoped to have her back for the January 27 tilt at home against rival Yale, whom the Tigers defeated handily, 40, on the road November 18.
Their strong early season has made it all the easier for the Tigers to watch the teams leading scorer in the previous three seasons, Kilbourne, compete for the U.S. at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Holmes made it to the final round of cuts but did not make the Olympic team. The defenseman is taking some time off the ice for studies in Germany, according to Kampersal.
Both players are expected to return next season, but the Tigers clearly are not waiting around.
Caption: In his first game with the Nets on November 27, Goodrich saw 20 minutes of playing time. Noren Trotman/nbae/getty images
The Steve Goodrich 98 watch started on November 27. Just hours after signing a contract with the NBAs New Jersey Nets, the former Princeton star played 20 minutes against the Chicago Bulls, the same team he suited up with for 12 games last year.
Goodrich scored only one point, but it looked as if the former Ivy Leaguer had caught on with an NBA team that was a perfect fit for both. Nets head coach Byron Scott and his assistant Eddie Jordan worked on the same coaching staff as Princetons own Pete Carril a few years ago in Sacramento, where they picked up some of the nuances of Carrils legendary Princeton offense, including continuous motion and plenty of low-post passing.
But just as the once lowly Nets were shifting their surprisingly successful season into high gear, Goodrich was cut, and his dream of playing in the NBA came to a pause once again. He didnt have to wait long to get back on the court, however. After being cut on January 6, he signed on with StadtSport Braunschweig in the first division of the German professional basketball league and scored 17 points in his first game on January 18.
With 21 NBA games under his belt so far, the 6'10" forward/center still hopes eventually to prove he belongs in the league. (Incidentally, his departure left NBA rosters Princeton-less.) Im never going to be a star in the NBA,
but I can compete at this level and play with these guys and be successful,
said Goodrich a few weeks before he was cut.
Former Princeton coach Bill Carmody says he would not be surprised to see Goodrich back toiling in the pros.
Some guys work hard at getting better but they reach a point, and thats it. Steves just worked at it and worked at it and keeps improving, says Carmody, who is in his second season as Northwestern Universitys head coach. Hes already played in Italy, Spain, with the Bulls and the Nets, now Germany. And what, hes 26? Id say hes doing pretty well.