October 22, 2003: Sports

Lessons from the field
Field hockey’s new coach brings different approach to defending Ivy League champs

In football, Tigers lose two


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Lessons from the field
Field hockey’s new coach brings different approach to defending Ivy League champs

PHOTO: Kristen Holmes-Winn requires her athletes to “play within the system.” (Beverly Schaefer)

New field hockey coach Kristen Holmes-Winn never took a class at the University, but Princeton taught the 1997 University of Iowa grad a lesson she’ll always remember.

Holmes-Winn, a three-time All-American, played her final collegiate field hockey game against the Tigers in a dramatic 1996 N.C.A.A. quarterfinal. “Princeton was down 4—2 with 11 minutes left,” she recalls. “Our team probably started thinking about what we were going to wear on the plane to the Final Four instead of finishing off the match, and before we knew it, it was 4—4 and we were going into overtime.” Princeton advanced to the Final Four.

The lesson: “You have to play moment to moment. As soon as you start thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner, before you know it, you’re down a goal, or it’s tied.”

Princeton’s field hockey team has won nine straight Ivy League championships and appeared in four Final Fours and two N.C.A.A. championship games since 1996. Holmes-Winn replaces Beth Bozman, who became head coach at Duke.

Holmes-Winn comes to Princeton from Champion’s Edge, Inc., a company she helped start that hosts field hockey clinics for middle and high school students. She spent three years as an assistant coach at Iowa and played with the U.S. national team from 1994 to 1998. She recently spoke with Argelio Dumenigo for PAW.

Why did you decide to coach at Princeton?

I knew that if I got back into coaching, I’d really want to be part of an institution that could offer a balance of academics and athletics for student-

athletes, because I think it’s getting further and further away from that at a lot of the other universities. When I talk to parents, it’s pretty amazing to be able to say, “Your daughter is going to get the best education in the world and she’s also going to be able to contend for a national championship.” It’s not easy. You have to be really creative, and you have to have a sense of urgency in your training and your planning to get the most out of the time you have with them.

What can fans expect from you?

They can expect a very exciting style of hockey. I anticipate us scoring a lot of goals and trading a lot of chances, and that’s because we’re going to invest extra players up front, so we’re going to be able to put a lot of pressure on other teams’ backfield. I think they’ll see very balanced hockey; we’re going to utilize every single person on the team.

How is your style different from that of Beth Bozman?

I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Beth did at Princeton. Beth and I could not be more polar opposites in our approach to the game; not that one is better than the other. I’m a very structural-type coach, and I demand that all my athletes play within the system. Beth’s teams played a more free-flowing type of game.

How do you replace the scoring of All-American Ilvy Friebe ’03?

I think we have multiple scoring threats – Claire Miller ’04, Alexis Martirosian ’05, Natalie Martirosian ’05, and Shahrzad Joharifard ’05 – and I won’t allow our team to rely on one person to get the job done.

What are the team’s strengths and weaknesses?

The overall work ethic is an enormous strength. I’ve never worked with a harder-working group. They’re also embracing the new system, and they are up for the challenge. We’ll be vulnerable in goal because of our youth. We’ll need to get the team to combine more. I think the team has been more reactive in the past. We want to make other teams react to us. We’ll dictate the pace and tempo of play and make other teams adjust to us.

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In football, Tigers lose two

PHOTO: Tail Back Branden Benson ’05 in the game against Lafayette. (Beverly Schaefer)

The Tigers football squad had seen this one before: the pass lofted into the endzone over the scrambling heads of a handful of players; the triumphant snag as the seconds spun down; the losers’ slow walk back to the sidelines, while the unlikely victors celebrated.

Only last time, the Tigers were dancing.

This time, a 49-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds propelled Columbia past Princeton October 4 in the Ivy opener for both teams, 33—27.

Columbia snapped an eight-game Ivy League losing streak dating to 2001. With three straight losses starting the season, the Tigers’ Ivy aspirations are already sputtering.

After Princeton amassed a 20—0 lead in the first quarter, the Lions scored the next 27 points. A one-yard touchdown run by Branden Benson ’05 with 26 seconds remaining knotted the score at 27, but Columbia used its final seconds to seal the victory.

The win was Columbia’s first at Princeton since 1945. Last year’s hero against Columbia, 2002 quarterback Dave Splithoff ’04, made his long-awaited season debut — at defensive backfield. It is shaping up to be that kind of season for the Tigers.

A week earlier, Princeton fell to Lafayette, 28—13, after trailing 28—0.

By Sophia Hollander ’02

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The hottest Tigers squad this year has been MEN’S WATER POLO, which finished September with an 11—0 record, and captured its first E.C.A.C title when it beat archenemy Navy, 8—6. John Stover ’06 has been the undisputed star of the team.

WOMEN’S SOCCER, undefeated at press time, had to wait until September 27 to claim its first Ivy win, a 4—2 victory over Yale. Emily Behncke ’06 always seemed to get a goal when it was needed most.

In WOMEN’S GOLF, Sharla Cloutier ’07 and Avery Kiser ’05 form a potent one-two punch. The pair finished first and second overall at the Princeton Invitational September 27, giving the Tigers their second tournament victory of the year.

By Nate Sellyn ’04

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