March 19, 2008: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
As a ticket salesman, men’s hockey captain Mike Moore ’08 makes a compelling pitch. “There’s nothing like coming down to Baker Rink, huddling together in the cold, and watching a fast-paced, hard-hitting hockey game,” he said after Princeton’s final regular-season home game, a 2–1 win over Cornell on Feb. 23 that attracted more than 2,500 fans.
The historic, cozy confines may help, but on-ice action has been the draw this season. After a three-week hiatus in December, Princeton became nearly unstoppable, posting a 12–3 record since the break, including six straight wins at home. The Tigers wrapped up their first outright Ivy League title since the league’s official formation and earned a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.
With reliable goaltending from Zane Kalemba ’10 and an explosive offense that scored five or more goals in six different games after Christmas, Princeton morphed from a strong but inconsistent team to a bona fide contender, causing many to wonder exactly what changed during the December break. “We get that question a lot — can you divide the season into the first half and second half?” Moore said. “I think we’ve been growing from the start. ... It took some time for everyone to buy in and play the same way, and now that we’re all playing the same way, we’ve seen the success we can have.”
Much of the program’s growth can be traced back to the arrival of coach Guy Gadowsky, who has led Princeton on a steady upward trend. The Tigers won eight games in 2004–05, Gadowsky’s first season, 10 in his second year, and 15 in his third. This season, heading into the playoffs, Princeton had a chance to break the school record of 20 wins, set in 1998–99.
Gadowsky is quick to credit his players, who he says have shown remarkable poise when tested. Late in the second period against Cornell, for example, Cam MacIntyre ’10 appeared to score a goal that would have put Princeton ahead 3–1, but the officials and the goal judge disagreed. Cornell, re-energized by its good fortune, started the third period with a relentless attack, but Princeton never faltered. “You [might] sit back and think, ‘What am I going to say when we get frantic?’” Gadowsky said after the game. “And I never really felt that. I give the guys a lot of credit.”
That type of mental toughness, Moore said, could be a key ingredient in the postseason, in which Princeton had mixed results last year, edging Brown two games to one in the first round before dropping the first two games in a best-of-three quarterfinal series at Dartmouth. Results from this year’s ECAC Hockey quarterfinals, scheduled for March 14-16, were not available for this issue of PAW.
By Eric Dodds ’10
New year. Different opponent. Same story.
With a victory over Penn in the finals of the Howe Cup Feb. 24, the women’s squash team earned its second consecutive national champion-ship. The 6–3 win avenged Princeton’s 5–4 loss to the Quakers earlier in the season and added another triumph in the program’s storied history.
Unlike last year, when the Tigers entered the final against Harvard as overwhelming favorites, the defending champs played the role of underdog against Penn. Princeton’s depth, how-ever, proved too much for the Quakers to handle.
The Orange and Black got off to a rough start, dropping two of three matches in the first stage. Only Kaitlin Sennatt ’10 came out on top, winning 9–6, 9–4, 9–7.
With senior Casey Riley leading the charge, the Tigers came roaring back to sweep the middle stage. Riley gave a command performance, winning 9–1, 9–3, 9–4, and Maggie O’Toole ’09 and Neha Kumar ’10 also swept their matches.
Leading 4–2 heading into the final stage, the Tigers needed just one more victory to clinch their second consecutive national championship.
Princeton was on the verge of getting that win when Carly Grabowski ’08, the Tigers’ No. 7 player, went up 9–2, 9–2 in her match. Down to the championship ball, Penn’s Annie Madeira battled back, staving off a Quaker demise with a 10–8 win in the third game.
Meanwhile, what little hope of salvation remained for Penn quickly ended when Emery Maine ’10 overcame her opponent in four games. After splitting the first two games, Maine came back strong to finish the match 9–1, 9–0 to seal the Tigers’ triumph.
In what proved to be the match of the day, Grabowski ultimately prevailed in five games, while No. 1 player Amanda Siebert ’10 lost in straight games.
Princeton had topped Yale, 7–2, in the semifinals a day earlier, setting up the final that everyone had expected to witness last year, prior to Harvard’s upset of Penn. With only three graduating seniors — Grabowski, Riley, and Margaret Kent — the Tigers are poised to make another run at the national title next season.
Eric Dodds ’10, from New York, is a senior writer for The Daily Princetonian.
Princeton’s Brittany Salmon ’08, at right, scored first against No. 1 Harvard at Baker Rink Feb. 15, and the WOMEN’S HOCKEY team, dressed in pink jerseys as part of a leaguewide American Cancer Society benefit, outshot the Crimson 31–24. But Harvard surged ahead with two third-period goals in a 3–1 victory. Princeton finished the regular season 13–10–6 overall and placed fifth in the ECAC Hockey standings.
MEN’S BASKETBALL fell to 2–7 in Ivy League games with losses at Harvard and Dartmouth Feb. 22 and 23. WOMEN’S BASKETBALL also lost to the Crimson and Big Green, dropping to 2–7 in Ivy play.
MEN’S SQUASH reached the national championship final against Trinity in Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 17, but the powerhouse Bantams were too much for the Tigers to handle. Trinity won, 8–1, claiming its 10th consecutive national title.
When Trina Salcido joined the Princeton softball team as its hitting coach in 2005, she hoped to become a head coach in three or four years — somewhere else. She never expected to reach that goal at Princeton, where head coach Maureen Barron ’97 won four Ivy League titles in her first seven seasons and seemed poised for a long career.
But last May, Barron decided to resign and leave coaching after her husband, Richard, left his job as Princeton’s head coach of women’s basketball to take an assistant post at Baylor. Salcido, a former star third baseman at the University of Oregon who has coached at colleges and high schools for the last nine years, was selected to succeed Maureen Barron in June.
The transition has been smooth, said Salcido, who had a prominent role in the softball program’s recruiting efforts. “The freshmen who were coming in were very close to me already, [because I] recruited them for a year and a half,” she said.
The Tigers’ four freshmen could play key roles this season. Three of them — Brittney Scott ’11, Kristin Arguedas ’11, and Megan Weidrick ’11 — are vying for starting spots in the field, and the fourth, Michelle Tolfa ’11, is one of three pitchers on the roster.
Princeton also returns shortstop Kathryn Welch ’09, a .433 hitter against Ivy opponents in 2007, and pitcher Kristen Schaus ’08, who is on pace to break Princeton’s career record for strikeouts.
After stellar freshman and sophomore seasons, Schaus struggled last year, when her earned-run average jumped by more than a run. Salcido said that the coaching staff has encouraged Schaus to trust her pitches and continue challenging hitters, even after she has given up a few hits.
Princeton, which opens its Ivy schedule against Dartmouth March 29, was 12–8 in league games last year, finishing third in the four-team South division after winning league titles in 2005 and 2006. To get back to the top of the Ivies, Salcido has a few minor changes in mind, including hit-and-run plays to generate more offense, but her first priority is an adjustment of attitude.
“Our goal for the season is just to go out and play to win,” she said. “Sometimes when you have such a tradition of success, there is that pressure that you’re trying to maintain or sustain that tradition. And so you play not wanting to lose. ... Instead, we’ll just prepare and focus on what we can control.”