AU Field Hockey falls to No. 20 Princeton 2-1
With less than two minutes to play against the No. 20 Princeton University Tigers, senior forward Kati Rothenhoefer knew her team needed a big play but that did not come through.
The Eagles faced a two goal deficit and their first potential loss of the season to a ranked opponent, but Rothenhoefer’s persistency prevented her team from being shut out. She launched a rifle shot off a pass from senior midfielder Rebecca Treharne that snuck past junior Princeton goalkeeper Anya Gersoff to put AU on the board, but the Eagles (5-3, 1-0) failed to add a tying goal, falling to the Tigers 2-1.
The Tigers (2-4, 1-0) outshot the Eagles 16-5 during the matchup, but junior goalkeeper Kate McBeath prevented Princeton from running away with the game as she recorded five saves. Rothenhoefer credits the defense as a critical component for the Eagles.“Our defense is amazing. We have had shutouts all year, every game we’ve won, so they just really stick to the principles,” Rothenhoefer said. “I don’t know how they do it, but I think that they do a great job, and it’s a true testament to their skill.”
Treharne and senior defender Grace Wilson’s strong defensive performances stopped numerous Princeton scoring chances, but they remained unable to completely hold off the relentless attacks from their opponent.
The Princeton offense picked up speed as the clocked ticked on, and they ran the Eagles back and forth across the field, wearing out their opponents. Princeton sophomore midfielder Cat Caro capitalized on a pass from senior forward Stephanie Goldberg with three minutes to play in the first half and fired the ball past McBeath to notch the first goal of the game. Her point flustered the Eagles but sent the Tigers into halftime with newfound confidence.“I think clearly Princeton got the ascendency for the majority of the second half the way they ended the first half, and I think that’s where we got into trouble,” head coach Steve Jennings said.
The Tigers carried their speed into the second half, and AU struggled to match the pace of play. Freshman forward Ryan McCarthy added another goal for Princeton just two minutes into the second half with a goal off of a penalty corner. McCarthy continued to press the Eagles net, and she racked up three additional shots in the half.
Rothenhoefer closed the scoring gap with her goal late in the second half, but AU proved unable to maintain possession in a fast and furious running game.“I think it was exhausting for everybody… it was a lot of running for both teams,” Jennings said. “We try to have a lot of interchange so we can maintain our intensity and level of play, and unfortunately today we were just lacking in a lot of the basics, the trapping and passing, which would have let us have more periods of ascendency.”
The Eagles travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania next weekend to take on Bucknell University on Sept. 27, and Rothenhoefer says the team will be prepared to take on the conference opponent.
“I think we need to be able to go back to practice this week and really work on our principles…and discipline our team and our game plan for this next coming weekend,” she said.