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November 15, 2012

Princeton Ready for NCAA Field Hockey Final Four and Maryland

Ivy League NCAA Final Four Release | Princeton NCAA Final Four Release

Courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- After getting past the opening rounds of the 2012 NCAA Championship, the No. 2 Princeton field hockey returns to the Final Four for the sixth time in program history. The Tigers (19-1) face No. 6 Maryland (18-5) for the second time this year in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m. North Carolina (22-1) and Syracuse (19-2) will face each other in the other semifinal matchup at 2 p.m., with the winner of both games advancing to the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. The Final Four will be hosted at Old Dominion's Powhatan Sports Complex in Norfolk, Va.

Last Time Out: The Tigers earned their 10th shutout of the year, topping No. 15 Drexel 5-0 in the NCAA First Round on Nov. 10. Princeton completed the weekend sweep at the Charlottesville, Va. regional with a 5-2 rally past No. 7 Virginia in the quarterfinals. UVA would hold a 1-0 and 2-1 advantage, before the Tigers rallied back with three unanswered goals.

Follow the Tigers: Live video and stats will be available for all Princeton home games at GoPrincetonTigers.com. Live stats and video streaming will be available from the NCAA Championship Final Four via GoPrincetonTigers.com.

How to See the Tigers in Norfolk: The most convenient way for fans to purchase tickets to see the Tigers in the Final Four is to pre-order tickets at NCAA.com/tickets.

Scouting No. 6 Maryland: Sixth-ranked Maryland (18-5) advanced to the Final Four after handing No. 4 UConn a 2-1 loss. The Huskies held a 1-0 advantage initially, before the Terps evened things up prior to halftime. In a tied deadlock, Megan Frazer found an opening in the 68th minute to score the game-winner.

Maryland's offense is led by a quartet of double figure goal scorers in: Jill Witmer (14 g, 10 a), Katie Gerzabek (10 g, 10 a), Frazer (10 g, 8 a) and Sarah Sprink (11 g, 2 a).

In the cage, Natalie Hunter (14-5) has served as Maryland's primary goalie with 20 starts. Hunter has a 1.57 goals against average, 61 saves and 27 goals against. Brooke Cabrera (4-0) and Jill Genovese (0-0) have seen action in 10 combined games.

Tigers All-Time vs. Maryland: Maryland owns the all-time series versus Princeton, 6-15. The two programs have met once in 2012 already, with the Tigers outlasting the Terps, 3-2, on Oct. 2 at Bedford Field.

Princeton and Maryland do have history in the postseason, last meeting in the semifinals in 2009. The match marked the Tigers' last trip to the Final Four, with Maryland ending Princeton's year with a 7-5 victory on Nov. 20 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Tigers are 1-2 all-time versus the Terps in NCAA Tournament play.

Looking Ahead: The first semifinal match Friday will feature top-seeded North Carolina and No. 5 Syracuse. UNC, the only team in the semifinals Princeton has not faced this season, enters Friday's contest riding a 22-1 overall record.

Princeton has faced the Tar Heels three times in the postseason, going 0-3, including a meeting in the championship game in 1996. The two programs have not met since 2002, when the Tigers handed the Tar Heels a 4-2 on Nov. 3 in coincidently Norfolk, Va.

Princeton's lone loss this season came at the hands of the Syracuse Orange, 2-0, on Sept. 23 at Bedford Field. Following a scoreless first half, Syracuse (19-2) scored in the 56th and 65th minutes to snap the Tigers' season-opening seven-game winning streak.

Princeton owns the all-time series versus the Orange, 11-5, including a 2-1 record in the postseason. The programs have met twice in the quarterfinals, with the Tigers most recently defeating the Orange, 7-3, on Nov. 15, 2009.

Outright Ivy Champs: The Tigers won the outright 2012 Ivy League title after going undefeated 7-0 in conference play for the fourth time in five years and 15th overall. Princeton has won at least a share of the last eight consecutive Ivy League titles, winning its first outright championship since 2010. The Tigers have won 21 Ivy titles in program history, bringing home the conference crown 18 of the last 19 seasons.

Dominating the League: Princeton only conceded one goal throughout Ivy League play in 2012, tallying six shutout victories. Since giving up the lone goal in their conference opener to Dartmouth, the Tigers have played 420 scoreless minutes versus conference foes. Princeton outscored Ivy opponents 45-1.

NCAA Championship History: Princeton is 19-16 all-time in NCAA play, earning berths the last eight consecutive seasons. The Tigers have advanced to the Final Four six times over program history, including a pair of appearances in the championship game. Princeton has never won an NCAA Championship, playing for the title in 1996 and 1998.

The Tigers are 4-1 all-time in NCAA Play-In Games, winning in its last three consecutive matches to earn berths into the tournament.

Sharkey Joins the 100-200 Club: Senior Kathleen Sharkey further cemented her stance as one of the most prolific players in program history, eclipsing the 100-goal and 200-point milestones during the regular season.

Sharkey has become the all-time Princeton leader in points in a career (239), points in a season (79, eclipsing her former record), goals in a career (104) and goals in a season (35).

May I Assist You?: Senior Katie Reinprecht has been a mainstay in the midfield for the Tigers, moving into the top-five in several all-time program records with her play this season.

Reinprecht ranks in the all-time Princeton record book in career points (fourth, 155), career assists (second, 49) and assists in a season (second, 18).

In the Cage: Junior Christina Maida's play in goal for the Tigers has been outstanding this season. She enters the Final Four with a 16-1 record over 18 games played.

Maida ranks in the all-time Princeton record book in career goalie wins (third, 37) and wins in a season (tied for third, 16).
 
How the Team Stacks Up in Record Book: The 2012 team currently ranks in the all-time Princeton record book in the following: wins in a season (first, 19), points in a season (second, 268), goals in a season (second, 96) and assists in a season (first, 76).

Tigers Sweep Ivy Top Honors, 10 Players Honored: Coming off capturing its 21st Ivy League title, 10 members of the Princeton field hockey team earned postseason Ivy accolades, including a Tiger sweep of the top three honors. Seniors Kathleen Sharkey and Katie Reinprecht earned unanimous Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year accolades, respectively, and Teresa Benvenuti was voted Rookie of the Year. This is the 12th time Princeton has swept the Ivy League's top honors.

Sharkey, Reinprecht, Benvenuti, Michelle Cesan and Julia Reinprecht collected First-Team All-Ivy honors, while Allison Evans and Sydney Kirby picked up second team accolades. Rounding out the Tiger honorees was a trio of honorable mention selections in Amanda Bird, Kelsey Byrne and Amy Donovan.

Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Poll: Princeton was ranked No. 2 in the final Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Poll of 2012 with 733 points and a first-place vote. The Tigers have been second-ranked five times this year, including the past five weeks. Princeton has not been ranked lower than No. 4 all season.

RPI: Along with being the lone Ivy team nationally ranked, Princeton is also the only conference affiliate in the top-25 in RPI. The Tigers are No. 2 in the Nov. 6 poll.

Ranked Opponents: The Tigers are 9-1 this season versus team that are currently nationally ranked. No. 19 Richmond was not ranked when they played at Bedford, but earned a place in the top-25 the following week.

Versus the Tournament Field: Versus teams in the NCAA Tournament, Princeton has gone 7-1 this season, including a sweep of Virginia.

Tiger Trailblazers: Senior Kathleen Sharkey continues to lead the nation in points per game (3.95) and goals per game (1.75). Classmate Katie Reinprecht moved to No. 2 in the nation in assists per game (0.90) and No. 27 in points per game (1.80). Her younger sister Julia Reinprecht is ranked No. 11 in assists per game (0.68), while sophomore Sydney Kirby jumped into the rankings at No. 44 in goals per game (0.60) and freshman Teresa Benvenuti is No. 13 in defensive saves (4.0). Goalie Christina Maida is No. 2 in goals against average (1.06) and No. 17 in saves percentage (0.758).

Princeton leads the nation in scoring average, goals per game, goals against average, scoring margin, shutouts per game, assists per game and points per game. The Tigers are No. 2 in winning percentage and saves percentage, No. 6 in penalty corners and No. 35 in defensive saves.

Undefeated When Scoring First: Princeton has gone 18-0 when scoring first this season. The Tigers have outscored opponents 96-18 this season.

The Tigers have only conceded the lead twice this season. The first time resulted in a 2-0 shutout loss to Syracuse. It took until the NCAA Quarterfinals for Princeton to be put in a hole with Virginia taking the lead in the second minute. A resilient Tiger team responded to earn a 5-2 victory versus the Cavaliers.

Kirby, U.S. U21 National Team Win Bronze: Sophomore Sydney Kirby and the U.S. Field Hockey Junior National Team have qualified for the Junior World Cup following the squad's third place finish at the Pan American Junior Championship in Guadalajara, Mexico. Team USA defeated Chile, 2-1, en route to the bronze medal.

Kirby had two goals during the preliminary round, as the U.S. finished second in its pool play.

The Captains: Seniors Katie Reinprecht and Kathleen Sharkey and junior Julia Reinprecht will serve as field hockey's tri-captains in 2012.

Beautiful Bedford: In 2012 the Tiger field hockey program will call the newly constructed Bedford Field home, a state-of-the-art turf facility. Bedford features an optimal playing surface in artificial turf and a built-in watering system. There are currently 1,200 seats, with room for additional temporary seating.

Return of National Team Quartet: After spending the past year-and-a-half training and playing with the U.S. Senior National Team, juniors Michelle Cesan and Julia Reinprecht, and seniors Katie Reinprecht and Kathleen Sharkey return to the pitch. During their time with Team USA, the squad won gold at the Pan Am Games.

Both Reinprecht sisters were then named to the 16-player London Summer Olympics roster, with the duo contributing significantly in their Olympic debut. Cesan was also named one of two alternates to the Games.

A Decade Under Holmes-Winn: Head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn is in her 10th season at the helm of the Tiger field hockey program. During that span Princeton boasts a 129-57 overall record and .694 winning percentage. The Tigers have won eight Ivy League titles under Holmes-Winn's tutelage, including the last seven consecutive championships.

Joining Holmes-Winn on the sidelines for her 10th season is assistant coach Melisa Meccage, and both Nate Franks '07 and Mike Pallister are entering their second season working under Holmes-Winn.

Experienced Rookies: The six-player incoming freshman class boasts a talented group. Each member of the Class of 2016 has youth national team experience, including Teresa Benvenuti who was named to the U.S. Women's Development Squad this past spring.