Cornell, Harvard, Penn Head to Princeton for Women's Lacrosse Tournament
Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- For the first time in its young history, the Ivy League Women's Lacrosse Tournament is not being held in Philadelphia. Princeton clinched the top seed and the right to host the tournament with a 6-1 Ivy mark, marking its first League title since it shared with Cornell in 2006. One of the Tigers' victories came against the Quakers, who also finished 6-1 in conference play to earn a share of its League-record eighth-straight Ivy title.
Cornell and Harvard join Penn in taking a trip to Sherrerd Field at the Class of 1952 Stadium in Princeton, N.J., with the Crimson earning the third seed thanks to its head-to-head victory over the Big Red. At stake is the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Friday's semifinals feature Harvard (9-6, 4-3 Ivy) vs. Penn (10-4, 6-1 Ivy) at 4 p.m., followed by Cornell (7-8, 4-3 Ivy) at Princeton (10-5, 6-1 Ivy) at 7 p.m. The championship game takes place Sunday at noon.
All three games of the tournament are set to be streamed on The Ivy League® Digital Network with Brian Seltzer providing the play-by-play and former Tigers Jaci Gassaway and Caroline Rehfuss serving as analysts.
No. 1 Seed Princeton (10-5, 6-1 Ivy)
Princeton finished 6-1 in League play, including a 9-5 victory over Penn, en route to its its first Ivy title since 2006, when it shared with Cornell. The Tigers earned their fourth trip to the Ivy League Tournament and second-straight. They are looking to win their first tournament championship since 2011. Princeton has won nine of its past 11 games, with the two losses coming to No. 2 Maryland, 8-7, and No. 8 Penn State, 13-12. In fact, the Tigers have lost three one-goal games to ranked opponents this season, as they also fell to then-No. 14 Georgetown, 17-16 in overtime.
Team Notables: Princeton opened the season ranked No. 16 in the IWLCA coaches' poll. The Tigers fell out of the poll in the middle of the season but have since moved back in and currently sit at No. 16. The Tigers are 6-2 at home, with both losses coming to ranked non-conference opponents (No. 2 Maryland and then-No. 14 Georgetown). Princeton also boasts a pair of wins over ranked teams, thanks to its victory over Penn and a 15-13 win over No. 12 Virginia.
Individual Notables: Senior Sarah Lloyd was unanimously voted Midfielder of the Year, the first Tiger to be a unanimous choice for Player of the Year since Rachael Becker in 2003. Junior Erin McMunn, the 2012 Rookie of the Year and 2013 Attacker of the Year, leads the way with 41 points on a team-best 30 goals, along with 11 assists. She also has 13 ground balls, 17 draw controls and four caused turnovers on the year. Junior Erin Slifer, a two-time Offensive Player of the Week in 2014, is second on the team in points (40), assists (17) and draw controls (25). Defensively, three Tigers have earned Defensive Player of the Week honors this season in goalie Annie Woehling and defenders Colleen Smith and Liz Bannantine.
Against Semifinals Opponent: Princeton defeated Cornell in overtime, 10-7 on March 29 in Princeton, N.J. McMunn scored four goals and freshman Olivia Hompe tallied a goal and five assists. Both scored in OT to help propel the Tigers to victory.
No. 2 Seed Penn (10-4, 6-1 Ivy)
The Quakers won their eighth-straight League title and 10th overall, becoming the first team to take the championship eighth-consecutive years in Ivy history. The Quakers' run of titles is the third-longest current streak across all Ivy sports, trailing just Cornell wrestling (12) and Princeton field hockey (nine). Since the inception of the Ivy League Tournament in 2010, Penn is the only team to earn a berth all five years. The Quakers's four losses have all been at the hands of teams currently ranked in the top-20 in the nation: No. 2 Maryland, No. 4 UNC, No. 5 Northwestern and No. 19 Princeton. Penn ended its regular season on a three-game winning streak.
Team Notables: Penn has been ranked in the top-20 all season long, reaching as high as No. 9 on April 7. The Quakers are currently listed as the 15th-best team in the country. Penn also sits at No. 7 in the latest RPI poll.
Individual Notables: Penn has been led by its defense. Junior Meg Markham was voted Defender of the Year after a regular season in which she is third in the nation with 2.5 caused turnovers per game and second in the League in ground balls (2.9). Junior goalie Lucy Ferguson is the League-leader in goals against average (7.66) and save percentage (.473). Ferguson is a three-time Defensive Player of the Week, while Markham has received the honor twice.
Against Semifinals Opponent: Penn defeated Harvard, 9-4 in Philadelphia on March 8. The Crimson came into the game averaging 12.6 goals per game and the four goals it scored marked a season low. Penn is one of two teams to limit Harvard to four goals this season (No. 1 Syracuse). Senior Tory Bensen finished with four points (2g, 2a) to lead the Quakers' offense.
No. 3 Seed Harvard (9-6, 4-3 Ivy)
Harvard returns to the Ivy League Women's Lacrosse Tournament after a year away, and is looking to advance past the semifinals for the first time since 2011, when it fell in the championship game to Princeton. Harvard is 5-2 over its past seven games, averaging 10.7 goals per game during that stretch. Five of the Crimson's six losses this season came at the hands of teams currently ranked in the top-20 in No. 17 Stanford, No. 15 Penn, No. 1 Syracuse, No. 6 Boston College and No. 19 Princeton.
Team Notables: Harvard is 8-1 in games in which it scored at least 10 goals. Its only loss when reaching double digits in scoring was a 14-10 defeat at No. 17 Stanford in its first game of the season. The Crimson earned the third seed in the Women's Lacrosse Tournament thanks to its 10-7 win over Cornell on March 1.
Individual Notables: Freshman Marisa Romeo scored three goals in her first career game and has not looked back, as she has recorded at least one point in each of her team's 15 games this season. Romeo has an Ivy-best 46 goals and leads the League in goals per game (3.1), the 11th-best mark in the country. She also ranks second in the conference in shots per game (7.2). Romeo is averaging 3.4 goals per game in Harvard's nine wins and 2.5 goals in the Crimson's six losses. Sophomore goalie Kelly Weis is second in the League in save percentage (.467) and saves per game (8.1).
Against Semifinals Opponent: Harvard fell at Penn, 9-4 on March 8. Romeo scored all four of her team's goals in the loss, including three in the second half as the Crimson tried to come back from a 3-1 halftime disadvantage.
No. 4 Seed Cornell (7-8, 4-3 Ivy)
Cornell opened its season by winning four of its first five games, before suffering a four-game losing streak. Three of those losses came to teams currently ranked in the top-20 (No. 20 Albany, No. 17 Stanford, No. 19 Princeton). The Big Red split its last six games, including a pair of overtime wins over Dartmouth and Brown. Cornell's three losses over the final six games of the season came at the hands of ranked opponents, including two games in which the Big Red lost by only two goals to then-No. 1 Syracuse (7-5) and No. 15 Penn (10-8).
Team Notables: Cornell might be 0-3 against the other three teams in the Ivy League Women's Lacrosse Tournament, but it wasn't for lack of trying. The Big Red lost by three to both Harvard (10-7) and Princeton (10-7 in overtime) and two to Penn (10-8).
Individual Notables: Junior Lindsay Toppe, the 2014 Attacker of the Year, ranks second in the League in goals (45), goals per game (3.0), points (56) and points per game (3.7). She has scored at least one goal and recorded at least two points in all 15 contests this season, including 11 games with at least three goals. Sophomore Emily Tripodi is third in the League in assists (23) and assists per game (1.5). Defensively, sophomore Brittany Marriott has a team-best 18 caused turnovers, while junior Sarah Hefner is Cornell's leader in ground balls (21) and draw controls (66).
Against Semifinals Opponent: Cornell fell at Princeton, 10-7 in overtime on March 29. The Big Red led, 7-6 in the waning stages of the game, before Princeton scored with nine minutes to go to send the game to overtime. Halfway through the overtime session, the Tigers scored twice in a 14 second span to take the lead for good.