Johnson Field reverberated with the cheers, gasps and at times, the silence of its 250-odd occupants, who came out on an unseasonably cold Saturday afternoon to support the women’s lacrosse team.
The weather did not hamper the spirits of the spectators or the team, which proved that Princeton’s higher rankings and past accolades had nothing to do with the final result that day. The No. 15 Bulldogs (10-3, 3-1 Ivy) treated their supporters to a nail-biting victory over No. 9 Princeton (4-4, 1-1), winning their sixth consecutive game, 6-5.
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The Elis had last defeated the defending Ivy League champions in 2003, which until Saturday was Tigers’ only loss to an Ivy team other than Dartmouth since 1994. Going into the game, players said they expected a battle.
“We definitely knew that Princeton was going to put up a fight,” captain Lindsay Levin ’07 said. “This year, more than any other year, we matched up to them, player to player, person to person.”
The Elis went into the encounter on a five-game winning streak, which included emphatic victories over Ancient Eight foes Harvard and Dartmouth. But the Bulldogs started off on the wrong foot as Princeton gained a 4-0 lead and entered halftime ahead of the Elis, 4-3.
After a lacking opening frame, Yale’s performance in the second half earned the Bulldogs the victory. The Tigers managed to capitalize on only one of nine goal opportunities after halftime. Goalkeeper Ellen Cameron ’08 finished the game with 10 saves.
“It was all about our defense,” defender Jenn Warden ’09 said. “At the start we looked a little grim. But after we called a time out, we all pulled it together in the last 3/4 of the game.”
Midfielder Lauren Taylor ’08 clinched the victory with 10 seconds remaining in the game, sneaking a goal past Princeton netminder Kaitlyn Perrelle.
Both teams needed the victory to keep their chances of winning the Ivy League Championships alive. Penn is still undefeated in the League, and despite Yale’s victory against the Tigers, the Elis are not guaranteed the title.
“Assuming we win the rest of the games, to win the Ivies we need UPenn to lose,” Levin said. “So we’re going to be rooting for Dartmouth and Princeton. They’re both good matchups. For pride’s sakes at least, Princeton and Dartmouth will put up a really good fight against Penn.”
The Elis will travel to Columbia on Wednesday in a bid to extend their winning streak to seven games and stay afloat in the race to an Ancient Eight title.
Several players said they cannot take the Lions lightly.
“Columbia is such a program that you never really know what to expect,” Taylor said. “They don’t have huge recruits or superstars, but somehow they manage to play a scrappy game and somehow they come up with garbage goals. So we can’t risk playing down to their level.”