Nov. 11, 2008
PRINCETON, N.J.- One of the most explosive offensive teams in the country, No. 9 Princeton broke out with five first-half goals and cruised to an 8-2 victory over Stanford on Tuesday afternoon in an NCAA Play-In game.
With the win, Princeton (16-2, 7-0 Ivy League) earns a berth to the 16-team NCAA Tournament when action gets underway later this week. Coming off its 12th consecutive undefeated conference season and a fixture in the national rankings all season long, the Tigers were considered a safe bet for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth regardless of Tuesday's outcome.
The loss closes out the season for Stanford (9-11, 4-2 NorPac), which looked like an unlikely postseason contender one month ago. But the Cardinal caught fire, rallied to win six of its final seven games (four on the road) and captured its second straight NorPac Tournament championship just to reach the NCAA Play-In contest for the second year in a row.
Princeton was sharp from the outset, scoring off a pair of unlucky deflections in the game's final three minutes to grab a quick 2-0 lead. The unconventional scores appeared to rattle the Cardinal, which was playing its fourth game in six days and clearly missed the services of Bailey Richardson after the senior defender suffered a broken hand in the NorPac Tournament title match against No. 16 California three days ago.
Instead, the Tigers relied on a familiar formula in advancing to their 13th NCAA Tournament appearance: a relentless offense. Boasting an offensive attack that ranks third in the nation in goals scored per game and second in penalty corners taken per game, Princeton held commanding advantages in shot attempts (29-7) and penalty corners (12-2).
Sarah Reinprecht and Kathleen Sharkey each scored twice in the first half for Princeton, which built a 5-0 lead.
Trailing 7-0 following Princeton scores from Kaitlyn Perrelle and Katie Kinzer, Stanford scored two of the game's final three scores.
Junior Rachel Mozenter scored her third goal of the year in the 58th minute, getting Stanford on the board for the first time. Freshman Stephanie Byrne tapped a pass to Mozenter, who avoided a scrum in the circle and lofted a shot high to the top left corner of the cage.
After Princeton responded with a goal, sophomore Xanthe Travlos connected on her sixth goal of the year to make it 8-2 in the 62nd minute. Following a penalty corner, sophomore Katherine Donner initiated the play with a stick-stop from senior Hillary Braun. Travlos then rocketed a shot past Princeton keeper Jennifer King into the cage for the score.
Redshirt freshman keeper Alessandra Moss stopped her fourth penalty stroke attempt of the year in the 56th minute, denying Kraftin Schreyer with a diving stop. In addition to preserving a shootout victory over Pacific back on Oct. 26, Moss was impressive in stopping four of five penalty stroke chances this year. On Tuesday, she made 10 saves in the loss.
Braun and fellow senior Chloe Bade competed in their final game.