Princeton women romp, 11-3

Tigers shake Vanderbilt in 2nd half of semifinal, seek threepeat tomorrow

May 22, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

PRINCETON, N.J. - Kathleen Miller knew exactly how to switch on No. 1 Princeton's offense and turn a tight game into a runaway Tigers victory in last night's NCAA Division I women's lacrosse semifinal against upstart Vanderbilt.

The freshman midfielder raced to goal off the first draw of the second half and, with little net visible as she moved around the crease, fired overhand into the far, upper corner. Her goal sparked a six-goal Tigers run and a comfortable 11-3 victory before 3,215 fans at Princeton Stadium.

Riding a 28-game winning streak, the Tigers (19-0) go after a third straight national championship at noon today against No. 2 Virginia, an 11-9 winner over Georgetown in last night's other semifinal.

Early in yesterday's game, the outcome was far from certain. Vanderbilt, in its first final four appearance, played as tough defensively as the stingy Tigers did. The teams scraped their way to a 2-1 halftime score, with Princeton ahead - tying a semifinal record for the lowest scoring half in the championship round.

Miller, a graduate of St. Stephen's/ & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Va., and a member of the world champion U.S. under-19 team, didn't plan her goal, but she knew an opportunity when she saw it.

"I actually thought I was going to be taking it around the cage," said Miller, "but the goalie stepped out one step, and there was just this little pocket. I was like, `I'm going to go for it.'"

After that, the Tigers attack went for it a lot. They ended up outshooting the Commodores 22-5 in the second half and 29-12 for the game.

With the Commodores (12-6) and the Tigers playing such tough defense in the first half, Princeton coach Chris Sailer said she knew it would be up to her attack to make the difference.

"We weren't planning things ahead of time [in the first half]," said Sailer. "[In the second half,] you could just see we were seeing each other so much better. We were looking for each other. We were seeing what was going to open up, and that made all the difference for us."

Theresa Sherry scored two of her three goals in the Tigers' run. Lindsey Biles, who made it 8-1 with 10:58 left, had a goal and an assist in the run.

While the Tigers were rolling up their lead, the Commodores were held scoreless for 31:08. Kate Hickman scored her second goal to pull Vanderbilt within 8-2 with 8:32 left in the game.

Miller would score again before Michelle Allen fed Lauren Peck to keep the margin at six, 9-3, but the Tigers' Ingrid Goldberg scored and fed Elizabeth Pillion to finish off the game.

Possession made all the difference in the second half. The Commodores, who made 20 turnovers in the game, maintained their share of possession in the first half, but the Tigers dominated the second.

"Princeton has a great attack," said Commodores defender Bridget Morris, "but it's difficult when you're playing defense for a long, long period of the game. We started to get tired, and people started to be quiet, and then they would miss the slides."

Vanderbilt 1 2 - 3

Princeton 2 9 - 11

Goals: V-Hickman 2, Peck; P-Sherry 3, Miller 2, Pillion 2, Hardiman, Reimers, Biles, Goldberg. Assists: V-Allen 2; P-Sundheim, Biles, Miller, Goldberg. Saves: V-Bastinelli 8; P-Robinson 4.

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