With the spring semester already having begun at Dartmouth but around the corner for the rest of the Ancient Eight, The Crimson takes a look at the fall semester for each athletic program and the season that was in each major sport. Next up, the Princeton Tigers.
Picked before the season to finish last in the Ivy League, the Princeton Tigers shocked the Ancient Eight with four consecutive victories in October after losing their first two games. The final game of that winning streak, a 39-34 triumph over the Harvard Crimson where the Tigers trailed by 24 in the final quarter, was the best of the Ivy League season. The Tigers squandered a golden opportunity to take the crown with consecutive narrow losses to Cornell (37-35) and Penn (28-21) in the following weeks but the season must be considered a success for a team that finished tied for last in the league in 2011—with a point differential of -109 that was 31 points worse than fellow laughing stock Columbia. Quarterback Connor Michelsen was the offensive leader for the Tigers, passing for 1,634 yards on the season.
The Princeton men’s water polo team ended its season ranked 20th in the nation and defeated rival Brown at the team’s biggest competition, the CWPA Eastern championships. Men’s water polo coach Luis Nicolao was voted the CWPA Sportsman of the Year and sophomore Drew Hoffenberg and senior Tim Wenzlau were named to CWPA All-Southern teams, Hoffenberg making the first team and Wenzlau receiving second team honors. Wenzalu had an all-around good season, tallying up 37 goals, 24 assists, 32 steals, and 6 blocks.
Despite losing three straight games to end the season, the Princeton volleyball team finished tied for second in the league, winning 11 more sets than it lost. Late losses to the league’s other top squads—Yale, Cornell, and Columbia—cost a squad a chance to win the league entering November. Outside hitter Lydia Rudnick had a terrific year, however, leading the league in kills with 370, 77 more than the closest competitor. Rudnick and Kendall Peterkin earned First-Team All-Ivy nods. Rudnick was a unanimous choice for the third year in a row while Peterkin was one of just two freshman named to the team.
Through three tournaments, the Princeton men’s golf team is outperforming last year’s team, in no small part due to the efforts of freshman Quinn Pchal. Prchal is tied for sixth in the Ivy League, averaging three strokes above par per round and only 73.75 overall. He is part of a top-heavy Tiger squad with four members in the top 16 of the Ancient Eight but no other player in the top 40. With Bernie D’Amato (7th last year, currently 13th) not playing up to recent form and missing departed 2012 graduate Evan Harmeling (12th last year), the rest of the team has stepped up to compensate for their departures.
After a season in which it finished last in the Ivy League without winning a tournament, the Princeton women’s golf team has completely flipped the script in 2012. The team ranks second in the Ancient Eight behind the Harvard Crimson—who have four of the top five golfers in the Ivy League—and has improved by nearly 22 shots a game from a year ago. Kelly Shon—the Tigers’ only top-15 golfer from a year ago—ranks third in the conference by more than two shots versus par and is on pace to surpass her two tournament wins of a season ago with one in her first three events. Freshmen Anna Jang and Sydney Kersten rank in the top 20 golfers and the team already has a win after going two years between victories.
Princeton soccer completed a historic season in 2012, with five players named to the All-Ivy first team for the first time since 1981. The eight total nominees surpassed the program record set in 2000 and senior Jen Hoy was named the Ivy League Player of the Year. Princeton did not lose a contest in the Ivy League, finishing with an unblemished 7-0 record. Hoy led the team in goals with 17, the second most in Princeton history and the most in the Ivy League since 2004. Hoy finished first in the conference in scoring and points and was third in the country in goals per game.
A year after finishing seventh in the Ivy League—beating out only Harvard—the Princeton men’s soccer team finished fourth in 2012. The team lost only one game in conference play, a narrow 1-0 decision in Ithaca, and won four straight after losing three in a row at the beginning of the season. In postseason honors, freshman Thomas Sanner was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year while senior defender Mark Linnville was named first-team All-Ivy for the fourth straight year.
In a season where the team won 21 of its 22 contests, outscoring opponents in conference by a 45-1 goal margin, and took home the national championship to boot, the Princeton field hockey team can be said to have had unqualified success in 2012. The team—whose loss on the last game of the regular season cost it an outright Ivy League title in 2011—won fourteen games in a row after its only loss of the season, a 2-0 September 23rd defeat at the hands of Syracuse. The team had five of the top ten goalscorers in the Ivy League, with forward Kathleen Sharkley leading the league in goals, points, and shots while Christina Malda led the league in goals against, saving 75% of the shots against her.