Friday, July 28, 2017

Winning Women

TigerBlog pulled into the parking lot at Jadwin Gym yesterday morning as the radio played "Your Smiling Face" by James Taylor.

And whose smiling face did TigerBlog see when he got out of his car? Daisy's, of course.

And who is Daisy?

She's a French bulldog, belonging to field hockey assistant coach Dina Rizzo. Dina held her phone in one hand and the leash in the other. It was pretty obvious that Daisy, in addition to having a smiling face, has a lot of energy.

A year ago, in Rizzo and head coach Carla Tagliente's first year with Princeton field hockey, Princeton reached the NCAA Final Four and was only a late Delaware goal from the finals. Delaware, if you remember, won it all.

Meanwhile, back at Daisy and her smiling face, TigerBlog, as you may recall, is a big fan of French bulldogs.

So too is former Princeton All-America lacrosse goalie Trevor Tierney, who has his own French bulldog, named Canon. If you recall, Trevor saw a video of yet another French bulldog who could skateboard and tried to get his to do the same, with somewhat hilarious results.

When TB saw Daisy in the parking lot, he wondered if she'd ever been skateboarding.

The field hockey season, like the rest of the 2017-18 athletic year, is quickly approaching. Opening kickoff for the entire year comes four weeks from today, when Princeton hosts Monmouth in women's soccer, which will be followed by a trip to Villanova two days later.

The following Friday, Sept. 1, will see women's soccer play its third game (at North Carolina State) and men's soccer, field hockey and women's volleyball all get underway.

The month of August begins Tuesday. TigerBlog is pretty sure that August is either the slowest or fastest month of the year, though he's not sure which.

On the one hand, August around here is hazy, hot and humid. There will be a late afternoon thunderstorm about half of the time. It'll be its usual sweltering. Each day will seem to last forever.

On the other hand, the last few weeks of summer, or at least those without Princeton athletic events, always see to zoom by. This year will be no different.

The final piece of any athletic year here in the Office of Athletic Communications is to put together an annual report of sorts. It's a compilation of information, records and such for an entire athletic year, something that makes for a really good point of reference over time.

You want a few facts from last year?
* Princeton won at least 60 percent of its head-to-head games against each of its seven of its Ivy League rivals
* Princeton won at least two-thirds of its head-to-head games against four of its seven Ivy League rivals
* Of the 36 Princeton teams that competed for a league championship a year ago, there were 23 who finished in the top three in the final standings

Princeton won 63 percent of its games in 2016-17. This counts only games where official stat keeping determines one winner and one loser (or a tie), not things like championship golf tournaments or large track and field meets, by the way.

That's 63 percent of every game across all sports, league and non-league. That's a pretty good number.

Want one that's even more insane?

Princeton's 18 varsity women's teams combined to have a record of 240-90-6. That's a 72.3 percent winning percentage.

That, friends, is insane.

Basically, that means that Princeton's women's teams won essentially three of every four head-to-head games. Among the best records for Princeton's women's teams: fencing at 31-2, water polo at 24-4, volleyball at 19-5, hockey at 20-10-3, lacrosse at 15-4.

This past year was an extraordinary one for standout women athletes. If you noticed the 10 finalists for the von Kienbusch Award as the top female senior athlete, you know what TigerBlog means.

You can't put together winning teams with just a handful stars, though, no matter how good they are. There needs to be depth across the board, across all of the teams, to produce this kind of overall success. It's wildly impressive.

Anyway, that's probably it for 2016-17. And almost it for July.

It's your last weekend for the only month of the year that will not have any Princeton athletic events. So enjoy it.

Game Day will be here soon enough.

In exactly four weeks, to be precise.

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