Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Big Game On Franklin Field

You have to go back to 2009 to find a year that neither Princeton nor Penn won the Ivy League women's basketball championship.

When it comes to the Princeton and Penn in women's lacrosse, you need to go back even further than that to find a year that neither of them earned at least a share of the Ivy League women's lacrosse title. You have to go to 2005, actually.

That's a lot of dominance in two women's sports.

As Princeton and Penn renew their rivalry in women's lacrosse tonight on Franklin Field, they'll be doing what they usually do. They'll be playing for first place in the Ivy League.

The game starts at 6, by the way, and you can watch it live on ESPNU.

As tough as it is to believe, the lacrosse regular season is already winding down. That's one difference between women's basketball and women's lacrosse.

In women's basketball, Princeton began its season on Nov. 6 with a win over Rider and ended it on March 23rd with a loss to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. That's more than four months worth of a season.

That's 137 days, to be exact, from start to finish. In women's hockey, where Princeton won the Ivy League this year and Penn doesn't have a team but does have a nice rink, the Tigers began the season on Oct. 19 at Wisconsin and ended on March 16 in the NCAA tournament at Minnesota. That's 148 days start to finish.

The women's lacrosse season began on Feb. 16, which was 60 days ago. There are now only 10 days left in the regular season, followed by hopefully the league tournament and NCAA tournament.

For that matter, if you start on Feb. 16 and go through the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, when the women's NCAA championship game will be played, that's just 99 days.

So yeah, lacrosse season goes by quickly.

The Ivy League women's lacrosse race is jam-packed at the top right now, with Cornell and Dartmouth at 4-1 in the league and Princeton and Penn at 3-1. There are only nine league games left to be played, with the game tonight and then two full weekends of four games each the next two weekends.

By the time the four teams at the top have played their next games, there's a guarantee that there will be only two teams with one loss and two with two losses, since Princeton and Penn play tonight and Cornell is at Dartmouth Saturday. 

Princeton finishes the season with games at Yale Saturday and Cornell a week from Saturday. Should Princeton win those three, it would have at least a share of the league championship and would be the No. 1 seed in the Ivy tournament, which will be May 3rd and 5th at Columbia.

The Tigers aren't guaranteed a spot in the tournament, though, so there are all kinds of scenarios that could play out between now and then.

For tonight it's Princeton-Penn, which is always special in any sport, but especially women's lacrosse.

Princeton is the highest-ranked team in the league at No. 11, while Penn is one spot back at No. 12. The game will mark the second time in a week that Princeton will have to contend with a Rosenzweig sister who is in the top 15 in the country in scoring, first Loyola's Liva, who had two goals and two assists in Princeton's 14-10 win over the Greyhounds and now Penn's Gabby, who leads the league in scoring.

Princeton's Kyla Sears is third in the league in scoring, one of three Tigers in the Ivy's top 10, along with Elizabeth George (fifth) and Tess D'Orsi (10th). In terms of goals scored, D'Orsi is fourth.

As for Sears, the sophomore has at least one goal in every game of her career and now, after 31 goals, is closing in on 100 for her career, with 96 entering the game tonight. 

It's a busy day at Princeton in addition to the women's lacrosse game. There's a softball doubleheader against Lehigh, the alma mater of Tiger head coach Lisa Van Ackeren, and the baseball team is home against Rider. Both of those start at 3.

It's also Day 1 of four straight days of track and field on Weaver Track.

TB isn't sure you'll be able to get from softball and baseball to Philadelphia for women's lacrosse, but you can see the lacrosse game on ESPNU.

It's a big one. First place in the league is on the line, and both teams are thinking about playing well into May.

Plus it's Princeton-Penn.

Just like women's basketball, in Ivy women's lacrosse, it's always huge.

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