PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Despite a formidable first-half defensive effort and two goals by junior Meghan O'Donnell (Winchester, Mass.), the Brown field hockey team suffered a 6-2 loss to defending national champion No. 9 Princeton in Ivy League play at Goldberger Family Field on Saturday. The Bears fall to 5-7 overall and 1-3 in Ivy League action, while the Tigers jump to 8-4 and remain undefeated in conference play at 4-0.
Junior goalie Shannon McSweeney (Boxborough, Mass.) battled to reach the 20-save mark for the second time this season and got some help from junior Clayton Christus (Bernardsville, N.J.) and sophomore Alexis Miller (Caldwell, N.J.), who each made defensive saves. The Brown defense turned in a relentless performance in the first half and kept Princeton off the board for over 24 minutes despite the visitors eclipsing the 20-shot mark early in the period. The Tigers ultimately unleashed 46 shots, 28 of which were on goal, and outcornered Brown 16-2.
Julia Reinprecht and Michelle Cesan each scored twice for Princeton, while Teresa Benvenuti finished the day with a goal and two assists. Christina Maida got the start in net for the Tigers and allowed two goals, while Julia Boyle played 13:34 of relief.
Brown held off the fierce Tiger attack for 24:16 before Benvenuti broke the scoreless tie on the first shot off a penalty corner. That opened the gates for the rest of Princeton's forwards, as Cat Caro and Reinprecht each flushed rebounds, the former at 33:34 and the latter just under four minutes into the second half.
Reinprecht struck again in the 45th minute from the left side, striking a bullet off Benvenuti's feed following a corner. O'Donnell finally had an answer on Brown's end at 48:30, racing down the field alongside senior Torie Stearns (Rye, N.Y.), who drew the goalie out and allowed O'Donnell to make a diving stab to push the ball in for the Bears' first goal of the day.
Cesan made it a 5-1 game with a deflection goal in the 56th minute, but O'Donnell earned her second goal of the game and 10th of the season off a setup from sophomore Emily Arciero (Avon, Conn.) at the 57:17 mark. Cesan put the game out of reach shortly after, however, and ripped a chopper that bounced over McSweeney's reach to put Princeton up 6-2 with 5:41 to play.
Brown wraps up its four-game home stand on Wednesday when the Bears host Holy Cross in a non-league showdown at 4 p.m.