#14 Princeton Stuns #2 Virginia, 8-7, to Advance

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Katie Lewis-Lamonica said afterwards that she and her Princeton teammates knew they could beat No. 2 seed Virginia despite what looked like pretty long odds heading in.

So the Princeton sophomore wasn't going to let her team's best effort of the season get away in the final crazy moments Sunday at Klockner Stadium.

Lewis-Lamonica scored an unassisted goal with 2:14 left in the second half to break a 7-7 tie, then chased down a key ground ball to give Princeton possession in the final 40 seconds, and the Tigers held on for an 8-7 upset win over the Cavaliers in an NCAA first-round game.

Princeton (12-5), which has never failed to advance to the quarterfinals in its 16 NCAA tournament appearences, will play at Dartmouth, a 9-4 winner over Boston University on Sunday, in a quarterfinal game May 20.

Virginia (15-4) had two good chances after Lewis-Lamonica's goal, but Colleen O'Boyle saved Blair Weymouth's shot with 1:43 left and then stopped a close opportunity from Nikki Lieb with 50 seconds left. The Cavaliers had one final chance after a Princeton turnover in the final 10 seconds, but Blair Weymouth couldn't handle a long pass and the Tigers ran out the clock.

"Virginia is a great team and they had beaten us pretty badly earlier in the year," said Lewis-Lamonica, referring to the Cavaliers' 16-3 win over the Tigers in Princeton March 25. "But as soon as the selection show was over and we got back to practice, we realized that this was an opportunity for us to prove something."

The Tigers proved it by using a patient, ball-control offense and a terrific defensive effort that limited Virginia (15-4) to just three first-half shots and 17 for the game. Princeton led 2-0 early, 5-2 at half and 7-2 with 13 minutes left when Ashley Amo scored in front.

"I think that was definitely our game plan coming in, controlling possession as much as we could," said Princeton head coach Chris Sailer. "I think when we played them earlier they had the ball 85% of the time and you saw what happened. That completely turned around today."

But just as soon as the Tigers looked like they had salted it away with that strategy, the game would change in dramatic fashion in a frenetic final 10 minutes.

First, UVa's Megan O'Malley scored on a free-position shot with 11 minutes left, breaking a 32-minute scoreless string and making it 7-3 Princeton. Kim Connors then scored an unassisted goal with eight minutes left, but the Tigers still led 7-4.

After a Princeton timeout, the Cavaliers would use two transition opportunities to pull within one goal. Kate Breslin scored both goals, the second one coming with 6:32 left, and suddenly Princeton's lead was just 7-6.

The Cavaliers then tied the game with just more than four minutes left when O'Malley took advantage of another transition opportunity. Virginia's five-goal run had taken less than seven minutes on the clock.

Virginia won the next draw control, but couldn't keep possession. The Cavaliers never had a chance after that to go ahead.

"To see our season end in the first round is hard to swallow," said Virginia head coach Julie Myers, "but I give Princeton a lot of credit. I think they played a great game today. They were poised and confident, very deliberate in what they did and really made their opportunities count."

Princeton took the game's first 10 shots and had a 2-0 lead when Amo scored the first of her three goals with 17:53 left in the first half.

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2006-05-14



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