WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. -- Allison Evans and Teresa Benvenuti each netted a pair of scores to help lead Princeton to a 4-3 victory against Monmouth in an NCAA play-in game at So Sweet A Cat Field.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 8-10 (6-1 Ivy) on the season and will travel to face No. 2 Maryland in first round action on Saturday, Nov. 15. Game time is set for 11:30 a.m.
Upping her career point total to 101, Evans became just the ninth player in program history to surpass the 100-point plateau. Her combined 59 goals and assists currently rank ninth all-time, while her 42 goals are tied for sixth on the Tigers’ career charts. Regaining her form since returning from an injury on Oct. 25, Benvenuti has amassed 11 points (5G, 1A) in her last five appearances.
Controlling possession in the attacking third, Princeton earned three penalty corners in the game’s first 10 minutes. Receiving an insert at the top of the circle, Sydney Kirby ripped a shot toward the cage that was blocked down by the Hawk defense. Alertly corralling the deflection, Evans hammered home the rebound to stake the Tigers to a 1-0 advantage at 9:54.
Pushing forward, Monmouth looked to pull even with less than 15 minutes to go in the half. Holding the ball on the right endline, Trish O’Dwyer played the ball across the face of the goal. Making a run toward the backpost, Meg Donahue got a stick on the centering pass, putting away the equalizer at 20:51.
Taking advantage of a penalty corner in the latter stages of the opening period, the Hawks pulled in front. Getting the play started, O’Dwyer pushed the insert to the left edge of the circle. Slapping it toward the cage, Julie Laszlo beat Princeton goalie Anya Gersoff with a shot tucked inside the right post.
Coming right back, the Tigers connected on a penalty corner of their own with just 1:33 on the clock. Inserting it to the top of the circle, Princeton looked to set up Benvenuti. Going to goal, the junior fired a hard shot that ricocheted off a Monmouth defender’s stick and into the back of the cage to knot things up at 2-2.
Moments after Gersoff turned away an O’Dwyer shot from point-blank range early in the second half, Princeton switched fields, quickly moving into the attacking third. Handling the ball at the top of the circle, Benvenuti backhanded a shot past Monmouth goalie Christen Piersanti to put the Tigers back on top at 40:43.
Looking to pad its cushion, Princeton earned its fifth penalty corner of the day with just over five minutes remaining in regulation. Receiving the insert on the left side of the circle, Benvenuti pushed a shot toward goal. Making her way to the front of the net, Evans redirected the shot past Piersanti to surpass the 100-point plateau. Trimming the deficit in the waning moments of regulation, Allen successfully converted a penalty stroke with just 13 seconds on the clock to make it 4-3.
With each team recording nine shots, Monmouth finished with a slim 6-5 edge in penalty corners. Gersoff made three saves, while Piersanti had a pair of stops.
We'll be traveling to always sunny College Park for a match with Maryland on Saturday. Gem of a venue. Pro production value. Stoked city...— PUFieldHockey (@TigerFH) November 12, 2014