CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Princeton rallied from a three-goal deficit with a big second-half effort as the Tigers defeated Penn State 16-13 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Klockner Stadium.
Junior Erin McMunn scored her 100th career goal and had four goals and one assist. Freshman Olivia Hompe matched her career-high six points with two goals and four helpers. Senior Caroline Franke made a season-high 12 saves, one shy of a career best, in relief.
"Going into the second half we had only missed one of our shots, so we were very proficient," head coach Chris Sailer said. "But we talked at halftime that we were shooting ourselves in the foot. We kept turning the ball over, we had 11 at halftime, and you just can't play that way in an NCAA game. We challenged them to step up and play like they can play and we had to keep competing on the draws, which we did a fairly well with in the first half. We knew that if we had the ball that we could score some goals. That was our key - buckling down on defense, transition the ball safely down and letting our attack go to work."
Despite an 8-6 halftime deficit, No. 18 Princeton stayed alive in the first half thanks to its efficient shooting percentage and a hot goalie. Franke came in at 19:55 and made seven saves as the offense shot 6-for-7, while PSU shot 8-for-17.
PSU took a 2-0 lead but Princeton answered with two. Hompe had a great pass from the left side to sophomore Anya Gersoff who was wide open on top of Emi Smith. Senior Mary-Kate Sivilli set up junior Erin Slifer with a similar look as Slifer was free in front of the cage.
The Nittany Lions added two more goals to take a 4-2 lead at 21:18, before the team's traded three goals apiece as PSU maintained a two-goal edge 7-5.
PSU grabbed its largest lead of the half at 3:38 on a free-position goal by Natalie Schmitt. Her initial shot was saved but a foul called it back and she was given the attempt for a clean goal.
Slifer finished off the scoring in the first half as she hit the upper 90 with 1:04 left as Princeton went into the locker room down 8-6.
PSU opened second with a goal before Princeton exploded on a 3-0 run to tie the game 9-9 at 24:25.
McMunn scored her 100th career goal with help from Hompe at 27:27 and Hompe scored herself on a feed from Slifer just 24 seconds later. A free-position attempt by senior Sarah Lloyd bounced wide but Sivilli backed up, collected the ground ball and sprinted past her defender for the goal to tie it 9-9.
A pass by Smucker on an eight-meter to Loizeaux gave PSU its last lead before freshman Anna Doherty got her own rebound on a free-position shot and scored to tie it at 10-10.
Princeton grabbed its first lead, 11-10, with Hompe passing off on a free-position attempt to McMunn on the right side of the fan at 20:04. A weak-side goal by Smucker, free-position goal from Dietrick, a free-position goal from Coffey led to the fourth tie of the second half, 12-12 with 15:41 to play.
A four-goal run followed to push Princeton ahead 16-12, with Lloyd collecting three points.
Lloyd buried a pass from Slifer to regain the lead for Princeton and less than two minutes later the Tigers had its first two-goal lead of the day. PSU was called for a change and Princeton converted on a quick transition goal as McMunn fired in a Hompe pass. Gersoff scored with help from Lloyd at 3:37 and Lloyd buried a Slifer pass at 2:05.
Slifer had a four-point game with a goal and three helpers, while Lloyd had two goals and assist. Sivilli, Gersoff and Dietrick all scored twice.
The Nittany Lions had one last effort with a goal with 39 seconds remaining as Mackenzie Cyr assisted Madison.
McCormick had a five-point game with two goals and three assists and Mackenzie Cyr had a three-point game. Coffey, Lechner and Madison Cyr scored twice each, while Loizeaux, Mosketti, Smucker had a goal and an assist. PSU played all three goalies. Smith got the start and made one save in the first half. Cat Rainone started the second and made two saves on 11 shots, before Natalie Angelo closed out the final 3:37 with one goal allowed on one shot.
Princeton, now 12-6 on the season, faces Virginia in the NCAA second round on Sunday, May 11 at 4 p.m. ET, at Klockner Stadium.