BY CRISSY CARANO
The softball team got off to a solid start in Ivy play on its home turf last weekend with doubleheaders against both Brown and Yale. The Tigers won three of their four games, sweeping Brown but losing the second game against Yale in extra innings. The successes of the weekend put the team at the top of the standings, tied with Penn for first in the Ivy League South Division, and the Tigers rode the momentum when they played Villanova Tuesday afternoon at the Class of 1895 Field. Princeton took the lead in the second inning and held on, winning 4-1.
Freshman Shanna Christian pitched all seven innings, letting Villanova score only once and giving up a total of nine hits, with no hits in the last three innings. Christian is one of several underclassmen who have been exceeding expectations on a team that sees a lot of contribution from younger players.
“I think the underclassmen are doing really well,” senior pitcher Alex Peyton said. “I think as upperclassmen we’ve done a good job of showing them the ways of the program and what to expect. They work hard, and they push themselves, and they push us to be better, and we push them to be better, and I think everyone as a whole team is just gelling really well. There’s a much better confidence this year.”
Peyton, who was recognized as the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week after her games this weekend, hit a home run in the second inning that put the Tigers on the scoreboard. Her season total now stands at six. Senior Candy Button also crossed the plate in the second thanks to a single from junior Maddie Cousens. Princeton’s other two runs came from senior Lizzy Pierce, who scored in the third while sophomore Alyssa Schmidt gave her time to make it to home plate with a rundown between first and second. Pierce also scored in the fifth inning, bringing Princeton to its final score of 4-1.
While Villanova managed to score a run against Princeton in the third, putting the score at 2-1, the Wildcats failed to build the momentum necessary to defeat the Tigers.
The team has high hopes for the remainder of the season.
“We have a whole different outlook this season, and we’re playing well as a team,” Peyton said. “We have much higher expectations, and we’re pushing ourselves and doing a lot more this year. We expect more out of ourselves, and as a team we’ve really come together, and we’re working really hard.”
The team gets back into the Ivy League with a two-game series against Harvard and Dartmouth lined up for the coming weekend in its first away games of Ivy League play.