19 Princeton Women's Lacrosse Players Take Leave for 2021 Season


The 2021 season is going to look very different for the Princeton women’s lacrosse team.

Tigers head coach Chris Sailer tells US Lacrosse Magazine that 19 players have taken leave from the university, opting out of the 2021 season due to the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Princeton is holding virtual, remote classes in the fall semester, which allowed student-athletes the opportunity to reconsider their statuses.

“It is a lot [of players], but in many ways, we see it as a great thing,” Sailer said. “We kind of feel like the chance of having a full, normal season at Princeton in the spring is uncertain. Our whole school is remote for the fall. We put, at Princeton, the health and safety of students, faculty and staff first and foremost.

“For me, it speaks to how much they love their experience on campus and with our team.”

Currently, there are 13 players on Princeton’s roster, Sailer said.

The following players have opted out of the 2021 season (adjusted graduation year in parenthesis): Kyla Sears (2022), Sam Fish (2022), Olivia Pugh (2022), Marge Donovan (2022), Mary Murphy (2022), Lucy Norton (2022), Kate Mulham (2023), Maria Pansini (2023), Lillian Stout (2023), Shea Smith (2023), Shannon Berry (2023), Grace Tauckus (2024), Kari Buonanno (2024), Caroline Burnett (2024), Abbie Wilhelm (2024), Taylor DeGroff (2024), Emma Briger (2024), Sophie Whiteway (2025), Paige Vegna (2025).

Fish and Sears highlight the list of players taking a leave from Princeton.

Fish was the 2019 Ivy League Goalie of the Year. She was on the final Tewaaraton Award Watch List in 2020 after making 51 saves during Princeton’s 3-2 season.

Sears, a two-time IWLCA All-American, was also on the final Tewaaraton Award Watch List. She posted 20 goals and nine assists in 2020.

“2021 will definitely be an asterisk for us,” Sailer said. “But we don’t see that as a bad thing that the 19 have taken a leave. Once Princeton went fully remote, every student had a chance to reconsider their status. It shows they value their Princeton experience, academically and athletically.

“We’ll take this year as it comes.”

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