She's a thin reed of a history major who genuflects to the Cranberries and the Baltimore Orioles. He's a reed-thin politics major who's crazy about Abraham Lincoln and Eddie Van Halen. These two Princeton seniors share a passion for strawberry Jell-O and lacrosse.
Especially lacrosse. Jenny Bristow and Kevin Lowe are not just the most prolific scorers in Tiger history, they're also the primary reasons the Princeton women's and men's teams—14-1 and 11-1, respectively—are both ranked second going into this week's NCAA Division I lacrosse tournaments. Bristow, a 5'8" center midfielder, is a superb defensive player whose 27 goals and school-record 32 assists this season helped the Tiger women's team to its first undisputed Ivy League title Lowe, a 6'1" attackman who has led the men's squad in scoring in each of his four seasons, is the Ivy League's alltime assists leader. "He may be the best feeder ever to play the game," says his coach, Bill Tierney.
"As players, Jenny and Kevin are very much alike," adds Tierney. "When it's go-to time, the women go to Jenny, and we go to Kevin. Though everyone knows it's their time and their ball, they're amazingly successful."
Says Bristow of Lowe, "The way he can dodge opposing players is phenomenal. He amazes me with what he is able to see from behind the goal. I only wish I had his vision."
Says Lowe of Bristow, "On the field she seems to do everything well. Her stickwork is really solid. I wish I was as fast as she is."
Lowe and Bristow are next-door neighbors in Princeton's Spelman Hall. Each holds down a job at the art library reserve desk. "Every Tuesday, Jenny relieves me," says Kevin. "She complains that I leave stuff for her to do, but believe me, it's not the truth!"
The truth is that both are tenacious competitors who literally have to be yanked off the playing field. While leading Princeton to the 1992 NCAA championship, Lowe concealed a broken hand for all three playoff games. In high school Bristow camouflaged the chicken pox to play in the league championship match. "I had a lot of dots on my stomach, and a few on my neck," she recalls. "I had one on my face, but I put makeup on it to make it look like a zit."
Both come from jock families. Lowe's older brother, Darren, was 1992 Division I Player of the Year at Brown. His dad coaches lacrosse at Manhasset High on Long Island. Bristow's dad oversees the sport as athletic director at Baltimore's Gilman School. Once when she was eight, Jenny waited outside the gate at Memorial Stadium for her beloved Orioles to show up for an afternoon game. When she spied her hero, outfielder John Lowenstein, she asked for his autograph and wound up carrying his bags to the O's locker room. "He was never the same after that," she says. "A short time later they cut him."
She plans to lug her own bags on this weekend's trip to the women's NCAA final four in College Park, Md. Would Lowe offer to carry them for her? "If he was alone, he would," she says. "But if he was in a group, forget it. The men's team hangs out as a posse, and all that male-bonding stuff comes into play."
Bristow is something of a bonding expert. She wrote her senior thesis on the Women's Army Corps in World War II. "They were bound together by the feminine subculture," she says. "Our team has its own subculture that binds us together and unifies us. That's why I tell people we'll win the championship."
Time will soon tell if Bristow's word is as good as her bond.
The Tiger seniors have Princeton face-to-face with a pair of NCAA lacrosse titles.