April 18, 2007: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
By David Marcus ’92
Coach Bill Tierney wanted his men’s lacrosse team to be more aggressive on offense this year, and it has been, taking more shots than its opponent in each of the season’s first six contests. But the faster tempo has not led to more goals. Against its three toughest early-season opponents — Johns Hopkins, Virginia, and Hofstra — the Tigers managed just 16 goals to win once and lose twice, the same results Princeton achieved in those three games last year.
Both losses were hard to take. After opening its season with an 18–7 win over Canisius on Feb. 24, Princeton traveled to Baltimore to face Johns Hopkins before 20,180 spectators at M&T Bank Stadium in the inaugural Inside Lacrosse Face-off Classic March 3. Scott Sowanick ’07 and Tommy Davis ’09 scored the game’s first two goals, but the Blue Jays rallied and tied the game, 3–3, in the second quarter. From then on, the teams traded goals and stood even at 6–6 when the fourth quarter ended. Alex Haynie ’09 had an excellent chance to win the game in the first overtime, but Johns Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman made the last and most important of his 17 saves on the day, giving teammate Paul Rabil the chance to score the game-winning goal 56 seconds into the second overtime period.
Princeton lost another 7–6 game the next Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. The Tigers and Cavaliers were separated by no more than a goal for most of the contest. Peter Trombino ’07 tied the game at 6–6 midway through the fourth quarter on the last of his three scores. Trombino had an opportunity to give the Tigers the lead with about two minutes left, but Virginia goalie Kip Turner stopped his attempt from eight yards out and also saved a follow-up shot from Mark Kovler ’09. Virginia took possession and scored the winner with 26 seconds left.
The Tigers took out their frustration in a 15–8 win against an overmatched Rutgers team before heading to Hempstead, N.Y., for a March 18 game against Hofstra. Tierney’s nephew Seth is in his first year as head coach at Hofstra, and though the younger Tierney was the offensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins before taking his new job, he also understands good defense: The Pride held Princeton to five goals. The Tigers led throughout, only to see Hofstra tie the game on an extra-man goal with five minutes left. The teams then traded possessions before Davis scored the winner on a feed from Trombino with eight seconds on the clock, giving Princeton a 5–4 win. Davis and Trombino weren’t the day’s only heroes: Alex Hewit ’08 made 11 saves in perhaps his best performance of the season.
Tierney was not happy with his team’s showing at Hofstra. “We lost two one-goal games, and I felt good about those games,” he said. “We had shots to win, and we were right there with the best teams in the country. [Against Hofstra], we won a game by a goal, and I felt miserable. I felt we could have played a lot better. We didn’t take advantage of opportunities. Even the Rutgers game was a tight game until the fourth quarter. We’re a work in progress, and I didn’t think we would be at this point in the season.”
Still, Tierney has reasons for optimism in a season where none of his rivals has been dominant. Princeton’s defense has been terrific, allowing only six goals a game. Mike DeSantis ’07 and Alex Berg ’08 have teamed up to win 60 percent of the face-offs they have taken, the Tigers’ best performance in that area in years.
Even on offense, there are hopeful signs. Kovler, an honorable mention All-American as a freshman and Princeton’s primary offensive threat at midfield this year, scored on only one of 19 shots against Johns Hopkins and Virginia but canned seven of 13 attempts against Rutgers, Hofstra, and Bellarmine (all wins for Princeton). If that improved shooting keeps up, the Tigers may generate enough goals to return to M&T Bank Stadium, the site of this year’s Final Four, on Memorial Day weekend.
David Marcus ’92 is a frequent PAW contributor.
In the women’s lacrosse team’s game against Loyola March 21, the visiting Greyhounds scored first, about three minutes into the first half, delivering a wake-up call to Princeton.
Eleven seconds later, Mary Minshall ’07 cut through the center of the defense to grab a pass and send it into the net, and a minute after that, on virtually the same play, Minshall scored again, starting the Tigers toward what would be an 11–4 lead when Minshall netted her third and final goal early in the second half. Princeton won 14–5.
“Our attack was clicking,” Minshall said after the game. “It was fun out there. The feeds came, and the shots were there.”
Princeton had moments of fluid offense and steady defense throughout the first three weeks of its season, but against Loyola, the moment seemed to last for nearly 60 minutes. Nine different Princeton players scored goals, and the Tigers dominated draw-controls, winning 16 of 21. “We needed a game like that so we could get it together on both ends of the field,” head coach Chris Sailer said.
In addition to lopsided wins over Loyola and Rutgers, the Tigers played four close games against top-ranked teams early in the year but ended up on the losing side three times. Princeton fell behind early at Duke March 11 and never cut the Blue Devils’ lead to fewer than two goals in the second half, losing 16–14. The Tigers then surrendered a lead in a home game against Penn State March 17, losing 8–7.
On the road at Virginia March 24, the Tigers trailed for most of the game but cut the Cavaliers’ lead to one with 6:35 remaining. Virginia answered with a goal three minutes later and won 9–7. Princeton’s only victory against a top-10 team in March was a season-opening overtime win over No. 10 Johns Hopkins March 3.
Katie Lewis-Lamonica ’08 (19 goals) and Kathleen Miller ’07 (12 goals, six assists) led Princeton in scoring during its first six games. Despite the 3–3 start, Princeton entered the Ivy League season as one of the favorites, along with Dartmouth. Either Princeton or Dartmouth has won at least a share of the league title in each of the last 14 seasons. The Tigers will face the Big Green in Hanover April 21.
With five new rowers in its top boat, defending national champion WOMEN’S OPEN CREW started its season on Lake Carnegie March 24. Princeton, shown above in a pre-race warm-up, lost to Brown and Ohio State in the first varsity eight. The Tigers won the varsity four race.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S FENCING placed 10th in the combined standings at the NCAA Championships March 22–25. Jocelyn Svengsouk ’10 finished 12th in the foil, leading Princeton’s four qualifiers on the women’s side. For the men, Tommi Hurme ’08 led three Tigers at the national meet, placing 13th in the epee.
BASEBALL won three of eight games against UNC-Greensboro, Davidson, and Longwood in a spring-break trip to North Carolina March 17–25. Sal Iacono ’07 added to his team-high totals of hits (23) and runs batted in (13) on the trip.
SOFTBALL posted a 4–12 record on its spring-break trip to Florida. Kristen Schaus ’08 pitched complete games in two of the Tigers’ wins, including a three-hit shutout against Stetson March 20.
WOMEN’S GOLF finished second, two shots behind Florida Atlantic, at the Cincinnati Spring Invitational in Crystal River, Fla., March 23–24. Sharla Cloutier ’07 led the Tigers with a nine-over-par 153 in the two-round tournament.
Peter Eichler had 14 kills and 13 digs as MEN’S VOLLEYBALL won the final two games to edge Juniata 3–2 March 17. Princeton improved to 6–3 in Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association matches.
In MEN’S TRACK, Andrew Park ’07 cleared 17 feet, 21/4 inches in the pole vault during a March 21 meet at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. Park’s vault was the second-highest in Princeton history and earned him a spot at the NCAA East Region meet in May.
CROSS COUNTRY alumni Michael Spence ’00 and Cack Ferrell ’06 represented the United States at the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya, March 24. Ferrell, who finished in 30th place in the women’s race, was the top runner on a U.S. team that placed eighth. Spence, the men’s team’s top finisher, placed 55th.