Sports: December 15, 1999
Football ends in a heartbreaker at Dartmouth
Fans are optimistic about returning quarterback Tommy Crenshaw '02
It's fortunate that Dartmouth president James Wright hasn't closed down his college's fraternities yet, because after Princeton's heartbreaking 19-18 loss to the Big Green in Hanover on November 20, most of the Tiger fans, coaches, and players in attendance sorely needed a drink.
For the first three quarters, Princeton seemed to be driving toward a victory that would end this dismal season on a positive note. Senior receivers Danny Brian (9 catches, 92 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Phil Wendler (7, 91, 0) seemed determined to conclude their careers with characteristically outstanding games, and defensive end David Ferrara '00 was transforming an opposing backfield into his own personal space for the final time.
When Princeton took an 18-0 lead into the fourth quarter, the game seemed all but over, and along the sideline the Tigers began to get the basted look of a squad ready to send in Rudy. But all would not end well. Princeton needed only one big play to win the game, but a litany of mistakes and bad bounces resulted in three unanswered Dartmouth touchdowns, the final one coming with 45 seconds remaining in the contest. Princeton's final drive ended in an interception.
And so a decade that began with Princeton and Dartmouth fighting for league supremacy ended before an unusually small crowd of 5,900 spectators in a game that only determined which team would finish last in the Ivies. Meanwhile, a few hundred miles away in New Haven, Yale beat Harvard before 52,484 fans to share the Ivy title with Brown. Three years ago, Yale was 1-9, but the Elis have dipped into the transfer pool over the last few years, plucking players such as star RB Rashad Bartholomew from Air Force.
Ivy teams such as Yale, Brown, and Penn seem more willing at the end of the decade to recruit top talent than they were at the beginning-Penn, for example, convinced Northwestern's starting quarterback, Gavin Hoffman, to transfer last season. It's possible that Princeton and Dartmouth have just fallen behind in that arms race.
But perhaps the reason that Princeton and Dartmouth are now at the back of the pack with Columbia is less complex. Both Brown and Yale had experienced senior quarterbacks this season, while Princeton was once again breaking in a rookie. Next year, however, the Tigers will finally have a returning quarterback, and fans have a reason to be optimistic about the future with Tommy Crenshaw '02 running the offense. Crenshaw is big, patient in the pocket, has a very strong arm, and has proved that he can run when he has to. Furthermore, his improvement this year was the one positive development in a lost season. "I've sure noticed the difference in Tommy," Danny Brian says. "All the receivers have."
Crenshaw himself seems ready for that charge. "I didn't come here to be on a 3-7 or 4-6 team," he says. "I feel personally responsible for helping turn this thing around."
-Wes Tooke '98
Coach Tosches leaves
Head football coach Steve Tosches announced his resignation on November 23 after a meeting with athletic director Gary Walters '67. Tosches's record at Princeton was 78-50-2, but 17-23 in the past four seasons. This year's season ended 3-7 overall and 1-6 Ivy. Tosches came to Princeton in 1985 as offensive coordinator and was promoted in 1987 when head coach Ron Rogerson died.
Women's hoops opens
Defense needs sharpening
Minutes after her team's opening-game loss to Lehigh on November 19, 76-67, Maggie Langlas (right), tri-captain of the women's basketball team, seemed confident, even as she acknowledged that Princeton has some work to do before the Ivy season arrives. "This loss was a learning experience," said the senior guard. "We were a little lazy, and we just need to work harder." One is inclined to believe her, although early defeats show that the Tigers-0-2 overall after a 67-63 loss at Navy November 21-still have some pretty rough edges.
From Langlas, an upbeat, matter-of-fact approach comes as no surprise: It has become a trademark that has stood the native of Missoula, Montana-and her team-in good stead. Last year, she led Princeton to an Ivy title and emerged as one of the league's premier outside shooters. Beyond that, Langlas has long served as Princeton's defensive stopper, usually covering the opposition's best player. "She has a tough role," says head coach Liz Feeley. "We count on her to be a dominant force on both ends of the floor."
To repeat as champions, the Tigers will need more than outstanding performances from Langlas and from tri-captain and guard Kate Thirolf '00, the team's other star. A preseason poll placed Princeton in second place behind Penn, but Feeley expects extraordinary parity in the league this year, with five teams-Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale-in the hunt for the title. The Tigers' first task will be to consistently play better on both ends of the floor than they did in their first game.
On offense, Princeton showed a balanced and powerful attack-getting good outside shooting and quick drives from Langlas, Thirolf, and Allison Cahill '03-but turnovers and an apparent weakness against pressure defense offset these strengths. Thirolf's health could also become an issue: patellar tendonitis limits her ability to practice, and she has a noticeable limp at times. This could force point guard and tri-captain Jessica Munson '01 to take on a larger role.
On defense, the Tigers feature a gritty style of play, with aggressive double teams aiming to force bobbles and bad passes from the opposition. Center Brooke Lockwood '00 will be a key to Princeton's interior defense; Shani Moore '02 also looked good inside. "We're shorter than most," says Feeley, "so we have to block out and get rebounds." That's exactly what they didn't do against Lehigh, although the team's poor rebounding and foul trouble could be the result of early season kinks. Of particular concern were what Thirolf referred to as "stupid fouls." By game's end, Princeton had racked up 30 personals; Langlas fouled out with 6:10 left.
The bottom line? The Tigers are in for a scrap this season, and success will likely hinge on their progress at the defensive end. Come January, Langlas's team had better have learned its lessons, or this year the Ivies will be a school of hard knocks.
-Paul Hagar '91
In Memoriam: Eve Kraft
Princeton's first women's varsity coach, Eve Kraft, died November 11 of cancer. She was 73. She came to Princeton in 1971 and led the newly founded women's team through three unbeaten seasons.
In 1955, Kraft started what became the Princeton Community Tennis Program
by teaching students in her backyard. She later founded and directed the
United States Tennis Association's Education and Recreation Center. She
wrote several books and articles on teaching tennis. She was acknowledged
by Tennis magazine as "one of the 20 most influential people"
in national tennis.
A stellar season for fall sports, especially soccer; winter promises to be exciting
Setting aside the football team's disappointing showing this season, the overall fall sports program performed well and in some cases exceeded expectations.The soccer teams certainly had a thrilling campaign. The men's team finished its regular season with one of its most important games in recent history, a battle against Yale for league supremacy. After 120 minutes of hard-fought, scoreless soccer, Princeton celebrated its first outright league title since 1960 and a trip to the NCAA tournament. Freshman goalie Jason White tied the school record with his eighth shutout of the season in the clinching tie over Yale. The Tigers traveled to seventh-ranked Virginia for an NCAA tournament first-round game and played the Cavaliers even for over 120 minutes. A Virginia goal in triple overtime ended the Princeton season but did not diminish the team's best season under coach Jim Barlow '91.
The women's soccer team also faced tough oppostion to reach the NCAA tournament. After a strong third-place finish, the Tigers received an at-large bid and faced off against Hartford. Princeton fell 2-1 to a team that would eventually dethrone the defending champion Florida Gators. The Tigers claimed big victories over top teams like Seton Hall and Dartmouth.
Both the field hockey and women's volleyball teams claimed league championships. Beth Bozman's field hockey squad was young and inexperienced, but a tense 3-2 overtime win at Harvard helped the Tigers to their unprecedented sixth consecutive Ivy championship. The volleyball team, led by Ivy Tournament MVP Sabrina King and all-tournament members Emily Brown and Melissa Ford, swept through the competition en route to its 11th title. During the regular season and postseason, Princeton was 10-1 against Ivy League champions.
The men's cross country team won both the Heps title and IC4As for the third consecutive year. The Tigers barely missed an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament with a third-place finish at Regionals, but their solid season was rewarded with an at-large bid. The women's team placed sixth at Heps, but it responded with a respectable fourth-place showing at Regionals.
The men's water polo team had its best regular season ever and ended the year with a school-record 22 wins. Princeton won the Southern Championships but fell to St. Francis in the semifinals of the Eastern championships. Princeton responded by putting an exclamation point on its season with a third-place victory over Queens.
The sprint football team won a thrilling 12-7 contest over Cornell in the season opener, but struggled the rest of the season. There were numerous individual accomplishments, such as freshman Rikki Racela's team-high 299 yards rushing and Geoff Gasperini's three touchdowns.
The golf and tennis teams concentrate much of their attention in the spring, but each had solid showings at various fall tournaments. Kavitha Krishnamurthy '03, who captured the national spotlight, won the ITA East Regionals and will carry a 20-1 record into the spring season.
The winter looks to be another strong season. The men's hockey team is in the process of rebuilding, but Don Cahoon's talented squad is a threat to any team in the conference. With players like Benoit Morin '00, Shane Campbell '01, and captain Darren Yopyk '00, there will be plenty of reasons to cheer at Baker Rink over the next few months.
Of course, the men won't be the only cause of celebration at Baker. The women's team returns a talented cast and is ready to make a run at the ECAC Final Four this year. Sophomore Andrea Kilbourne and junior Annamarie Holmes are among the leaders on this squad that hopes to dethrone NCAA champion Harvard and take control of the ECAC.
The men's and women's swimming teams are once again going to contend for the Ivy league championship. The women's swimming has the largest senior class in program history, although it could be sophomore Jenny Macaulay who leads the charge. A talented trio of captains, Matt Janson '00, Jamie Holder '00, and Dan Russell '00, leads the men's swimming team, although juniors Matt Harrigan and Lance Needham will be looked upon for some important points during the season.
The women's squash team will be looking to win its third consecutive national championship at the Howe Cup, where the Tigers and Harvard figure to meet again in the final. Princeton will be led by junior Julia Beaver, last year's individual national championship, as well as fellow first-team All-Americas Blair Irwin '00 and Meredith Quick '01.
The men's squash team will be led by 1999 individual national champion Peter Yik '00 (right) and Ivy league rookie of the year Peter Kelly '02, but it is a dynamic class of four freshmen-all of whom might be in the top five-that has the Tigers thinking big.
The men's indoor track team is pointing to its fourth consecutive Heps title. A win in that prestigious event would bring the Tigers one title away from their third straight Heptagonal Triple Crown. The team is well balanced, although it has arguably the most talented individual athlete in the league in sprinter John Mack '00.
The women's indoor track team has a chance to contend for league supremacy as well. Allison Brown '00 and Shawneequa Callier are '00 among the top point-scorers on the team. Brown was second-team All-Ivy in the 200 and 400 last season, while Callier has been an All-East performer in the past.
The wrestling team continues to build itself into a tough squad that contends with some of the national powerhouses in the Ivy league. Coach Michael New has brought in a talented cast of freshmen that should mix well with upperclassmen like Justin Dodulik '00 (left) and Marc Steyer '00.
The men's fencing team is led by Peter Rosen '01, who won the junior national championship in the foil and was a silver medalist in the Junior Olympics. Jason Burrell '00 went 22-4 last year in the épée and is expected to be another top
contributor. Maya Lawrence '02 leads the women's fencing team, which should contend for an Ivy title. Lawrence won the national championship at the Junior Olympics in the épée.
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