July 4, 2001 Sports

National champs again! Men's lacrosse wins its sixth title in 10 years

PAW athlete of the year Julie Shaner '01 is twice as nice

Sports Shorts

Sports Web Exclusives! Matt Golden's From the Cheap Seats column

National champs again!
Men's lacrosse wins its sixth title in 10 years

Julibant Tigers surround the national championship trophy after a 10-9 overtime win against Syracuse at Rutgers Stadium on Memorial Day. (photographs by Beverly Schaefer)

I think we have to make some changes to beat Syracuse," goalie Trevor Tierney '01 said after the Princeton men's lacrosse team suffered a 14-8 drubbing at Syracuse on March 24, giving the Orangemen a fourth straight win over the Tigers. The day after the loss to Syracuse, Trevor's father, coach Bill Tierney, began making the changes that resulted in a 10-9 overtime win against Syracuse in the NCAA Division I championship game at Rutgers on Memorial Day. The win gave Princeton its sixth national championship since 1992.

Tierney's first change affected Matt Striebel '01, who for two years ran Princeton's offense from behind the goal, earning honorable mention All-America honors in 2000. At practice on March 25, Tierney moved Striebel to midfield and handed the team's offensive reins to attackman Ryan Boyle '04, who started the season's first four games at attack along with Striebel and B. J. Prager '02.

Boyle flourished, tallying 16 goals and 37 assists en route to winning Ivy League Rookie of the Year and third-team All-America honors. Princeton gained from being able to put two feeders on the field at once, which baffled opposing defenses almost as much as it did the coaches who voted Striebel a first-team All-Ivy midfielder and an honorable mention All-America attackman.

The benefits of the move were on full display during the title game. Striebel scored two of Princeton's first six goals and assisted on two others, then helped get Boyle involved in the offense during the third quarter by scooping up a loose ball and passing it to the freshman on the opposite side of the field. Boyle moved the ball to Prager, who scored to put Princeton up 7-4. The goal was the 18th on which Boyle had assisted Prager this season.

B. J. Prager '02, left, and Trevor Tierney '01, right, were both All-Tournament selections. (photographs by Beverly Schaefer)

The 19th and 20th soon followed. After Syracuse reeled off four straight goals to force an 8-all tie, Prager scored on another Boyle assist to put Princeton ahead midway through the fourth quarter. Syracuse tied it with 16 seconds left to force overtime and stir memories of Princeton's first national title game, a 10-9 win over Syracuse in 1992.

That year, Andrew Moe '92 scored nine seconds into the second overtime after picking up a loose ball on a face-off. This year, in the final minute of the first overtime, Boyle got the ball behind the goal and hit Prager with a pass as he cut past his defenseman. Prager then netted his fourth goal of the day, giving Princeton the win.

Prager might not have had the chance for such heroics had it not been for another beneficiary of Striebel's move to midfield. Though Boyle assumed Striebel's role in the offense, Sean Hartofilis '03 took over his starting spot on attack. Princeton's offense is often accused of being mind-numbingly methodical, a stereotype that does not fit Hartofilis, who took 118 shots in Princeton's 15 games this season, 20 percent of the Tigers' total. Hartofilis's itchy trigger finger regularly brought Tierney to sideline histrionics.

But the shooter also scored 33 goals. Three of those helped rally Princeton from a 4-1 deficit to a 7-4 win at Cornell that secured Princeton's seventh straight Ivy League title. "Their goalie was very hot," Hartofilis told the Daily Princetonian after the win in Ithaca. "Our shots weren't falling, and he was making a lot of saves. I thought I was getting good looks, so I kept shooting. We figured sooner or later they'd have to start to fall."

Four more fell for Hartofilis in the NCAA semifinal against Towson University, including the game winner in a wild 12-11 win that made Tierney sound almost accepting of such shot-happy ways. "Sean is not shy," the coach said. "He's a guy who can get shots off. Sometimes he drives me crazy, and a lot of times I drive him crazy, but you've got to have guys with the gumption to take shots at the end of the game."

Princeton's defensive adjustments were less radical than the overhaul of the team's attack, but just as critical. Syracuse had figured Princeton's defense out, scoring 16, 13, and 14 goals in the teams' last three meetings. Princeton usually tries to aggressively slide and double-team the man with the ball, a philosophy that helped the Tigers hold opponents to an average of 5.8 goals per game this year, the lowest in the nation.

But in the title game, "We changed the way we play lacrosse," said defenseman Ryan Mollett '01. "We weren't going to slide; we were going to play one-on-one as much as possible. We slid a lot up at the Carrier Dome, and all we did was create offense for Syracuse." In that March loss, Syracuse's starting attack combined for six goals and four assists; on Memorial Day, Princeton held the unit to two goals and three assists, its lowest output of the season.

Princeton's style may have changed for the Syracuse game, but the outcome was a familiar one - an 11th straight win in tournament games decided by one goal since 1992, including five overtime wins and all three of this season's postseason games.

Trevor Tierney said that such potentially nerve-racking situations are nothing compared to the relentless demands of his father's perfectionism: "Every time the offense throws the ball out of bounds in practice, he's screaming. Every time the defense throws the ball out of bounds, he's screaming. We're in pressure situations every day from February on. If you want to deal with a guy who's going to be in your face all the time, you come to Princeton and take home a couple of rings." This fall, Trevor Tierney will take his two national championship rings to Colorado, where he will be an assistant lacrosse coach at the University of Denver.

By David Marcus


David Marcus '92 is a frequent contributor to PAW.


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PAW athlete of the year
Julie Shaner '01 is twice as nice

Julie Shaner, a lacrosse and soccer standout, wins PAW's athlete of the year award. (photograph by Beverly Schaefer)

There were Olympians, All-Americas, and national champions from whom to choose, but Julie Shaner lapped the field as PAW's choice for Princeton's athlete of the year.

Shaner did it all - individual accomplishments, team championships, and an impressive list of accolades - and she did it twice. As a member of both the women's soccer and lacrosse teams, Shaner left an indelible signature on two of Princeton's most successful women's athletic programs.

A five-time first-team All-Ivy selection (three times in lacrosse, twice in soccer), Shaner was named a first-team All-America in lacrosse for the second time as a senior after leading the Tigers to an Ivy League championship and a return to the NCAA Final Four. The senior captain tallied 20 goals and 21 assists from her midfield position this season and provided the Tigers with a unique blend of speed and athleticism. She is a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, which is awarded annually to the nation's top women's lacrosse player. Coach Chris Sailor said of her star, "Shaner is clearly one of the top players in the collegiate game and one of the very best to ever play for Princeton."

Shaner's impact has been even greater on the soccer field. While Princeton women's lacrosse has been a perennial power, the women's soccer program improved dramatically during Shaner's tenure. According to head coach Julie Shackford, "The team's success over the past two years (including two trips to the NCAA tournament and an Ivy title) is in no small part due to her. She is a fierce competitor." The Tigers posted a 7-8-1 mark the season before Shaner arrived. Since her freshman year, the team has a 44-24-2 record that was capped by a 13-5 Ivy championship season last fall, after which the midfielder and team captain was named to the All-Mid-Atlantic All-America team.

Though Shaner graduated last month, she will continue to help the women's soccer program. Shaner returns to campus in the fall as a volunteer assistant coach while fulfilling her student-teaching requirement at Princeton's Riverside Elementary School before earning a teaching certificate and license.

She has taken more than a few opponents to school already. By M.G.


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The Otto Von Kienbusch Award, which honors the top senior female athlete, was shared by Julia Beaver (squash), Erin Lutz (swimming and diving), Hilary Matson (field hockey), and Julie Shaner (soccer and lacrosse). Dennis Norman (football and track and field), Matt Striebel (soccer and lacrosse), and Scott Denbo (track and field) shared the William Roper Trophy for the outstanding senior male athlete. The Class of 1916 Cup, the university's top athletic/academic award, went to Oliver Stroeh (swimming).

The men's golf team won its second consecutive Ivy title, and the women's squad also won the league championship. Other Ivy titles went to baseball, men's and women's lacrosse, and women's water polo. The heavyweight crew defeated M.I.T. and Harvard to win the Compton Cup.

Four women's lacrosse players received All-America honors. Julie Shaner '01 and Rachel Becker '03 were first-team selections, while Lauren Simone '02 was a second-team pick, and Kim Smith '02 was named to the third team.

Several Tigers claimed Ivy Player of the Year honors. Ryan Mollett '01 was named men's lacrosse's top performer. Teammate Ryan Boyle '04 won the league's Rookie of the Year award. Baseball's Ryan Quillian '03 was the Ivy League's Pitcher of the Year. Brie Galicinao '02 was the first Tiger ever to win both the Ivy League's Pitcher and Player of the Year awards for the same season. She was joined on the All-Ivy first team by catcher Devon Keefe '01.

Danielle Stramandi '02 placed fourth at the National Indoor Diving Championships and secured a spot on the U.S. diving team.

In track and field, Susan Coltman '04 won the heptathlon at the IC4A/ ECAC Outdoor Championships, where Ryan Smith '03 placed first in the 800 meters.

The National Hockey League's Washington Capitals signed Chris Corrinet '01 to a two-year contract and assigned the right-winger to the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.

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