November 17, 2004: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
By Matt Henshon ’91
With four seniors returning from a men’s basketball team that went 13—1 in the Ivy League a year ago, expectations are high at Jadwin Gym. Center Judson Wallace ’05 and guard Will Venable ’05 lead a deep, ex-perienced group that has the potential to be a classic Princeton team – and a real problem for highly ranked opponents.
New coach Joe Scott ’87 clearly is excited about that prospect. “It’s rare that you get the opportunity to take over a team with four returning seniors,” Scott says. “And even rarer when it’s at a program with this kind of history.”
Scott, who had been the head coach at the Air Force Academy until late April, when former Tiger coach John Thompson III ’88 left to take the Georgetown job, knew what he was getting. “I had seen about six Princeton games last year, thanks to the satellite dish and of course, Denver [where Princeton and Air Force both competed in the NCAA Tournament],” Scott says. “I liked what I saw. But we are still looking for ways for our guys to get better.”
Scott seems committed to the traditional Princeton system, so the offense likely will run through Wallace, a first-team All-Ivy selection a year ago. Wallace led the Tigers in both scoring and rebounding, and was the first player since Bob Roma ’79 to average more than 15 points and six rebounds a game. “He has all the right skills in what we ask our big guys to do,” Scott says, “and we want to continue to ask him to improve the little things, like moving the ball more quickly.”
Scott will also ask much of Venable (10.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 2003—04), another All-Ivy player, who remains the best all-around athlete on the team. “I knew Will was good,” Scott says. “But he’s been the best surprise. He has a great sense and feel for the game.”
Wallace and Venable will attract much of the attention on the court. If they maintain last year’s scoring averages, they will pass the 1,000-point milestone late in the season, which would mark the first time Princeton has had two contemporaneous 1,000-point scorers since Brian Earl ’99 and Gabe Lewullis ’99. But the other returning players will help as well. Guard Scott Greenman ’06 returns as an outside threat, after leading the Tigers with 42 three-pointers a year ago, and he will be joined in the backcourt by Max Schafer ’07. In the frontcourt, returning players include Andre Logan ’05, Luke Owings ’07, and Mike Stephens ’05. One player who will be missed this year is forward Harrison Schaen ’07, who has taken the year off from school for personal reasons.
Among the Tiger newcomers, expect significant minutes for 6'5" forward Noah Savage ’08, a Princeton-area native Scott calls the most advanced freshman, both physically and mentally, that he has seen in a long time. Guard Matt Sargeant ’08, from Huntington Beach, Calif., and forward Kyle Koncz ’08, from Strongsville, Ohio, could contribute as well.
The pre-Ivy schedule has the potential to be one of the most challenging in recent years. Depending on the outcome of three in-season tournaments, Princeton seems likely to play at 2003 national champion Syracuse, at Wyoming, at Temple, and at Duke. The latter two will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN, respectively.
Scott is hoping that the nonleague games will prepare his team for an Ivy schedule where the rest of the league, including likely challengers Penn and Brown, will be gunning for the Tigers. “We are playing a tough schedule in the early season, against teams that are supposedly better than us,” Scott says. “But we are going to challenge our guys with these games. We need one good game to turn the light bulb on with this team, and we can be really good.”
Matt Henshon ’91 practices law in Boston.
Nearly 400 alumni and friends gathered at Jadwin Gymnasium on Oct. 16 to celebrate 100 years of Princeton swimming and diving. The program, which has won 30 Ivy League and Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League titles since 1962, including both the men’s and women’s Ivy championships in 2003—04, honored current and former coaches, from left, Jane Brown, Rob Orr, Susan Teeter, Greg Gunn, William Farley, and Bob Clotworthy.
By David Baumgarten ’06
Football’s Oct. 23 game against Harvard started with promise, as Princeton surged to a 14—3 first-quarter lead. But a few hours and 36 unanswered points later, the joy had been sucked out of Princeton Stadium. The final score — Harvard 39, Princeton 14 — provided an accurate synopsis of a disappointing afternoon.
“We got our tails kicked today,” coach Roger Hughes said afterward. “They beat us in just about every phase of the game.”
The Crimson have been kicking a lot of Tiger tails lately. For nine straight years, Harvard has won its meeting with Princeton, but after a surprising 4—1 start, the Tigers hoped this would be the year the streak ended. Early on, the optimism seemed justified, as the Tigers twice turned great field position into quick points. First, quarterback Matt Verbit ’05 hit Monte McNair ’06 with a perfectly placed pass for a 31-yard touchdown. A minute later, after a Harvard fumble gave the Tigers the ball back, running back Branden Benson ’05 scampered untouched into the end zone from 11 yards out.
Princeton’s offense struggled to sustain its momentum, however, and soon it was the Crimson that repeatedly took the ball in great field position. Marching just 85 total yards on the three drives, Harvard scored three touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the half to go up 22—14. After a scoreless third quarter, the Crimson piled on 17 fourth-quarter points.
Harvard’s offensive big three — quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, wide receiver Brian Edwards, and running back Clifton Dawson — were too much for Princeton to handle. Dawson did the most damage, running for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, the Crimson more than doubled the Tigers’ total yardage. Harvard’s relentless blitzing translated into a miserable day for Verbit, who was sacked six times and intercepted twice. Princeton failed to make a single third-down conversion (0-for-13 for the day). Dawson’s 80-yard dash late in the fourth quarter, the game’s final touchdown, added insult to injury.
Still, half an hour after the game, Hughes and his team prepared to put the loss behind them. The mood in the locker room was not good, two-way star Jay McCareins ’06 admitted, but that didn’t mean the Tigers were out of the Ivy League race. “You’ve got to deal with it,” McCareins said. “You can sulk for 10 minutes, and then you have to get over it and get ready for next week.”
David Baumgarten ’06 is a politics major from Richmond, Va.
Princeton football saluted its Ivy championship teams of 1964, 1969, and 1989 in a halftime ceremony at the Harvard game Oct. 23. Alumni in attendance included Ellis Moore ’70, left, and coach Jake McCandless ’51, who led the 1969 Tigers to a share of the league title by beating undefeated Dartmouth in the season’s final game.
Jason Gerken ’06 carded two even-par rounds of 71 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club to lead MEN’S GOLF to first place in a 13-team field at the Big 5 Invitational Oct. 16—17.
FIELD HOCKEY scored twice in the last three minutes to edge Harvard 2—1 Oct. 23, improving to 5—1 in the Ivy League. Hillary Schmidt ’06 pushed in the game-winner with 1:20 remaining.
With wins over Navy and Bucknell on Oct. 23, MEN’S WATER POLO completed its regular season 10—0 in the College Water Polo Association’s Southern Division, earning the top seed in the Southern Championships. The Tigers are 18—4 overall.
WOMEN’S SOCCER remained undefeated against Ivy opponents with a dramatic comeback win over Harvard Oct. 23. Emily Behncke ’06 scored with 41 seconds left to tie the game at 1—1, and Esmeralda Negron ’05 found the net in the second overtime period. With the win, Princeton moved within a game of clinching the Ivy championship. MEN’S SOCCER beat Columbia 1—0 Oct. 16 behind a Darren Spicer ’06 goal, but the Tigers lost 5—2 to Harvard on Oct. 23.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL lost a 3—1 match at Cornell Oct. 22 but recovered with a 3—0 win against Columbia the following night. At 5—2, the Tigers ranked third in the Ivy standings at the season’s midpoint.
Philadelphia Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock volunteered as an assistant coach for MEN’S HOCKEY in October, during the pro hockey lockout. Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky, who first met Hitchcock when Gadowsky was playing youth hockey in Edmonton, called the veteran NHL coach and asked him to visit practice. Hitchcock joined the Tigers twice a week as they prepared for their Oct. 29 opener.
Boston Red Sox president LARRY LUCCHINO ’67 celebrated his team’s first World Series championship in 86 years when the Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals Oct. 27. After building a loyal following during years of futility, the team’s image is bound to change, Lucchino told the New York Times, “but it will still be a special, distinctive, and extraordinary franchise.”