November 2, 2005: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
By Jay Greenberg
Five times during his Princeton career, Jay McCareins ’06 has stopped potential game-winning drives with interceptions in the final five minutes. His 99-yard interception return for a touchdown against San Diego Sept. 24 was the latest in that remarkable string.
“I don’t think I fully realized how fast he is until his burners kicked in about 40 yards into that 99-yard return,” said coach Roger Hughes.
But McCareins’ dash paled in comparison to the distances his parents cover each weekend in the fall. John and Alicia McCareins travel from their suburban Chicago home to watch Princeton play on Saturdays and then drive or fly to see Jay’s brother, Justin, play wide receiver for the New York Jets on Sunday.
Last year, the McCareinses caught a Princeton home game against Lafayette on Saturday night before jetting out to a Sunday afternoon Jets game in San Diego. “That one was the hardest,” said John. “We got the 6 a.m. out of Philadelphia to O’Hare, changed for San Diego, and had friends pick us up at the airport. Traffic was bad, but we made the kickoff.”
John and Alicia went coast-to-coast the following week as well, when Princeton played in San Diego and the Jets traveled to Miami. With a 4:15 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, the timing was “pretty easy,” said John, who is a part owner of an investment firm. Alicia, a teacher and consultant, admits that she hates flying, but she loves being on hand to support her sons.
“My parents have done every little thing in my life to make sure I have had the easiest route possible in school and in football,” Jay said. “I want to show them I am using gifts they have given me, so if they’re not at my games, I’m upset. And, of course, it’s nice for them to be able to go into work Mondays and talk about their sons’ touchdowns.”
Justin, who is in his fifth NFL season, was overlooked by the top Division I football schools as a 170-pound high school senior. He starred at Northern Illinois University and was drafted in the fourth round by the Tennessee Titans. Similarly, Jay was a 5-foot-8-inch, 160-pound running quarterback who Big 10 programs feared could not take a hit. But his athletic and academic credentials drew attention from Ivy League coaches.
McCareins favored Princeton because the campus’ suburban feel reminded him of Naperville, Ill., his hometown. “And it was Princeton,” he said. “Could I go wrong?”
Actually, McCareins did during his sophomore year. While rushing through a take-home exam for a religion class, he omitted some citations from his work. The incident, he said, was “a careless mistake, and I had to pay the price.”
McCareins was forced to take a year off from school, but said he was thankful for coaches and professors who spoke on his behalf. Of the suspension, he said, “I could be bitter or make the best of it.” He interned at a bank in Nashville, spent time with his brother, and returned to campus as what Hughes calls the most athletic football player Princeton has had since wide receiver and kick returner Michael Lerch ’93. “If Jay’s [three-interception] game against San Diego wasn’t the best individual effort I’ve seen in the league, I don’t know what would be,” said Hughes, who has coached in the Ivy League since 1992.
Both Hughes and Justin McCareins say that Jay has a chance to continue his career in the NFL, which could make for some difficult travel choices for John and Alicia. For now, they are looking forward to their next long-
distance challenge, the weekend of Nov. 19, when Jay plays his final Princeton game at Dartmouth. Justin’s Jets play in Denver the next day.
“It’s fun to have a reason to gather with people I love,” said Jay. “I’m passionate about football. And I know my family cares about me.”
Jay Greenberg, a sports columnist at the New York Post, has two daughters who are Princeton graduates.
After falling behind 13–0 in the first three minutes of its Oct. 8 football game against Colgate, Princeton fought back with a field goal and a touchdown, closing the gap to three points. But the Tigers’ rally stalled and the Raiders left the rain-soaked field at Princeton Stadium with a 16–10 victory.
A long return on the opening kickoff set up the Raiders’ first scoring drive, which covered 28 yards in three runs by tailback Jordan Scott. After recovering a Princeton fumble, Colgate’s offense returned to the field for another 28-yard scoring drive, reaching the end zone in four plays (two runs, two passes).
Receiver Greg Fields ’06 led the Tigers on offense with four catches for 84 yards. His 34-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was Princeton’s longest pass play of the season. On defense, Jay McCareins ’06 grabbed his fifth interception of the season.
The loss dropped the Tigers to 3–1 (1–0 Ivy).
MEN’S WATER POLO won two of five games, including an 8–3 upset of ninth-ranked Loyola Marymount, during a three-day trip to California Oct. 7–9. The Tigers lost 14–6 to UCLA, their opponent in last year’s NCAA Final Four.
FIELD HOCKEY beat Cornell 2-1 on Sept. 30 behind two goals by Paige Schmidt ’08. The Tigers, who started 4–0 in the Ivy League, lost non-league matches to Villanova Oct. 2 and Hofstra Oct. 7.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY dominated Harvard and Yale in the annual H-Y-P meet Oct. 1, placing 11 runners in the top 15. Cack Ferrell ’06 set a new course record of 16:52.94 on the five-kilometer course at Yale Golf Club. In MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY, Frank Macreery ’06 placed fifth individually and the Tigers finished third in a field of 44 teams at Lehigh University’s Paul Short Run Oct. 1.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL won all six games in a weekend sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard Oct. 7 and 8. Lindsey Ensign ’09 recorded 29 kills in 42 attempts at the net in the two matches, and Jenny McReynolds ’07 led the Tigers defensively with 34 digs.
MEN’S SOCCER dropped to 0–2 in the Ivy League with shutout losses to Dartmouth Oct. 2 and Brown Oct. 7. WOMEN’S SOCCER outshot Brown 22–7 on Oct. 8 but failed to capitalize on its opportunities, losing 2–1 to the Bears.
SPRINT FOOTBALL was outscored 164–0 in its first three games, including a 45–0 loss to Army Oct. 7.
Former MEN’S BASKETBALL standout Judson Wallace ’05 signed a professional contract with the Eisbaren Bremerhaven (Bremerhaven Ice Bears) of the German Bundesliga’s first division.