June 6, 2007: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
By David Marcus ’92
The men’s lacrosse team began its season with two tough losses on the road and ended with another May 13 in a first-round NCAA playoff game in Washington, D.C. Georgetown’s Brendan Cannon scored 31 seconds into overtime to give the Hoyas a 9–8 win over Princeton.
“We could never seem to win the big game,” coach Bill Tierney said afterward. “We were sure close, and today was another example of that.” The loss was the third in a one-goal game this year for the Tigers, the most in Tierney’s 20 years as head coach.
The game bore an uncanny similarity to Princeton’s 7–6 losses to Johns Hopkins and Virginia in March. In each contest, the Tigers jumped out to an early two-goal lead only to fall behind by a goal in the second half, rally to tie, and surrender the winner after missing chances of their own.
In the Georgetown game, Princeton opened well, taking a 3–1 lead before Georgetown rallied for a 4–4 tie at halftime.
The Hoyas seized control in an eventful third quarter. After denying Georgetown on a man-up opportunity, Princeton goalie Alex Hewit ’08 ran into a double team at midfield and lost the ball out of bounds, an error on which the Hoyas capitalized with a goal by Andrew Brancaccio. In the loose-ball scrum on the ensuing faceoff, Charlie Kolkin ’09 was whistled for a slashing penalty, and Georgetown cashed in with a man-up goal. The Tigers’ misfortune continued when defenseman John Bennett ’07 broke his stick on the next possession, leading to a goal that put the Hoyas up 7–4.
Princeton regrouped when Peter Trombino ’07 scored his second goal of the day on an assist from Scott Sowanick ’07. Whitney Hayes ’07 then fed Mark Kovler ’09 and Rob Engelke ’10 in quick succession to tie the score. But with time winding down in the third quarter, Georgetown regained the lead on a goal by Craig Dowd from 15 yards out.
Dowd’s goal was key, according to Tierney. “We had the momentum, and I thought we might be off and running at that point,” he said. “That goal turned things around again.”
Sowanick tied the game on another assist from Hayes two minutes into the fourth quarter, and then the goalies took over. After making only two saves in the game’s first 45 minutes, Georgetown’s Miles Kass stuffed Hayes, Bob Schneider ’08, and Kovler to preserve the tie. Hewit answered with two saves of his own during a four-minute Hoya possession, the second of which gave the Tigers the ball with less than three minutes left in regulation. Princeton held the ball for a last shot that never came, as Georgetown pressured the Tigers into a turnover with time running out. The Hoyas won the faceoff to start overtime and got the ball to Cannon, who scored the game-winner.
The goal ended a season in which Princeton’s early losses put immense pressure on the Tigers to win their remaining games to secure a playoff spot. The team responded by going 9–1 in its last 10 games, losing only at undefeated Cornell, the nation’s top-ranked squad. Princeton excelled on defense, holding opponents to 6.21 goals a game, the fewest in Division I.
David Marcus ’92 is a frequent PAW contributor.
By David Mordkoff ’01
For 90 seconds, it looked like Princeton’s women’s lacrosse team might repeat its Mother’s Day magic.
In 2006, the Tigers upset second-seeded Virginia 8–7 on Mother’s Day in the first round of the NCAA tournament. On May 13, facing the Cavaliers again in the tournament’s opening round, Princeton scored two goals in the first minute and a half. But this year’s third-seeded Cavaliers recovered from the early blows and went on to win 19–10.
Senior Alex Gangler ’07 scored 1:03 into the game, and Katie Lewis-Lamonica ’08 — Princeton’s leading scorer in the regular season — added another goal 27 seconds later. The Tigers’ offense stalled after Lewis-Lamonica’s next goal, and Virginia began to roll, building an 8–3 halftime lead.
With Princeton trailing 11–4 in the second half, head coach Chris Sailer called her final timeout, and her team responded after the break with goals from Kathleen Miller ’08 and Lewis-Lamonica, who would finish with five on the day.
Virginia answered with two goals of its own before Ashley Amo ’08 scored to pull the Tigers within six. However, Virginia’s speed and intricate passing overwhelmed Princeton’s defense, and the Tigers would get no closer the rest of the way.
Sailer credited her seniors for leading Princeton late in the season and helping the Tigers earn an at-large bid to the postseason. “I’m really proud of them for getting to the NCAA tournament — there was a time when we weren’t sure we were going to make that,” said Sailer, who was coaching Princeton in the NCAA tournament for the 16th time. “[The seniors] had a great career at Princeton. They’ve been responsible for a lot of wins.”
David Mordkoff ’01 is a law student in Charlottesville, Va.
In Princeton baseball’s May 2 finale against Rider, Sal Iacono ’07 stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning with a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat. He reached down and scooped a handful of dirt with his right hand, wiped the excess on his hip, and drove a promising shot to the right side of center field. But the ball dropped into the centerfielder’s glove a few paces shy of the warning track. Two batters later, Princeton’s comeback attempt also fell short in an 8–7 loss for the Tigers.
The Rider game was the last in a series of near misses for Princeton, which played 10 games decided by a single run and lost eight of them. After starting the Ivy League season 6-8, the Tigers needed to win their six remaining Ivy games to force a playoff with Gehrig Division-leader Penn. They won the first five and went to extra innings in the sixth, at Cornell April 29, before falling on an RBI single in the bottom of the 12th.
Head coach Scott Bradley, whose teams have won three Ivy titles in the last five seasons, said that stronger competition contributed to Princeton’s second-place finish in the division. “But I think it is remarkable that we had six back-to-the-wall games … and we won five consecutive games and took it to the 12th inning against Cornell,” he said. “That’s a credit to the character of these guys.”
Iacono, the starting third baseman, was Princeton’s most impressive player, batting .413 to become the first Tiger in nine seasons to clear the .400 mark. He had been a solid, everyday player for much of his first three seasons, but he entered the year with a .259 career batting average and one strikeout in every five at-bats. As a senior, Iacono increased his power, belting five home runs and driving in a team-high 35 runs, while cutting his strikeout rate in half.
Catha Mullen ’07, left, edged Yale’s Lindsay Donaldson by 0.11 seconds to win the 3,000-meter run at the WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD Ivy League Heptagonal Championships May 6. Teammates Agatha Offorjebe ’09 (400 meters), Liz Costello ’10 (1,500 meters), and Jolee Vanleuven ’09 (10,000 meters) also claimed top honors, but the Tigers could not keep pace with Cornell, finishing second in the team standings. MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD also placed second behind the Big Red, despite first-place performances by Alex Pessala ’09 (hammer throw) and Justin Frick ’10 (high jump).
On April 29, WOMEN’S WATER POLO played in the Eastern championship game for the first time since 2001, losing 8–6 to Hartwick. Elyse Colgan ’07, Natalie Kim ’08, and Karina Reyner ’07 were named to the all-tournament team.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S TENNIS finished the season with 5–2 records in Ivy matches. Peter Capkovic ’09, the No. 1 player on the men’s team, and Melissa Saiontz ’10 and Ivana King ’08, the top two singles players for the women, earned first-team All-Ivy honors.
The WOMEN’S BASKETBALL and SOFTBALL teams are looking for new head coaches after the May 7 resignations of Richard Barron and Maureen (Davies) Barron ’97. Richard Barron accepted a new job as associate head coach of women’s basketball at Baylor, and wife Maureen resigned to relocate with her husband and the couple’s three children. Both Barrons were championship coaches at Princeton: Maureen’s softball teams won four Ivy titles in her seven seasons at the helm, while Richard’s women’s basketball squad shared the Ivy championship in 2005–06.