October 10, 2007: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
During Princeton’s Sept. 22 football game at Lafayette, each time the Tiger offense faced a third down, the scoreboard sound system tried to rally the fans, and the defense, with three deep, clock-tower gongs. But by night’s end, the bell was tolling for the Leopards.
Led by quarterback Bill Foran ’08, Princeton converted eight of 18 third-down opportunities — including five of seven yards or longer — to keep key scoring drives alive in a 20–14 Prince-ton win.
Lafayette had entered the game with the top-ranked defense in Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), but Prince-ton’s defense stole the spotlight, holding the Leopard offense to less than 300 yards.
The win provided a boost for Foran, who struggled in the Tigers’ opener Sept. 15, throwing two first-half interceptions in a 32–21 loss to Lehigh. Against Lafayette, he completed 18 of 24 passes for 190 yards, rushed for 45 yards, and helped the Tigers control the ball for nearly 38 of the game’s 60 minutes. “You need to show your teammates that the offense can score,” Foran said after the game. “I think the whole team had something to prove tonight.”
This season, coach Roger Hughes’ offense starts almost exclusively with a shotgun formation and includes an array of motion, reverses, option
pitches, and shovel passes. The misdirection does not always fool the opposing defense — Princeton runners or receivers were tackled for losses eight times against Lafayette — but Foran, like his predecessor Jeff Terrell ’07, has shown a knack for salvaging broken plays. “You just have to think that the play’s never over,” said Kenny Gunter ’10, who was on the receiving end of six passes. “Bill’s always going to give us a chance to get more yards. You just have to keep looking, and he’ll get you the ball.” π By B.T.
By Tim Warren
Beating Spain in Madrid sparked a lively celebration by David Blatt '81 and his Russian team. (manu fernandez/ap images)
Before David Blatt ’81’s Russian national team began playing in the European basketball championship Sept. 3, the tournament media guide recounted the team’s failures in recent years and noted that the new coach faced formidable obstacles in rebuilding the program. “You wouldn’t want to be in David Blatt’s shoes,” the author of the section on Russia wrote.
Thirteen days and nine games later, there was no better place to be. A stirring run through the tournament culminated on Sept. 16 in Madrid, where Blatt’s team stunned Spain, the heavily favored home team, 60–59, to win the championship. In an emotional news conference afterward, tournament MVP Andrei Kirilenko said, “This is the best achievement of my whole career.”
A few minutes later, Blatt’s voice cracked a bit as he spoke with several dozen reporters. “This is obviously a historic moment in Russian basketball,” he said. “And I am very proud to be in charge of this moment.”
Blatt, 48, had headed for Israel after graduating from Princeton, thinking only of extending his playing career for a few years. “My mother, God rest her soul, wanted me to do something respectable, like be a lawyer,” he joked to one reporter after Russia upset Lithuania in the tournament semifinals. Blatt gained dual citizenship and played for 12 years in Israel before beginning a successful coaching career, first in Israel and later in Russia and Italy. When he agreed in early 2006 to coach the Russian national team, it was widely regarded on the Continent as a bad career move.
“The first thing I had to overcome was a little bit of egotism, a little bit of quit,” Blatt told PAW midway through the tournament. “But from the first day, I preached to these guys, ‘We are going to play together, and we are not going to quit.’”
Russia’s newfound resilience was tested several times. The team suffered its only loss midway through the tournament against Spain, whose roster included Pau Gasol and several other NBA players. In the quarterfinals against France, which had routed Russia in a pretournament exhibition game, the team slowed NBA star Tony Parker and held on for a 75–71 victory. Against Lithuania, several players stepped up when Kirilenko, an NBA All-Star with the Utah Jazz, fouled out.
Before the final, Blatt readily acknowledged Spain was the better team. But he was confident that his team would not give in, adding, in a lighthearted reference to David and Goliath, that “no one gave David a chance.”
In the rematch with Spain, Blatt’s team regrouped after a shaky first quarter, and showed poise as it came back before an overwhelmingly hostile crowd. Afterward, when asked about the significance of an American-Israeli coaching the Russian team to its unexpected gold, Blatt could only shake his head and say, “I am a world basketball coach — that’s all.” π
Tim Warren, a copy editor for The Washington Post, has written extensively about European basketball.
Liz Costello ’10, wearing number 293, led the pack as WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY dominated Harvard and Yale Sept. 15 to win the H-Y-P meet for the fifth consecutive year. Costello, the individual winner, completed the 5.1-kilometer West Windsor course in just over 18 minutes, and Princeton placed six runners in the top seven. The Tigers also had an impressive performance a week earlier, winning the 23-team Fordham Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY settled for second at the Fordham race, with five Tiger runners finishing in the top 12.
The defending Ivy League-champion FIELD HOCKEY team picked up where it left off last season, topping Yale (2–0, Sept. 8) and Dartmouth (4–1, Sept. 15) to extend its Ivy winning streak to 16 games.
MEN’S WATER POLO bounced back from a 13–12 overtime loss at Bucknell Sept. 14 to beat MIT, 12–9, at home Sept. 16. The Tigers started the year 6–1 overall and 6–0 at DeNunzio Pool.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL won three of four matches, including a 3–2 win against the host team, at the Villanova Classic Sept. 14 and 15. Juniors Lindsey Ensign and Parker Henritze combined for 34 kills against Villanova.
WOMEN’S SOCCER star Diana Matheson ’08 helped Canada to a 4–0 win over Ghana Sept. 15 at the Women’s World Cup in Beijing. The Canadians were elimanted five days later, after a 2–2 draw with Australia in the last match of group play. In Matheson’s absence, Princeton stumbled to a 0–4–1 start against non-league opponents. MEN’S SOCCER also struggled, losing its first four games.
New York Yankees pitcher ROSS OHLENDORF ’05 made his major-league
debut Sept. 11, retiring three batters in the scoreless ninth inning of
New York’s 9–2 win over Toronto. Ohlendorf is the first Princeton
alumnus to wear Yankee pinstripes since Charlie Caldwell ’25.