February 13, 2008: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
By David Marcus ’92
The Princeton men’s lacrosse team starts 2008 with the same challenge that confronted it in each of the past two years: generating enough offense to beat the best teams on its schedule. Defensively, the Tigers have been remarkable. In 2006, they went 11–5, holding opponents to an average of 6.6 goals per game. Last year, they trimmed that figure to 6.17 goals, the best in the nation, on their way to a 10–4 record. But in their losses, the Tigers have scored fewer than six goals, on average, putting extraordinary pressure on the Princeton defense.
“The million-dollar question is who’s going to score those goals [to put Princeton ahead],” said head coach Bill Tierney. “We’ve got to score double figures against Hopkins, Virginia, and Cornell.” Princeton has gone 1–5 against those three opponents in the past two years.
Tierney hopes that the answer starts with Scott MacKenzie ’10, a 6-foot-5-inch attackman who could replace Scott Sowanick ’07 as the team’s offensive quarterback. That would allow the coach to move Tommy Davis ’09, a midfielder in high school who has started on attack the past two years, back to his old position. Starting attackman Alex Haynie ’08 also returns, but he will face competition from Rob Engelke ’10, who scored twice in the 9–8 overtime loss to Georgetown in the first round of last year’s NCAA playoffs; Greg Seaman ’09, a midfielder whom Tierney has moved to crease attack; and highly recruited freshman cousins Jack and Chris McBride.
Anchoring the midfield will be Mark Kovler ’09, a third-team All-American last year and Princeton’s second-leading goal-scorer after Peter Trombino ’07. Josh Lesko ’09, Mike Gaudio ’08, and Rich Sgalardi ’09 also return for the Tigers.
Princeton remains strong on the defensive end, starting with goalie Alex Hewit ’08, a first-team All-American in 2006, when he saved 64.6 percent of the shots he faced. Last year, his save rate dropped to 59.5 percent, which may not sound like much. But when a team shoots 28 times (the per-game average for Princeton’s opponents last year), that 5 percent difference amounts to about a goal — critical in a season in which three of the team’s four losses were by one goal. Tierney admitted that Hewit “didn’t quite live up to the standard he’d set as a sophomore,” but added that any team would have been happy with the goalie’s 2007 campaign.
Hewit will play behind a handful of experienced defenders. First-team All-American Zachary Jungers ’07 and long-stick midfielder John Bennett ’07 have graduated, but starters Dan Cocoziello ’08 and Chris Peyser ’09 return. Jeremy Hirsch ’10 will join them on close defense, with Charlie Kolkin ’09 playing long-stick midfield and Zachary Goldberg ’08 and Brendan Reilly ’09 filling the short-stick defensive midfield positions.
Princeton starts the year with games against perennial powers Johns Hopkins (March 1 in Baltimore) and Virginia (March 8 at home), and Cornell likely will provide the stiffest competition in the Ivy League. The Tigers’ defense should get them to the playoffs again, where their offensive prowess will determine how far they advance.
David Marcus ’92 is a frequent PAW contributor.
Katherine Dineen ’09, above, scored three goals for WOMEN’S HOCKEY in a home game against Yale Jan. 11, but the Bulldogs surged ahead with two unanswered goals in the third period to beat Princeton, 5–3. The Tigers bounced back to shut out Brown, 2–0, the following night. Away from Baker Rink, Princeton’s Sasha Sherry ’11 helped the United States win gold at the Under-18 Women’s World Champ-ionships in Calgary Jan. 7–12. Sherry scored one goal and assisted on two others in the five-game tournament.
With a 6–2 win at Brown Jan. 12, MEN’S HOCKEY improved to 5–0 in Ivy League games, taking a two-game lead over Cornell in the Ivy standings. The Tigers, who last earned a share of the league title in 1999, have not won the Ivy crown outright since 1953.
MEN’S BASKETBALL fell at Lehigh Jan. 6 and against Lafayette in overtime Jan. 9, extending its school-record losing streak to 12 games. WOMEN’S BASKETBALL opened Ivy play with a 69–57 win over Penn Jan. 12. Addie Micir ’11 led the Tigers with a career-high 22 points.
Adam Hugh ’09, a star of Princeton’s TABLE TENNIS CLUB, placed eighth at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Philadel-phia Jan. 11–13. Hugh won three of his 11 round-robin matches against America’s top players.
In WOMEN’S SQUASH, Princeton’s Amanda Siebert ’10 defeated Trinity’s Tehani Guruge to win the Constable Invitational at Jadwin Gym Jan. 13. Casey Riley ’08 won the second flight, beating teammate Joanna Scoon ’09.