Sports: December 20, 1995

Shooting Straight for the Title
Volleyball Play-in: Tennessee Beats Tigers

Shooting Straight for the Title
Cagers Will Need Hot Hands to Unseat Penn as Ivy Champs

Men's basketball, arguably Princeton's most storied sport, begins its season at autumn's end. Its legendary coach, Pete Carril, began his 29th season this fall. With the frost come questions about the 1995-96 Tigers. Will fans ever see the likes of Bill Bradley '65 again? Or can they expect to see Princeton upset Georgetown in the NCAA tournament, as it almost did in 1989? Princeton (4-0 overall, 0-0 Ivy) has now bowed to Penn three years straight in the race for a league title and an NCAA bid. Questions surround the team, and most of the answers are less than clear.
One, though, is easy to answer. If one asked, "What will be the most popular occurrence in the league this year?" any non-Quaker would certainly answer: "Seeing Penn lose an Ivy League game." And for the first time since George Bush was President, Penn will probably do just that. After three years of dominance and a record 43 wins in a row, the team lost all five of its starters to graduation. Quaker fans may be reminded of what it's like to lose a game. And the rest of the league can't wait to help jog their memories. Penn's vulnerability has created a power vacuum that each of the league's other teams would love to fill. Says Princeton captain Sydney Johnson '97, "Last year, we knew we had our work cut out for us, because we had to beat Penn twice, plus go through the rest of the league undefeated. This year, it's wide open."
What is the biggest problem facing the Tigers? Shooting. Shooting. Shooting. Last year, the Tigers shot 45.1% from the field (relatively low for a Carril team) and shot 32.9% from beyond the three-point arc (Princeton's lowest performances since the line was added to the game in 1986). It is hard to believe that the Tigers could win any games with such poor shooting-let alone the 16 they did win-because Carril's system places such a priority on shooting accuracy. Both overall and outside shooting percentages will have to improve. Moreover, with the graduation of Rick Hielscher '95, the Tigers lost not only their leading scorer (12.1 points per game), but also their best shooter (55.3%). Carril is well aware of the problem: he calls shooting the "salient weakness" that faces the team.
Some of the problems may be alleviated just because the team is a year older. Running Carril's offense is not easy and is more difficult when a team is young, as was the case last year. Having graduated only one regular starter, the Tigers are nothing if not seasoned this year. Guard Mitch Henderson '98 thinks the year of experience will give the team a better understanding of the pressure the team places on itself (and its defense) if it doesn't make open shots. "Last year we got the shots that the offense was supposed to create, but didn't make enough of them. This year so far, the shots have been going in and we just have to hope that it continues." Henderson's optimism is understandable, but the numbers early in the 1995-96 season have not been as encouraging. In its first four games, Princeton has shot just 44.1% from the field and 35.3% from the three-point arc.
Who should fans keep their eyes on this season? Sydney Johnson will attract attention right away, whether he plays at point guard (where he was last year) or at forward (where he seems more likely to appear this year). Johnson constantly forces opposing defenses to worry about where he is. "Moving Sydney to forward makes a big difference," says center Steve Goodrich '98, "because he does a great job of getting the ball down to me near the basket. Plus, he is another guard on the floor, which makes it difficult for teams to pressure us." Another Tiger who will excite fans this year is guard Brian Earl '99, who earned a starting job in preseason. An excellent long-range shooter, Earl led his high school team to a New Jersey state championship a year ago. He could make a difference for a system that relies heavily on the outside shot.
Carril will likely open games with Earl and Henderson at guard, Goodrich at center, and Johnson at forward. Rounding out the starting squad will probably be Gabe Lewullis '99 as the second forward. Chris Doyal '96, who started at that position last year, will likely play the Carril-defined role of "fireman"-substituting for Lewullis after eight or nine minutes have been played in each half, giving the Tigers a fresh body. Others who will play important minutes for the Tigers include forward Jamie Mastaglio '98, guard Jason Osier '97, forward Ben Hart '96, and center Jesse Rosenfeld '97.
Earning special notice as the Tigers' "comeback player of the year" is Rosenfeld. After playing extensively during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons, he contracted mononucleosis and took a year off from school. Now, older and stronger, he will offer depth at center, where he will stand in for Goodrich, and perhaps at forward. A good low-post scorer, Rosenfeld will help mitigate the loss of Hielscher. Most important, Rosenfeld will add to the team as a leader on and off the court. Says Johnson, "Rosenfeld is more mature. He definitely has brought a sense of urgency to the team, knowing that this could be our year."
Now, the most important question: Who is likely to win the Ivy League title? Princeton has a good shot, if it can beat Dartmouth. Returning 10 lettermen and playing its first five Ivy games in Jadwin, Princeton should be a contender. But Dartmouth, like Princeton, was 10-4 in the league last season and returns most of its players, including scorer Sea Lonergan, who made the all-Ivy first team last year. Dartmouth also has the league's tallest player, seven-footer Brian Gilpin, who made the all-Ivy second team in 1994-95.
One of the Tigers' toughest foes this year may be one that Princeton has often had little trouble with in the past. The team travels to Columbia for its second-to-last game of the season, on March 2, a contest that is likely to affect league standings. But the Lions' new head coach is Armond Hill '85, a former guard at Princeton who played professional ball as a first-round draft choice of the Atlanta Hawks. Until this spring, Hill was an assistant to Carril and was impressive in his four years of coaching at Princeton, Sydney Johnson says he expects Columbia to be "a lot better than last year, just from what he brings to the team." Joined by Mike Brennan '94 as an assistant coach, Hill doesn't expect to figure in the league race this year. But by March, Hill will have had a full season to work with his players. His knowledge of Carril's system, plus his familiarity with Princeton's current players, may make that late-season game a difficult one.
What about the rest of the league? Harvard, Yale, and Cornell will each win some Ivy games, but not enough to matter. Brown could be a sleeper, but it is not likely to win a title. The Ivies' biggest mystery could be Penn-a preseason poll picked the Quakers to win the league. Though decimated by graduation, Penn will have seniors Ira Bowman and Tim Krug and it may be able to retool with new talent-its extremely successful program has attracted some good recruits. But when a team loses both an NBA-caliber player in Jerome Allen and last year's Ivy League Player of the Year in Matt Maloney, it has too much to overcome. Penn won't win a fourth straight NCAA tournament bid.
Finally, a question that has become a long-standing one: Wither Carril? How long will he remain as coach? Fittingly, there is no answer to that question. The rumors of retirement float-as they always do-through the rafters of Jadwin Gym, but Carril continues to drive himself and his players hard at practice and at games. Says the coach, "I'm not getting tired, and I just wish my guys would work as hard as I do."
-Matt Henshon '91
After playing his last game as a Princeton forward in 1991, Matt Henshon attended Harvard Law School. When not talking basketball, he answers legal questions for a firm in Boston.

Volleyball Play-in: Tennessee Beats Tigers
The women's volleyball team (30-4 overall, 6-1 Ivy) boarded a flight for Nashville en route to its NCAA tournament play-in match with Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro on November 25. But for all the Tigers knew, they might have been heading off to play against Mars. Middle Tennessee was a complete mystery, save its impressive 32-6 record. Not until Princeton lost, 3-1, did the Tigers know what they had been up against. "We could have beaten them if we had played well," said coach Glenn Nelson, "but they're definitely the best team we've played all year."
Princeton had little trouble playing well in the regular season. With the exception of two close losses, the season followed a consistent and fruitful pattern. The Tigers displayed better hitting, better defense and better ball control, than most of their foes, and Princeton garnered 25 regular-season wins and five tournament titles. However, the timing of the match with Middle Tennessee didn't favor a peak performance for the Tigers. The team was dormant for almost two weeks before the play-in match, while Middle Tennessee was fresh from its victory in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
The break seemed to affect the Tigers, who were inconsistent and lethargic in the play-in. While Middle Tennessee had a good hitting percentage, Princeton managed only .167 and was outgunned, 81-68, in total kills. Though outside hitter Stephanie Edwards '98, opposite hitter Ayesha Attoh '98, and middle hitter Lowen Cattolico '98 looked good, the rest of the offense didn't play up to its usual standard.
The team will lose two of its leaders, Spataro and outside hitter Candice Pearson '96, to graduation. The duo served on perhaps the two best teams of Nelson's career at Princeton. But with a pool of talented high-school recruits, the coach's squad will probably be strong again next year. Until then, the Tigers will have to be content with their Ivy title.
-Josh Stephens '97
This article was adapted from one that originally ran in The Daily Princetonian.

Men's Basketball
(4-0 overall; 0-0 Ivy)
Princeton 62, Lehigh 45
Princeton 62, Lafayette 47
Princeton 61, Boise St. 41
Princeton 59, Fresno St. 54

Women's Basketball
(3-0 overall; 0-0 Ivy)
Princeton 74,
No. Illinois 64 (OT)
Princeton 79, Siena 67
Princeton 76, Lafayette 60

Men's Swimming
(2-1 overall; 2-0 EISL)
Tennessee 163, Princeton 112
Princeton 153, Penn 81
Princeton 130, Brown 90

Women's Swimming
(1-2 overall; 1-1 Ivy)
Tennessee 165, Princeton 115
Princeton 174, Penn 120
Brown 184, Princeton 114

(30-4 overall; 6-1 Ivy)
Middle Tennessee St. 3,
Princeton 1

Men's Ice Hockey
(2-6-2 overall; 1-5-1 Ivy)
UMass-Lowell 5, Princeton 4
Clarkson 7, Princeton 2
St. Lawrence 6, Princeton
Princeton 3, Brown 2
Harvard 4, Princeton 3
Yale 5, Princeton 4 (OT)
Princeton 5, Ottawa 1
Princeton 1,
Merrimack 1 (OT)
Colgate 3, Princeton 2
Princeton 1, Cornell 1

Women's Ice Hockey
(2-7 overall; 2-2 ECAC)
New Hampshire 5, Princeton 2
Dartmouth 3, Princeton 1
Princeton 5, Harvard 1
Northeastern 9, Princeton 3
Concordia 8, Princeton 2
New Hampshire 6, Princeton 2
Providence 8, Princeton 5
Princeton 6, Colby 4
New Hampshire 7, Princeton 0

Men's Squash
(4-0 overall; 3-0 Ivy)
Princeton 7, W. Ontario 2
Princeton 9, Cornell 0
Princeton 8, Rochester 1
Princeton 9, Brown 0

Women's Squash
(1-1 overall; 0-1 Ivy)
Brown 5, Princeton 4
Princeton 9,
Franklin & Marshall 0