Princeton vs. Brown
May 7, 2005
The Game Story:
A festive final Saturday took some of the sting off of a tough men's lacrosse season at Princeton. As a result, Princeton brings momentum into the off-season - and several seniors finished their careers in style.

Peter Trombino and Scott Sowanick had four points each and seniors Matthew Prager and Andrew Sung scored their first career goals in their final games as Princeton defeated Brown 13-4 in front of 1,017 at the Class of 1952 Stadium.

The win ended Princeton's season at 5-7 overall and 4-2 in the Ivy League, while Brown finished the season at 6-6, 2-4. The Tigers earned at least a tie of second place in the Ivy League, and a Harvard win over Dartmouth Saturday night would leave Princeton in second place by itself. Princeton will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 16 years.

"It was a good way to end the season," said shortstick defensive midfielder Ryan Schoenig. "Now we have to learn from this and never let it happen again. We saw the last two weeks that we were a good team. Now we have to move forward and get it back again."

Princeton started the season at 0-5 before winning five of its final seven, including back-to-back wins over Dartmouth and Brown in the final two weeks.

"There were many times this team could have quit," said Tiger head coach Bill Tierney. "I'm proud of them. They played as hard as they could to the end. Obviously we're disappointed that we're done now and not going to the playoffs, but the guys coming back have to rededicate themselves to getting this program back where it belongs."

Princeton scored five goals in a 10-minute span of the first half and five more in an 11-minute span of the third quarter, scoring those 10 goals on its first 18 shots of the game. Trombino had two goals and two assists to finish the season with 22 goals and 12 assists, tying him for the team scoring lead with Sowanick, whose one goal and three assists left him with 15 goals and 19 assists for the same 34 points.

Still, this day in many ways belonged to several of Princeton's nine seniors, including Jason Doneger, who scored his 105th goal to finish his career seventh all-time at Princeton. It was a pair of players not used to putting the ball in the goal who received the largest ovations from the crown, however.

Prager, a tri-captain along with Doneger and Oliver Barry and the younger brother of former Tiger All-America B.J. Prager, had his first career start, and he made it count with a perfect finish of a Mike Gaudio feed that made it 4-1 Princeton in the first quarter.

Not to be outdone, Sung, who did not play in the first half, took a crossfield pass from Trombino and ripped one low-to-high for an extra-man goal 34 seconds into the second half. Senior J.G. Guidera had his first multi-point game with a goal and assist, and senior Matthew Larkin made six saves while allowing two goals in 30 minutes.

"Being a part of this team has been such a big part of my college experience," said Prager. "I can't believe that it's over, but at the same time, it's been so great to be a part of it and to be a captain as a senior. I also appreciate the coaches for letting me start the game. That meant a lot to me also. Getting a goal only made it more special."

As Princeton says goodbye to its senior class, it also looks ahead to the 2006 season. The Tigers will return the bulk of their rotation next year, including two starting attackmen and their top two backups, the top six offensive midfielders, one starting defenseman, three longstick midfielders, four of their main five defensive shortstick midfielders, all three of the top face-off men and two of their top three goalies. Almost all of those players have at least two years of eligibility left.

Freshman Alex Haynie had two goals and an assist against Brown, while classmate Alex Hewit made seven saves while allowing one goal in 25 minutes. Gaudio, a sophomore, had a goal and assist to finish his sophomore season with 16 goals and three assists; his 16 goals were the most by a Princeton sophomore midfielder since Josh Sims had 32 in 1998.

Brown was led by Chris Mucciolo's two goals and Alex Buckley's two assists. Brown actually outshot Princeton 32-29.