Princeton vs. Harvard
April 14, 2007
The Game Story:
Okay, now it's fine for the Princeton men's lacrosse team to focus on Cornell, now that both teams held up their ends in setting up next week's showdown.

Alex Hewit made 13 saves as Princeton's defense threw a blanket on Harvard and Mark Kovler scored three times as the Tigers defeated the Crimson 9-3 in front of 2,517 at the Class of 1952 Stadium. The win was fifth-ranked Princeton's seventh straight overall and 17th straight over Harvard.

It also improved Princeton's record to 3-0 in the Ivy League, 8-2 overall, heading into next Saturday's game at top-ranked and undefeated Cornell, who went to 10-0 on the season with a 17-3 win over Dartmouth.

"As much as you try to say 'don't think about Cornell; don't think about Cornell,' you can't help but have that in your mind," said Princeton head coach Bill Tierney, who won the 250th game of his Hall-of-Fame career. "This was a good, workmanlike win. Now we get to go play the best team in the country at their place."

Princeton did not allow a Harvard goal for the first 37:57, by which time it was 7-0 Tigers. Princeton has now allowed 55 goals in 10 games, for a Division I-best 5.5 goals per game.

Waiting for the Tigers in Ithaca next weekend is the nation's top offense, one that has scored 149 goals in 10 games for an average of 14.9. Cornell's average score in its four Ivy League games is 17.8; Princeton has allowed 11 goals in three Ivy games combined.

Cornell has defeated Princeton each of the last three years, inlcuding a 17-4 rout in Ithaca two years ago and a 4-3 classic in Princeton last year when Hewit made 15 saves.

"They are the new Syracuse," said Tierney. "They run. The push it every chance they get. They get a lot of transition looks. They shoot it really, really well. They have a lot of guys who can score. It's not going to be easy, but I wouldn't want to try it with any other defense or any other goalie."

Hewit made 13 saves, while Harvard goalie Joe Pike made 16 of his own. Shots were actually 39-38 in favor of the Crimson, but the Princeton defense made it tough for Harvard to get open looks. When they did, Hewit was usually there.

"It's a team effort," said Princeton's Zachary Jungers, who teams with Dan Cocoziello and Chris Peyser at close defense. "We have great shortsticks. And we have Alex. He makes up for any mistakes. It's great to know he's back there."

Neither team scored in the first 10 minutes, but Princeton would score three times in the final five minutes of the first quarter to take control. Peter Trombino and Kovler started the scoring, and the Tigers took a big momentum boost when Hewit made a save and outletted to Zack Goldberg, who raced down the middle and fed Tommy Davis for a goal with seven seconds remaining in the first.

It would be 7-0 at intermission. Carle Stenmark finally got Harvard on the board with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter, which meant that the scoreless stretch for Harvard was 17 seconds longer than the one Princeton had against Penn in a 10-5 win Tuesday night. The Crimson actually outscored the Tigers 3-2 in the second half.

Kovler's three goals came after he was shut out against the Quakers; Kovler now has been shut out three times this year and answered with 10 goals in the game following.

Davis had two goals for the Tigers, while Scott Sowanick had a goal and two assists. Trombino had a goal and assist. No Harvard player had more than one point.

Princeton now leads the series against Harvard 53-19-1. The teams first played in 1881.