Princeton vs. Harvard
April 16, 2005
The Game Story:
Jason Doneger, Dave Law and Bill Tierney all used the same word: confidence. Thanks in large part to the first two, the Princeton men's lacrosse team got a huge injection of confidence Saturday afternoon, and in the process vaulted itself back into the thick of the Ivy League race.

Doneger scored five goals and Law made 10 saves in his first start since the third week of the season to lead Princeton to a 12-4 win over Harvard in front of 2,405 fans at the Class of 1952 Stadium Saturday afternoon. Princeton will host Butler Sunday afternoon (1) in the first meeting ever between the schools.

The win, the Tigers' 15th straight over Harvard, improved Princeton to 2-1 in the Ivy League and set up a huge game next Saturday in Ithaca, where Princeton will take on first-place Cornell.

Harvard fell to 4-5 overall and 1-3 in the league. Princeton, now 2-6 overall, won by eight goals after its first seven games this year had been decided by a total of 15 and after five of its last nine games dating to last year had been one-goal games.

"It's all about confidence," said Tierney, the Tigers' Hall-of-Fame head coach. "Hopefully, this was the confidence-builder we needed. We've been talking about flipping the switch. Maybe that's what we did."

Princeton has won 10 straight Ivy League championships, but a loss next weekend at Cornell would eliminate the Tigers from this year's race. A win, on the other hand, would leave Princeton tied in the loss column for the league lead with two games remaining after that, at home against Dartmouth and Brown.

"We still want to win the Ivy championship," said Doneger. "We're keeping our minds on that."

Doneger entered the game with six goals on this season after scoring 77 the last two years combined and leading the Ivy in goals scored each time. He nearly matched his season output with his game against the Crimson, which saw him boost his career goal total to 97 and move from 13th to eighth all-time in goals scored at Princeton.

"It's been frustrating on offense this season," Doneger said. "Every game had been tight, and we didn't want to have another tight one. You have to look at it like it's the same ball and the same six-by-six net you've been shooting on since you were seven years old."

Law had started every game last year and the first three this year before giving way to Matthew Larkin and Alex Hewit in the goal. Law got the start against the Crimson and made seven saves in the first half, which ended with the Tigers ahead 3-1.

"It's been a roller-coaster for the goalies," Law said. "But we're all in it together. Our hearts are behind each other. We'd never let playing time come between us. It felt good to get out there again, but whoever practices the best will be the goalie."

Princeton built its 3-1 halftime lead on a goal by Whitney Hayes and two by Doneger, and the Tigers broke it wide open in the third quarter, scoring four times to build it to 7-2. The lead would reach 9-2 and then 12-3 before a late Crimson goal.

Peter Trombino scored three times for Princeton, and his goal 4:51 into the third quarter that made it 4-1 gave Princeton its biggest lead to that point in any game this season. Trombino continued his streak of having scored at least one point in every game of his career, and he now leads the Tigers with 13 goals.

Scott Sowanick had four assists for Princeton, and his 23 points on the season (11 goals, 12 assists) leads the Tigers. Sowanick, Hayes and Trombino all have at least one point in every game this year.

Mike Gaudio had a goal and assist for Princeton, and Alex Haynie had his first career goal. Tripp Shriner also scored for Princeton.

Harvard was led by Brooks Scholl's two goals.

Princeton outshot the Crimson 43-32 while having season-highs in goals and shots.

"It's taken us some time, but we're getting turned around," said Law. "Now we have to build on this."