Princeton vs. Hofstra
February 25, 2012
The Game Story:
Mike MacDonald paused for a moment as he searched for the word to describe the second of the three goals he scored in his first collegiate lacrosse game.

"It was fortuitous," MacDonald said.

In fact it was, as MacDonald returned to his hockey-playing roots in Canada to slap the ball into the net.

As for "fortuitous," the rest of his Princeton teammates didn't get to use that word at all last year and didn't have to use it in the opener this year, as there was nothing fortuitous about anything else that happened other than the second goal MacDonald scored.


Princeton, turning the page on a nightmarish 2011, reversed almost everything that plagued the team a year ago, and the result was a convincing 12-6 win over Hofstra in front of 1,222 wind-blown and chilled fans at Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium.

The 12 goals were more than Princeton scored in any game a year ago.

MacDonald scored three goals in his debut, while Tom Schrieber, last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a preseason first-team All-America, had a career-high seven points with three goals and four assists.

"I'm not going to talk about last year much," said Princeton coach Chris Bates.

If he did, he would have mentioned all of the following:

* Princeton won fewer face-offs than any team in Division I

* Princeton had at least a three-goal lead in six of the eight games the team lost

* Princeton averaged a little more than seven goals per game

* In its opener against Hofstra in 2011, Princeton won just 6 of 22 face-offs, was outshot 40-28, lost the groundball stat 31-16 and had a three-goal lead get away in an 11-9 loss

* Princeton finished 4-8

And for Game 1 of 2012?

Led by Bobby Lucas, Princeton won 13 of 22 face-offs, which resulted in a 28-19 edge in ground balls and a 39-20 edge in shots. Princeton also withstood a Hofstra run that cut a 6-2 Princeton lead to 6-5 in the third, only to see the Tigers rip off six of the final seven goals of the game.

"The fourth quarter is when you want to be great," Bates said. "I thought we played with a lot of energy. We put some in the back of the net. I thought we were strong on defense. I thought Bobby Lucas [10 of 16] was great. He really set the tone."

MacDonald turned the ball over the first time he touched in and then scored on a feed from Schreiber the second time he did. Princeton led 2-1 with time running down in the first quarter when Alex Capretta skipped a pass to Tucker Shanley, who scored the first of his two goals with just one second left.

Capretta, who had two career assists in his first three seasons, had three assists on the day.

The Tigers led 4-2 at the break and then scored the first two of the third quarter, only to see the Pride come storming back. When Steve Serling scored with 7:16 to go in the quarter, it was 6-5 Princeton, and anyone in orange and black could be forgiven for thinking about flashbacks to 2011.

"When it got close, we were able to settle it down," MacDonald said. "It's great to have someone like Tom Schreiber there. He makes everything calm down."

Schreiber scored two straight, and then after Hofstra scored to make it 8-6 with 11:41 to go, Schreiber tried to feed the crease, when his pass rolled along the ground. The alert MacDonald, the Canadian, one-timed it into the net for the unassisted goal.

The next goal was MacDonald from Schreiber, and Jeff Froccaro and Shanley made it 12-6 with five minutes left. The last two minutes saw Princeton possess the ball and pass up several opportunities to shoot on the empty net.

"I was really nervous," MacDonald said. "It was my first college game. Getting three goals, it was a great feeling. My family was here. All the guys on the sideline. It was great."

Tyler Fiorito came into the game with a career 12.00 goals-against average against Hofstra, the highest he's had against any team in his career. This time, he allowed half that number while making eight saves.

Defenseman Rob Castelo, who missed the last 10.5 games of 2011 with a torn ACL, and Nick Fernandez, the shortstick defensive middie who had an ankle sprain, concussion and broken arm a year ago, were tremendous on the defensive end.

Princeton plays twice this coming week, with home games Tuesday against Manhattan (4) and Friday against Johns Hopkins (5).