Three days after vastly different bus rides home and 16 years after a streak was born, the Princeton and Penn men's lacrosse teams met at Class of 1952 Stadium in a make-or-break game.
Penn entered the game ranked seventh in the nation and 120 minutes away from an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Princeton entered the game ranked 11th and reeling after an offensive meltdown at Syracuse.
"I think, just like Syracuse the other day, we may have felt like we had our backs against the wall," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney after his team rolled to a 16-7 win over the Quakers. "This was a classic Princeton win."
Bob Schneider scored a career-high three goals and added an assist, Peter Trombino had a five-point night and Scott Sowanick matched Schneider's numbers as the Tigers built a five-goal first half lead en route to the win. Princeton improved to 6-3 overall, 2-0 in the Ivy League, while Penn slipped to 8-2, 3-2.
The win was the 17th straight for Princeton over Penn dating to the Quakers' last win in the series, which came in 1989. Penn had entered the game Tuesday night after a 6-5 double-overtime loss to Princeton last year and after wins over Cornell and Dartmouth in the Ivy race. The win at Dartmouth came 10-9 on a goal in the final minute by D.J. Andrejewski.
While the Quakers were riding back from Hanover victorious, Princeton was also coming home from a road game, this one a 7-5 loss at Syracuse. Princeton fell five spots in the USILA poll from sixth to 11th, and Penn vaulted over the Tigers to the No. 7 spot.
The game was a huge one in the Ivy League race. Had Penn won against Princeton and then again Saturday at home against Brown, a 10-6 loser to Harvard Tuesday night, then Penn would have clinched the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Instead, Princeton remains the lone unbeaten in the league as it heads to Harvard Saturday to play another once-beaten team.
"The way the league was, this was a big game," Tierney said. "I don't think we really stopped them. They're one of the top offensive teams in the country, but we were able to possess the ball more than they were. Face-offs and offense help you defensively. Our offense won this game."
Penn scored first, on a goal by David Cornbrooks 3:26 into the game, but Schneider scored his first 29 seconds later. Penn would not lead again.
The only other tie came at 3-3 on D.J. Gilbert's goal six minutes into the second quarter, but Princeton scored five goals in a 3:55 span highlighted by consecutive Alex Haynie transition scores off feeds from Zach Goldberg. Penn scored the final two goals of the quarter to make it 8-5 at halftime, and after the teams traded goals to start the second half, Princeton would score seven of the final eight goals of the night.
Alex Hewit made 12 saves for the Tigers in 55 minutes. Princeton outshot the Quakers 42-37 and won 7 of 11 second-half face-offs.
Princeton vs. Pennsylvania
|Peter Trombino||(2, 3)|
|Scott Sowanick||(3, 1)|
|Bob Schneider||(3, 1)|
|Alex Haynie||(2, 1)|
|Tripp Shriner||(1, 1)|
|Zach Goldberg||(0, 2)|
|Mark Kovler||(1, 1)|
|Trip Cowin||(2, 0)|
|Michael Wenzel||(1, 0)|
|Whitney Hayes||(1, 0)|
|Jim O'brien||(0, 1)|