In the 84th meeting of New Jersey's most prominent lacrosse programs, Bill Tierney's Tigers got the best of Jim Stagnitta's Scarlett Knights, 15-8. A solid defensive gameplan and opportunistic offense helped Rutgers stay close through three and a half quarters, but Princeton came on too strong late in the fourth. Led by Mark Kolver's three goal performance, Princeton was able to answer every Rutgers score. While the Tigers did not look flawless, they showed they could dictate the flow of the game.
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE:
PISCATAWAY, N.J.-The Princeton men's lacrosse team continues to put up shots at a rapid pace. Unlike the previous two heartbreakers that Princeton lost, the shots resulted in a win Tuesday night.
Princeton unloaded 45 more shots during a 15-8 win over Rutgers in front of 1,418 at Yurcak Field in the 84th meeting between the rivals in a series that dates to 1888. Princeton and Rutgers have played every year since 1937 except the World War II-shortened seasons of 1944 and 1945, and the Tigers increased their series lead to 53-29-3.
Princeton also rebounded from back-to-back 7-6 losses, one in double overtime to Johns Hopkins and one on a goal with 25.4 seconds left three days earlier against Virginia. The win squared the Tigers' record at 2-2 heading into Saturday's game at Hofstra, while RU fell to 1-3.
"It was good to get out and play again and get a win," said Tiger coach Bill Tierney. "It was good to score some goals. I thought our offense was very good."
Princeton's 45 shots raised the Tiger average to 44.5 shots per game through four games. The Tigers averaged 35.2 shots per game a year ago and 32.4 shots per game in 2005.
The up-tempo Tigers hit their stride in the fourth quarter at a most opportune time. Princeton never trailed in the game, but RU managed to cut it to two at 8-6 with a pair of goals to start the fourth quarter. Mike DeSantis won the next face-off and then raced down the side and fired it into the goal, building it back to a three-goal edge just 15 seaconds after the Scarlet Knights had scored. It was the first goal of the career for the senior face-off specialist.
"We have a lot of guys who can score," DeSantis said. "Anyone can step up at any time. Our defense has done such a great job. It was great for us to help carry the load."
DeSantis' goal sparked a game-clinching 4-0 run for the Tigers, who picked up goals by Zack Goldberg in transition and then Rich Sgalardi and Bob Schneider to open up a six-goal lead.
Mark Kovler scored three goals for Princeton, while Peter Trombino added two goals and an assist. Scott Sowanick had a goal and assisted on all three Kovler goals to move past the 100-point mark for his career.
DeSantis, who entered the game with one career point, added an assist as well on Josh Lesko's goal as Lesko improved his streak of consecutive games with at least one goal to nine. Defender Charlie Kolkin scored his first goal for Princeton, whlie shortstick defensive midfielder Derek Sudan had his first career point with an assist. In fact Princeton had several transition goals, as Goldberg had an assist on Kolkin's goal and Dan Cocoziello assisted on a goal by Trombino.
Princeton had allowed exactly seven goals in each of its first three games before giving up eight to Rutgers. Zachary Jungers held Rutgers leading scorer Colin Checcio scoreless until the final three minutes, when Checcio scored a goal. Justin Pennington had two goals for the Scarlet Knights.
Alex Hewit made 10 saves for Princeton. Peter Pantages made 16 for RU in his first start.
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE:
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Harland (Tots) Meistrell Cup, awarded to the winner of the annual Rutgers-Princeton men's lacrosse game, will stay with the No. 9/10 Tigers as they defeated the Scarlet Knights, 15-8, on Tuesday night at Yurcak Field. Rutgers received two goals from rookie Justin Pennington (Flemington, N.J.) as well as two assists from both Chris Doctor (Skaneateles, N.Y.) and Chris White (Rockville Centre, N.Y), but it was not enough to overcome Princeton's high-powered offense.
Princeton got off to a quick start, scoring three unanswered goals in the first quarter of play to put the Tigers up by three after the first period of play. After being held scoreless in the first quarter, the Scarlet Knight offense erupted for three goals in the second period of play but still found themselves trailing 7-3 at the half.
The defenses for both teams played a solid third quarter, each allowing just one goal. RU goalie Pete Pantages (Roseland, N.J.) made several standout saves, as did his Princeton counterpart, Alex Hewit, and Rutgers trailed 8-4 heading into the final quarter of play.
Rutgers seemed to gain back some of the momentum at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Taylor Bottar (Syracuse, N.Y.) scored a goal at the 11:50 mark as the Scarlet Knights found themselves trailing by just two scores, 8-6. Princeton immediately responded, however, with a goal by Mike DeSantis at the 11:36 mark, and the momentum shifted back to the Tigers. Princeton would go on to score seven fourth-quarter goals, sealing the victory over the Scarlet Knights.
The Scarlet Knight offense was able to score eight goals against a Princeton defense that entered the game allowing just 6.81 goals per game. Doctor finished the game with a team-high three points, as he added a goal in the fourth quarter to go along with his two assists. Pantages finished the game with 16 saves.
The Tigers were led in scoring by Mark Kovler's three goals. Scott Sowanick had three assists in the game, and Hewit finished with 10 saves for Princeton.
The Scarlet Knights will close-out their brief, two-game homestand when they host Army on Friday, March 16, at 7:00 p.m., at Yurcak Field.
|Chris Doctor||(1, 2)|
|Chris White||(0, 2)|
|Justin Pennington||(2, 0)|
|Matt Gaines||(1, 1)|
|Colin Checcio||(1, 0)|
|Mike Dugan||(1, 0)|
|Jeff Rommel||(1, 0)|
|Taylor Bottar||(1, 0)|
|Peter Pantages||16 (0.516)|
|Alex Hewit||10 (0.556)|