The weather was the main story of the men's lacrosse game between Princeton and UMBC Saturday afternoon, which the Tigers won 10-5 in front of 354 hardy souls at the Class of 1952 Stadium. The rain, which was already pouring down before the game, became even harder once play began. That, coupled with heavy wind and temperatures in the low 40s, made for miserable conditions from start to finish.
"It at least said it would be in the 50s," said Princeton coach Chris Bates. "This wasn't the 50s."
The weather overshadowed everything else, including two goals and an assist each from Jack McBride and Rob Engelke and 11 saves by Tyler Fiorito.
As players, coaches and fans fled quickliy from the facility after the game, all but forgotten was the key reason why Princeton was able to build a big lead en route to its fourth win in four games to start the season and the unlikely player who actually was the day's MVP: Bobby Lucas.
Princeton sprinted to a 5-1 first quarter lead that became 7-1 in the second and 8-3 at the half largely because Lucas, a freshman from Chaminade High on Long Island, won the first seven face-offs of the game and 9 of 12 in the first half. Lucas, who did not play in Princeton's first two games, has now won 14 of 22 in the last two.
"We had the ball the whole first half," said Bates. "Face-offs are so hard to predict, but Bobby Lucas did an excellent job."
Princeton got the ball back after every one of its first six goals, and that coupled with 42% shooting (eight goals, 19 shots) in the first half led to a relaxing second half for the Tigers.
"I think the weather hurt them," Bates said. "It wasn't great for us either, but UMBC is a tough team. We were able to get off to a good start, and on a day like this, that's important."
Princeton and UMBC have now split their 12 all-time meetings, but the Tigers have won three straight after the teams hadn't played since 1990. Princeton defeated UMBC in the 2006 NCAA tournament at Class of 1952 and then last year 6-5 in Baltimore.
The 2010 version saw Princeton continue to go deep down its roster and get production from many sources offensively and defensively.
Scott MacKenzie also had two goals for Princeton, while Tyler Moni, Paul Barnes and Chris McBride had one each.
UMBC had five players score one each.
After Princeton built the lead to 7-1, UMBC scored back-to-back goals late in the first half and had possession with a chance to make it a three-goal game. Instead, Princeton was able to get a goal from Jack McBride with five seconds left in the second to put Princeton up five, and the Retrievers would get no closer in the second half.
The weather and some tenancious defense contributed to 45 turnovers between the teams, including four each by UMBC's Lance Opham and Mike Camardo.
Princeton will play its fourth game in an 11-day stretch when it takes on North Carolina Tuesday night in Chapel Hill. The Ivy League opener is next Saturday at Class of 1952 against Penn.
Princeton vs. Umbc