The Princeton Tigers played classic Coach Tierney ball en route to a thoroughly dominant win over the struggling Orange of Syracuse. The game featured only one fast break goal and few transition opportunities. Prolonged possessions on both ends of the field, more so for the Tigers, showcased Princeton's superior play on defense and offense. Princeton controlled the pace, score, and ball. The outcome was never in question from beginning to end.
Peter Trombino spent all week inviting people to watch Princeton's men's lacrosse team play Syracuse and then spent two hours Saturday afternoon making the crowd glad it came.
Trombino, who popped up on the Princeton Department of Athletics Website all week promoting the game, scored a career-high five goals and added two assists for a career-high seven points to lead Princeton to a 12-8 win over Syracuse in front of 5,874 fans at Princeton Stadium. Princeton and Syracuse have combined to win 14 of the last 19 NCAA championships.
Mark Kovler also had career highs with four goals and five points. Princeton improved to 6-2 overall with its fifth straight win as it now heads to Philadelphia to play Penn Tuesday night, while Syracuse fell to 3-5 heading into a game against Cornell Tuesday night.
"It feels great," said Trombino.
"It's about time," interjected Tiger head coach Bill Tierney, whose comment drew laughs during the postgame interview session.
It was a far cry from seven days earlier, when Princeton defeated Yale 5-3 in a game that saw no Tiger offensive player score in the second half.
"It was a long ride home from New Haven," Tierney said. "And it was a tough week of practice. It wasn't an easy week for them. I say this with love, but it is about time that Peter and Mark score like that."
Trombino matched Princeton's goal total of a week ago by himself as the Tigers never trailed against the Orange. The game's crucial points were the start, which saw the Tigers shut out Syracuse for the first 23:30, and the fourth quarter, when Tommy Davis scored a pair of goals and Trombino added his fifth in a 1:48 span as Princeton broke open the game after the Orange had closed to 9-7.
"We were very impressed with Princeton," said Syracuse coach John Desko. "We knew their defense would be tough, and Peter did a great job of shooting the ball. We had beaten them a few times in a row [three], and they wanted to win this game, in the stadium, with a big crowd."
Kovler and Trombino scored first quarter goals for Princeton, and the two then scored again to start the second quarter as it was 4-0 Tigers before Syracuse got on the board on Dan Hardy's goal midway through the second. Pat Perritt made it a two-goal game at 4-2, but Kovler scored his third with just 12 seconds left in the half to make it 5-2 at intermission.
The Orange would score first to start the second half, but Trombino scored back-to-back goals to make it 7-3. Mike Leveille stopped that run with a goal with 3:47 left in the half, but Alex Berg won the next face-off and fed Trombino, who swung it to Josh Lesko for a goal to answer Leveille's in nine seconds. Kovler scored again to end the third, and it was 9-4 Princeton.
The Orange, though, would rebound to get the first three of the fourth quarter to make it 9-7 with 8:41 to play. By the time Syracuse would get the ball back across midfield, David would have scored his two goals.
Syracuse outshot Princeton 41-36, but Alex Hewit made 12 saves for the Tigers. Peter Coluccini, who made 19 saves against the Tigers in a 7-5 Syracuse win a year ago, made four.
Syracuse leads the all-time series record 15-8. It was Princeton's first win over Syracuse in Princeton since 1947, though the teams did not play much during the regular season before beginning their annual series in 1999.
|Peter Trombino||(5, 2)|
|Mark Kovler||(4, 1)|
|Tommy Davis||(2, 1)|
|Alex Haynie||(0, 2)|
|Brendan Reilly||(0, 1)|
|Josh Lesko||(1, 0)|
|Scott Sowanick||(0, 1)|
|Alex Hewit||12 (0.600)|