Princeton’s defense held the Virginia offense in check for most of the afternoon Sunday, but the Cavalier shooters scored just enough to carry their team to a win. In a tough defensive battle at Princeton Stadium, UVa beat the Tigers 7-6.
Junior attackman Peter Trombino started the scoring on the afternoon. Working the one-on-one match-up with his defenseman on the wing, Trombino turned the corner to get inside, and as his defenseman went for the overhead check, Trombino slipped underneath him and put in the bouncer, giving Princeton the 1-0 lead. Another tally looked to be added when junior attackman Scott Sowanick found Trombino sitting on the doorstep. Trombino buried the shot high, but the goal was disallowed because of a crease violation.
Princeton added another off of great ball movement when senior middie Jim O’Brien caught a pass and quickly rerouted it to freshman middie Mark Kovler as the defense was sliding. Kovler dropped his stick and plugged the top corner.
Sophomore goalie Alex Hewit was on point today. He notched 20 saves and was sharp right out of the gate. He stuffed a rocket by senior UVa middie Kyle Dixon and seemed to make Virginia really try to pick their shots, sometimes forcing bad angles. The Cavaliers finally got one by Hewit at the five-minute mark. Junior middie Drew Thompson carried down to the low wing, then turned and threw back to senior middie Matt Poskay who set and fired in the goal.
A Princeton penalty left UVa with a chance to tie, but Princeton sophomore defenseman Dan Cocoziello anticipated a pass and threw a great check causing a lose ball scrum that killed the end of the penalty.
Princeton added to their lead when Trombino grabbed a bouncing grounder out of a mess of stick checks and hit sophomore attackman Alex Haynie standing by himself on goal. Haynie threw a handful of fakes and finally tucked the ball around junior Cav keeper Kip Turner. At the end of the first, Princeton was sitting on a 3-1 lead.
Hewit opened up the second with another impressive save, stopping a low shot by senior attackman Matt Ward with his foot. The Cavalier offense seemed to get more comfortable in the beginning of the quarter, but still seemed to work themselves out of good angles as they tried to force some tough shots.
Princeton scored again as sophomore attackman Trip Cowin curled up from past the cage and tried to rush to the near post. As his slides came, he quickly hit sophomore Pete Streibel who buried the goal.
Another chaotic play ended in a UVa goal. Hewit saved a shot, but in the battle for the rebound he got caught out of the cage. Ward was able to grab the lose ball and quickly scored on the virtually empty net. UVa got a goal overturned as well when Dixon tried to feed on crease, and as the ball was slapped at by Tiger and Cavalier sticks it went in. However, the ref waved the goal for a crease violation.
Hewit stuffed a quick stick by Garrett Billings in front. Hewit then stoned sophomore Ben Rubeor on a point blank shot as he snuck underneath his man. A few more rushes up and down the field were fruitless for both clubs, and the half ended with Princeton leading 4-2.
Hewit picked up where he left off in the first, saving a 10-yard ripper from sophomore Jack Riley, and then stymied Poskay at the doorstep. But soon Virginia would begin their rally.
Junior middie drew Thompson started on the low wing and charged towards the near post, getting underneath his man. As he approached, he tucked a bouncer around Hewit as Thompson fell towards the crease. Dixon then tied it for the Cavaliers as he drove towards the middle of the field and unleashed a shot that beat Hewit high. Ward gave his team the lead when he grabbed a loose ball from his teammates muffed shot and fired it between Hewit’s legs before any slides could come.
Turner seemed to get stronger playing with a lead. He stuffed a shot by Kovler right on crease. Hewit matched Turner though, stuffing a shot in tight as the quarter ended.
Princeton tied the score quickly in the fourth. Trombino threw a cross-cage pass to sophomore middie Zach Goldberg, who was checked but managed to slip an awkward bouncer past Turner. The Princeton crowd grew louder in the middle of the fourth, hoping to will the Tigers to an upset.
Virginia junior middie Ben Rubeor put the Cavs back in the lead as he toyed with his man, finally working a low bouncer fired right under his defenseman’s hands. Dixon then found Thompson on the backside. Thompson quickly planted and stung the top corner, ending UVa’s scoring. From then on the Cavs seemed to try to play for the clock more than the goal, spreading it out and only trying to work very apparent opportunities.
Princeton got one more before the day would end. Junior attackman Whitney Hayes moved from the wing and found sophomore Bob Schneider curling on a cut. Schneider snatched the pass and scored on a bouncer.
A few more pushes and uneven situations couldn’t close the one-goal gap, and at the end of the fourth Virginia secured their victory, 7-6.
The loss was disheartening, but Princeton has to leave it feeling fairly good. Their defense kept the high-powered Virginia offense to just seven goals. Hewit was not only poised but sharp. He picked the ball up from tons of angles and came up huge on several occasions. “I think he can be one of the all-time greats,” Princeton head coach Bill Tierney said of Hewit after the game.
“We were excited coming off of last week,” Hewit said. “This was a bit humbling.”
Tierney alluded to the team riding a bit too much of a high from the week before. After a big win over Hopkins, the team didn’t practice well enough during the week to be prepared for Virginia. “They didn’t lose this game today,” Tierney said. “They lost it on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
His team will look to rebound and continue their quest back to the top next week when they travel to Hempstead, Long Island and face Hofsta on Saturday. Coming off their own upset of Hopkins, Hofstra will be an unexpectedly tough opponent. Virginia will hope to remain undefeated as they play Mount Saint Mary’s on Tuesday at home, then travel to Towson, MD on Sunday.
|Peter Trombino||(1, 2)|
|Jim O'brien||(0, 1)|
|Whitney Hayes||(0, 1)|
|Trip Cowin||(0, 1)|
|Pete Striebel||(1, 0)|
|Bob Schneider||(1, 0)|
|Mark Kovler||(1, 0)|
|Alex Haynie||(1, 0)|
|Zach Goldberg||(1, 0)|
|Alex Hewit||20 (0.741)|