Vol. LXIV, No. 15
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)
CITY LIMITS: Princeton University mens lacrosse senior midfielder Scott MacKenzie fights off a check in recent action. Last Saturday, MacKenzie notched a goal but it wasnt nearly enough as No. 4 Princeton fell 13-4 to third-ranked Syracuse in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic, the first-ever event in the New Meadowlands Stadium.
In its first two trips to National Football League venues this spring, the Princeton University mens lacrosse team displayed a grit and efficiency that would impress Bill Belichick.
Facing Johns Hopkins in early March at the Baltimore Ravens M and T. Bank Stadium, the Tigers edged the Blue Jays 11-10 in overtime.
A month later, Princeton traveled to Gillette Stadium, the home of Belichicks New England Patriots, and came away with a 9-7 win over Ivy League rival Brown.
Last Saturday, fourth-ranked Princeton looked forward to its third game in an NFL stadium as it faced No. 3 Syracuse in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic, the first-ever event in the gleaming New Meadowlands Stadium, the future home of the Giants and the Jets.
With 25,710 on hand in the 82,500-seat sports palace that cost $1.6 billion to build, the Tigers looked like they were headed to another nailbiter, trailing the Orange 3-2 early in the second quarter.
But then Syracuse did its imitation of the high flying New Orleans Saints, displaying its multi-faceted offense, reeling off four straight goals to take a 5-2 lead at intermission.
The blitz continued in the second half as the Orange outscored Princeton 5-0 in the third quarter on the way to a 13-4 rout.
Speaking in a glass-walled room in the middle of the plush Coachs Club, Princeton head coach Chris Bates acknowledged that his team got outplayed in every phase of the game.
I give Syracuse a lot of credit; they played well and got us out of the things that we do well, said Bates, whose team fell to 7-2 with the loss.
We never got in any kind of rhythm anywhere on the field. They faced off well; they played great between the lines. I thought they shot very well.
Conversely, Princetons offense misfired most of the evening. If you look at the possessions, I dont think we had the ball very much at all, said Bates, whose team was outshot 38-30 and went 1-for-9 in extra man opportunities.
When we did, I thought their goalie played well. We never had multiple shot possessions and got ourselves feeling good. It was one and done. Our offense is good when we share the ball and possess it for a minute or two minutes and wear a defense down. We didnt wear anybody down today. With a good goalie and a good defense; that is not going to cut it.
Senior midfielder Scott MacKenzie said that Syracuse left the Tiger offense literally speechless.
We just came out flat and we didnt communicate, said MacKenzie, who tallied Princetons first goal early in the second quarter.
So much of offense is communicating with our picks and the plays we are trying to run. It is a big venue with a lot of fans and we didnt talk as much as we have done in the past.
Star goalie Fiorito, who had a big game in last years Big City Classic when the Tigers topped Syracuse 12-8, talked honestly about the defeat.
In the first quarter we started off OK and in the second quarter, it kind of got away from us and it got away from me, said the sophomore netminder who ended up with 12 saves in the setback.
Syracuse played great today. They shot the ball really well and we didnt rise to the occasion. I think you can say all over the field, Syracuse outworked us and it showed in the score.
A glum Chad Wiedmaier echoed Fioritos analysis. Syracuse is a team with runs in the way they play transition and like Coach Bates said we had to expect those runs and bend with it and not break, said the sophomore defenseman.
We let them pull away with it. I dont know if it was the venue or if we werent up to the occasion but we werent as sharp as we had to be mentally.
With Princeton slated to host Rutgers on April 13 and Dartmouth on April 17, Bates is hoping the Syracuse loss will be a wake-up call for his squad.
Its a young team in a lot of ways and we have to learn from this, said Bates. Maybe this is good for us; we havent had great weeks of practice lately and these guys know it. This is a little bit of a humbling day but at the same point, we can kind of sharpen the axe a little bit and dial in. We have the capability of playing with anybody in the country. I believe that and I think these guys believe it too.
If the Tigers can sharpen up, they could get another trip to an NFL venue on Memorial Day weekend when the NCAA Final Four comes to M and T Bank Stadium.
Town Topics® may be purchased on Wednesday mornings at the following locations: Princeton McCaffreys, Coxs, Kiosk (Palmer Square), Krauszers (State Road), Olives, Speedy Mart (State Road), Wawa (University Place); Hopewell Village Express; Rocky Hill Wawa (Route 518); Pennington Pennington Market.
Copyright© Town Topics®, Inc. 2011.