Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 16
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
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SEVENTH WONDER: Princeton University men’s lacrosse star Jack McBride powers to goal last Saturday in Princeton’s 16-2 win over visiting Dartmouth. The junior attackman matched his career single-game high in points in the victory over the Big Green, tallying seven points on five goals and two assists. McBride was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance against Dartmouth and his three-goal effort in a 10-8 win over Rutgers on April 13.

PU Men’s Lax Finally Clicks on All Cylinders; Thrashing Dartmouth to Stay Atop Ivy League

Bill Alden

Chris Bates enjoyed a superb career with the Dartmouth College men’s lacrosse team.

A 1990 Dartmouth alum, Bates was an All-Ivy League attackman during his playing days with the Big Green.

But as the first-year head coach of the Princeton men’s lacrosse team, Bates felt little nostalgia for the old alma mater when Dartmouth visited the Class of 1952 Stadium last Saturday for a clash with the Tigers.

“I was asked about that last week and I told my guys that was 20 years ago,” said Bates, reflecting on his first matchup against Dartmouth in his coaching career, including his decade guiding Drexel.

“They were in our way and I could care less. An old college friend flew in from Chicago for the game. I saw him on Saturday; he was wearing green and his kids were wearing Princeton lacrosse stuff and I told him I liked his kids a lot more than him.”

Apparently, his players picked up on Bates’ cold-blooded approach. Clicking on all cylinders, the Tigers jumped out to an 11-0 halftime lead over Dartmouth on the way to dismantling the Big Green 16-2.

In moving to 9-2 overall and 4-0 in Ivy League play, No. 5 Princeton dominated Dartmouth in all phases of the game. The Tigers outshot the Big Green 41-20, had a 41-20 edge in ground balls, and won 16 of 22 face-offs.

By virtue of the win, Princeton booked a spot in the upcoming Ivy League tournament and can clinch a tie for the regular season title with a win at Harvard this Saturday.

Bates had a good feeling going into the contest. “I think coming out of Syracuse (a 13-4 loss on April 10), they wanted to do well,” said Bates.

“We plodded a little bit against Rutgers (a 10-8 win on April 13). They did a good job of controlling tempo; it took us a while to solve them. The guys were excited for a league game; they had seen that Dartmouth had beaten Cornell and they respected them. We had three good days of practice.”

Even Bates, though, was taken aback by his team’s dominance. “It turned out to be one of those funky ones where everything we did was right and everything they did turned out wrong,” said Bates.

“We were up 11-0 at halftime; we played well on all fronts. It was good to put together a game like that. We have had a lot of close games and they are wearing on you. It was good to win like that on a Saturday afternoon home game and get everyone in and have everyone happy.”

The play of junior Jack McBride certainly made Bates happy as the star attackman matched his career single-game high in points with five goals and two assists.

“Jack didn’t have a good week; he was stressed out academically and was banged up a little bit,” said Bates of McBride, who was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance against Dartmouth and his three-goal effort in the win over Rutgers.

“Jack is ultra competitive, he demands so much of himself. He came out Saturday and really took control of the game.”

Sophomore defenseman Chad Wiedmaier controlled things on his end of the field, holding Dartmouth star Ari Sussman to one goal while causing five turnovers.

“Chad was absolutely terrific,” asserted Bates of Wiedmaier, who missed Princeton’s first five games due to a knee injury.

“He is still not 100 percent but he is really hitting his stride. He played against a very good player on Saturday and did a great job.”

On a day when things went so well, Bates had plenty of kudos to pass around in assessing his players.

“Peter Smyth put up some good numbers (one goals, one assist, 6-of-8 face-offs) and really played a solid game,” said Bates, who got three goals from Mike Chanenchuk with Forrest Sonnenfeldt adding two and Rob Engelke chipping in a goal and three assists.

“Jonathan Meyers played a quiet game on defense but that is good; it is like an offensive lineman in football. Alex Capretta had a great week of practice and just kept playing hard.”

The Tigers will need to play hard this Saturday when they head up to Boston to play Harvard (5-5 overall, 1-3 Ivy), trying not to look past the Crimson with a May 1 home showdown looming against No. 8 Cornell (8-3 overall, 3-1 Ivy).

“They are a really young team,” said Bates of Harvard. “They are a little banged up but they have a ton of talent offensively. They had a lot of hype coming into the season, deservedly so, and it has been a little disappointing for them. It’s a big game for them, they are at home. We have an opportunity to clinch a tie for the title and we know it is going to be tough up there. We are expecting a one or two goal game.”

Bates is hoping that his players can build on the good feeling they had at the end of the Dartmouth game.

“It feels good to get some confidence and swagger,” added Bates. “That’s part of being a top program, you believe you will win. We want to peak at the right time.”

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