April 19, 2017

In Danger of Suffering a 2nd Straight Defeat, PU Men’s Lax Explodes to Beat Dartmouth 16-6

GREEN WAVE: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Charlie Durbin unloads the ball in a game earlier this season. last Saturday, sophomore midfielder Durbin scored two goals to help Princeton rally to a 16-6 win at Dartmouth. The Tigers trailed the Big Green 5-3 at halftime before going on an 8-1 run in the third quarter to take control of the game. The 17th-ranked Tigers, now 8-4 overall and 3-1 Ivy League, host Harvard (5-6 overall, 1-3 Ivy League) on April 22 in their final regular season home game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

After falling 15-10 to Lehigh to start the week, the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team had cause for concern as it trailed Dartmouth 5-3 at halftime last Saturday.

But Princeton head coach Matt Madalon wasn’t fazed, believing that the tide would eventually turn for the Tigers.

“We weren’t worried as a coaching staff, the message at halftime was stay the course,” recalled Madalon.

“You are playing well, keep pushing, let’s cash in on some opportunities. Shots weren’t going in, their goalies made a couple of good saves. It wasn’t that we were playing slow.”

The Tigers got off to a fast start in the second half as senior star Zach Currier caused a turnover after the opening face-off and got the ball to freshman star Michael Sowers, who scored 11 seconds into the half.

“It was a really exciting play; it was a nice spark to get going right out of the gate in the second half,” said Madalon.

“I think any time you get a start like that, it makes it a little easier. That cut the lead and we put in three goals in a short amount of time.”

Princeton didn’t look back, outscoring the Big Green 8-1 in the third quarter on the way to a 16-6 win, improving to 8-4 overall and 3-1 Ivy League.

“From there, our guys just took a deep breath and realized that things were going to be fine if we kept playing,” said Madalon.

“System-wise nothing changed; it was a matter of some shot selection and some shots falling.”

The Tigers got contributions from a lot of players in the win over the Big Green.

“There were a handful of guys that stepped up and made some plays,” said Madalon, who got three goals and three assists from Sowers with Gavin McBride and Austin Sims each getting two goals and an assist and the trio of Charlier Durbin, Sean Connors, and Connor McCarthy tallying two goals apiece.

“Sam Gravitte did an excellent job at the face-off X. Zach Currier did an excellent job at the face-off X as well. Defensively, Bear Goldstein and Arman Medghalchi played outstanding. Offensively everyone just chipped in. It was good to get Austin Sims back and see him get his legs underneath him a little bit.”

It was good for 17th-ranked Princeton to get back on the winning track in wake of the disappointing loss to Lehigh.

“You hope you win them all but there are obviously games that you lose,” said Madalon.

“When we lose, it is not necessarily hit the reset button. It is, ‘hey let’s figure out what we didn’t do well as coaches, what we didn’t do well as players and make the adjustment.’ When it comes down to it, our goal remains to win the Ivy League so we needed to be able to flip the switch and get going. It is always nice to get back in the win column.”

With Harvard (5-6 overall, 1-3 Ivy) coming to Class of 1952 Stadium this Saturday, Madalon is looking for his team to get going faster than in recent play.

“It is going to be a great game, they are a very athletic team,” said Madalon.

“They have got their strengths in the right spots so we are looking for a heck of a matchup. We just need to put a good week of practice together one day at a time and make sure we are sharp and firing on all cylinders and that we are healthy. It is really just come out and execute and hopefully start a little faster than we have in the past.”