After Battling Hard in Loss to Powerhouse Yale, Princeton Men’s Lacrosse Faces Pivotal Stretch
By Bill Alden
Coming off a 19-10 loss to Penn and hosting defending national champion Yale last Saturday, the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team looked like it might be getting routed again as it fell behind the Bulldogs 3-1 in the second quarter.
But showing pluck, Princeton reeled off four unanswered goals to pull ahead 5-3 at halftime.
“We sunk into our game plan at that point,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “They got a couple of good ones and once we got possession of the ball, we had an opportunity to capitalize and the guys hit some shots.”
In the second half, the Tigers led 7-6 midway through the third quarter but saw the game slip away as Yale, ranked No. 1 in the USILA Coaches Poll, reeled off five unanswered goals on the way to a 15-10 victory before a crowd on 1,843 at Class of ‘52 Stadium.
“They made a couple of plays; they scored off of some broken plays,” said Madalon, whose team dropped to 2-5 overall and 0-2 Ivy League as it suffered its third straight setback.
“In those moments we have to execute better, that’s what it comes down to. Yale is a heck of a team, they do a good job, they are No. 1 for a reason. They don’t make many mistakes out there.”
Madalon acknowledged that his squad needs to make sharper plays in crunch time.
“For us, it is just executing, we had some lapses down the stretch, a couple of mishaps,” lamented Madalon. “Outside of that, it is just limiting our mistakes. It is always about us.”
In assessing Princeton’s performance, Madalon was happy about the play he got from sophomore goalie Erik Peters (10 saves) and senior attacker Emmet Cordrey (1 goals, 2 assists).
“I thought Peters did a nice job, both goalies played well,” said Madalon, also referring to Yale’s Jack Starr, who made 16 saves, robbing Princeton on some point blank opportunities.
“Peters got the ball out pretty quickly and got us some transitional opportunities. Emmet has done a nice job; he really understands what we are looking for on each possession. His communication is great and he is a great leader on the field for us. He is very poised with the ball.”
The Tigers will need to display poise as they face a pivotal week, slated to host No. 9 Denver on Mach 26 for the return of legendary former Princeton head coach Bill Tierney, and then hosting Brown (3-4 overall, 1-0 Ivy) on March 30 in a game that Princeton needs to win to stay in the running for the Ivy postseason tourney.
“Conference games are the big ones, they are all critical, but it is always nice to get Denver and bring a top-ranked team into your stadium,” said Madalon.
“Obviously we are pumped up with Coach T coming back with his team. They got a big win today (7-6 at Towson). We will be fired up for that one.”