April 26, 2017

With Goldstein Bearing Down in Final Campaign, PU Men’s Lacrosse Clinches Spot in Ivy Tourney

Bear Goldstein hails from the heart of Texas but he has deep ties to Princeton University.

Goldstein’s mother went to Princeton in the 1980s and competed for the track team and his grandfather played football for the Tigers and was a member of the Class of 1951.

So when the Dallas native was considering where to attend college and continue his lacrosse career, coming north to Princeton was a no-brainer.

“I never had a choice of where to go, not that I would have wanted one,” said the 6’0, 180-pound Goldstein, who starred at lacrosse and football at the St. Mark’s School of Texas.

As senior defender and co-captain Goldstein reflected on his time at Princeton last Saturday when the lax program held its annual Senior Day celebration, he knows that he made a great choice.

“I am the luckiest guy in the world to be able to go to a school like this and play on a team like this with so much history and so much support,” said Goldstein.

While Goldstein and his classmates appreciated the support and affection they got last Saturday, they were determined to not be overwhelmed by the moment as the Tigers hosted Harvard.

“It is a special moment to be out here on Class of ’52 for my last game,” said Goldstein.

“We talked about it all week but when it comes down to it, this is just another game and we prepared the same exact way as we do for every other game.”

After falling behind the Crimson 1-0 in the early going, Princeton scored three straight goals and never looked back on the way to a 12-9 victory. The win improved No. 13 Princeton to 9-4 overall and 4-1 Ivy League, clinching a spot in the upcoming Ivy tournament which includes the top four teams in the league standings.

“The focus going into this game was coming out with energy,” said Goldstein.

“They got that first goal but we played hard and we fought back. We put up three right after that and I think that really got us going for the rest of the game.”

The rugged Goldstein, who has been a starter since his freshman season, was proud of the team’s work at the defensive end.

“I thought we played really well in the first half,” said Goldstein. “Our coaches talk a lot about complementary lacrosse, when the offense isn’t scoring goals, the defense has to hold down the fort. I think we executed that very well today.”

Goldstein executed well as he helped to hold Harvard star attacker Morgan Cheek to a goal and two assists.

“He is a good player, we scouted him well,” said Goldstein, who picked up four ground balls and had two caused turnovers in the win.

“Coach (Jesse) Bernhardt had a good game plan going into the game and just relied on the fundamentals after that.”

With his considerable experience, Goldstein has taken a lead role in helping Princeton’s defensive unit take care of the fundamentals in a weekly basis.

“I have started previous years and coming with Arman Medghalchi, a freshman, and Danny Winschuh, a junior who is just starting games this year at this point of the season, we are bringing it together,” said Goldstein.

“We are building on everything week by week and I think it is going well for us.”

Clinching a spot in the Ivy tourney, which will be held May 5-7 at Yale, gives the Tigers the chance to keep building.

“It just means that there is one more week with this team, that is what it is all about,” said Goldstein. “After that, we will just keep trying to buy more time.”

Being a two-time captain has given Goldstein the opportunity to make a special contribution to the team.

“It is a humbling experience being able to lead a group of guys like this,” said Goldstein. “It is a really special honor to be able to be in front of them and share whatever I have and give whatever I have to give to them.”

With the Class of 2017 having endured a coaching change last year and posted a 21-20 record coming into this spring, Goldstein and his classmates are savoring their success in their final campaign.

“There are ups and downs and going through all of that, you learn from adversity, you grow, and you get better,” said Goldstein.

“I think this year is a good culmination of everything we have been through.”

Princeton head coach Matt Madalon is proud of how his 11 seniors have handled the ups and downs over the last four years.

“It is an incredible group, it is always outstanding to honor them with a win,” said Madalon.

“There is a big celebration for them, the guys can get distracted but they were leading the charge in terms of focus. They are an impressive group, they have been through a lot in their four years so they have done a nice job.”

Madalon is particularly impressed by what Goldstein has given the team on a daily basis over the last four years.

“You want to talk about selfless and being a grinder,” said Madalon of Goldstein.

“He does it in the classroom and doesn’t bat an eye. He does it off the field with leadership and service and doesn’t bat an eye. He is just a giving individual. Every day I walk in and think I am going to miss that guy. He is outstanding. He has tough matchups, we put him on cover guys. We make him be the slide guy. He can be the point in our zone. He does everything for us. What it comes down to is that his toughness is unwavering.”

The Tigers showed some mental toughness in topping Harvard. “I feel like we are always down at the start,” said Madalon.

“We preach 60 minutes and keep getting better every minute and go harder and harder. Harvard came out and they executed. They did a great job at the X, they did a great job in the cage, and they did a great job on their zone defense. They sputtered a little early offensively and then they found their groove. We are glad that clock ran out, they were coming.”

Senior star attacker and co-captain McBride did a great job in the win, scoring a career-high seven goals and adding one assist.

“Eight points, holy cow, any time you do that, it is outstanding,” said Madalon of McBride, who now has 46 goals on the season to lead Division I.

“It is not surprising. I am sitting there and I could not have told you how many he had. We have gotten so used to it.”

While Madalon was pleased to see the Tigers earn a berth in the Ivy tourney, he doesn’t want them looking past their regular season finale at Cornell on April 29.

“All you want is for the kids to be able to play as long as they can,” said Madalon.

“For us to be able to play in the Ivy tournament, what a great first step. We have Cornell to finish up the regular season, that is our only focus.”

Goldstein, for his part, knows that the Tigers have to keep their focus in order to be a force in May.

“It is effort and energy; we have talent and we have skill,” said Goldstein.

“It is all about putting it together every day, practice by practice, and then when we get to the games, putting it all together then. The best teams in college lacrosse do well at the end of the year.”