Princeton Men’s Lax Defeats Boston University As Brown Triggers Attack with Slick Passing
PASSING IT ON: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Chris Brown, right, fights past a Rutgers defender in recent action. Last Saturday, senior Brown dished for a career-high seven assists to help third-ranked Princeton defeat No. 13 Boston University 12-7. The Tigers, now 8-2 overall, resume Ivy League play by hosting Dartmouth on April 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Chris Brown was held without a goal for just the second time in 42 games in his career for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team as the Tigers hosted Boston University last Saturday.
But senior attackman Brown still had a major impact on the Princeton offense, dishing for a single-game career-high seven assists as the third-ranked Tigers pulled away to a 12-7 win over the No. 13 Terriers and improved to 8-2 overall.
In reflecting on the win, Brown credited BU with making things difficult for the Tigers.
“They were playing great defense on iu, it was a little frustrating at times,” said Brown, who missed all seven shots that he took in the day.
“They just showed a really different and unique look with a lot of ball pressure, a lot of sliding early. I give them credit, they played great fundamental defense. They really played awesome, it was great team.”
With Brown misfiring, he focused on dishing to open teammates.
“I was just trying to move the ball around the perimeter honestly; I took a lot of shots but unfortunately didn’t really hit,” said Brown, whose previous career-high was four assists.
“It was someone else drawing a slide and have the ball and I would move it one more to a shot. It is just team offense. The ball happened to leave my stick for the one more; it really started with whoever drew the initial slide.”
Team defense played a pivotal role in the win for the Tigers.
“Holding that offense to seven goals is a credit to our defense and a credit to our goalie (Erik Peters),” said Brown, a 6’2, 200-pound native of Fairfield, Conn. “Luckily we can win in a lot of different ways.”
Making the most of his final season for Princeton, Brown has been sparking the Tiger offense, leading the squad in points with 51 on 24 goals and 27 assists.
“I am just trying to play the team offense, it is great to be back,” said Brown.
“I can’t take a single game out here for granted. It is my last season; I am trying to enjoy every game I have out here because I don’t have too many left.”
Taking a gap year in 2020-21 with the spring season canceled by the Ivy League due to ongoing COVID concerns, Brown kept working on his game.
“It was some 700-plus days since we played in between games, we were able to have a group together and lived in Park City, Utah,” said Brown.
“We were able to play small side offense. We played a lot of 3v2, odd man situations. It was having fun with lacrosse, not working on specific skills but just keeping a stick in our hands over the year.”
Princeton head coach Matt Madalon didn’t have fun watching his team deal with a stingy BU defense.
“They did a really good job, they had a really good game plan on us,” said Madalon, whose squad was clinging to a 5-3 lead at halftime and led by just 7-6 late in the third quarter before going on a 5-0 run to break open the contest.
“They played our offensive players well. They matched up well, they rode well. They had that 10-man ride that gives you a little chaos in the first part of your possession. We generate a lot from transition and that ride took a lot out of it. It just took us a minute to settle in. Guys made some plays, windows were a little tighter.”
Seeing Brown make plays with his passing game was inspiring to Madalon.
“That is really impressive,” said Madalon, who got three goals from Coulter Mackesy in the win with Alex Slusher and Jake Stevens adding two apiece. “For a big time player like that, if he is not putting goals on the board, to make an impact with the assist game is outstanding.”
The Tiger defense was outstanding all game long and rose to the occasion down the stretch, holding the Terriers scoreless for a stretch of 15:21 from the latter stages of the third quarter into the fourth.
“BU is a helluva offense, that is a well-coached group so we are really happy about that,” said Madalon of the defensive effort.
“Coach Hirsch (Princeton defensive coordinator Jeremy Hirsch) had a good game plan going in, he kept that group buttoned up. We got some pressure on them early, stretching on their middies, getting out and playing them, they got us early in the invert. We settled in and got some stops.”
Senior star defender George Baughan scooped up eight ground balls and had three caused turnovers to lead that unit.
“Andrew Song and Pace Billings in the pole position, really locked it down up there,” said Madalon.
“George Baughan, what a performance he had in terms of ground balls and caused turnovers. It was a very impressive outing.”
With Princeton leading into the Ivy League stretch drive starting by hosting Dartmouth on April 16 and followed by a game at Harvard on April 23 and a home finale against Cornell on April 30, Madalon knows his team will have to keep performing well to come up with wins in those contests.
“For us to be able to close out the conference with this win was huge,” said Madalon, whose team is 2-1 in Ivy play.
“Now we have a three-game mini season and will put all of our efforts into that. It is going to be a hard one, the Ivy League is incredible. We are really proud just to be a part of it.”
Brown is confident that the Tigers will put in a hard effort as they deal with their league foes.
“Every single team in the Ivy is a huge challenge, we have to take one win at a time to secure our place in the Ivy tournament,” said Brown.
“We are happy with where we are at so far but can’t take anything for granted so it is just that one game at a time mentality.”