May 18, 2022

BY GEORGE: Princeton University men’s lacrosse star defender George Baughan heads upfield last Saturday as Princeton hosted Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Baughan came up with three ground balls and had one caused turnover to help key a superb defensive effort as fifth-seeded Princeton defeated BU 12-5. It was Princeton’s first game in the NCAA tournament since 2012 and its first triumph in the event since a 10-7 win over Massachusetts in the first round of the 2009 tourney. The Tigers, now 10-4, will be facing fifth-seeded and Ivy League rival Yale (12-4) in the NCAA quarters on May 21 at Hofstra University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team prepared to host Boston University last Saturday in its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012, the Tigers went back to basics.

Not playing on the first weekend of May because it didn’t qualify for the Ivy League postseason tourney, Princeton used the extra time to fine-tune its skills.

“We looked at it like a preseason; we did ground ball drills, fundamental drills, ball protection drills, slide and cover drills and stick protections, just really simple stuff,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon, whose team had defeated BU 12-7 in a regular season meeting on April 9.

“We went at them pretty hard for four days and then we gave them a couple of days off to let them get through exams and let them heal their bodies. We just took a full week of prep with BU and the guys did a good job. We got to wind it down Thursday and Friday and try to come out here as fresh as possible. Having those two weeks off allowed us to taper down our prep week a little earlier which gave us a better opportunity to start the game using our legs to create some pressure.”

Looking sharp and fresh, the fifth-seeded Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back on the way to a 12-5 win, earning its first triumph in the NCAA tournament since a 10-7 win over Massachusetts in the first round of the 2009 tourney.

Princeton, now 10-4, will face fourth-seeded and Ivy rival Yale (12-4) in the NCAA quarters on May 21 at James Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

Tiger senior star defender George Baughan, who helped key a superior defensive effort by getting three ground balls and one caused turnover, credited the extra prep time with helping the Tigers. more

TOUGH SAILING: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kari Buonanno gets stymied by a Yale defender in recent action. Last Sunday, sophomore midfielder Buonanno tallied three goals in a losing cause as Princeton fell 13-9 to fifth-seeded Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The loss left the Tigers with a final record of 15-4 and marked the last game for legendary Princeton head coach Chris Sailer, who is retiring after this season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team fell 13-9 to Syracuse last Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament, many fans in Class of 1952 Stadium rose for a standing ovation and the Tiger staff exchanged hugs on the sideline.

While the result was disappointing, the show of affection recognized the end of an era as legendary Princeton head coach Chris Sailer left the field for the last time heading into retirement with the Tigers seeing their 2022 campaign come to an end.

While Sailer had hoped to see her squad make it to the Final 4, she had no qualms with the effort she got from her players this spring as they posted a 15-4 record.

“I couldn’t be prouder of how they have competed all year long in the journey we have been on,” said Sailer, a 2008 inductee to the U.S. Lacrosse National Hall of Fame, who ended her 36-year tenure at Princeton with a 433-168 record, three NCAA titles (1994, 2002, 2003), 16 Ivy League titles, and six Ivy Tournament Championships.

“We had so many young kids on the field for us. We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores who were really frustrated because there was no competition last year. We had great senior leadership. I am really proud of how far we have come, how we competed, and how well we represented Princeton.”

Last Sunday, the Tigers competed well from the opening draw, jumping out to a 3-0 lead over the fifth-seeded Orange. But high-powered Syracuse responded by outscoring the Tigers 6-3 in the second quarter to seize momentum and edge ahead 7-6 at halftime. The Orange then went on a 4-1 run after the break and never looked back on the way to the 13-9 win. more

TITLE RUN: Princeton University softball player Lauren Sablone sprints to first base last weekend in the best-of-three Ivy League Playoff Series. Freshman Sablone’s hitting helped Princeton top Harvard in the series as it overcame a 5-2 loss in the opening game to win 8-4 and 6-1. Sablone went 5-for-11 in the series with five runs, five RBIs, two doubles, a triple, and a homer. The Tigers, now 27-15-2, will be playing in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional this weekend where it will be facing host and fourth-seeded University of Arkansas (44-9) on May 20 to open play in the double-elimination competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton University softball team fell 5-2 to Harvard in the opener of the best-of-three Ivy League Playoff Series last Friday, the Tigers found themselves trailing 3-1 after three innings in game two and facing elimination.

But Princeton freshman star outfielder Lauren Sablone wasn’t overly concerned by the deficit.

“We weren’t put on our heels too much at that point, we knew that a couple of runs wasn’t going to win that game,” said Sablone. “We knew we were all hitting the ball really hard, we just weren’t finding spots.”

Sablone ended up hitting the ball hard to the right spots, smacking a two-run double in the top of the fifth to put Princeton ahead 4-3 and then lining a two-run homer over the left field fence to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead as they went on to prevail 8-4.

“I have been seeing the ball pretty decently lately and knowing what I had to do in a clutch situation to help my team out, that was the most important part,” said Sablone, reflecting on her double.

As for the homer, Sablone was surprised to see it clear the fence.

“That felt great; I didn’t think it was going out, I was stoked,” said Sablone. “I thought, ‘line drive to the wall, nice, OK, Cate [Bade] in front of me will probably score and we will get a run out of it.’ All of a sudden it goes out of there and I was like ‘oh.’ That was just a bonus.” more

May 11, 2022

QUICK DRAW: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Marge Donovan races upfield against Yale in regular season action. Last Sunday, senior star defender Donovan had a single-game record 12 draw controls, adding two caused turnovers and two ground balls and an assist to help Princeton defeat Yale 19-9 in the final of the Ivy League women’s lax tournament. Donovan, who also had seven draw controls in 13-6 win over Harvard in in the Ivy semis on Friday to move into No. 1 all-time (192) in program history and No. 1 in a season (90) in that category, earned tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Princeton, now 14-3, will host Massachusetts (16-3) in an NCAA tournament first round contest on May 13. The victor will play the winner of the first round matchup between fifth-seeded Syracuse and Fairfield in the second round on May 15 at Class of 1952 Stadium. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Marge Donovan seemed stunned, shrugging her shoulders and striking a “who, me?” pose upon learning last Sunday that she had been chosen as the Most Outstanding Player of the Ivy League women’s lacrosse tournament.

“I was pleasantly surprised, I am so blessed,” said Princeton University senior star defender Donovan, reflecting on the honor.

“Kyla [Sears] said it a couple of seconds ago, it is such a team effort. That award goes to every single person.”

Donovan, though, should not have been taken aback, having produced a memorable weekend. On Friday, she had seven draw controls in top-seeded Princeton’s 13-6 win over fourth-seeded Harvard in the Ivy semis to move into No. 1 all-time (192) in program history and No. 1 in a season (90).

Two days later, Donovan had a single-game team record 12 draw controls, adding two caused turnovers, two ground balls, and an assist to help Princeton defeat second-seeded Yale 19-9 in the final.

Princeton, now 14-3, will be staying at home this weekend to start action in the NCAA tournament as it will face Massachusetts (16-3) in a first round contest. The victor will play the winner of the first round matchup between fifth-seeded Syracuse and Fairfield in the second round on May 15 at Class of 1952 Stadium. more

ALL IN: Princeton University softball pitcher Ali Blanchard fires a pitch in a game earlier this spring. Junior star Blanchard has excelled with her arm and bat, helping Princeton win the Ivy League regular season title. The Tigers, 25-14-2 overall and 17-4 Ivy, will be hosting Harvard (21-18 overall, 15-6 Ivy) in a best-of-three Ivy Playoff Series this weekend which will determine the league’s automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA tournament. Game one is scheduled for May 13 with game two and game three, if necessary, slated for May 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for Ali Blanchard to sense that the Princeton University softball team could be special this year.

Upon returning to Princeton last fall after a gap year, junior Blanchard was impressed by the work ethic she saw across the board.

“I was super excited to get back, a few of us took the year off and it made us more appreciative of things,” said Blanchard. “Everyone was super excited to get working. I think from the fall everyone had a feeling that his Ivy League season was going to be a pretty good one, based on our practices and how everyone showed up ready to get better every day. As soon as we set foot on campus, everyone was willing to put in the extra work.”

After a rough start in Florida where the Tigers went 1-4, Princeton started picking up wins when it went 4-1 in the UCSB Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., from March 11-13.

“I think everyone started to get their feet under them there,” said Blanchard, a 5’10 native of Lincoln, R.I. “We really started taking it game by game. Once we started to figure things out, I think everybody started to settle down.”

The Tigers got off to a big start in its Ivy campaign in mid-March, sweeping Brown in a three-game series as it posted 4-2, 2-0, and 7-0 wins.

“It was a good confidence booster for sure,” said Blanchard. “That was something that made us realize we can do it this year because I don’t think anyone saw that as our best softball. We wanted to peak at the right time. Every weekend, we keep trying to get better, even if it is one percent better.” more

May 4, 2022

HISTORIC DAY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kyla Sears races upfield last Saturday against Yale. Senior star Sears tallied five goals and two assists to help Princeton defeat the Bulldogs 17-14 in an Ivy title showdown as the rivals both entered the game with 6-0 league marks. Sears broke the program record for career assists and tied Olivia Hompe for the most points in team history, ending the day at 285 points and 93 assists. The triumph also gave Princeton’s Hall of Fame head coach Chris Sailer a win in her final regular season home game. After the game, she was honored in a special ceremony with hundreds of her former players on hand. The Tigers, now 12-3 overall and 7-0 Ivy, while be hosting the Ivy postseason tournament this weekend. Princeton will face fourth-seeded Harvard on May 6 with the victor advancing to the final on May 8 against the winner of the semifinal between second-seeded Yale and third-seeded Cornell. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

History and emotion intersected in a memorable fashion as the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team hosted Yale last Saturday afternoon.

The contest marked the regular season finale for the program’s Class of 2022 which had already won two Ivy League titles during their time with the program.

It also marked the final scheduled home game for Princeton’s legendary Hall of Fame head coach Chris Sailer who had announced before the season that the 2022 campaign, her 36th guiding the program, would be her last year at the helm.

The occasion was marked by banners hanging around Class of 1952 Stadium depicting highlights of her tenure with Chris Sailer bobbleheads distributed to fans on hand. Hundreds of former Tiger players showed up, many wearing T-shirts in honor of their coach, marked “GOAT” (greatest of all time) on the front with the words “vision, keystone, impact, love, legend” printed on the back.

Adding to the drama, the clash with Yale, which drew a crowd of 1,223, was an Ivy title showdown as the rivals both entered the game with 6-0 league marks.

Princeton senior star Kyla Sears sensed the gravity of the moment.

“It was a huge day, there is obviously a lot going on,” said Sears. “We wanted to win for our senior class and for Chris. At the end of the day, there was one job that we had to do and that is win.” more

April 27, 2022

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Members of the Princeton University men’s volleyball team display the trophy they earned for topping New Jersey Institute of Technology 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 27-25, 25-18) in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association final last Saturday evening. The Tigers, now 15-12 overall and riding a 10-match winning streak, will be facing North Greenville University (20-5) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on May 1 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University men’s volleyball team fell 3-1 to Penn State on March 18, it looked like the squad was going nowhere this season.

The defeat left the Tigers at 5-12 overall and 4-6 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and out of the mix for the EIVA playoffs.

But Princeton head coach Sam Shweisky saw something special in his squad’s performance that night.

“We took a set off of them and you could see that we had really improved from before,” said Shweisky, referring to a 3-0 loss to the Nittany Lions on February 4. “It was a better product, it wasn’t about winning. They beat us, they were better than us but we felt proud about what we put out there. We also felt excited about learning.”

The Tigers defeated St. Francis 3-0 a day later and haven’t lost since, producing some exciting volleyball along the way. They ended the season on a seven-game winning streak, finishing in fourth place and earning a spot in the EIVA playoffs.

Last week, Princeton defeated St. Francis 3-0 in the opening round of the playoffs on Wednesday, setting up a matchup against the top-seeded and second-ranked Penn State, the tournament host a day later. Princeton turned the tables on the Nittany Lions, pulling out a thrilling 3-2 win to earn a spot in the final. Last Saturday, the Tigers defeated New Jersey Institute of Technology 3-1 to earn the EIVA title.

Now the Tigers, 15-12 and riding a 10-match winning streak, are headed to California where they will face North Greenville (20-5) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on May 1 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.

In reflecting on the team’s late surge, Shweisky points to an increased emphasis on defense. more

HEAVY LIFTING: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowing varsity 8 churns through the water in a race earlier this spring. Last Saturday, Princeton finished behind Yale and topped Cornell in the race for the Carnegie Cup. Yale was determined to have cut to the inside of a turn buoy and was disqualified, giving the Tigers the cup. In upcoming action, Princeton hosts Brown on April 30 in the race before the Content Cup. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

It has been a steep learning curve this spring for the rowers on the Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowing team.

With the 2020 season having been canceled due to the global pandemic and the 2021 campaign limited drastically due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, many of the program’s athletes lacked any meaningful college rowing experience coming into 2022.

“In a normal year, in each of the boats, you have one or two first-years that are in that lineup and are learning from six or seven guys who have had a racing season at that level and have the experience and the knowledge and expectations for what it is all about,” said Princeton head coach Greg Hughes.

“This year, you have the exact opposite, you have one or two guys in each boat who have had a racing season and six or seven guys who have never done it before. It is very different. There is a lot more to talk about, to work on and teach.”

With a full schedule for the first time since 2019, the Tigers have been getting that racing knowledge. more

April 20, 2022

ENGLISH LESSON: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Sam English shows his intensity last Saturday as the Tigers hosted Dartmouth. Junior midfielder English tallied three goals and two assists to help the third-ranked Tigers pull out a 12-10 win over the Big Green. Princeton, now 9-2 overall and 3-1 Ivy League, plays at No. 17 Harvard on April 23. (Photo by Shelley Szwast, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

On paper, it looked like a mismatch when the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team hosted Dartmouth last Saturday afternoon at Class of 1952 Stadium.

Princeton came into the contest riding high, ranked third nationally, and boasting a record of 8-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League while Dartmouth, 4-6 overall and 0-3 Ivy, was mired in last place in the Ancient 8 having lost 31 straight league contests since a 12-11 overtime win against Harvard on March 21, 2015.

But at halftime, the rivals were locked in a 5-5 deadlock and Princeton junior midfielder Sam English knew the Tigers were in a battle.

“Anybody on any day can come into wherever and beat anyone,” said English. “At halftime, it was just lock it in, just play better. We were a little sketchy on the clear in the first half.”

English got locked in as he scored two straight goals in the third quarter to help Princeton go up 9-5.

“We call it the NASCAR offense, run it up and down the field,” said English, a 6’1, 180-pound native of Burlington, Ontario. “We got it from coach Mitchell (Princeton offensive coordinator Jim Mitchell) at Rutgers. The first one was just coming across the top and capitalizing on the matchup. The second was a 6-on-6 goal that kept the run going.” more

HAMMING IT UP: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kate Mulham heads to goal in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior Mulham scored three goals to help Princeton defeat Dartmouth 17-5. The 12th-ranked Tigers, now 8-3 overall and 3-0 Ivy League, host Penn on April 20 and then play at Harvard on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kate Mulham’s freshman season for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team was derailed on the first day of fall practice when she suffered a leg injury that sidelined her for the 2019 campaign.

Recovering for her sophomore season, Mulham started three games in 2020, tallying six goals and two assists before that season was halted due to the global pandemic.

After taking a gap year, Mulham is making the most of her junior season, emerging as a key offensive weapon for the Tigers. Coming into Princeton’s game against Dartmouth, Mulham had tallied 24 points on 16 goals and eight assists.

“It has been a long time coming, it is just confidence,” said Mulham, a 5’8 native of Setauket, N.Y. “Everyone is so supportive on this team and really wants everyone to perform at their best. There are some great leaders on this team. I think everyone is starting to come into their own and feel more confident as the season goes on.”

In the matchup against Dartmouth, Mulham displayed her comfort level, scoring a team-high three goals to help the Tigers cruise to a 17-5 win over the Big Green as the improved to 8-3 overall and 3-0 Ivy League. more

April 13, 2022

SWING TIME: Princeton University baseball player Nadir Lewis follows through on a swing in recent action. Last weekend, junior outfielder Lewis starred as Princeton went 2-1 in a three-game series against visiting Cornell. Lewis went 5-for-11 with two homers, three runs, and seven RBIs in the series for the Tigers. Princeton, now 4-21 overall and 2-7 Ivy League, will head to New England next weekend for a three-game series at Dartmouth with a doubleheader on April 16 and a single game on April 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Nadir Lewis worried that he might be forgotten after what amounted to two years away from college baseball due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Princeton University junior center fielder has come back and drawn attention for his consistent play. Lewis is second in the Ivy League in batting average at .398 among players with 40 or more at bats. Through the first 25 games of the season, he had been held hitless just twice to serve notice that he cannot be overlooked. He is only one spot away from being the Triple Crown leader. He is tops in the Ivies with nine home runs and with 29 runs batted in.

“I’m still here and these years off have not been years off,” said Lewis, a 6’1, 195-pound native of Alpharetta, Ga. “I’ve been working.”

It wasn’t easy for Lewis, not with huge breaks between playing college seasons. But he learned more about himself during those challenges and has developed into a more polished, more prepared, and more mentally ready player.

“It’s definitely a very gratifying feeling,” said Lewis. “When you’re putting in work, it’s nice to see results from stuff that you’ve done. I feel like that’s baseball. You get out what you put in. So far individually I’m happy, but team-wise I wish we had more wins. But I think they’re coming.”

Princeton picked up its first two Ivy wins of the season last weekend. Lewis was 3-for-4 with a double and grand slam in a 12-3 win over Cornell in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. He homered again Sunday in a 10-6 win over Cornell as the Tigers gained confidence winning two out of three games. Lewis went 5-for-11 with two homers, three runs, and seven RBIs on the weekend as the Tigers improved to 4-21 overall and 2-7 Ivy. more

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. more

OPEN SEASON: Members of the Princeton University women’s open crew display the Class of 1975 Cup that the varsity 8 retained last Saturday after defeating Harvard and Cornell in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Later in the day, the fifth-ranked Tiger top boat topped Wisconsin to remain undefeated this spring. Princeton faces second-ranked Yale in New Haven on April 16 in the race for the Eisenberg Cup.

By Bill Alden

Last year, the Princeton University women’s open crew started its preseason training with socially-distanced ergometer workouts on the dock outside the Shea Rowing Center in the winter chill.

Things were a lot different for the rowers coming into this spring as the squad headed south to Florida for a preseason training trip in January.

“Everyone was so excited; I had just not seen that many smiles, that energy and that enthusiasm in a long time,” said Princeton head coach Lori Dauphiny.

“The group that was here last year was small and it was just a different time. There were so many restrictions. This was the first time where we got to travel together and be a team. It was really fun.”

While Dauphiny had a full squad on hand this spring, things are still very much a work in progress.

“Some came back ready to go and some were further behind,” said Dauphiny.

“This has been a time, this fall, winter and even early spring where we are working to come together and all be on the same page. It has been a challenge because of sickness in the month of February. I felt like we were making big strides and then we had a setback there. We are forging forward.” more

April 6, 2022

BIG BEN: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Ben Finlay guards the crease area in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Finlay helped key a superb defensive effort as Princeton defeated Brown 17-9. The third-ranked Tigers, now 6-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League, will wrap up non-conference play this week as they were slated to host Marist (3-6) on April 5 and No. 13 Boston University (8-1) on April 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team, its 14-12 loss at Yale in late March proved to be a bit of a wake-up call.

“Yale is a great team and not to take anything away from that game, we didn’t play our brand of Princeton lacrosse,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “We had a few too many mistakes, both in the nature of the game and mental mistakes as well. We learned from the film and went back to work. We pretty much understood as a program that we had to play a little better. We needed more discipline in certain parts of the game and play a little more physical when the ball is on the ground.”

The Tigers were looking to apply those lessons last Saturday as they played at nemesis Brown, a team they had lost to in five of their last six meetings and had not beaten in Providence, R.I., since 2012.

“It was a good opportunity; you go up to Brown, they are a great team and we haven’t won up there in a long time,” said Madalon. “They are a big, strong, fast, well-coached team.”

True to form, the rivals were locked in a tough battle at halftime with the Tigers clinging to a 7-5 lead.

“It was a really tight game in the first half,” said Madalon. “We were getting some offensive looks but they were doing a good job, going back and forth from zone to man to man trying to keep us on our heels. There wasn’t a ton of flow to the first half, there were a lot of penalties on both sides of the ball. We had a pretty fortunate start to the third quarter, we got off and running.”

Princeton junior star attacker Slusher went off in the third quarter, scoring four goals in the period as the Tigers built a 13-5 lead on the way to a 17-9 win, improving to 6-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League.  more

March 30, 2022

BLAST OFF: Princeton University softball player Adrienne “A.J.” Chang belts the ball in recent action. Junior star Chang has been an offensive catalyst for the Tigers this spring, hitting a team-high .397 and two homers and 10 RBIs. Princeton, now 11-10 overall and 5-1 Ivy League, will look to stay atop the league standings as it hosts a three-game series against Dartmouth on April 2-3 with a doubleheader slated for Saturday and a single game on Sunday. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University softball team lost eight of its first nine games this spring as played its first steady string of games since 2019, its players weren’t discouraged.

“I think the team has been really bought into understanding the growth that is going to happen throughout the season and not taking any of the results early on too seriously,” said Princeton head coach Lisa Van Ackeren. “They understand the context of where we are. We basically have three classes of freshmen in terms of collegiate at-bats.”

The Tigers displayed that growth by posting wins in 10 of their next 12 games, including sweeping Brown in a three-game series to start Ivy League play and then going 2-1 at Harvard last weekend in their second league series.

“There are a couple of people who are really catching on,” said Van Ackeren. “I think the next few weeks are going to be exciting to see what we can do.” more

HISTORY MAKERS: Members of the Princeton University wrestling program, from left, head coach Chris Ayres, associate head coach Sean Gray, junior Patrick Glory, junior Quincy Monday, assistant coach Nate Jackson, associate head coach Joe Dubuque, and athletic trainer Michael Tremblay pose together at the 2022 NCAA Championships earlier this month in Detroit, Mich. Glory and Monday made history as they gave the Tigers two national finalists in the same NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Glory finished second at 125 pounds while Monday took second place at 157 pounds. (Photo by Lisa Elfstrum, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Patrick Glory and Quincy Monday may have come up short of their ultimate goal, but the two took another step forward for the Princeton University wrestling program.

Both juniors, Glory and Monday gave the Tigers two national finalists in the same NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Glory finished second at 125 pounds and Monday took second place at 157 pounds. Princeton last had one NCAA finalist in 2002 when Greg Parker reached the championship match and finished second at 174 pounds.

“It’s one more new thing that we haven’t done before,” said Princeton head coach Chris Ayres. “And so then it’s familiar, and that gives other people permission to do the same thing, and I think they go into it more confident. You have five Penn State guys (in finals) and they all win, and I don’t think that’s by mistake. I think they thought, this is what I’m supposed to do – win this NCAA title. I think we touched new ground for our program in terms of what’s expected.”

Princeton would have loved to have seen their finalists take it one step further to win a title in the competition held in Detroit, Mich. The euphoria of Glory and Monday reaching the championship matches with semifinal wins on March 18 made it all the more difficult when they fell in the finals a day later.

“We’ve been through a lot since I got here, so to have these moments there’s a lot of emotion,” said Ayres. “We thought we could do it, but there’s also this piece of me that can’t believe you’re doing it because of where you came from. There’s a lot of emotion and I still haven’t unpacked it. I go through all these moments – I’m really happy, and then I’m kind of devastated because it’s a hard thing to get that finals opportunity, and we didn’t get a champ. It goes all around.” more

March 23, 2022

MOMENT OF MADNESS: Players on the Princeton University women’s basketball team celebrate last Saturday after the 11th-seeded Tigers stunned sixth-seeded Kentucky 69-62 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Bloomington, Ind. It marked the second-ever win in March Madness for the program. Two days later, the Princeton nearly reached the Sweet 16 for the first time, battling valiantly before getting edged 56-55 by third-seeded and host Indiana in a second round contest. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 25-5. (Photo by Bill Alden)

By Bill Alden

When Kaitlyn Chen hit a shot in the waning seconds of the first quarter to give the Princeton University women’s basketball team a 12-11 lead over Kentucky last Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament, she was mobbed by her teammates as she ran back to the bench.

With its swarming defense forcing sixth-seeded Kentucky into 31.2 percent shooting (5-16) in the first quarter and sophomore guard Chen and senior Abby Meyers triggering the offense, the 11th-seeded Tigers sensed an upset was brewing before a crowd of 6,389 at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

Princeton built its lead to 32-25 at halftime and then utilized its tough defense to hold off a late charge by the Wildcats to win 69-62, setting off a wild celebration with the players screaming, hugging each other, and waving to their supporters in the stands.

Meyers, who ended up with a career-high 29 points in the win, cited the defensive effort in reflecting on the program’s second-ever win in the NCAA tournament (the first since the Tigers topped Green Bay 80-70 in the first round of the 2015 tourney).

“Yeah, I mean, it really just gets down to like it’s Ivy League defense, it’s Ivy League play,” said Meyers.

“I don’t think a lot of people — they just underestimate how good the Ivy League is at both ends. So we wanted to come in and just shock them, and I think we did that. Yeah, I think just making them uncomfortable, too, down low. We doubled up on [Dre’Una] Edwards. She’s a great player, very strong and just trusting in each other one through five and knowing we have help.” more

RAM TOUGH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ethan Wright dribbles upcourt in game this season. Last week, senior guard Wright scored 18 points and had seven rebounds in a losing cause as Princeton fell 90-79 at Virginia Commonwealth University in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The loss to the Rams on March 15 left Princeton with a final record of 23-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

The Princeton University men’s basketball team saw a record-setting season in which it won the Ivy League regular season title end last week in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

The Tigers were eliminated from the NIT with a 90-79 loss at VCU on March 15 to finish the season 23-7 overall.

“They’re a very difficult matchup, especially at their place,” said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson. “They turn you over a lot. We knew going in we needed to have a special night and take care of the ball to win. Some of our turnovers were costly in the second half.”

The Tigers fought back so many times over the last year that it would have been easy to expect another rally against VCU. Princeton had already returned from more than a year without games to win the Ivy regular season and set four school records for offensive proficiency. The Tigers’ 79.8 points per game is the school’s highest scoring average, their 2,395 points the most ever in a single season, their 910 field goals the greatest total and their 327 made three-pointers a new mark.

“They’re not only the best offensive team in history — most 3s made, most points scored, you could argue one of the best if not the best shooting teams — they’re also great people, to each other and to the community,” said Henderson.  more

GLORIOUS WEEKEND: Princeton University wrestling star Patrick Glory, top, battles Vito Arujau of Cornell in a regular season match at 125 pounds. Last weekend, third-seeded Glory defeated second-seeded Arujau 13-5 in the semifinal at the NCAA Championships in Detroit, Mich. The win gave Princeton its first finalist in 20 years, since Greg Parker ’03 made the final at 174 in 2002. Glory was joined by junior teammate Quincy Monday (157) in the finals, giving the Tigers two NCAA finalists for the first time in program history. Both Glory and Monday went on to lose in their finals as Princeton took 16th in the team standings at the competition won by Penn State. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It turned out to be a glorious competition for the Princeton University wrestling team as it sent six stars to the NCAA Championships last weekend in Detroit, Mich.

Princeton made program history as two of those standouts, Patrick Glory (125 pounds) and Quinn Monday (157), advanced championship finals, the first time that has happened for the Tigers. Both ended up losing in the title matches, leaving the late Bradley Glass ’53 as the lone Princeton wrestler to win an NCAA Championship as he took the heavyweight title in 1951.

In reaching the final, junior star and third-seeded Glory started his run with a 16-2 major decision over 30th-seeded Jace Koelzer of Northern Colorado in the round of 32 on Thursday. A day later, he earned 10-2 win over 14th-seeded Jakob Camacho of North Carolina State and then defeated 11th-seeded Brandon Kaylor of Oregon State 7-3 in the quarterfinals. In the semis, he faced an Ivy League rival, second-seeded Vito Arujau of Cornell, who had defeated Glory 19-6 two weeks ago in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) final. Glory turned the tables on Arujau with a 13-5 win. The win gave Princeton its first finalist in 20 years, since Greg Parker ’03 made the final at 174 in 2002.  more

March 16, 2022

GRACEFUL MOVE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Grace Stone goes up for a shot in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Stone scored 12 points to help the Tigers defeat Columbia 77-59 in the Ivy League postseason tournament final in Cambridge, Mass., and earn the league’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA tournament. Princeton, now 24-4, is seeded 11th in the Bridgeport Region and will face sixth-seeded Kentucky (19-11) in a first round contest on March 19 in Bloomington, Ind. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the players on the Princeton University women’s basketball team entered Jadwin Gym last Sunday evening to watch the NCAA tournament selection show, they broke into a dance together to the music pounding on the arena sound system.

About a half hour later, they leaped to their feet in unison when they found out their NCAA first around assignment which has them seeded 11th in the Bridgeport Region and facing sixth-seeded Kentucky (19-11) in a first round contest in Bloomington, Ind. on March 19.

For Tiger junior guard Grace Stone, the NCAA assignment evoked a sense of deja vu.

“We played Kentucky the first round my freshman year,” said Stone, referring to an 82-77 setback to the Wildcats on March 23, 2019 in Raleigh, N.C. “Actually it was exactly the same seeding which is interesting. I think that they are a really great team and I am really excited to figure out how we can play them and what things we can do.”

The Tigers had to figure out some things last weekend at the Ivy League postseason tournament in Cambridge, Mass., edging host Harvard 72-67 in the semis on Friday and then pulling away to a 77-59 win over Columbia in the title game a day later. The triumph improved the Tigers to 24-4 and extended their winning streak to 17.

In Stone’s view, Princeton benefited by getting pushed over the weekend.

“A lot of our Ivy League games weren’t really that close,” said Stone of a campaign which saw the Tigers go 14-0 in regular season league play before winning the postseason tournament. “We prepared before the tournament for close games and those type of situations so I think it was a really good challenge for us.” more

IVY SADNESS: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jaelin Llewellyn gets covered closely in recent action. Last Sunday, senior guard Llewellyn tallied 18 points in losing cause as Princeton fell 66-64 to Yale in the final of the Ivy League postseason tournament. The Tigers, who dropped to 23-6 with the defeat to the Bulldogs, earned a bid to the NIT due to winning the Ivy regular season title. They were slated to start play in that tourney by playing at third-seeded Virginia Commonwealth University on March 15 in an opening round contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s basketball team looked ahead to starting its Ivy League campaign in January, Mitch Henderson expected a lot of rock fights along the way in conference play.

Over the course of Ivy play, Princeton found itself in a number of bruising battles as Tiger head coach Henderson had foreseen. Utilizing a high-octane offense and an improving defense, the Tigers rallied in several games to go 12-2 in Ivy action, finishing one game ahead of Yale to win the regular season title.

Last weekend at the Ivy postseason tournament in Cambridge, Mass., the Tigers got involved in two more nail-biters, edging Cornell 77-73 in the semis on Saturday before falling 66-64 to Yale in the final a day later.

In the win over the Big Red, the foes were tied at 73-73 heading into the waning moments of the contest before junior star Tosan Evbuomwan put Princeton ahead on a bucket with 36 seconds left. Ryan Langborg added two free throws to add the finishing touch to the win.

“The last minute of the game, there were just three really special plays,” said Henderson, reflecting on the win over Cornell which is guided by former Princeton star and assistant coach Brian Earl.

“We got three straight offensive rebounds. We were advantaged by having the shot clock at six seconds, so Tosan just had to go and make a play. It was an absolute fight. It was one of the most, if not the most intense, games I have ever been a part of. It felt like an incredible win. It did factor in a small way to the following night, just how physical and tough it was.” more

ERIK THE GREAT: Princeton University men’s lacrosse goalie Erik Peters makes a save last Friday night against Rutgers. Senior star and co-captain Peters made a career-high 21 saves to help Princeton defeat the Scarlet Knights 16-11. He was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance. The Tigers, now 4-1 and up to No. 3 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, host Penn on March 19 in the Ivy opener for both teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Minutes after the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team defeated Rutgers 16-11 last Friday evening to earn the Meistrell Cup, the Tigers made a beeline to claim the trophy and Erik Peters hoisted it over his head to the cheers of his teammates.

It was fitting that senior goalie Peters grabbed the hardware as he produced a brilliant effort with a career-high 21 saves to help the Tigers overcome a Rutgers team that came into the game undefeated and ranked No. 3 nationally in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.

When the Tigers went scoreless in the third quarter, Peters raised the level of his game, making five saves, some point blank to hold off the Scarlet Knights. The Princeton offense got back in rhythm in the fourth, tallying five goals as the Tigers pulled away to a 16-11 win improved to 4-1.

“I just try to focus on the next shot,” said Peters, reflecting on his performance which got him named as the Ivy League Player of the Week for the second straight week.

“Goalie is a position of percentages and you just have to play the percentages. One goes in so it is, ‘all right, move on to the next one.’”

Peters credited his teammates with helping him control the crease.

“I just fall back and trust in our defense,” said Peters. “We have a bunch of dogs. Every single guy out there is someone that I trust and makes plays. They make it easy for me.”

Things weren’t easy for the Princeton defense in the early going last Friday as the local rivals were knotted at 6-6 19 minutes into the game.

“It is two great offenses and two teams that are both into running and gunning,” said Peters. more

March 9, 2022

RIGHT ON: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan goes up for a shot in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Evbuomwan scored 23 points and had eight rebounds and seven assists to help Princeton defeat Penn 93-70 at the Palestra. The triumph gave the Tigers the outright Ivy League regular season title and clinched the top seed for the upcoming league postseason tournament. Princeton, now 22-5 overall and 12-2 Ivy, will face fourth-seeded Cornell in the league semis on Saturday with the victor advancing to the title game a day later to play for a bid to the NCAA tournament.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s basketball team dribbled out the clock in the waning seconds of a 93-70 win over Penn last Saturday evening at the Palestra, the coaches and players on the bench rose as one to savor the moment.

With the Princeton supporters on hand giving the team a standing ovation and a beaming Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson looking on like a proud father, the players hugged on the court after the buzzer sounded, celebrating the triumph which gave them the outright Ivy League regular season title and clinched the top seed for the upcoming league postseason tournament.

“We had a shot at a share of the title last week but it is nice to have the outright title for these guys,” said Henderson, whose team improved to 22-5 overall and 12-2 Ivy with the victory, finishing one game ahead of Yale in the Ivy standings.

“We are thankful to be able to play in front of fans. We have had two years really waiting to have a moment like this. I am really thankful and really appreciative to be coaching this team and be around these guys. It is a really fun group. We will hopefully keep it going. We have a big week ahead but we are really going to enjoy this.”

Henderson enjoyed the way the Tiger offense executed against Penn as it shot 55.2 percent from the floor (37-67) and made just two turnovers.

“I thought everything came out tonight that we have been seeing all season,” said Henderson. “I have said this many times, there is no tension on this team. They search and seek out shots for each other. Nobody is raising their hand, saying that is me. They genuinely enjoy seeing each other do well. I think the reads were really good. Tosan [Evbuomwan] makes it very difficult to guard us. We put him in some spots and the guys have really learned to play around him. We had two turnovers, none in the first half, I have never seen that.”

Junior star forward Evbuomwan displayed his versatility in the win, tallying 23 points with seven assists and eight rebounds.  more

FINISHING SPRINT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers races upcourt last Friday as Princeton defeated Penn 69-43. Senior guard Meyers scored a game-high 20 points in the win as the Tigers clinched the outright Ivy League regular season title. Two days later, Meyers scored 14 points to help Princeton top Harvard 73-53 and end the regular season at 22-4 overall and 14-0 Ivy. With Princeton having gone 26-1 and 14-0 Ivy in 2019-20, it marked the first time in conference history that a team has posted consecutive 14-0 Ivy seasons. In upcoming action, the Tigers will be facing Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. on Friday in the semis of the Ivy postseason tournament with the victor advancing to the title game a day later to play for a bid to the NCAA tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When Abby Meyers left the court last Friday evening in her final game at Jadwin Gym for the Princeton University women’s basketball team, she proceeded to go down the bench and hug each coach, teammate, manager, and trainer one by one.

“We have a tradition in the locker room where the seniors have to leave for an hour and all the juniors and underclassmen decorate our lockers with pictures and posters,” said senior guard Meyers.

“It is really beautiful, it is a really special day. It is about the seniors but it is really about the team. It is a great atmosphere. We were very happy and excited. We are having fun while we do it.”

Meyers had plenty of reason to be very happy and shower affection on her teammates as the evening was a highlight of a topsy-turvy journey for her. Meyers averaged 9.4 points coming off the bench as a freshman in 2017-18 and then took a year off from school in 2018-19. She returned to help Princeton win the 2019-20 Ivy League title, averaging 6.3 points in a reserve role before the postseason was canceled due to the global pandemic. Meyers was one of the few Tigers on campus last year after the season was canceled.

“With so many ups and downs, I came back to a program where we work our butts off and we win,” said Meyers, a 6’0 native of Potomac, Md. “It is the same result with different people and a different family. We are continuing the winning tradition here.”

Overcoming a slow start against Penn which saw the Tigers trailing 22-20 in the second quarter, Princeton showed that winning mentality, ending the half on a 13-0 run and never looking back on the way to a 69-43 win.

Meyers and her teammates enjoyed an extended post-game celebration as the win clinched the outright league crown for the Tigers. Getting showered with confetti, the Tigers received the Ivy trophy, cut down the net, and posed for a number of group photos. more

FISH STORY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse goalie Sam Fish guards the crease in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star Fish make eight saves, including a stop with six seconds left in regulation, to help Princeton edge Cornell 13-12 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 3-0 and ranked 10th nationally, were slated to play at No. 17 USC on March 8 and at San Diego State on March 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Sam Fish was an eighth grader watching wide-eyed the last time the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team made a West Coast trip. She was in the stands as the Tigers won back-to-back games over USC and San Diego State in 2014. Playing for Princeton wasn’t a thought.

“I was hoping that I could play at any school at any level,” said Fish. “I was really thinking I was going to play club in college.”

Fast forward eight years, and Fish was scheduled to start as the Tigers’ senior goalie, with 3-0 Princeton trying to remain perfect while duplicating the West Coast trip with games Tuesday at USC and Saturday at her hometown San Diego State, which has some of her friends on its roster.

“It means everything to me,” said Fish. “I remember this summer Coach (Chris) Sailer had given me a call and told me about the schedule. She said, ‘We’re going back to your home, we’re going back for you.’ That just meant everything to me. It was so great hearing that the coaches wanted to do that for me.”

Fish knows firsthand that the trip is also important to other budding lacrosse players out west. Princeton’s trip is a big deal to young impressionable players still in middle and high school. more