Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Out Of Nowhere To No. 10

Each year when the Roper and von Kienbusch Trophies are awarded to the top senior male and female sportspeople at the Princeton Varsity Club banquet, TigerBlog likes to joke about the future "watchlist" for the awards of the following three years.

To that end, most of the names on the list of the Top 12 Princeton athletes of 2008 being counted down on could have been predicted as 2007 ended.

The most glaring exception is today's choice at No. 10, who literally came out of nowhere to have one of the greatest seasons of any Princeton athlete in recent history.

Sarah Peteraf of the women's soccer team finished her senior season with 12 goals, including two that came in overtime and seven that were game-winning goals. She began her season by scoring the first goal ever scored by a Princeton player at Roberts Stadium, and she would go on to lead the Tigers to the Ivy League championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

She became the third Princeton player in the last 24 years (along with former Ivy Players of the Year Esmeralda Negron ’05 and Emily Behncke ’06) to score at least 12 goals in a season. She was a first-team All-Ivy League and third-team Regional All-America selection, as well as an Academic All-Ivy pick.

She did all this after having four career goals prior to this season, with two as a freshman and sophomore and none as a junior. The season preview in the media guide lists five players to watch as potential goal-scorers; Peteraf wasn't even one of those five.

TigerBlog has tried to compare Peteraf's senior year to that of other athletes through the years. Maybe the closest was the final season of Chad Roghair ’92, who sat on the bench until his senior year and then put up the 11th-best single-season passing yardage total in school history in 1991.

Peteraf's senior year will be remembered as one of the greatest clutch seasons in Princeton women's soccer history. She is a well-deserving member of the Top 12.


Anonymous said...

Loving the Twelve Days of Christmas countdown of top events and athletes of the year. It's a nice change from the usual accolades at the end of the academic year. Keep up the good work, although your mention of the superlative senior seasons of Sarah Peteraf and Chad Roghair was somewhat contradicted by your post about Bob Schneider and all the lacrosse midfielders who have big senior seasons after otherwise modest careers.

Princeton OAC said...

TigerBlog sees the point and actually thought about that before posting about Peteraf. In the case of Schneider or the other men's lacrosse players, they have gone from being, in the words of Anonymous, "modest" players to being very good players. In Peteraf's case, she went from modest to being as clutch a player as there was in women's soccer. TigerBlog believes she should have been the Ivy Player of the Year and should have had national All-America honors and that the reason she didn't was because she did not enter the season with that reputation.

Anonymous said...

What's amazing to me about Peteraf's league-high number of goals (tied with Ivy Player of the year, Sophie Reiser) is that she isn't even a striker. She did this playing left wing (and she's right footed!)

Admitedly, I'm a bit biased (she'd kill me if she knew I posted this), but I'll miss seeing her out on the field.