Friday, October 31, 2008
On a picture perfect Halloween Day, the men slipped past Columbia 58-61, while the women crushed the field, finishing with a record 17 points after going 1-2-3-5-6, led by Liz Costello's win in Heps record time.
The men ran first on the redesigned course at the park, which has now hosted 60 of 61 Heps races. The start of the men's race followed shortly after the conclusion of the two Big East championship races.
Dartmouth's Ben True won the race, setting a meet record in the process. Michael Maag, who won the race last year, finished second behind True, as the Tigers went 2-4-6 before a Columbia runner crossed the line. By the time the next Princeton runner finished, Columbia had had seven runners cross. This led to a scramble in front of the fence near the official tent to see who had won. When the math was done, Princeton had won for the third straight time.
The women's race was no contest, as the only drama was whether the Tigers could go 1-2-3-4-5. They almost did, but a lone Harvard runner snuck in at fourth.
A complete release and final results will be available on goprincetontigers.com shortly.
Andy and Dwight, in competition for Angela, engaged in quite a bit of back-and-forth centered around Cornell, Andy's alma mater. At one point, Dwight, successfully trying to get under Andy's skin, mentions Cornell quarterback Nathan Ford by name.
Ford, of course, is actually Cornell's quarterback.
Unfortunately for Princeton fans, the script didn't mention that Ford's next game is against Princeton, tomorrow at 1.
The complete episode of "The Office" can be seen at nbc.com.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Peteraf, who was also named to the District II CoSIDA Academic All-America second team, has moved into the upper echelon of Princeton women's soccer history. She is now one of just six players in program history to have reached 11 goals in a season (three have done it twice), and she is one of only three players (along with Esmeralda Negron ’05 and Emily Behncke ’06) to reach the 11-goal mark in the last 25 years.
Peteraf has scored seven game-winning goals (two in overtime), and she also has scored 11 of the team's 20 goals (55%). No player to play for Julie Shackford at Princeton has scored at least 50% of the team's goals in a season.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The luncheons (which are available on TigerZone) are familiar to those who attend them. They start out with Director of Athletic Media Relations Craig Sachson as he welcomes those in attendance, introduces the people at the front table and then gets the opposing coach for the weekend on the speaker phone. Media members direct their questions to Sachson, who then relays them to the coach on the other end. Nothing earth-shattering ever comes from these luncheons, as football coaches have a unique talent for using any different combination of words to basically say "I'm not going to tell you if we're changing quarterbacks" or "do you really think I'm going to share with you if our injured defensive star is going to play?"
The interesting part of the luncheons is their history. There is no record of when they started, but they definitely date to at least the 1950s. Generations of Princeton media, sports information personnel and coaches and players have participated in various locations and formats, but the luncheon itself has endured.
At one point, they were held at the Nassau Inn and other upscale locations in town. For at least the last 25 years, they've been in one of three locations: the Zanfrini Room in Jadwin Gym, the roof of Fine Tower and the current location of the press box in the football stadium.
Roger Hughes, since he became the head coach in 2000, moved the luncheons from Tuesday to Wednesday. He also instituted the policy of bringing an assistant coach with him and funnelling questions to them, so that he is not the only one who speaks. It's always been a good opportunity for players (usually two are there) who don't always get the spotlight to have their moment in the sun.
There have been all kinds of mishaps through the years, usually related to a coach who doesn't answer on the other end of the speaker phone, a player who doesn't show up or a malfunction of the speaker phone itself. We tried extending this to basketball a few years back, but it never caught on.
It'll be interesting to see what the next 10 years brings as far as the football luncheons, as the media world continues to evolve and the future of many newspapers is tenuous at best.
For now, it's another day of a long-standing Princeton football tradition.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The 61st Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country championships will be run this Friday, with the men first at 12:30 and the women to follow an hour later. Princeton is the defending champion in both races and the highest-ranked Ivy school this year.
If you've never been to Heps and are going to be in NYC, it's worth the trip up to the Park. The day features plenty of team camaraderie, not to mention food, as each school will have its tent set up near the finish line.
As for the race itself, the runners start, make a long sweeping run through the park, disappear in the woods and then reappear for the final sprint. There's always a bit of drama as spectators try to figure out the placings before they're officially announced.
If you're a true Ivy League sports fan, it's one of the must-sees.
Monday, October 27, 2008
In all, five Princeton teams still have a realistic chance to think in terms of a fall Ivy League championship. That hardly means that any of the five will win.
The first two championships to be decided will be Friday, which happens to be Halloween, at the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country championships at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. Van Cortlandt Park has hosted 60 of the last 61 Heps cross country championships.
Princeton is the defending champion in both the men's and women's divisions. The women are a prohibitive favorite again and a legitimate national contender. The men's team is ranked higher than any other Ivy team, but there are several serious challengers, most notably Cornell, Dartmouth and Columbia.
The Ivy League field hockey championship essentially comes down to this Saturday's game between Princeton and Cornell in Ithaca. Both teams are 5-0 in the league; no other team has fewer than two league losses. The winner of the game will clinch at least a tie for the Ivy League championship and will also clinch the Ivy League's spot in the NCAA tournament play-in game, which either Princeton or Cornell will host Tuesday, Nov. 11.
Princeton has outscored its league foes 25-4; Cornell has outscored its foes 14-7. The loser of the game Saturday can still get a share of the league title with a win and a loss by the winner the following week, when Princeton its at Penn and Cornell is home against Dartmouth. Penn and Dartmouth are both 3-2 in the league.
The women's soccer race is pretty wide open heading down the stretch and can still go in all sorts of directions. Harvard, at 4-1-0, is in first after its win over Princeton Saturday night; Princeton and Columbia are next at 3-1-1. Princeton plays at Cornell and home with Penn. Harvard is at Dartmouth and home with Columbia, while the Lions are at Yale this weekend as well.
The best case scenario for Princeton is wins in its last two games, a Yale win over Columbia and a Columbia win over Harvard. There are countless other scenarios as well that yield one champion or multiple champions, and Penn and Yale are still mathematically alive in some scenarios. Princeton, with a strong RPI, is still alive for an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament should the Tigers not win the league's automatic bid.
The women's volleyball race is basically at the midpoint, and Princeton and Yale are tied with one league loss apiece, though Yale defeated Princeton 3-0 in New Haven in the first meeting. Princeton and Yale meet Nov. 15 at Dillon Gym.
Cornell is a strong third in the league race at 6-2, while Penn is at 4-3. The Quakers are the only team to knock off Yale in the league this season.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Harvard 24, Princeton 20
A stop and Princeton has to go about 75 yards with no timeouts. A conversion and the game is over ... Pizzotti keeps for the first down. Game over.
Updated as clock approaches one minute
Gordon stopped by Koch. 4th and 5 for Harvard. Letting clock run. Timeout with 56 seconds to play.
Updated as clock runs
Harvard 3rd and four at the Princeton 25.
Updated 2:32 to go.
Anderson was forced from pocket and threw short to Matt Zimmerman. Stopped short of the first down, he attempted to pitch to Culbreath, but the ball squirted free. Culbreath fell on it, but it was a loss of two. Harvard ball.
Updated 2:44 to go.
Anderson sacked for a loss of 11 by Eric Schultz and Glenn Dorris. It's 4th and 18 at the Princeton 34. Going for it.
Updated 2:55 to go
Third and 5.
Meko McCray returns to the Princeton 42. Tigers need a TD. Two timeouts left. Plenty of time.
Updated 3:34 in fourth
Harvard 24, Princeton 20
Harvard went for it, converted and then hit a big pass to Luft. Crimson ball inside the 10. Gino Gordon then takes it the final 8. Touchdown.
Updated 4:59 in fourth
Brad Stetler has a sack and then a big tackle on a third down play. It's 4th and 1 for Harvard at its 46. Harvard timeout. Each team with two timeouts remaining. What would you do here?
Updated 7:16 remaining in fourth
Princeton 20, Harvard 17
Ben Bologna's 28-yard field goal caps a 15-play drive. The march took 7:44 off the fourth quarter. Princeton converted three third-downs.
Updated 11 plays and 82 yards into the drive.
Anderson to Thanheiser and it's first and 10 Tigers at the Harvard 17. Thanheiser seven catches for 109 yards. Drive has taken 5:25.
Updated in Harvard territory
Anderson runs 16 yards off a scramble to the Crimson 40.
Updated as drive continues
Four minutes and counting. Drive reaches the Princeton 44. Culbreath converts a third-and-0ne. He now has 150 yards on 26 carries.
Updated still on first drive
Anderson completes one to Adam Berry on a third-and-long. Tigers out to the 30.
Updated first drive of fourth
Princeton gets some breathing room on an Anderson pass to Thanheiser out to the 14. Ryan Barnes then saved a huge gain by Princeton when he deflected Anderson's pass intended for Trey Peacock.
Updated start of fourth quarter
Princeton 17, Harvard 17
Thomas Hull of Harvard punts to the Princeton 1 on the final play of the third quarter. Tiger ball, 1st and 99.
Updated 2:22 remaining in third
Princeton , Harvard 17
Harvard tightened after a first-and-goal. Ben Bologna kicked a 25-yard field goal, and we're tied. Culbreath closing in on 150 yards.
Updated 13:19 remaining in third
Harvard 17, Princeton 14
Pizzotti went back to pass, had no one open and ran 33 yards for the TD.
Updated start of third quarter
Rain has started, and thew ind has picked up. Wind is at Harvard's back in the third.
Jordan Culbreath 16 carries for 118 yards and two TDs. Anderson is 5 for 13 for 75 yards. Kopolovich was 3 for 5 for 29 yards. Pizzotti is 11 for 13 for 170yards and the touchdown. Thanheiser has four catches for 66 yards for Princeton; Levi Richards has three for 51 for Harvard. The first half featured 410 total yards between the teams.
Princeton 14, Harvard 10
Matthew Hanson intercepted a tipped ball in the end zone with four seconds left to end a Princeton scoring threat.
Updated 3 min left in half
Princeton 14, Harvard 10
A Buchignani sack ends the Harvard drive. Culbreath carries for nine yards on first down to give him 101 yards on 13 carries.
Updated 8:46 left in first half
Princeton 14, Harvard 10
Harvard puts together a nice drive to cut into the lead. Pizzotti to Chris Lorditch for the score on a 15-yard pass.
Updated end first
Princeton 14, Harvard 3
Couldn't have gone much better for the Tigers. QB rotation is effective. Culbreath is having a good day. Quarter ends with Harvard with a 4th and 1 at the Tiger 42. Harvard goes for it, and Pete Buchignani makes a big stop. Princeton ball.
Updated 2:33 in first
Princeton 14, Harvard 3
Culbreath gets hits second TD, this one a nine-yard run. The big play on the drive was a 4th down pass from Anderson to Will Thanheiser. Culbreath now with 54 yards on eight carries, with two TDs.
Updated 8:39 in first
Princeton 7, Harvard 3
Long pass from Chris Pizzotti to Matt Luft (42 yards) sets up short field goal.
Updated 11:58 left in first
Princeton 7, Harvard 0
Jordan Culbreath carries in on a short run for the Tiger touchdown. Kopolovich was the QB for the whole series. Culbreath with four carries for 20 yards and the TD.
Meko McCray recovers a fumble on the punt after Princeton's first series. First and 10 Tigers at the Harvard 20. Kopolovich at QB.
Dan Kopolovich replaced Anderson on the second play. Anderson came back for the third.
Updated start of game
Princeton receives the opening kickoff. Starting quarterback is ... Brian Anderson.
The 101st meeting between Princeton and Harvard is moments away. The Central Jersey weather forecast isn't helping attendance, as heavy rain and possible thunder and lightning is in the offing. Temperatures are in the mid-60s.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Visitors to Jadwin Gym this year will notice some aesthetic changes as the venerable arena celebrates its 40th season in 2008-09.
The basketball floor was buffed clean and repainted in late summer with a new design. There are also 18 banners now hanging above the court, as seen in the picture.
The foreground row represents Princeton's 25 men's Ivy League titles, half of the 50 that have been awarded since Princeton's first one in 1959. The next row honors the 1975 men's NIT champions, the 1967 men's NCAA East Regional team, Bill Bradley's soon-to-be retired No. 42 to be unveiled Friday night, and the 1965 NCAA Final Four team on which Bradley played.
The next row has four banners recognizing the 23 NCAA Tournament appearances Princeton has earned. The last row, left to right, notes the six Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League titles the men won from 1922 to 1955, a 1996 WNIT appearance by the women's basketball team, seven Ivy League women's titles between two banners, and the five men's NIT appearances Princeton has made between 1972 and 2002.
The big attraction is the 42 retirement dinner in Jadwin Gym beginning at 7, honoring Dick Kazmaier and Bill Bradley and featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author John McPhee. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
In addition, there s men's water polo next door at DeNunzio Pool as Princeton and Bucknell meet, also at 7. And, at the same time, the sprint football team hosts first-year program Mansfield at Princeton Stadium. While not in the same basic area, the women's volleyball team will be across campus at Dillon Gym taking on Harvard at 7, and the women's hockey team hosts UConn at Baker Rink, also at 7.
Speaking of the 42 dinner, our friend Harvey Yavener of the Trenton Times offered this take this morning: http://www.nj.com/princeton/times/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/12247347489090.xml&coll=5.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Princeton men's basketball coach Sydney Johnson spoke with media far and wide today along with his seven Ivy League colleagues on a preseason conference call. Here is some of what Johnson had to say:
Johnson's opening statement:
"Our team is young. In many ways, even some of our older guys are inexperienced, and yet clearly this is the best time of year. We’re all undefeated, we haven’t lost a game, we haven’t won a game, we haven’t made too many mistakes, and they’re learning. The group is anxious to stake their claim. The staff are excited, the players are excited. We’re just ready to get this thing going."
On what's different from his first season as he approaches his second season as coach:
"Year One was a blur. Everything worked so fast. I felt like it went from [introductory] press conference to recruiting to the first day of practice in about three days. Obviously it wasn’t quite that fast. Year Two, we kind of have a feel for what we like, what we don’t like, not just on the court but in our gameday routine and travel and things like that. In the end, it’s all the same. We have a great style of play. We have some kids who are bringing some enthusiasm, wanting to be good, wanting to challenge people, wanting to compete and so, at the end of the day, when you focus on the basketball part and you focus on mentoring, I think you’re rewarded. There aren’t a lot of things similar that you draw on for some of these similar type of experiences and lessons that you have to pass along to kids. It’s different, but it’s the same."
On the returning players keeping their focus during the offseason:
"They have. I think that there was obviously a challenge made to them in the sense that, we have to want to change our end result. You have to want to change it bad enough that it affects our behavior day to day, not just when the game rolls around, we’re very locked into winning. That preparation goes into play months and months before we play any one team in our league. We have to prepare for them in June, in July, in August. I would say today at this point, our older guys are focused and have a better understanding. That being said, these teams are coming up and that’s the true test. One, the preparing and two, following through and being able to apply everything you’ve done and learned."
On the three-point line being moved back one foot:
"We love that shot. We want to make that shot. Obviously we focus on it in terms of what we do and we’ll continue to go after guys who want to shoot from that line. To be very honest, I don’t think we shot the ball nearly as well as we should have last year or that we wanted to and yet I’m all for moving that line back because I think good players adjust. Whether it was my time here at
Tom McCarthy is one of the voices of the Phillies. Princeton fans remember McCarthy from his many years of broadcasting Princeton football and basketball, including his famous calls from the win over UCLA in the 1996 NCAA tournament. McCarthy has gone from Princeton to be the voice of the Phillies and then the New York Mets and now back to the Phils. McCarthy grew up a Mets fan, yet he finds himself in the World Series with the Phillies instead. McCarthy also does college football and basketball games on radio and TV and has been a national voice on Fox TV's baseball game of the week.
McCarthy's first big job in radio was as one of the announcers for the Trenton Thunder in the infancy of the Double-A team that has gone from being the affiliate of the Tigers to the Red Sox and finally to the Yankees. One of his first partners in Trenton was Andy Freed, who is now in his fourth year as the radio play-by-play man for the Rays. Freed, when he was in Trenton and later with the Pawtucket Red Sox, filled in several times for Princeton basketball and football.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Harvey Yavener, the longtime sportswriter with the Trenton Times, turns 79 today. He still is writing and doing it in his own style, one that leans heavily on history and the more-than-occasional superlative.
Yavener, or "Yav" as he has long been known, has probably written more about Princeton athletics in newspapers than anyone else ever. He is closing in on 50 years of covering the local scene, first with the Trentonian and for the last 40 or so years with the Trenton Times.
And yes, he does have a love for Rutgers football and Rider basketball, but don't sell short his deep love of the Tigers. He has been closest at Princeton to Pete Carril, with a friendship that dates to when Carril first became the basketball coach.
Through his time around here, he has gotten to know all four Princeton athletic directors. He can tell you how he still isn't pleased with how Dick Colman was chased away as football coach in 1968, citing Colman's work in Africa and other humanitarian efforts in addition to his on-field success. He remembers vividly the events after Ron Rogerson's tragic death before training camp in 1987.
What has separated him from most sportswriters, especially those from era, is the way he embraced all sports from both sexes. To him, the significance of the event within the sport has always been what matters most, so a championship swim race would hold the same weight as a championship football game. A typical Saturday in the spring for him would start at the boathouse, continue with a lacrosse game and end with either softball or baseball.
Long before women's athletics found its niche on television and in mainstream press, Yavener was a champion of the women's teams here and at the other local schools. There is an army of former Princeton women's athletes who in their careers were interviewed by Yavener and by no other male sportswriter from any other paper other than the Daily Princetonian.
He has always been a character, traveling to events with his longtime partner Polly Bohus, with whom he has lived in Trenton since 1959 without ever formally getting married, another rarity in the day. For them, life has been at its best when they have been coming together to games, where Polly usually can be found in the upper reaches of seats reading her book and waiting patiently while Yav churned out another 25 inch story, and then went out to dinner at any number of their favorite restaurants in the area.
So happy birthday to Yav, 79 years strong. There's no other like him, that's for sure. Princeton is still lucky to have him.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Brown 31, Princeton 10
Brown killed off most of the fourth quarter on a 16-play, 73 yard drive that took almost 11 minutes before a fumble inside the Princeton 10.
Updated late third
Brown 31, Princeton 10
Brown recovers a Princeton fumble on the Tiger 19. Dan Kopolovich was in at quarterback. Farnham then ran 17 yards on the first play, making it 1st and goal at the 3. Farnham then scored his second TD in six minutes with a three-yard run on the next play.
Updated 7:10 remaining in third.
Brown 24, Princeton 10
Buddy Farnham doubles Brown's lead with a 40-yard punt return to make it 1st and 10 at the Princeton 20. He then catches a TD pass from Dougherty on the first play. Farnham now has six catches for 79 yards; Dougherty is 13 of 26 for 171.
Updated 8:50 remaining in third
Carlos Roque intecepts Dougherty. Princeton ball at its 17.
Updated 9:10 remaining in third
David Clement tipped and intercepted Anderson's pass, giving Brown first down at midfield.
Updated first drive of second half
Brown 17, Princeton 10
A nice kickoff return by Nkosi Still set Brown up at the Princeton 44. The drive stalled, and Brown settled for Robert Ranney's 32-yard field goal. Ranney, as an aside, wears the rather odd number of 51 for a kicker.
Updated at the half
Still Brown up 14-10. Dougherty has 144 passing yards; Anderson has 113. Jordan Culbreath has 50 yards on 13 carries.
Updated 7:18 left in the half
Brown drive basically ends on a 10-yard sack by Brad Stetler. Bears go for it on a 4th and about 10 at the Princeton 33. Pass is incomplete.
Updated 9:28 in the half.
Brown 14, Princeton 10
Anderson has two big completions to Will Thanheiser and Trey Peacock to set up a 12-yard touchdown run by Meko McCray, normally a defensive back. Bologna's extra point is good. Anderson is 9 for 14 for 110 yards; Dougherty is 4 for 9 for 61 yards.
Updated 11:00 left in first half
Both teams get a stop and trade punts. Princeton first and 10 on its 30.
Updated late first
Brown 14, Princeton 3
Another Brown possession, another Brown touchdown. Again, Dougherty looks sharp throwing. Bobby Sewall finished the drive with a short run.
Updated 6:40 left in first
Brown 7, Princeton 3
Quick answer for the Bears. A long run by quarterback Michael Dougherty after a good kickoff return by Buddy Farnham led to a first and goal, and Dereck Knight ran it in for the TD.
Princeton 3, Brown 0 - Middle of first quarter
Welcome to Princeton Stadium. Beautiful fall day. Temps in the 50s. Sunny. A little wind.
Princeton took the opening kickoff and marched down the field. Good mix of pass and run.
The Tigers had to settle for a Ben Bologna field goal.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Princeton's men's basketball game against UNC Greensboro on Jan. 3 has been moved up to a 12 p.m. start. Tip-off was originally scheduled for 2 p.m.
The change is because the UNCG game, instead of the Dec. 10 Rutgers game, will now be broadcast on ESPNU.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
On a 4th and 2, Colgate had a miscue on the handoff and fell on the ball in its own backfield. Princeton takes over at its own 34 with 4:42 left. Check back with GoPrincetonTigers.com for a full report afterwards, and you can hear the live audio on the Princeton web site as well.
Updated 3:20 pm
A thrilling Princeton drive evens the score at 24-24 with 9:23 left. On 3rd-and-really-long in its own territory, Anderson went for a deep pass to Thanheiser, but was bumped by a blocked defender on the throw. The ball sailed high and slightly shorter than the route called for, but Thanheiser saw it first, came back and caught it in the middle of the field for a 41-yard catch.
A long run by Culbreath got the ball to the 3, and then a play-action fake opened a touchdown pass to Billy Mitchell for his first score since the 2006 Columbia game. Princeton went for 2 and the offensive line gave great protection to Anderson, who waited for Thanheiser to come across the field and get open for the catch.
Colgate just got a controversial pass interference call against Cart Kelly on third down to continue the drive. There is 8:20 left, and we'll probably have one more update before heading to the field.
Updated 3:09 pm
Colgate drove 91 yards and got a 24-yard field goal from Jacob Stein to build an 8-point lead. Scott and Sullivan dominated the drive on the ground, but Princeton was able to keep Colgate out of the end zone. There is 12:04 remaining in the game.
Updated 3:03 pm
It took until late in the third quarter, but we've finally had a punt. Princeton's Ryan Coyle just pinned Colgate at the 2-yard-line, although the Raiders just got their first first down on the drive. This would be a bad time for a long, time-consuming scoring drive.
Colgate could have had much better field position, but Culbreath took a 3rd-and-20 option pitch 36 yards when Princeton was deep in its own end. He has 122 yards rushing at this point.
Updated 2:49 pm
Colgate goes back in front 21-16 as Jordan Scott scores from one yard out. The Raiders came out with a 13-play, 86-yard drive and hit a couple of lob passes to Pat Simonds, who at 6-6 had four inches on Dan Kopolovich and caught the ball high in the air. Colgate QB Greg Sullivan has an accurate arm and a brilliant play-action fake, the latter of which helped him on a couple of quarterback keepers throughout the drive.
Updated 2:08 pm
Big swings of momentum for both sides. Anderson threw his first real interception of the season (the only other one came on a Hail Mary against The Citadel), and Colgate returned it to Princeton territory. The Raiders got into the red zone, but Steven Cody recorded a huge sack that basically left Colgate with a long field goal opportunity. A miscue on the snap may have thrown off the timing, and the kick sailed wide left.
Princeton took the ball down the field in the final two minutes of the half and scored on a 24-yard run by Anderson, who pulled the ball down on 3rd and long and sprinted up the middle of the field for the first down. But instead of sliding, he simply barreled through a trio of Colgate defenders and driving himself into the end zone. There was some extra activity afterwards, which left Princeton attempting a 35-yard extra point. Roger Hughes called on Ben Bologna, the kickoff specialist, and Bologna sent it through.
A very exciting first half ends Princeton 16 - Colgate 14.
Updated 1:50 pm
And now the video is back up. Ask and you shall receive!
Updated 1:47 pm
The video feed at Colgate is down and is being worked on, so if you aren't seeing the game on TigerZone, it isn't your computer. We'll try to keep you updated.
Jordan Scott just scored from two yards out to become the all-time leading scorer in the Patriot League. 14-9 Colgate with 9:31 left. Offenses have been ahead of the defenses so far.
Updated 1:43 pm
Princeton leads 9-7 at the end of the first quarter, as Culbreath becomes the first Princeton player with touchdowns in four straight games since 2003 with a 15-yard run. He ended the quarter with 53 rushing yards and a touchdown, and he added a 20-yard catch, which he tipped about three times in the air before catching, to convert on third down. The Princeton offense has looked very crisp so far. Connor Louden's PAT was blocked ... after challenging for the Princeton record with 56 straight, he has now had his last two blocked.
Updated 1:34 pm
Colgate took a 7-3 lead on a 12-play, 66-yard drive. Scott was the leader on the drive, but on 4th-and-goal at the 2, he played decoy. Greg Sullivan faked a handoff to the left, rolled right and found Adrien Schriefer in the right side of the end zone. It was Schriefer's third catch of the season, and all have been touchdowns. Princeton had two pass interference calls on it during the drive, an unusual circumstance for the least-penalized team in the league.
Updated 1:23 pm
Princeton opens with a nice scoring drive and a 3-0 lead. Culbreath looked good on a couple early runs, and Brian Anderson hit Will Thanheiser on a crossing pattern to get deeper into Colgate territory. The Raiders got a tackle for loss on an option, which stopped the drive, but Connor Louden drilled a career-long 40-yard field goal to give Princeton a 3-0 lead.
Updated 1:07 pm
Welcome to beautiful Hamilton, N.Y., where the temperature is in the mid-60s, the leaves are changing and there isn't a cloud in the sky. It may be rough in these parts during the winter months, but you can't beat it in mid-October.
Princeton is in its all-white jerseys, black numbers and orange trim, while Colgate has the maroon jerseys with white numbers and gray pants. The Tigers won the toss and elected to receive. The final non-league game of the season is about to kick off, and it looks like a battle of Jordans. Princeton's Culbreath probably won't match Colgate's Scott, the NCAA rushing leader, but if he can stay close, it would be a big boost for the Tigers.
Live updates throughout the game...
Friday, October 10, 2008
If you're a men's lacrosse fan in the general Princeton/Philadelphia area, then Saturday will be a pretty good day for you.
For starters, the Oct. 11 weather in these parts will be nearly perfect, with the forecast for sunny, no humidity and temps in the mid 70s.
Then there's the lacrosse event. The Nick Colleluori Classic will take place at Ridley High School, where the tournament's namesake graduated before heading to play at Hofstra. Nick Colleluori died of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006 at the age of just 21.
The HEADstrong Foundation hosted this tournament a year ago and generated more than $75,000 for blood cancer research. The $10 admission fee goes to that charity again.
There will be 13 teams in attedance, and they will play a total of 18 games on the day, beginning with Bellarmine against Widener at 9 a.m. and concluding with Princeton's game against Maryland at 8:15 p.m.
Princeton also plays 3:30 against Villanova and 6:15 against Loyola. The games will be approximately one hour each, so for the players it will be a reminder of all the youth tournaments they played in their whole lives.
There is also a youth clinic at 1. This clinic is open to participants in grades 3-8 who have paid for admission to the tournament; kids should bring helmet, gloves and arm pads.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
If you were at the soccer doubleheader at Roberts Stadium Saturday, you might have noticed the young member of the United States Marine Corps who was in attendance for both games.
That Marine was 2nd Lt. Kyle McHugh, who was commissioned as a Marine officer Friday afternoon in ceremony held at Roberts Stadium.
McHugh was the leading scorer on the Princeton men's soccer team a year ago, when he earned first-team All-Ivy League honors. He was actually a three-time All-Ivy selection.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
It's time for the Princeton offense to get to work, as Columbia has just taken a 24-21 lead. A huge quarterback scramble by Shane Kelly and a long third-down completion keyed a clutch drive by the Lions, which ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan Davis. There is 10:35 left in the game.
It's time to head to the field and prepare for postgame, so please keep up with the online radio broadcast or the Live Stats. A full game recap will be available on GoPrincetonTigers.com after the game.
The fourth quarter is about to begin and Princeton clings to a 21-17 lead. Columbia just moved fairly deep into Princeton territory, but a couple of tackles for losses left Columbia with a 39-yard field goal attempt. The Lions chose to run a fake, but Princeton was ready and made the stop.
Columbia's defense came up with a 3-and-out and now takes over at the Princeton 49-yard-line with 14:19 remaining.
Columbia cut the deficit to four points again with an effective touchdown drive. Ray Rangel made a strong cutback move on an option run and scored Columbia's second touchdown of the game. It is never easy to win at Wien Stadium, where Columbia always plays hard.
The Lions just followed up with a stop and now have the ball with a chance to take their second lead of the game. There are five minutes remaining in the quarter.
Is Terrell-esque an adjective? It might not be in Webster's Dictionary, but Princeton fans know what it means. Brian Anderson just had a Terrell-esque opening drive to move Princeton's lead to 21-10. While Culbreath ran well, two passes by Anderson were keys to the score. First, there was a perfectly lofted pass on a seam to Trey Peacock for 34 yards. A few plays later, Anderson took the shotgun snap, stepped back, around and then up in the pocket, all to avoid the rush. As it happened, he waved Thanheiser towards the end zone - he had been at the 5-yard-line and nobody was behind him. Thanheiser made his cut away from the defender and was an easy target for Anderson, who threw his first touchdown pass since late in The Citadel game.
The Columbia offense did a nice job getting out of terrible field position and turning it into three points. The spread option posed the same problems to the Tiger defense as it has to Columbia's - besides running misdirection plays, one deep pass got the Lions into field goal range. In this case, a pass interference call in the end zone put Columbia at the 15, and Rocholl made the kick. It's halftime, 14-10 Princeton.
Both defenses have settled in, especially against the opposing rushing attacks. The Columbia defense just came up with a particularly big stop after a shanked punt by Lion senior Jon Rocholl, who has been one of the league's most consistent special teams performers over the last four years.
Another consistent special teams performer recently has been Princeton punter Ryan Coyle, who just pinned Columbia at the 1-yard-line. Credit the speedy Meko McCray for getting downfield and stopping it short of the end zone.
The Princeton defense answered the call, stopping Columbia on a 3rd and short at midfield and forcing a punt, which was sent out of bounds at the Princeton 17-yard-line. Amazingly, Matt Ransom hasn't returned a punt since the season opener.
The Tiger offense went right back to it, going 83 yards in four plays. The key was a 69-yard pass play up the middle of the field to Thanheiser, who was forced out of bounds at the 9. One thing about the spread option offense is, when it's run well, it does force the safeties to respect several options in front of them. That often leads to single coverage on deep routes, which was the case this time. Culbreath scored on a short run to move the lead to 14-7 with little time left in the first quarter.
Princeton just forced another punt, thanks to the third sack in as many games by Collin McCarthy and a third-down pass breakup by Dan Kopolovich. And Ransom even got a chance to return it. 1st-and-10 at the 20, 13:02 remaining.
The last time Princeton played Columbia in New York City, the two teams combined for three total touchdowns. In less than nine minutes today, they've already scored two.
Columbia took the opening kickoff and marched 67 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. Using a clever array of runs, including a pair of options off the right side of the line, the Lions' offense looked extremely smooth on its first drive. Quarterback Shane Kelly, who seems equally dangerous with his legs or his arm, kept on an option and scored from 15 yards out.
The Princeton offense matched the effort on its drive, going 60 yards in 11 plays. The Tigers got first downs from Matt Zimmerman, Will Thanheiser and Jordan Culbreath on the drive, which mostly featured the spread option run game. The scoring play came on third and short at the 5 yard line; the Tigers faked a run to Zimmerman and sent its receivers into the end zone. That left Culbreath, who drifted towards the left sidelines, alone. Anderson had to loft a pass over a defender and seemed to put it too high, but Culbreath was able to tip it to himself, gain his balance and cut inside past one defender. That's three touchdowns in three games for Culbreath, who entered the game as the Ivy's leading rusher.
Time for a deep breath, and perhaps a little defense...
Updated 12:53 p.m.
Greetings from New York City and Wien Stadium. After a rainy, cold bus ride up the turnpike and over the George Washington Bridge, the players are warming up under clear skies. The temperature is warming up nicely... perfect weather for an Ivy League opener. Sitting in the press box, which provides a beautiful view of the Henry Hudson Bridge over the far bleachers, it's clear that both teams have a terrific opportunity today. While one game doesn't make or break a season, it sure doesn't hurt to get off to a good start (just ask Brown and Cornell).
For Princeton, specifically, the opportunity to get out to a 1-0 start and win one of your three road games is in front of them. Every even year, the Tigers get four home league games and three road ones. To win your first game on the road and know that three of the next four will be on Powers Field sets you up for a potentially special season.
Of course, the opportunity to win at home belongs to Columbia today, and despite its record, this isn't a team to overlook. The Lions have always played hard under Norries Wilson and have always been difficult to beat at home during Roger Hughes' tenure as coach. Hail Marys, blocked kicks, inspired performances by reserves - you never know what will tip the scales here. It will be interesting to see who steps up for the Tigers today.
A couple of late scratches to the projected starting lineup: DE Tom Methvin will miss his second straight game, and LB Jeff Jackson, coming off a brilliant effort against Lehigh, is also out. Joel Karacozoff and Jameel Adeniji will move into their starting spots.
Just as I did at The Citadel, I'll try to provide timely updates as we go. It won't be a running play-by-play... you can get that with Live Stats or through the radio call on GoPrincetonTigers.com. Instead, this area will provide some thoughts throughout the game about drives, key plays or certain players making big impacts.
It's the Ivy League opener... step one on a seven-step path to a league championship.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Not bad, for a rookie. Not bad at all.
Alyssa Pont, the starting goalkeeper for the Princeton women’s soccer team, is not a freshman. But in terms of college soccer experience, she might as well be. As a freshman last year, she played behind Maren Dale ’08, a two-year starter, and saw less than 10 minutes of action in one game.
In spite of that, Pont has played a major role in Princeton’s current five-game unbeaten streak, extended by Tuesday night’s win over Fairfield, making nine straight saves in 310 minutes of shutout soccer. On the season, the team has allowed just three goals.
“The only thing going through my mind is keeping it out of the goal,” Pont said. “Just don't let it in. If I can, I try to settle it down a little bit and buy us any time I can.”
Nine saves in three-plus games isn’t a tremendous amount, perfect as Pont was over the stretch. Credit for keeping Pont’s save opportunities low goes to a defense in front of her centered by senior Taylor Numann, a two-time All-Ivy honoree.
“Taylor has definitely been a really great asset to us back there,” Pont said. “She's just been really strong, very good at organizing, really leading us back there. It's great to have her.”
The shutout stretch has also been the result of an overall attitude among the Princeton defense.
“I think we just work really hard,” Pont said. “We have this mentality that every ball that comes in is ours. We really work as a unit very well. Even if one player slips up, the other one's always there covering.”
Much of Pont’s success comes from the talent she honed at Bishop O’Connell High in Northern Virginia, where she had 58 shutouts in 91 starts, allowing a goal on average once every three games.
Even though Pont didn’t get on the field much last season, she was able to learn plenty from Dale over the course of the year.
“I really enjoyed working with Maren last year,” Pont said. “She really taught me a lot about organizing, being strong in the back. She was such a good leader. I really try to emulate her in a lot of ways. (She left) huge shoes to fill. As a captain, she was just really strong for the team.”
Pont is one of three goalkeepers on the roster, all in their first two years at Princeton. Though she was the only one of the three to see game action, the starting job wasn’t hers by default.
“I try to just work hard and there's obviously two other keepers who are relatively close to me in age, so it wasn't an open spot,” Pont said. “They pushed me and we push each other and I just try as hard as I can. I really try to take a leadership role even though I'm just a sophomore.”
In Fairfield, the Tigers defeated a team that was undefeated in nine straight, ranked No. 2 in the northeast region by the NSCAA and was receiving votes in the organization’s national poll. That followed the Ivy-opening win over Yale in which the Tigers scored early and held off a pillory of Yale attempts in the second half.
“It was our first Ivy League game, so it set us out on a really good path,” Pont said. “We got an early goal and we kept it. We were just so solid. I think it really carried over into (the Fairfield) game as well.”
Pont made key saves in both games to preserve the shutout victories using her six-foot frame quite well in the 192 square feet she is charged with protecting.
“They put a lot of pressure on it,” Pont said of Fairfield. “I'm just glad I'm nice and tall and I've got a good wingspan to get up there.”
Pont’s next time on the field will be part of a special occasion for the program. Saturday will mark the official dedication of the new Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium as well as the first Ivy League match at the facility.
“With this home field, it's a really great motivator,” Pont said. “I am excited to play an Ivy league game at home, definitely. I cannot wait for that atmosphere. I think it's going to be a huge game and I think we'll have a little bit of an edge. If you look around, it's a beautiful stadium.”
So far, so good for the Tigers at Roberts Stadium. All three matches played there have been Princeton wins, though all three have been dramatic one-goal games decided in the waning minutes.
“We think, this is our field, we want to keep it clean and we have,” Pont said. “It's just an extra motivation, an extra bit to go to goal or an extra bit to save it from going in. It's just something we guard.”
But Princeton will need wins away from campus, like the one at Yale, to get back to the NCAA tournament for the ninth time in program history and win the team’s sixth Ivy League title.
“Even on the road, we've been really strong,” Pont said. “I think we've got a really good momentum going. I hope we can continue it. I think we will.”