Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Thoughts As The Next Athletic Event Is 10 Days Away

So, it's Deans' Date, which as any current or former Princeton student knows, is the day written work such as papers and labs are due for the first semester. Exams begin tomorrow, and the next athletic events are still at least 10 days away.

In that vein, some thoughts ... A TigerBlog notes column, as it were:

* While the men's hockey team lost three straight prior to exams, keep in mind that at this time a year ago, the Tigers were below .500. This time, Princeton is still in first place in the ECAC, though Cornell has four games in the next two weekends to try to make up the two points that the Tigers have over the Big Red at this point. Also two points behind Princeton are Dartmouth, who has played one fewer game than Princeton, and Quinnipiac, who has played the same number of games. Princeton is four points up on Yale for the final first round bye at this point, though Yale has played four fewer games as well.

* The surging Princeton women's hockey team has won four in a row and five out of six to move into third place in the ECAC standings. Princeton has wins over national powers Minnesota-Deluth and Dartmouth during that stretch, which includes a first-ever sweep at Harvard and Dartmouth.

* Men's lacrosse season opens five weeks from Saturday, at home against Canisius. Inside Lacrosse had six staff members pick their preseason Final Fours, and Princeton was not selected by any of them (Denver, among others, got one selection). Princeton graduated the focal point of its team of the last four years (goalie Alex Hewit and defenseman Dan Cocoziello, both of whom were first-team All-Americas), but a deep group of freshmen is blending with the rest of a young team. It'll be interersting to see how it plays out. Even without Hewit and Cocoziello, the defense should be strong. Offensively, Princeton has an interesing dynamic of returning players such as Tommy Davis, Jack McBride and Mark Kovler; some players who didn't play much last year but looked very good on the June trip to Europe such as Tyler Moni and Paul Barnes; and the freshmen. Canisius is no pushover, by the way; the Griffs won the MAAC last year and feature Adam Jones, the MVP of the Under-19 World Championships.

* The women's basketball team, which won seven games all of last year, has won six heading into exam break this year. Most importantly, the Tigers are 1-0 in the Ivy League after a nice win over Penn last Saturday. Princeton and Dartmouth are both 1-0 as the Ivy season begins; Dartmouth is Princeton's next opponents, on Jan. 30 at Jadwin Gym. Much like a Princeton football game against Dartmouth will always be special for Roger Hughes, who was the offensive coordinator for the Big Green before coming to Princeton, a women's basketball game against the Big Green will also be special for head coach Courtney Banghart, who played and coached in Hanover.

* The men's basketball team is 0-0 in the league, but the Tigers will be heading into the league season on a three-game winning streak if they can beat Division II Concordia on Jan. 25. That day will be the 40th anniversary of the first game in Jadwin Gym, and there will be a cake for all fans to help celebrate. As for the Tigers, their win over Lehigh was a very good, strong, solid performance against a good team. It gives a reason for optimism heading into the league.

* The women's swimming team hosts Dartmouth on Jan. 25 in what will be the last chance this year to see Alicia Aemisegger on campus. The Ivy League championships will be on Long Island Feb. 26-28.

* Finally, TigerBlog offers condolences to Mark Panus, the former manager of sports media relations in the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications and men's basketball and lacrosse contact from 1990-94, on the death of his wife Joanne, who passed away last week at the age of 41 after a fight with cancer. Mark is universally well-liked by those here at Princeton who worked with him, and they remember his wife for her humor, charm and caring manner.

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