Monday, February 9, 2009

As Weekends Go ...

... the one that just ended wasn't too bad as far as Princeton athletics was concerned. If you wanted to pick the Princeton "Team of the Week," your task wouldn't be easy.

Where do you start?

* the men's basketball team swept Cornell and Columbia by a combined 48 points. The weekend began with a wire-to-wire win over the Big Red, who had won 19 straight Ivy games and nine straight overall this season, and ended with a 28-point win over the Lions. Princeton held the two to 76 points total, making this the best defensive weekend by the Tigers since 1984. Princeton is also the lone unbeaten team in the league, followed by one-loss Cornell and two-loss Dartmouth. Every other league team has at least three. There's still a long way to go in the league race, as Tiger head coach Sydney Johnson and his players reminded the media both nights. Still, this weekend also saw two good, vocal, excited crowds who came to Jadwin to root for a very likeable team and came away with a great time both nights.

* the women's basketball team also went 2-0, doing the road sweep to move over .500 in the league at 3-2, behind only 5-0 Dartmouth and 4-1 Harvard. The Princeton men and women were a combined 7-21 in the Ivy League a year ago; they've already matched that win total in going 7-2 to start this season.

* the women's squash team did something this year that it didn't do last year when it won the national championship - it won the Ivy title. Not that it was easy. Princeton and Harvard, both unbeaten, squared off Sunday afternoon as a large crowd made the decision to stay indoors at Jadwin rather than take advantage of the nice Central Jersey weather. Princeton edged the Crismon 5-4, giving the Tigers five Ivy League titles.

* the men's squash team did something that had never happened before in the glorious history of the program. The 2009 Tigers swept Harvard 9-0 to win the league title for the fourth straight year, a first. Princeton now has 20 Ivy League championships. It was a dominating performance for a team that is squarely focused on the CSA national championship at Jadwin in two weeks, where a fourth-straight Princeton-Trinity final is a possibility.

* the women's swimming and diving team completed a perfect Ivy League regular season by defeating Columbia. It was the 23rd straight Ivy win for the Tigers (the league champion is crowned at the league championship meet). Perhaps lost in the result was that Princeton's Alicia Aemisegger broke the Columbia pool record for the 200 IM, a record formerly held by Cristina Teuscher, who won a bronze medal in that same event at the 2000 Olympics.

* the men's swimming and diving team stayed unbeaten with a win over Navy. As an aside, TigerBlog always finds it interesting when Princeton beats Navy in either swimming or crew.

* the women's hockey team gave head coach Jeff Kampersal his 200th win Friday night with a 3-1 win over Colgate and then rallied twice to come up with a tie against Cornell to stay tied for the fourth and final home spot in the upcoming ECAC playoffs. The last two weekends of the regular season will decide whether the Tigers are home or away.

* the winner of "Team of the Week" might just be the men's hockey team. Princeton defeated Colgate on Cam Ritchie's overtime goal Friday night, and that game was dull compared to what happened at Lynah Rink Saturday. Princeton had lost 1-0 to Cornell earlier this season at Baker Rink, and it was looking like it'd be another 1-0 Cornell win as Princeton pulled the goalie in the final minute. Princeton looked to have tied the game, only to have the referees rule that the puck had not crossed the line, but the Tigers came right back, tying it off the face-off with 36 seconds left to play. Then, when it looked like overtime was inevitable, Princeton scored again 18 seconds later to win it.

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