Friday, May 25, 2012

Lax Thoughts

The first time TigerBlog saw Tom Schreiber play lacrosse, it was on the internet, of course. It was the last game of his high school career, the Long Island Catholic final, and TB saw highlights of it on MSG's website.

The game took two days to play, as lightning interrupted the game at one point. It would take overtime for Schreiber's team - St. Anthony's - to defeat Chaminade (featuring Schreiber's current teammate Will Himler). The game-winner came on as nice a pass as TB has ever seen in a lacrosse game, courtesy of Schreiber.

The first time TB saw Jesse Hubbard, there weren't nearly as many options. The University's official athletic website,, was still a half-decade away and blogging didn't exist.

TB saw Hubbard first in a magazine, Lacrosse Magazine to be exact, in a still picture from a high school all-star game.

He had the same first reaction to both players: Wow.

Jesse Hubbard found out this week that he is part of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

TB hasn't studied the history of each year's class, but he can't imagine that there have been too many that can equal the one that will be inducted this October. Brian Dougherty is arguably the greatest goalie of all-time. TB was shocked to see that Tim Nelson (North Carolina State one year; Syracuse the next three) wasn't already in; after all, Nelson's 221 career assists are the most in Division I history.

Roy Colsey was a Syracuse All-America in the early 1990s. Cindy Timchal and Missy Foote have coached teams to a combined 13 NCAA championships.

You can make a case for Jen Adams as the greatest women's lacrosse player of all time. You could make a case that no single person has impacted women's lacrosse as much as Kelly Amonte Hiller, as a player at Maryland and now as Northwestern's coach.

Hubbard is up there with any of the members of the Class of 2012.

A 1998 Princeton grad, Hubbard is Princeton's career leader with 163 goals, and his 53 in 1996 are the school single-season record. He had more games in his career with three or more goals than he had with fewer than three.

Hubbard had 33 goals and 43 points in 11 NCAA tournament games, in which Princeton went 10-1, by the way. His last three seasons were a 43-2 stampede, and each ended with the NCAA championship trophy.

Hubbard was part of an epic attack unit, including feeder Jon Hess and Chris Massey, whose 146 goals are second at Princeton to Hubbard. When he left Princeton, he went on to be the career leader in goals scored in Major League Lacrosse.

Hubbard's strength was, well, his strength, his legendary ability to shoot. He had unlimited range, and as his numbers suggest, he was an unstoppable offensive force.

TB saw 59 of the 60 games Princeton played during Hubbard's career. The only one he missed was the 1996 regular-season game at Virginia that Princeton lost before coming back to defeat the Cavs later that year in the NCAA final - on Hubbard's overtime goal (that game at UVa was the same day that Princeton defeated Penn in the Ivy League basketball playoff).

It was a privilege to see his career from so close, to see the way he could dominate any opponent, the way he could change games simply by catching and shooting.

Beyond that, Hubbard, Hess and Massey were about the three easiest players to root for that TB has ever run into in his time here. They combined for 121 points in those 11 NCAA games and 618 points in four years.

Hubbard now enters the Hall of Fame. TB assumes Hess will get there too and that Massey, the perpetually underrated one, will not. No matter. TB will always think of them together, not individually - and so in TB's mind, Hubbard's induction is really about the three of them together.

As for Schreiber, he has matched Hubbard by being the Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman and first-team All-America as a sophomore. In fact, only four players at Princeton have ever done that, Schreiber, Hubbard, Scott Bacigalupo and Ryan Boyle.

Bacigalupo is already a Hall-of-Famer. Boyle will be there once he's done playing. Hubbard will be there this October.

TB isn't suggesting that Schreiber will be in the Hall of Fame one day. On the other hand, he's not saying he won't be either. And if he does get there, he'll be the second from his family, along with his father Doug.

Schreiber is one of four Princeton All-Americas, along with fellow first-team selection Chad Wiedmaier, second-team pick Tyler Fiorito and honorable mention pick John Cunningham.

Schreiber has two years remaining at Princeton; the other three will be graduating in another week or so. All three are among the best who've ever played their positions at Princeton.

Finally, the NCAA lacrosse championships are this weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

TB's pick to win it all is the same as his pick before the tournament started - Duke.

We'll find out how much he knows by Monday.

1 comment:

Brian McD said...

The band of brothers - in a way, when one gets in, they all get in.