Friday, October 26, 2012

The Frankenstorm

So a "Frankenstorm" is on the way?

Apparently that's the case, as Hurricane Sandy is making its way north, where it will meet up with cold Canadian air and some low pressure from the west.

One story TigerBlog read about the storm suggests that those in its path will be talking about it for decades to come. There are very few storms that TB still talks about decades later, and all of the ones he does are related to snow, not rain, so it would have to get pretty bad around here for that to be the case.

Very few things for homeowners are worse than a flooded basement, so TB is hoping that the worst of the storm stays away. He read in one place that landfall would be expected in Cape Cod and Maine; he's read in others that it could come ashore across Long Beach Island and into Central New Jersey.

The dire forecast will lead of course to the run on the supermarket, where everyone will stock up on milk and bread. Of course, if the power goes out, then it'll be necessary to have food that can be prepared without electricity, such as Oreos and M&Ms.

So all that's left to do now is to wait and see what happens. Will it hit here or stay out to to sea long enough to mostly miss the Princeton metropolitan area? And when will it be here?

Most of the forecasts say it'll be getting in around Monday or so and lingering through Wednesday, which is of course Halloween.

So what are you supposed to do about that? Go trick-or-treating in the remnants of a hurricane? Or will entire towns tell people that trick-or-treating will be held on another day?

One way to avoid the storm is to leave the country, which the Princeton women's lacrosse team is doing tomorrow, when it heads off to Malta, Sicily and London for a fall-break trip, and which the women's squash team is doing when it heads off to South Africa.

Like the men's lacrosse team, who went to Costa Rica in June, the women 's lacrosse and women's squash teams are taking advantage of their once-in-four-years international trip.

Unfortunately, most people will have to tough it out through the storm.

Before that comes up, though, there is a huge Saturday in Ithaca to go through, so any hurricane will have to wait.

Princeton is at Cornell tomorrow in four different sports, and each of the four games has huge Ivy League championship implications.

Going chronologically:

* The field hockey team is 5-0 in the league and has outscored its opponents by a combined 33-1 in those five games. Dartmouth, the only team to score against Princeton, is 4-1 in the league, followed by 3-2 Cornell and Columbia.

A win tomorrow in Ithaca would mean at least a share of the league title, and while that's never taken for granted, it's clearly not the main goal for the No. 2-ranked Tigers, who are thinking Final Four - and beyond.

* The football team has a difficult task tomorrow when it kicks off against the Big Red.

Right now, the Tigers are the only unbeaten team in the Ivy League at 3-0, followed by Harvard, Dartmouth and Penn at 2-1. Cornell is 1-2 in the league and 3-3 overall, but the Big Red have not lost at home this year.

Princeton is dealing with a bunch of other issues as well. The Tigers are coming off an amazing 39-34 win over Harvard in what was the best game any current Princeton player has ever been a part of on any level, TB will assume. After a week on that high, can the team pump it back up tomorrow?

In addition, there's also the whole expectations piece of the equation.

Princeton was 1-9 two years ago and 1-9 last year and 1-13 in the Ivy League in the two years combined. Princeton was picked eighth this year and now suddenly has to deal with success and along with increased expectations, even as the Tigers prepare to finish the season with games against four teams against whom Princeton is 0-8 the last two years.

* The men's soccer race in the Ivy League is insane, and a repeat of two years ago, when the league got four bids and saw two teams reach the Sweet 16, is again a possibility.

Princeton is unbeaten in the league - and in fourth place. The Tigers are 2-0-2 (eight points), behind 3-0-1 Brown (10 points) and 3-1 Dartmouth and Penn (nine points each) as they take on a Cornell team that lost for the first time this season (in or out of the league) last week at Brown.

Princeton does finish the league schedule with games against Penn and Yale, who are a combined 1-6-1 in the league.

* The women's soccer team is playing for some big prizes tomorrow evening.

The surging Tigers, led by the great Jen Hoy and a strong supporting cast, is 11-3-1 overall and 5-0-0 in the league. Penn and Dartmouth are tied for second at 4-1-0.

Cornell is 1-12-1 overall and 0-4-1 in the Ivy League, and a win over the Big Red would give the Tigers at least a share of the league championship. On the other hand, Cornell is 0-4-1 in the league with four one-goal losses.

If Princeton really wants to think big, then a win over Cornell and a Penn loss or tie with Brown would give the Tigers the Ivy's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Tigers will finish the regular season at home against Penn next Saturday, and a win over the Quakers would mean the automatic bid regardless of what happens tomorrow.

There are other scenarios as well for Princeton, mostly good but some bad. Still, Princeton has accomplished the first step, which is reach this stage of the season in position to play for championships and the postseason. And with some margin for error to boot.

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