Thursday, April 25, 2013

Once In 73 Meetings - Once More On Saturday?

Today is Take Your Kids To Work Day here in the Department of Athletics, which explains why TigerBlog's business day started with a conversation with Morgan and Alie Amir, the four- and three-year-old daughters of Princeton's Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing Yariv Amir.

By the time they were done, Alie had talked TB out of one of his two bananas and asked if that was TB in the picture on the wall - when it was actually a picture of Hobey Baker. And both had basically charmed everyone who wandered by.

There's something about pre-school kids that turns adults to goo. It's not like talking to babies, which bring out the bizarre speech patterns and enunciations that seem to be brought out only by babies and dogs.

No, talking to the average pre-schooler usually consists of a deadpan, quasi-serious question, followed by an inquisitive look from the child, who comes up with the inadvertent and perfect punchline.

Alie, for instance, was asked if the woman who was standing behind her was her mother. She turned, looked up, looked back and said "that's not Beth."

The Take Your Kids To Work Day program is a nice one, with some swimming, lunch with the Tiger, a visit to the facilities, some games, some prizes.

For TB, taking his own kids to work back when they were in the general age range of those participating today usually meant taking TigerBlog Jr. to a game. Lots and lots of them.

TB remembers when he was about Morgan and Alie's age, when he turned around, looked up and saw Ryan Boyle behind him after a game. "Look," he said. "A lacrosse man."

TBJ was a little older than Yariv's girls back in 2004, when Princeton lost 12-11 in overtime to Cornell at Class of 1952 Stadium in men's lacrosse.

TB remembers some things about that game, though he can't say for sure if TBJ was there. He just assumes he was.

When TB thought back to that game, he remembered how Princeton scored three times in the final two minutes to force the OT and then how Cornell won it on the first possession. When he read his story, he realized he had those details correct.

One thing missing from his story - mostly because of the fact that it never dawned on TB - was that the 2004 game was the first - and still only - game in the history of the Princeton-Cornell series in which both teams reached double figures.

The 74th edition of the series will be played Saturday at MetLife Stadium as part of the Konica Minolta Big City Classic, with face-off at 4, followed by a game between Syracuse and Notre Dame.

And in the first 73 meetings, only in that 2004 game have both teams reached double figures. It almost happened last year, when Princeton defeated Cornell 14-9.

Still, 73 games, one time for both in double figures. TB was stunned when he looked it up, so stunned that he looked it up again and then a third time to make sure.

Here's TB's prediction on this year's game - it'll be the second time.

Certainly the numbers suggest that.

Cornell averages 14.31 goals per game, second in Division I. Princeton averages 12.33 goals per game, tied with Johns Hopkins for sixth in Division I. Both teams have been in double figures in every game but one; Princeton’s season-low is nine, against Dartmouth, while Cornell scored eight against Bucknell.

The two teams rank 1-2 in the Ivy League in all of the following categories: goals per game, assists per game, ground balls per game, points per game, shots per game, shooting percentage, fewest penalty minutes per game and fewest turnovers per game.

Princeton and Cornell have the players who rank first (Cornell’s Steve Mock), second (Princeton’s Mike MacDonald), fourth (Princeton’s Jeff Froccaro), fifth (Cornell’s Rob Pannell), eighth (Princeton’s Tom Schreiber, who is first among Ivy midfielders) and tied for 10th (Cornell’s Max Van Bourgondien and Connor Buczek) in goals scored per game in the Ivy League.

Panell and Schreiber are 1-2 in assists per game.  The teams have six of the top 10 Ivy leaders in points per game.

That's a lot of offense. And the potential for a lot of goals Saturday.

It's a huge game for both teams. Neither is a team you want to have to play in the NCAA tournament, not with the offense that they can put on the field, and either could get to Memorial Day weekend in Philadelphia. If they have the chance, that is.

There's a long way to go between now and when the NCAA field is announced. Cornell, with an RPI of five, seems safe - for now. Princeton, with an RPI of 18, seems like it has some work to do.

Either way, the winner Saturday will be feeling a lot better heading into next weekend's Ivy tournament.

TB can't wait to see this one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If a man is going to be mistaken for another man by a female, he could do a lot worse than Hobey Baker. Congratulations, TB.