Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Lax

As father-son moments go, there's really not much that can beat sitting together in front of the television to watch a major sporting event.

And so that's what TigerBlog and TigerBlog Jr. did with their Saturday night. TB speaks of course of the Major League Lacrosse championship game, which was on this weekend.

The two teams that TigerBlog was rooting for lost in the semifinals, which left the championship game of less interest to TB, or, in other words, without a Princeton alum in the game. Instead, it was the New York Lizards who came from behind and then pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Rochester Rattlers 15-12.

The two teams who lost in the semifinals each had a Princeton alum, Chad Wiedmaier on the Boston Cannons and Tom Schreiber on the Ohio Machine.

Okay, TigerBlog is going out on a wild limb and saying that you're probably not as into Major League Lacrosse as he is, and he knows he's not nearly as into MLL as TBJ is. And so, it's likely that you didn't see how the semifinal game between the Lizards and Cannons ended.

Boston trailed by four late in the game but rallied to tie it with 36 seconds left to force overtime. Then, in the OT, Boston goalie Adam Ghitelman found himself across midfield, inside the two-point arc and then with the ball. He dodged once and ripped what would have been the game-winner - except Lizards' goalie Drew Adams made a great save.

Adams then started a fast break the other way, one that became infinitely easier with Ghitelman 70 yards or so out of the play. Yale grad Matt Gibson was the beneficiary, scoring into the goalie-less goal for the win.

In truth, Ghitelman made a great play and took a great shot. It took a great save from Adams to keep the game going. You can see for yourself HERE.

Adams was the MLL Goalie of the Year, an award that was close between him and Chesapeake's Tyler Fiorito. Perhaps you remember Fiorito as Princeton's goalie and the 2012 Ivy League Player of the Year.

Fiorito led MLL in saves (255) and save percentage (.606). In fact, his save total was the third-best in MLL history, and he became the first goalie since 2011 to have at least a .600 save percentage for the summer.

Tom Schreiber finished his second season in Major League Lacrosse with 60 points.

Sort of.

It depends if you count his three points in the playoffs, when his Machine lost to Rochester. And it depends if you want to count two-point goals as two points or as one goal.

Schreiber finished the regular season with 29 goals and 30 assists. His assist total tied him for the league lead, and he was named first-team All-MLL. In fact, Schreiber was the highest vote-getter among MLL middies for the all-league team.

Schreiber had a goal and an assist in the playoff loss, and his goal was a two-pointer. He also had one two-pointer during the regular season, so, adding the playoff game and regular season he actually scored a goal 29 times and had 31 assists, which would be 60 points going by the way stats are done in college.

The only two Princeton players who have ever had a season with at least 30 goals and 30 assists are David Tickner (34G, 32A in 1976) and Mike MacDonald (48G, 30A this past season). Schreiber came excruciatingly close twice, with one season of 28 goals and 32 assists and another with 32 goals and 28 assists.

And this year, his MLL totals were 29 goals and 31 assists. Sort of. If you count the two-pointers as two, then it was 31 and 31.

Either way, Schreiber, two years out of Princeton, has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the game, anywhere. And when it comes to passing from the midfield spot, nobody currently does it better.

As for TigerBlog and TBJ and watching the game Saturday night, yeah, there was nobody from Princeton to root for, and so it wasn't as good as it could have been.

And yes, it wasn't the World Series or the Super Bowl, or more traditional father/son viewing through the years.

But for TB and TBJ, this was better. TigerBlog took his son to the 2003 MLL championship game at Villanova Stadium, where Prineton's Kevin Lowe scored the game-winner in OT for, of all teams, the Lizards. Lowe, by the way, remains the only player ever to score an overtime goal in an NCAA championship game and MLL championship game.

And TB and TBJ have watched basically every MLL final together on TV.

TBJ's first college class is three weeks from today, a fact that has made TigerBlog fairly nostalgic these days.

So forgive him, but Major League Lacrosse championship games are part of that nostalgia.

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