Monday, May 1, 2017

And That's Another Women's Lacrosse Title

TigerBlog has been to Skillman Park, a little north of Princeton, a bunch of times in the last year.

It's almost always fairly deserted. It's one of his favorites things about the place.

It was a bit different yesterday morning, when he set out for a bike ride and instead stumbled onto a 5K race in the park. It was wall-to-wall people.

TB still isn't sure how he managed to find John McPhee, who was supposed to meet him in their regular parking lot, which was blocked off by cones and police cars. Eventually he did.

Mr. McPhee offered a secondary location to ride. This one was in the hills of Hunterdon County, and this one was a tad arduous. Like all kinds of hills.

TigerBlog did learn something though. When you're pedaling up hills, you should shift the gears all the way down, not up. It did make the hills easier.

At some point, someone pedaled past them heading up the steepest upgrade. It was like he was on a motorcycle, only he wasn't. TB was about 25 yards behind Mr. McPhee, who seemed startled at the thought that it could possibly have been TB who zoomed by him.

Mr. McPhee turned back around and said something that TB could barely hear. He surmises it was something like: "What was I thinking; it couldn't have been you."

TigerBlog also learned how the Sourland Mountain formed, from a lake that used to run from New York City to Reading, Pa., about 250,000,000 years ago. It was fairly fascinating.

Speaking of fascinating, TigerBlog watched the last two episodes of "13 Reasons Why" yesterday. Up until about two weeks ago, he'd never even heard of it.

When he first heard the title, he thought it was a Netflix light comedy. Boy was he wrong.

The show "13 Reasons Why" tells the story of the fictional Hannah Baker, a high school student who commits suicide and leaves 13 cassette tapes explaining why she did - and who drove her to it.

This show is beyond intense. It's scary. It's thought-provoking. It's frightening. And it's graphic.

TigerBlog would say that this show is a must-see for anyone who has children whose ages end in "teen," or will in the next few years. Your reaction will be "no way, not my kid," but pay close attention anyway.

TB wasn't wild about the last five minutes of the last episode. Still, the entirety of the 13 episodes is designed to make you ask a lot of questions, many of which have no answers.

He's not making light of the serious issues raised when he says that after it was over, he needed to see something very breezy to get past the shock of the last two episodes. Fortunately he stumbled onto two episodes of "Gilmore Girls." Seriously. That's how gripping the show is.

So that was yesterday.

As for Saturday, TigerBlog was at Schoellkopf Field for the men's lacrosse team's 18-17 loss to Cornell.

That game was the second game of a doubleheader. The first one was Cornell-Harvard women's lacrosse.

Cornell defeated the Crimson 13-6, clinching a share of the Ivy League title. Back on the Princeton campus, the Tigers were clinching their share as well, by virtue of an 18-11 win over Columbia. For Princeton it was the fourth straight year that the women's lacrosse team has won at least a share of the Ivy championship.

Because of the Penn Relays, the game between Penn and Yale was moved to Sunday, and the number of champions - and the host role for the upcoming Ivy tournament - depending on the outcome of that game.

Penn would do what it figured to do, which was to defeat the Bulldogs 18-7, earning itself a share of what becomes a three-way tie for the championship.

Princeton, Penn and Cornell are all 1-1 against each other and 5-0 against the rest of the league. The tiebreaker in that situation became goal-differential in the head-to-head meetings, which favored Cornell and makes the Big Red the host.

That left Princeton and Penn to beak the tie for second, which matters only for which team will wear its home uniforms in the semifinal. In this case, that'll be Penn, who beat Princeton during the regular season.

Harvard is the fourth team in the tournament, in a season in which the Crimson went 4-0 against the rest of the league and 0-3 against the other three.

As for the top three teams, they went a combined 15-0 against the rest of the league, outscoring them 191-98.

Beginning Friday in Ithaca, it'll be Princeton-Penn and, for the second time in six days, Harvard-Cornell. The final is Sunday at 11 a.m., and the winner will get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Princeton, Penn and Cornell - who have been ranked in or near the top 10 all season - should all be in the NCAAs, regardless of who wins this weekend.

Princeton is a team that will be a very tough out in a few weeks. The Tigers have a first-team All-America goalie in Ellie DeGarmo and a really good balance on offense and defense. They have played a brutal schedule and have done very well. They have a lot of postseason experience. 

Olivia Hompe has already set the Princeton single-season record with 60 goals. That's the most ever by a Princeton player, male or female.

In fact, in Princeton lacrosse history, there have been 10 seasons in which a player has had 50 or more goals. Of those 10 seasons, eight have been by women's players. The two men's players, by the way, are Jesse Hubbard, who had 53 goals in 1996, and Gavin McBride, who has 51 goals this year.

McBride has had at least five goals in a game six times this year. Hompe has done it seven times.

Both players will get to add to their totals this weekend in the Ivy tournament. The men will be at Yale, playing Brown in the semifinals Friday.

Yale will be the fifth different host for the men's tournament. Cornell will be the third different host for the women's.

Princeton could still be at home for the NCAA women's tournament should it get two wins this weekend.

Home or away, though, it doesn't matter.

The fun part of the season is here for Princeton.

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