Thursday, February 21, 2019

Four Days, 35 Events

TigerBlog was cleaning the snow off his car yesterday a little after noon, which is when the University closed due to the storm, when he looked over at the person next to him. She was clearing her car as well.

"Softball sesaon," TB said.

The other person was softball assistant coach Christie Novatin, whose team is scheduled to open its season beginning tomorrow in Lynchburg, Va., where the Tigers are to play five games.

The snow yesterday was followed by rain and then a forecast for today of sunshine and a high of 58 in Princeton. It's late February, when the weather is always strange and the Princeton schedule is always full.

Between today and Sunday, there are 35 athletic events featuring Princeton teams, ranging from season openers like softball to home openers (men's lacrosse against Virginia, Saturday at noon on Sherrerd Field) to major stretch drives to teams competing for championships.

There will be at least three Ivy League championships won this weekend, in women's swimming and diving, which has its championships ongoing at DeNunzio Pool, and then in men's and women's indoor track and field, with the Heps championships at Harvard.

If you want all of the details of the Ivy women's swimming and diving championships, then click HERE for Craig Sachson's comprehensive look at what to expect, including schedules, start times and Princeton's top competitors.

As for the track and field championships, Princeton's men have won six straight overall Heps titles, with the two track and field titles in 2017, a Triple Crown in 2017-18 and then the cross country championship this past fall.

If you look just at indoor track and field, Princeton has won four straight, seven of the last nine and 14 of the last 21. Of the other seven that Princeton has not won since 1998, Cornell has won all seven.

Want to know the last time Princeton didn't finish first or second at the Ivy League Heps men's indoor track and field championships? It was 1993. Can you guess which two teams finished 1-2 that year?

Hint, it wasn't Cornell and Penn. Or Harvard and Yale. Or any Ivy schools, for that matter. It was Army and Navy, back when those two used to competed at Heps. In fact, it wasn't until 2004 that Heps became an eight-team event.

So yeah, that is an amazing record of consistent domination by the Princeton men.

Check out the complete schedule for the weekend HERE, and then go to the Princeton Athletics Daily stories on for previews, video links, live stats and such. 

This is the last weekend of the ECAC women's hockey regular season and the second-to-last weekend of the men's hockey regular season.

With four league games to go, the men are mathematically out of hosting a first-round playoff series. If the season ended with the current standings, the defending champion Tigers would be at either Brown or Dartmouth for the first round.

Do you think either of those teams is dying to play Princeton in a best of three?

As for the women, they will definitely be home for the quarterfinals next weekend. The question is what happens after that.

In fact, the four host teams for the quarterfinals will be Princeton, Cornell, Clarkson and Colgate, regardless of what happens. The highest remaining seed will host the semifinals and finals next weekend.

Will that be Princeton?

Well, the Tigers are one point ahead of Cornell with two games left. The Big Red, and Colgate, are at RPI and Union this weekend.

Princeton, on the other hand, makes the big trip north, to Clarkson tomorrow night and St. Lawrence Saturday afternoon. Should Princeton sweep, it would host throughout the playoffs, regardless of what Cornell does.

Also, should Princeton finish in a tie with Cornell, the Tigers would be the No. 1 seed, by virtue of a 1-0-1 record over the Big Red. If you assume a Cornell sweep, that means that Princeton needs a win and tie this weekend.

It's been a great year for ECAC women's hockey, and the top four teams in the league standings are ranked in the top nine nationally. Princeton is currently sixth, one spot behind Clarkson, who is one spot behind Cornell. Colgate is ninth.

The league final four will be exciting. And figure on three of those four in the eight-team NCAA tournament.

By the way, Harvard, RPI, Quinnipiac and St. Lawrence are bunched together within one point of each other from fifth to eighth. Those four have all clinched playoff spots.

There's also a home basketball doubleheader tomorrow night (Cornell) and Saturday night (Columbia), and all four of those games are huge.

The last weekend in February is always this way. Very busy, with very, very big events.

This year is no different. 

No comments: