Monday, March 11, 2019

Where To Start?

So where to start with the weekend that just ended?

With Adam Kelly? With the two EIWA wrestling champions and four NCAA qualifiers? With the women's basketball championship?

With all that and more, TigerBlog will start with the men's hockey team. The defending ECAC champion Tigers saw their season end, though they did not give up the crown without an extraordinary effort in their series at Brown.

Princeton lost Game 1 Friday night 3-0 and trailed 5-2 with less than four minutes to go before pulling the goalie and doing something extraordinary - tying the game with three goals in a 2:47 span. Think about that.

How often can that possibly have happened in any situation, let alone in a situation in which a team was facing elimination?

From there, the game got even crazier, becoming the longest game in Princeton and Brown history before the Bears won it 3:30 into the third overtime. It actually lasted longer than that, as the game-winning goal was reviewed for six minutes to see if the play had been offsides. If you're a Princeton fan, it clearly was. If you're a Brown fan, it clearly wasn't.

Either way, it was really, really close, and ultimately it stood, ending Princeton's season. Even so, it was an extraordinary performance by the Tigers to tie it and then by both through the overtimes, and it left TB wondering just what either team would have had left had a Game 3 been necessary.

Okay, so who's up next?

Adam Kelly, the senior weight thrower, finished second at the NCAA indoor track and field championships, setting an Ivy League record in the process. It was Princeton's best national finish in the event in 39 years, since Dave Pellagrini won it in 1980.

Kelly improved on each of his throws, eventually reaching 23.38 meters, second behind North Dakota State's Payton Otterdahl (24.11). It was the end of a great winter run for Kelly, who was also the Most Outstanding Field Athlete at Heps and then the USTFCCCA Indoor Mid-Atlantic Regional Field Athlete of the Year.

Then there was the wrestling team.

Princeton finished third at the EIWA championships for the third straight year, and, in an advance celebration of the coming holiday, had both of its Patricks win individual titles. First it was freshman Patrick Glory at 125 pounds, and then it was Patrick Brucki at 197; both Princeton wrestlers in the championship round defeated Cornell wrestlers they'd lost to last month in the duel meet.

Those two, plus Matthew Kolodzik and Quincy Monday, who both finished third, will be joining the two Patricks at the NCAA championships in Pittsburgh March 21-23.

Finally today, there's the women's basketball team.

Back on Feb. 8, Princeton lost 96-86 to Yale on Carril Court at Jadwin Gym, falling to 2-2 in the Ivy League, two games behind 4-0 Penn. What did the rest of the 2019 Ivy season have in store?

Well, on her weekly podcast, Courtney Banghart talked about winning the Ivy League championship, not just making the league tournament. And since then?

Her team hasn't lost. And, given how it turned out, her team couldn't lose, not if it wanted to win a league championship.

It's not easy playing with no margin for error. 

Princeton made it 10 straight wins by defeating that same Yale team 80-68 Saturday night. Penn's women lost twice since Feb. 8, losing to Harvard and Princeton, and so it's Princeton and Penn who finish as the Ivy League co-champions.

For Princeton, it's seven Ivy League women's basketball titles in 10 years. For Penn, it's four titles in 10 years. For everyone else, it's no titles in 10 years.

Bella Alarie had 31 points, 13 rebounds, six assists in the win over Yale, after having 19 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and four steals in the 88-68 win over Brown - and that was in just 21 minutes.

Carlie Littlefield had 23 points Friday night and 20 points Saturday night.

Up next is the Ivy League tournament, this coming Saturday and Sunday at Yale. Princeton earned the No. 1 seed by virtue of sweeping Harvard, the third-place team, and as such it'll be Princeton-Cornell in the first semifinal and then Penn and Harvard in the second.

Harvard and Penn split during the regular season, and it took overtime for Penn to beat the Crimson two weekends ago. As for Princeton-Cornell, Princeton won both, the first time by 29 points and the second time by four points.

Princeton and Penn have met in the final of the first two Ivy tournaments. The winner of the tournament goes to the NCAA tournament.

Oh, and where to finish today? With the women's hockey team, who is NCAA tournament bound, headed to Minnesota this weekend.

More on that later.

1 comment:

Nassau83 said...

While this may fall under the category of "maybe you should get out more," I blocked out 2+ hours on Saturday night to watch the Princeton-Brown ECAC hockey quarterfinal game 2. More than four hours later, I was glad I did. It was a great game and, truth be told, when it was 5-2 with four minutes to play, I turned it off, then thought better and turned it back on, just in time to see the score narrowed to 5-3. And then three and a half minutes of some of the most exciting hockey one could possibly watch.

The Brown fans became silent while the small but resilient group of Princeton fans came alive. During the 43-1/2 minutes of overtime over three periods, both teams had great scoring chances and both teams were battling fatigue. Brown was *definitely* offsides on the game winning goal - it wasn't even close- but apparently the bandwidth in the arena was insufficient for the officials to get the same view some of us got at home. But kudos to Brown, they skated hard, their goalie stood on his head for more than five periods and the players on both teams left it all on the ice.

Since TigerBlog may be the only person to see this comment, please, please compliment the broadcast team. Many of the ESPN+ broadcasts have good but not great announcers or they are overly biased towards the home team. These guys were incredible. They knew the game, loved the game, were objective and incredibly positive about the efforts of players on both teams. I don't know how many people were watching but the combination of their efforts and the players' efforts was an incredible gift to those of us who tuned in.