Tuesday, March 25, 2014

10 For 10

As untouchable Princeton records go, TigerBlog figured that one that had endured since 1951 might be up there.

Oh sure, nobody is ever going to match what Bill Bradley did here. Or at least probably won't. Bradley scored 58 points in one game. He scored 2,503 points in his career. Nobody has come close to touching those since.

Ian Hummer is second all-time in scoring in men's basketball at Princeton with 1,625 points, which means the next closest scorer to Bradley only got 65% of the way to where Bradley is. That's pretty wild. No other player at Princeton has scored more than 39 points in a game, which is only 67% of the way to Bradley's record.

Still, there are other records across other sports that have stood for longer, which makes them seem just as hard to reach. TB isn't sure what the oldest record at Princeton is.

He thought it might be something from swimming and diving, but it turns out that the only school record that predates 2006 is a diving record by William Heinz in 1975.

In track and field, the oldest record is Augie Wolf's discus record from 1982, unless you count archived records, which presumably are in events that aren't contested anymore. In that case, J.R. Pappas' 9.6 100-yard dash in 1927 is pretty old, even though it was tied by four other runners, in 1942, 1948, 1955 and 1970.

There are all kinds of old football records. The longest interception return in school history, for instance, was by Talbot Pendleton back in 1911 against Rutgers. How old is that record? Hobey Baker played in that game.

The longest field goal in school history dates 29 years before Talbot's big return, when James Haxall kicked one (or drop-kicked one, more accurately) 65 yards against Yale.

By comparison, 1951 isn't all that long ago. Still, the 1951 men's lacrosse season predates Bradley's Princeton career by more than a decade, and in fact in the spring of 1951, Dick Kazmaier had not yet started the senior season that would 1) earn him the Heisman Trophy and 2) give him records that can still be found.

Back on April 11, 1951, William Griffith scored 10 goals in a game. That's a lot of goals.

Since then, Princeton has had Hall of Fame offensive players who have played here, and none of them scored 10. In fact, only four times between Griffith in 1951 and last Saturday did a Princeton player score as many as eight goals in a game: Alva Weaver against Rutgers in 1953, Wick Sollers against FDU-Madison in 1976, Jesse Hubbard vs. Hobart in 1996 and B.J. Prager also against Hobart in 2001. Those eight goals were only 80% of the way to the record.

Until last Saturday, that is, when Jake Froccaro scored 10 against Yale.

It only took 839 games and 63 years from when Griffith scored his 10 against Rutgers for his record to be equaled.

TigerBlog has always thought that single-game records should be easier to break, since it just takes one really hot day to do it. Griffith, though, put up a number that nobody came all that close to for so long that TB began to think this one was also untouchable.

For that matter, he's always been amazed that Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak record has lasted since 1941, since it only takes 57 games to break.

TigerBlog has seen some great days by Princeton scorers, most recently the seven-goal game that Mike MacDonald had against Cornell last year in the Ivy League semifinals. He long ago figured out that 10 was the school record, and he long ago began to think that nobody would ever get that many again.

And then Froccaro did it Saturday. And did it, to a certain extent, in a way that seemed somewhat effortless, like something he could do every game.

As Froccaro's day unfolded and he scored more and more, TB began to expect him to get to 10, rather than feel shocked by the extraordinary game that Froccaro was having.

And it was extraordinary.

Consider that Froccaro is one of the best midfielders in the Ivy League and was the league Rookie of the Year last year. He is one of the top scoring middies, for that matter, in Division I.

Prior to Saturday, his career high was three goals, something he'd done four times. And something that is pretty reasonable for a middie. And then against Yale, he beat that in both the first half, scoring six, and in the second half, with four more.

His 10-goal game was the fifth since the Ivy League was formed in 1956, the 15th in Division I since official records began to be kept in 1971 and the first in Division I since 2008, when Stony Brook's Jordan McBride did it.

Froccaro scored in every possible way, with rockets from the outside, ankle-breaking moves to free himself up, finishes off great feeds from MacDonald and Tom Schreiber on the crease, a perfectly placed change up to the far side of the net.

TB's favorite was Froccaro's eighth, with two Yale defenders on him, unable to do a thing to stop him.

Froccaro took "only" 18 shots to get his 10 goals, which means that while he was a volume business, he was operating efficiently at the same time.

It was an incredibly impressive performance, though unfortunately one that came in a loss, 16-15, as Yale scored with 38 seconds to go to win it. Afterwards, Froccaro was more upset at the loss than pleased with his record-tying day.

Froccaro had a 16-point week, after having three goals and three assists in the win over Villanova last Tuesday night. Next up is another road Ivy game, at Brown. What will Froccaro do for an encore?

TB is pretty sure he won't get 10 more. TB is pretty sure that nobody will. Maybe he will see it again. Maybe it won't happen for 63 more years, which would mean during the 2077 season, which TB assumes he will miss.

He saw Froccaro's 10 last Saturday though. It was an extraordinary day for the sophomore, who was on from the start. TB asked him afterwards if he sensed that something was different before the game started, and Froccaro said no.

But it was different. That's for sure. Different, and history-making, by Jake Froccaro.

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