Friday, October 3, 2014

An October Weekend

TigerBlog was driving on I-95 in Mercer County this morning and noticed something for the first time in 2014.

The leaves are changing.

Now maybe that started a little while ago and he simply didn't take note. Or maybe this is when it began.

He did notice that there were leaves on his windshield in the parking lot yesterday. Green ones, though.

Hey, if there's a surer sign of fall than that, what is it? The summer is over, October has rolled in, and that means Halloween will be here before long, followed in rapid fire by Thanksgiving, Christmas and lacrosse season.

October is always a good month. The heat of the summer is gone, but the weather is usually pretty good - unless you remember the October blizzard of three years ago.

TigerBlog has an email from Oct. 1, 2010, from John Cornell, Princeton's second (and last) publications director, a position that went by the wayside, along with the majority of publications. Anyway, the email was a ranking of the top 10 months of the year, in order.

Cornell (actually it was from a friend of his, he said) had March as the No. 1 month of the year, with October a solid fourth, behind September and June. He had January and February as "others receiving votes."

TigerBlog isn't sure what month he would consider his favorite. Maybe April. The weather starts to improve. Lacrosse season is in full swing.

October would be way up there. Of course, it's not what it once was, before TB cut his candy intake by about 99%.

October is a hugely busy month for Princeton Athletics, more so than September, though not quite November, with the overlap of fall and winter.

This weekend features 24 different athletic events, between today and Sunday. Some are huge for the early season.

There is a soccer doubleheader tomorrow against Dartmouth on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium, beginning with the men's game at 4, followed by the women at 7. Dartmouth is always good in soccer, and both games will help shape the Ivy League race.

For the women, they started the Ivy season a week ago with a 1-0 win over Yale, on a late goal by Tyler Lussi. Princeton is one of three 1-0 teams in Ivy women's soccer, along with Harvard and Columbia. Dartmouth tied its league opener with Brown 1-1.

It's a little too soon to be thinking about the entirety of the league race. Still, with only seven games, each one matters, and the really important part of the first half of the league season is to be in position to play meaningful games at the end.

For the men, the Ivy opener comes a week later, as does the NCAA tournament in November.

Princeton is 3-2-2 against a pretty tough schedule. Dartmouth is 4-2-1, with its losses to Notre Dame (4-1) and Indiana (1-0) in its first two games and a 4-0-1 run since. In case you haven't seen the national rankings lately, Notre Dame is ranked No. 1 nationally, while Indiana is only 16th.

The field hockey team is one of two unbeatens left in the Ivy League, along with Cornell, whom Princeton plays in its second-to-last league game. This weekend, Princeton is at Columbia tonight and then home against Syracuse Sunday at 1.

Princeton is 3-5 overall, including 3-1 in its last four. All of its losses are to nationally prominent teams.

The women's volleyball team opens its home Ivy season tonight after defeating Penn at the Palestra last week, when each team played its travel partner. Obviously, that would leave four teams at 1-0 and four at 0-1.

The Tigers will host Cornell tonight at 7 and Columbia tomorrow at 5.

The men's water polo team is home Sunday at noon against the Naval Academy in what is always a huge Eastern matchup. If you're interested in seeing what the men's water polo team is all about, click HERE and watch the Tigers All-Access video on the team.

The women's tennis team is hosting the Princeton Invitational this weekend, through Sunday.

That's your home schedule, with the added bonus that every one of those events is free.

Teams on the road include sprint football tonight at Franklin Pierce, who happened to be the 14th President of the United States. The men's tennis team, both cross country teams and both golf teams are also playing on the road.

Of course, the football team is as well. Princeton is at Columbia tomorrow, with kickoff at 12:30. You can see that one on the Ivy League Digital Network or hear it on WPRB FM 103. 3 with Dan Loney and Craig Sachson.

Princeton is playing its first Ivy League game, and it's doing so against a team whose last win was in the second to last game of the 2012 season, a streak that now stands at 13 straight.

On the other hand, Columbia is at home and is also 0-0 in the Ivy League. The Lions will show up. TigerBlog has no doubt about that. And when you're the heavy favorite and things don't go smoothly at first, the underdog starts to get confidence.

Princeton's goal is to put Columbia way early. Columbia's goal is to hang around until the fourth quarter, believe it can win and start making plays it ordinarily wouldn't make.

It's unlikely that Princeton can put Columbia away as early as it did Davidson, when Dre' Nelson ran the opening kickoff back and the Tigers cruised from there. Still, the first quarter of this one will tell much of the story, TB believes.

Princeton cannot with the Ivy football title this weekend, but it could do a lot to lose it. That's not a great situation to be in.

Of course, it's still October. Early October at that. There's a long way to go for every fall team.

This weekend, though, will help define some of those Ivy races.

If nothing else, it's busy.

And every event here is free. 

No comments: