Tuesday, September 8, 2015

That Was Harsh

TigerBlog's prediction around 12:30 Sunday, as the women's soccer and field hockey teams were about 30 minutes away from start time about 100 yards apart, was simple.

There would be seven goals between the two games, he said, and he would miss all of them. He figured he'd be at one field instead of the other when a goal was scored, and then he'd be back at the other one when the first field had a score.

As it turned out, he was wrong. There were 11 goals, and he saw seven of them.

So that worked out okay.

As for the games themselves, well, they were pretty harsh for Princeton. On the bright side, maybe that'll be the harshest day for the entire academic year, or at least the fall, for the Tigers.

The field hockey game ended with a 4-3 Virginia win over Princeton. The Tigers looked like they were on their way to a nice win until the Cavs tied the score with 50 seconds left and then won it with nine seconds left in the first overtime.

As for women's soccer, Princeton fell 3-2 to Duquesne in a game in which the visitors had just three shots on goal.

So yeah, it was a harsh day, and all in a small space, where Bedford Field and Roberts Stadium are separated by a small road and some tennis courts.

TigerBlog would see much more field hockey than soccer on the day. Had the field hockey game not gone overtime, he would have been able to see the end of soccer, which was the original plan.

It's a shame that both games were 1:00 starts, but TigerBlog gets it. Both visiting teams had long rides home, so they didn't want to start the games too late, and both visiting teams played Friday, so they didn't want to start too early. For that matter, Princeton field hockey played Friday and women's soccer played Thursday.

So that left TigerBlog as one of many there who figured to go back and forth between the two venues.

Why wouldn't you? Both venues are great places to watch a game. Both events were free. It made for a great atmosphere.

There were very good crowds at both games, and both games were at the very least entertaining.

TigerBlog saw the first goal in the field hockey game, which came from Hailey Reeves off a penalty corner. Princeton, 1-0.

Then he walked over the soccer field, in time to hear a loud cheer, one that turned out to be a really nice finish from Tyler Lussi. Princeton, 1-0 there too.

TigerBlog stayed until halftime - by which time Duquesne had tied it - and then went back to the field hockey game, which was also 1-1 at the half. Four goals, of which he'd seen two.

He then stayed until the end of field hockey, seeing the last five goals there, while missing the last three at soccer - including another from dynamic freshman Mimi Asom.

He saw more than goals on Bedford Field, though.

First, he saw a great performance by Princeton goalie Anya Gersoff, whose 14 saves kept Princeton in it.

And he also saw an unbelievable performance by freshman Sophia Tornetta. She was everywhere.

When it was over, she had a goal - a rocket of a penalty stroke - and an assist. She also had two defensive saves in overtime, neither of which was easy and either of which would have ended the game right then and there.

In addition, she also had a length-of-the-field sprint in the overtime in which she looked like the turtle in the Bugs Bunny cartoon with the jetpack on his shell. In other words, she flew by everyone else on the field.

You know who her performance reminded TigerBlog of in a major way? Zach Currier, of the men's lacrosse team. It was that kind of performance, a do-everything-and-do-it-well performance, the kind where nothing seemed to happen without her right in the middle of it, the kind where numbers - however impressive they are - hardly tell the story. Those are the kind of performances that Currier specializes in, and it seems like Tornetta is a similar sort of player.

By the way if you've never seen overtime in a college lacrosse game, it's a wild scene. Instead of 11v11, it's 7v7, which means six field players, which means space all over the field, which also means exhausted athletes everywhere. It was exciting, that's for sure. Sadly, it didn't end the right way for Princeton.

TigerBlog brought Miss TigerBlog and two of her high school lacrosse teammates, Michele and Alexa, to the game. MTB devoted herself this summer to improving, and that's exactly what she did.

She spent hours driving field hockey balls into the lacrosse goal in the backyard, and she and TB went to the high school field, where he'd feed her passes and she'd shoot. She also ran and ran and ran to get into better shape. The result? She's gone from backup on the jayvee team as a freshman to varsity starter as a sophomore. Hey, a little bragging by a proud parent is okay.

When the game ended Saturday, TigerBlog checked Twitter to see that the women's soccer game had just ended as well. As he started to walk away, he ran into TB, Michele and Alexa, who had run into three other teammates and another girl who plays at a different high school, all of whom had been at the game.

They all posed for the requisite picture with Bedford Field in the background. They talked about what a great game it was, how high the level of play was. Then they, like the rest of the two large crowds, began to head home.

It was a beautiful setting for two really good early season college games, with good crowds and, perhaps most importantly, inspirational athletes for the girls in attendance to see play. There were a lot of good things going on on Bedford and Myslik Fields.

It didn't make the two outcomes any less harsh, of course. Well, maybe a little less harsh. But not much.

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