Monday, December 28, 2015

Before The Year Ends

TigerBlog hopes that everyone had a tremendous Christmas.

If you have a little kids and celebrate the holiday, then you probably spent hours shopping, wrapping, planning and all. And then they tore the wrapping off the presents, glanced at the box and moved on to the next.

If you have older kids and celebrate the holiday, then you probably figure you could pay for college with the money that you used on Christmas presents that barely got used.

Oh well. It's part of the fun.

Now that it's post-Christmas, it's time for one of the odder weeks of the year, the week between Christmas and New Years. All of the buildup is for Christmas, but once it's over, people are instantly ready to put it behind them and get started on the New Year.

Everything transitions from Christmas to year-in-review on a dime, all leading up to New Year's Eve. And then, it's the new year, with the heart of winter looming on the horizon.

And lacrosse season. At least that's how TigerBlog will see it.

TigerBlog will spend most of this week focusing on the 2015 year in review. Just not quite yet. After all, there's still a little more of 2015 left.

The idea of having a 2015 - or any other year - review for an athletic program is a little strange, in that it's just about the middle of the academic year. The right time for the year in review and recognition of the best of a year is actually at the end of the academic year and the senior awards banquet, which comes up the Thursday of Reunions.

Still, with an end of the calendar year, it's natural to look back at what went on in the last 12 months.

For 2015, there are still four teams with six events left for Princeton Athletics. Of those events, one of them is at home.

And of these events, they're all tough. Like, really tough. For all of the teams who are competing.

The men's hockey team will play its travel partner, Quinnipiac, home-and-home, with a game at Baker Rink tomorrow night at 7 and then one in Connecticut Wednesday.

The other teams are all on the road. The men's basketball team plays tomorrow night at Miami. The women's basketball team is Marist tomorrow night. The wrestling team is at a two-day tournament at Northwestern.

Let's start with men's hockey.

Quinnipiac is 15-1-2, 6-0-2 in the ECAC. The Bobcats are ranked No. 3 in the poll but No. 1 in the RPI and PairWise rankings. And that's two games in two days.

Princeton is tied for seventh in the ECAC and 4-9-0 overall as Ron Fogarty's rebuilding process in Year 2 continues. Princeton won four games each of the last two seasons, and the Tigers have already matched that.

As for basketball, Miami is ranked 13th in one poll and 16th in the other. The Hurricanes are 9-1, with only a one-point loss to Northeastern keeping them from being unbeaten.

Miami has handed ninth-ranked Butler its only loss, and it also has a win over Utah, who most recently took down Duke. So yeah, this one won't be easy.

Neither will the women's trip to Poughkeepsie to take on Marist.

The Red Foxes are 3-8, which is a bit misleading. For one thing, they were 0-7, against a very tough schedule, which means that they've won three of their last four.

And for another Marist is always good at women's basketball. A year ago the team won 23 games, finished second in the MAAC and played in the WNIT. Marist played in three of the last four NCAA tournaments before that.

As for Princeton, the Tigers have lost two straight after being swept by two very strong teams, Ohio State and Dayton, in Ohio. The last time Princeton lost two straight? How about November 2013, against Georgetown and St. Joe's.

And the wrestling team?

The wrestling team is at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill. How competitive is this field?

There are 94 wrestlers who are ranked in the top 20 in a weight class nationally who will be on the mats at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Three of those are from Princeton - Chris Perez (20th at 149), Abram Ayala (16th at 184), Jonathan Schleifer (13th at 174).

And that's the rest of the calendar year for Princeton Athletics.

Four teams. Six events. No gimmes.

1 comment:

Tad La Fountain '72 said...

Abram Ayala is the son of two Tigers. How many other varsity athletes this year have two Princeton parents?