Thursday, March 31, 2016

Road Trips

The first time that TigerBlog Jr. came along with his father to a Princeton athletic event was in 2000, when he tagged along to a football game at Lafayette. He was three at the time.

The most recent time TBJ went along with his dad to a game? It was last week. He's almost 19.

When TigerBlog first saw the schedule for Princeton's men's lacrosse season, he figured that last weekend would be one of the more convenient ones for him. Princeton at Yale Saturday at 1. Bryant at Sacred Heart Friday night at 7.

What could be easier?

TigerBlog would go watch TBJ and the Pioneers play Friday night and then see Princeton at Yale Saturday. Sacred Heart and Yale are about 10 miles apart, if that.

This was before there was a norovirus outbreak that hit more than half of the men's lacrosse team at Bryant, which caused the Bulldogs to have to postpone three games. In fact, Bryant hasn't played since March 12.

As a result, Bryant will have to play seven games in 24 days starting this weekend. Included in that will be a 17-day stretch in which the team will play five Northeast Conference games.

With no game Friday night, the Sacred Heart players were given the weekend off. TBJ took the train home Thursday night and took it back to school Sunday night.

In between, though, he drove back and forth with his father Saturday to see Princeton play Yale. It wasn't just to see the game. No, he was actually hired by Yale to do statcrew for that game and for the women's game between Yale and Columbia that followed.

At some point when he was really, really young, TigerBlog Jr. expressed an interest in learning statcrew, which is the in-game statistical program that every college team uses for basically every team sport. It takes a little while to figure it out, and it can be a bit stressful even to experienced stat people, since games can move very quickly.

He picked it up fairly easily, and he's been basically doing it his whole life. At first TB was a bit wary letting him actually enter stats - you know, because he was like seven years old or so at the time - but he's always done very well with it. 

Because Yale was shorthanded in its stat crew due to the NCAA hockey tournament, the staff at Yale athletic communications reached out to TBJ to see if he was available - and to the compliance office to make sure it was okay. Both answers were "yes," so TBJ made the trip.

It was like old times.

The game itself saw Princeton fall 11-10 to Yale. Because of Denver's loss to Penn State, there are only two unbeaten teams in Division I men's lacrosse - Yale and Brown.

The Bulldogs vaulted to No. 1 in the polls with its record and win over Princeton. Brown is third this week, behind Yale and Notre Dame and ahead of Denver. The Bears then made their own claim to being No. 1 by pasting No. 6 Villanova 19-8 Tuesday.

When Yale moved into the No. 1 spot in the rankings, it became the first Ivy school to do so since Princeton in 2009, by the way.

The Princeton-Yale game continued a few incredible streaks. The game was the seventh regular-season game between Princeton and Yale since Chris Bates has been the Tiger head coach - and all seven have been one-goal games.

Beyond that, it was the third time in 16 games - two regular season games and the 2015 Ivy tournament final - that Princeton and Yale have played not only a one-goal game but also a one-game goal that ended 11-10.

In all Chris Bates has coached against Yale 10 times. There have been eight one-goal games.

So if Yale is No. 1, where is Princeton?

Well, this weekend they're in Providence, to take on the Bears. It's part of a really tough stretch of the season for Princeton.

Actually, the entire season has been a rough stretch. Every team Princeton has played since its opener against NJIT has been ranked this year. Up after Brown will be Stony Brook, who is ranked 12th.
On the other hand, with each week comes another great chance to get a big win to turn the season around. Princeton came very close to doing just that last week in New Haven.

Princeton's men are away for the second game in a row.

The women's team played its fourth straight game away from home last night, when the Tigers took on Loyola. Game No. 5 of that stretch will be Sunday, when Princeton is at Delaware.

After that, Sherrerd Field gets pretty busy.

Between the Princeton women and men, there will be seven home games in 11 days, beginning with a doubleheader next Saturday (that's the 9th). It begins with the men's game against Stony Brook and continues with Princeton-Yale women.

Right now there are two unbeaten teams in Ivy women's lacrosse: Cornell at 3-0 and Princeton at 2-0. The Big Red will be at Sherrerd Field as part of another doubleheader, this one on April 16, with the women at noon at the men against Dartmouth at 3.

For this weekend, though, it's back on the road for both.

TigerBlog Jr. won't be making the trip to Brown. Sacred Heart is back after its week off.

It was great having him at the game last week though.

It was like old times. Some of the best times TB has ever had.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wrong column today. Kyle Smith leaves Columbia MBB yesterday, and a gathering trend (see Yale and Brown load, above) gains momentum. What has been virtually untouched Tiger hegemony in Ivy athletics for the last 25 years appears to be fraying at the margins; not because we're slipping, but because "Education Through Athletics" is now seen as mandatory by every other Ivy school. We've educated the educators, and it begs the question: "What will be ETA II?" Simply doing more of the same is tantamount to forfeiture.