Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ten, Again

The women's tennis team won the Ivy League championship Sunday.

With that, Princeton reached an achievement that it does more academic years than not: double figures in Ivy titles.

For Princeton, women's tennis made it 10 for 2015-16. If you're keeping score, it's field hockey, women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's cross country, men's fencing, women's fencing, women's ice hockey, men's swimming and diving, men's indoor track and field and women's tennis.

Reaching double figures in Ivy League championships in an academic year is nothing to take for granted. Not at all.

Since the formation of the Ivy League in 1956-57, the only school other than Princeton to reach double figures in an academic year is Harvard who has done it seven times.

Including this year, Princeton has now done it 23 times, including seven of the last eight academic years. Princeton also reached double figures for nine straight years at one point, from 1993-94 through 2001-02.

These are extraordinary accomplishments.

It's a testament to the the great coaches and athletes who have competed here, as well as a departmental and University-wide commitment to having a broad-based athletic program that strives for excellence across the board.

Yes, that's sounds a bit trite, but it's not. It's genuine.

The all-time record for Ivy titles in an academic year is 15, which Princeton achieved in 2010-11. There are still 11 Ivy League championships remaining to be crowned in 2015-16, and TigerBlog would say that Princeton has a shot at 15, though it would take a lot to go right.

Still, getting to 10 is incredible. It's not just something that happens. It takes a lot of effort.

As for the women's tennis team, the championship won Sunday was not an easy one.

When you think of the sports in which the Ivy League is best top to bottom, this year it's probably women's tennis. All eight teams are ranked in the top 75, and every league match was basically a toss-up.

Princeton, as TB said Monday, won the title at 5-2, marking the first time in league history that a women's tennis champ had two losses. Also, this was the first time that the last place team (in this case, three teams at 2-5) didn't go 0-7 or 1-6.

For Princeton that makes three straight outright women's tennis championships. For head coach Laura Granville, she joins Zoltan Dudas (women's fencing), Kristen Holmes-Winn (field hockey), Will Green (men's golf), Rob Orr (men's swimming/diving), Fred Samara (men's track and field), Peter Farrell (women's track and field), Courtney Banghart (women's basketball) and Susan Teter (women's swimming and diving) as current Princeton head coaches who have won at least three straight outright Ivy titles in their careers.

As for teams that are on a current streak of at least three straight Ivy League outright championships, TigerBlog thinks this is the complete list: Princeton women's tennis, Princeton field hockey, Cornell wrestling, Columbia baseball, Columbia men’s tennis, Harvard women’s golf, Harvard women's indoor track & field.

So that sort of puts the women's tennis streak into some historical context.

Oh, and TigerBlog wanted to give a shout out to his broadcasting colleagues in the Office of Athletic Communications.

This past weekend, three members of the OAC staff (not including TigerBlog) were called into broadcasting duty. There was Cody Chrusciel, one of the video dudes, who is also doubling as the play-by-play man for Princeton men's lacrosse. He also did softball on the Ivy League Digital Network Sunday.

Cody at least is an experienced broadcaster. And a really, really good one. He could probably make a career of the broadcasting piece alone.

It was the first thing TigerBlog noticed about Cody on his interview here. His voice. He's a natural.

Then there were the other two OAC'ers who got behind the mic this weekend.

One was Kristy McNeil, who never before had done any broadcasting. She jumped on with Jeff O'Connor to do the women's lacrosse game on the ILDN and ESPN3.

Originally, TigerBlog was going to do the color commentary and Kristy was going to do stats, but she wanted to try the broadcasting end. And she did really well. She kept it simple. Talked about the teams. Didn't try to be too shtick-y.

It was an excellent debut.

The other broadcaster/communications person was Andrew Borders, who at least had done some games in college, at UCLA, a long time ago. Andrew jumped on to do softball on the ILDN Saturday.

Oh, he also did stats and public address at the same time. That's pretty impressive, no?

Hey, the key word is "communications," right?

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