Thursday, October 27, 2016

Road Games

TigerBlog is heading to Portugal Saturday.

He's never been there before. He's been to 16 other European countries, though never to England, France or Italy, which he thinks is pretty rare.

His favorite European city so far is Dublin, Ireland. Will he like Lisbon more? He'll let you know next week.

This will be TigerBlog's third international trip with the men's lacrosse team. The first was in 2008, when the team went to Spain and Ireland. The second was four years ago, when the trip was to Costa Rica.

Princeton will play three games against the English national team while in Portugal. The Tigers played the English twice in Spain and won both, by scores of 9-8 and 9-7.

The first half of the men's trip will be in the Algarve, a southern coastal area of Portugal. Among the planned events is a zipline that goes from Spain to Portugal, over a river that separates the two.

It's actually more than just going from one country to another. It's going from one time zone to another, as the Spanish side is an hour ahead of the Portugese side, which means you're going backwards in time as you ride.

TigerBlog has never ziplined. He's been to ziplining places, in Costa Rica and most recently the Poconos. He's never really wanted to try it, what with the whole being afraid of open heights thing and all. If he's ever going to do it, though, this would be the time.

While the men's team is in Portugal, the women's team will also be traveling, though a lot more. Princeton's women leave tomorrow and head first to Amsterdam, where they will play the Dutch national team. After that, it's on to South Africa, where the bulk of the trip will be spent in Capetown.

There's also a third team that will be traveling internationally during fall break. The women's squash team will be spending the week in Greece.

TigerBlog's trip will require some creative packing.

TB hates to overpack, but he has to be ready for a bunch of possibilities. There's the ocean and the city. There are temperatures that may get into the high 70s but also may dip into the low 40s. There's a chance of rain midweek.

Challenging, no? Can he make it through the whole trip with one pair of shoes?

The bus to the airport leaves Caldwell Field House Saturday afternoon, meaning TigerBlog can see one of his favorite events of any Ivy League athletic calendar, Heps cross country, which will be on West Windsor Fields Saturday, with the women's race at 11 and the men at noon.

The cross country races are the only home events this weekend, as almost everyone is on the road, especially in Ithaca, where there will be football, field hockey and two soccer games at Cornell.

The women's hockey team plays its third straight game in the city of Providence. The Tigers swept Providence in the first two games of the season; now they go back to take on Brown tomorrow and Yale Saturday in New Haven. The men's team opens its season tomorrow night at Michigan State.

Where else are Princeton teams going to be? Oh yeah. Men's golf is in Hawaii. And men's water polo is at Iona and St. Francis of Brooklyn.

The women's volleyball team is Dartmouth tomorrow night and Harvard Saturday.

Princeton is on quite a roll in women's volleyball. Princeton won its final seven regular season matches last year, and then, after falling to Harvard in the Ivy playoff for the NCAA bid, has now won its first eight of this year.

More than just the wins, Princeton has won seven straight matches by 3-0 scores. The only league team to win a game off the Tigers was Penn in the opener, a match Princeton won 3-2. Since then, it's been a run of 3-0s, including this past Friday against the Quakers.

The current standings show Princeton at 8-0, followed by Yale at 6-2 and Columbia at 5-3. Harvard is next, at 4-4.

Clearly Princeton is playing with some momentum and some margin for error. On the other hand, things can change very quickly, especially the closer to the finish line the race gets.

TigerBlog will almost surely bring his "Princeton Volleyball" longsleeve dri-fit shirt on the his trip. The orange one. Very comfortable.

He also has an older longsleeve dri-fit that says "England Lacrosse" on it, a gift from an English coach back in 2008.

That one will definitely make the cut for this trip.

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