Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Two Games, Two Performances

TigerBlog posted the No. 10 picture in the countdown of the best pictures of the year, and every time he looked at it, he thought he spelled "Jaimie McDonell" wrong.

No matter what, it just didn't look right.

It's a big fear, spelling names incorrectly. Especially when it's hard to delete it and start over, like when it's been on Instagram for awhile.

The picture with McDonell shows her as she celebrates her goal 29 seconds into the women's hockey team's NCAA tournament game against Minnesota, who would go on to the win the national title. The picture of McDonell is great by itself, though it gets additional points from the shocked looks on the Minnesota fans behind her.

Picture No. 9, also put up yesterday, was the last one of Peter Farrell as women's track and field coach. It's a classic shot of Peter, who is clearly talking to everyone and no one at the same time, while everyone else in the picture simply smiles wildly.

The countdown of the top pictures is part of this week's "Year In Review" theme. It'll end here Thursday and Friday with the top stories of the year in Princeton Athletics.

The key word in the review is "stories." It's not the top games, top moments, top performances. Just the top stories.

That's for later in the week.

For today, TigerBlog did want to mention two games and two individual performances that really stood out for 2016.

He'll start with the games.

The first was Game 3 of the Ivy League baseball championship series between Princeton and Yale. Game 1 had gone to Yale with a late rally. Game 2 went to Princeton behind a pitching gem from Chad Powers.

And that meant the winner of Game 3 would head to the NCAA tournament.

Yale led 1-0 after getting a run off Cameron Mingo in the top of the first, and it stayed that way through the bottom of the ninth. That's when Princeton came up with a rally that TigerBlog is pretty sure has never been equaled.

It went like this: leadoff single, wild pitch, walk, hit batter, another hit batter, strikeout, wild pitch. Final score, Princeton 2, Yale 1.

In other words, Princeton scored two runs and made one out in an inning in which it only put the ball in play once, rallying in the process to win the league championship - and earning what would become a trip to Lafayette, Louisiana, for the NCAA regional.

Game 3? It was a wild scene, and not just because of the final pitch.

The other game was last month in the NCAA field hockey tournament. It was Princeton against Virginia at Penn State, in the NCAA quarterfinals.

A day earlier, Princeton had knocked the home team out of the tournament. A few days before that Princeton had gotten an at-large bid after a season that looked lost after back-to-back OT losses in the Ivy League.

Instead, Princeton took full advantage of the second chance. First it was the win over Penn State by a 2-1 score. Then it was the game against UVa.

Princeton led 1-0 and 2-1, but Virginia answered both times. The second time came a little more than two minutes after Princeton had gone up 2-1, tying it up with 15:50 left.

Turns out that was more than enough time. In fact, Princeton only needed 15:49 to get the game-winner, which came from Sophia Tornetta with one second to play. The NCAA tournament is filled with buzzer-beaters, just not the one in field hockey.

So those were the two games.

As for the two performances, of course one of them would involve John Lovett. Honestly, you could pick a random game from this past football season by Lovett and have it be the top performance of the year.

TigerBlog isn't the only one who noticed that Lovett was having a ridiculous season. Lovett was, among things, the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-America.

The game that TB will go with is the one against Cornell. Maybe you remember that one?

If you don't, here's Lovett's line: 10 for 11 passing for 194 yards and four touchdowns; six carries, 47 yards, two touchdowns; two receptions, 19 yards, another touchdown. Added all up, and it came to seven touchdowns in a 56-7 Tiger win.

Seven touchdowns? That's nuts.

So that was Lovett.

The other was Devin Cannady at Columbia.

Princeton trailed that game by five with 29 seconds left in regulation and by seven again in overtime before winning 88-83. Interestingly, that would be the same score Princeton would beat Columbia by at Jadwin Gym later in the season.

In the game in New York, Princeton would have been done had it not been for Cannady. What did he do?

TigerBlog will quote himself from when he wrote about it back in Febuary:

Cannady finished with 23 points, of which eight came in the final 25 seconds of regulation in what was a surreal stretch of basketball. It started when Columbia led 73-68 with 29 seconds left after a pair of made free throws.
Then Cannady needed only four seconds to go end to end and float in a shot to make it a three-point game again. Then, after Columbia made one and missed one to go up 74-70, Cannady caught the ball in transition, took a step back to make sure he was outside the arc and the swished a three, making it 74-73 with 11 seconds left.

Columbia then scored on a layup, making it 76-73. Was it over? Hardly.

That's when Cannady made his most startling, did-he-just-do-that play, dribbling up and without flinching launching one from way beyond the three-point line. Swish. Game tied, to overtime.

That was eight points in 25 seconds. Can anyone top that?

Anyway, those would be the two games and two individual performances that stand out most to TB from the year 2016.

Feel free to disagree.

No comments: