Thursday, January 11, 2018

Seven Plus Five Equals Eleven

Here's one last thing about the Alabama-Georgia game the other night.

TigerBlog went to both school's athletic websites the day after the game. The lead story on Alabama's page was obviously about the national championship. In fact, there was a football celebration splash page before you ever got to the main page.

Georgia? Its lead story was about the SEC gymnastics player of the week. After that were men's and women's basketball preview stories. The football game was already fourth.

Alabama, of course, defeated Georgia on the field. Georgia, though, seems to have an edge on Alabama in one are - number of people listed as employees on the staff directory for football. Georgia has 39 people listed. Alabama lists 34.

Where do they find the office space?

Speaking of office space, it's been more than two years since the Office of Athletic Communications relocated down to E level, next to the wrestling room, down the hall from the Princeton Varsity Club weightroom.

As TB has said, almost nobody comes by just to visit. Even fewer will now that Luis Nicolao is no longer the water polo coach. If anyone was a regular, it was Luis.

Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan announced yesterday that Derek Ellingson would be the interim head coach of the men's team and Becca Dorst will be the interim head coach of the women's team. A search for Luis' successor will be held in the spring.

The women's water polo team opens the season in Arizona the first weekend of February. Between now and then, there's a busy weekend and then the annual January shut down of athletics due to first semester exams.

In fact, there will be no Princeton sporting events between this Sunday, which is the 14th, and Saturday the 27th.

If you want to take advantage of the window you have to see the Tigers play right now, well, you're in luck. By TigerBlog's count, there are 11 teams playing this weekend - men's and women's squash, basketball, hockey and track and field, wrestling, men's volleyball and women's swimming and diving.

Of those 11 teams, there are seven who will play at home and five who will be on the road. Wait, doesn't that add up to 12?

Yes. And that's because one of those teams will be doing something extraordinary, something that can't possibly happen too often in college athletics.

The wrestling team will travel the eight miles down Route 206 to take on Rider at 1. Four hours later, the Tigers will be in Dillon Gym, wrestling against Franklin & Marshall. That's right. One away match. One home match. One day.

The others on the road will be the men's hockey team (at Harvard, at Dartmouth), the women's swimming and diving team (at Villanova) and the two track teams (the meet is on Staten Island).

For home events, it actually starts today with the women's squash match against Trinity. That starts at 1, by the way. This weekend, the men's and women's squash teams will be home against Brown (Saturday) and Yale (Sunday).

If you haven't seen men's freshman Youssef Ibrahim, then you're missing out. Ibrahim is from Cairo. Perhaps you remember another Princeton men's squash player from Cairo? His name was Yasser El Halaby, and he was a four-time national individual champion.

Who else is home this weekend?

The men's volleyball team, as TB mentioned yesterday, hosts Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne tomorrow night at 7 in Dillon Gym.

The women's hockey team is home tomorrow at 6 against Brown and 3 tomorrow against Yale. Princeton started the season at 3-8-2 but now has gone 3-2-1 in its last six, including a win over No. 5 Cornell last weekend.

Princeton enters the weekend seventh in the ECAC. Yale is in 10th; Brown is in 12th.

Lastly, there is basketball. As an aside, basketball is the only sport this weekend on campus that requires a paid ticket. The rest are free.

There are two doubleheaders in Jadwin Gym this weekend.

Princeton will host Columbia tomorrow, with the women's game at 5:30 and the men's game at 8. Then, Saturday, it's Cornell for two, the women at 4:30 and the men at 7.

And then, when all that is over, exams will begin.

So, as TB said, take advantage of the next few days. Eleven teams. Seven home. Five away.

That adds up to a very busy weekend.

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