Monday, April 23, 2018

Championships For Women's Golf And Women's Tennis

TigerBlog starts today with men's lacrosse. Navy men's lacrosse.

Actually, it's not a men's lacrosse story. It' s a heartwarming story.

It's actually one of the nicest moments TigerBlog has ever seen in a sporting event.

Navy played at Syracuse Saturday. The Mids had the lead for most of the first three quarters, trailed by two in the fourth and then tied it with 9. 5 seconds to play. That set up the final drama and ultimately the heartwarming part.

The two face-off men in the game were brothers. Joe Varello took all 27 face-offs for Navy. Dan Varello took all 27 for Syracuse. Joe is the older one.

Joe would win 16 of them, including the last one. It set up this (and you need to watch it all the way until the end):
Is that great or what? If it doesn't touch you, then you need to rethink some things.

And that's all TigerBlog has to say about lacrosse today. He'll be back with more lax another day.

For today, he wants to talk about Ivy League championships won by Princeton this weekend.

Princeton won two Ivy titles, in women's golf and women's tennis. They are the seventh and eighth Ivy championships of the academic year for the Tigers.

As a reminder, Princeton has also won Ivy titles in 2017-18 in field hockey, women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's cross country, men's indoor track and field and women's basketball.

The women's tennis team won the Ivy title for the fourth time in five years with wins over Harvard Saturday and Dartmouth yesterday. The Tigers went into the weekend at 5-0 in the league, tied with Harvard, which meant that the match Saturday wasn't quite winner-take-all but might as well have been.

Princeton and Harvard could have finished in a tie for the championship had the winner of Saturday's match lost yesterday and the loser of that match won yesterday. Regardless, the winner Saturday was headed to the NCAA tournament.

With that on the line, Harvard started out the day winning the doubles point, which meant Princeton needed to win four of the six singles matches to get the team win. And that's what the Tigers did, with wins by two sophomores (Clare McKee, Gaby Pollner), a freshman (Nathalie Rodilosso) and a senior (Katrine Steffensen).

You can see a video of the celebration HERE.

Princeton then defeated Dartmouth yesterday 5-2 to wrap up a perfect run through the league. That is not easy to do in women's tennis. 

Princeton head coach Laura Granville is one of the best collegiate women's tennis players ever, with two NCAA singles championships when she played at Stanford. She was also a long-time touring pro.

This is her sixth year at Princeton. She is completely humble and understated, always with a smile and a sincere "how are you?", and she and assistant coach Elizabeth Begley just continue to churn out championship teams year after year. And run a program that represents all of the good things that Princeton Athletics special.

As for the women's golf team, Erika DeSanty has a lot of the same friendly qualities that Granville does. DeSanty is in her fourth season as the Princeton head coach. She led Princeton to its first Ivy title in 12 years when the 2017 Tigers sprinted away from the league, defeating second-place Harvard by 31 strokes. That was just one off the record for the largest margin of victory in Ivy women's golf history.

This year, it was Princeton in first and Harvard in second, though it was quite a bit closer than it was a year ago. Like, tied after 54-holes close.

Princeton and Harvard were tied for second heading into Sunday's third round, and they were tied for first after it. Both teams shot a six-over 294 Sunday, going from three back of Brown to six ahead of Brown in the process.

And did you see the round-by-round scores?

Harvard shot a 313 for the first round; Princeton shot a 314. That's a one-shot difference. Then, in Round 2, it was Princeton 303, Harvard 304.

So Princeton lost by a shot in the first round and then won by a shot in the second round. Then Princeton and Harvard tied in the third round.

TigerBlog finds that extraordinary.

It set up a playoff for the championship, with four golfers from each team on the same hole. Amazingly, two teams that were inseparable for 54 holes were then separated by six shots on the 55th, as Princeton's four shot two-under and the Harvard four shot four over.

Championship to Princeton.

Actually, for this weekend, it's two championships for Princeton.

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