Thursday, May 9, 2019

Senior Day II

TigerBlog had a very traumatic experience the other day.

He was going to ride his bike, so he opened the door to take it outside. And what happened? A bird flew inside.

Now what do you do? This isn't like a dog or cat, which you can sort of reason with. Or a spider or something, which you can easily catch.

This is a bird, who is trying to get out, only the way it's trying to do is to fly 1,000 miles an hour randomly all over the place, since it's scared out of its mind. There's no reasoning with it at this point.

Not that TigerBlog didn't try. What do you say to a scared bird? First he tried to whistle. That didn't work. Then he thought about calling his colleague Kim Meszaros, who is a bird expert, not to mention someone who could truly appreciate how freaked out the whole thing was making TigerBlog. Then he figured she'd be laughing too hard to be of any help.

Left to his own, TB was able to follow the bird into the bathroom, where it calmly sat perched on the shower curtain rod. As the bird watched, TB opened the window and took out the screen, only to find a dead wasp, by the way.

Then he slowly backed away from the window and shower, and then the bird took one more look at him, rolled its little bird eyes and flew out to freedom.

Then he rode his bike. Well, after he bleached everything in the bathroom.

Somewhere in there is a good segue into the NCAA women's lacrosse tournament, but TB is still too flustered right now to come up with it.

Instead he'll get right into it.

There's a doubleheader on Sherrerd Field tomorrow, beginning at 4 when Loyola takes on Richmond and then continuing at 7 when Princeton takes on Wagner. The winners meet Sunday at 1 for a trip to the quarterfinals.

Princeton and Wagner have never met. Wagner advanced to this game after defeating Fairfield 15-13 in the opening round Tuesday.
Princeton is making its 27th NCAA tournament appearance. The postseason resume includes 11 Final Fours, seven championship game appearances and three titles - 1994, 2002, 2003.

Princeton last played at home nearly a month ago, when the Tigers hosted Harvard on Senior Day. Princeton won that game 14-12 to run its winning streak to four straight, and now it's continued to grow.

In fact, the Tigers two wins at the Ivy League tournament last weekend - 11-6 over Cornell in the semifinals and 13-9 over Penn in the final - stretched that streak to nine games, the longest by Princeton since the 2008 team won its first 10.

Speaking of Princeton's seniors, this is an extraordinary group of them. There are seven seniors, and all seven of them are major contributors. That's a rarity.

Of those seven, four have started every game this year - Elizabeth George, Nonie Andersen, Alex Argo, Kathryn Hallett. The other three - Julia Haney, Izzy Mangan, Allie Rogers - have all played in every game, with 17 starts, 42 goals and 32 assists between them.

If you add in the other four, the total for the senior class comes to 125 goals and 63 assists, and that includes the fact that Andersen and Argo are defenders.

Princeton actually has a pretty good mix of this level of experience with underclassmen who have made huge contributions. Princeton had four first-team All-Ivy selections - two seniors (George and Andersen) and two sophomores (Kyla Sears and Sam Fish), as well as five Ivy League tournament selections (seniors George and Andersen and sophomores Sears, Fish and Mary Murphy).

It's an entire team of balance, with strengths all over the field, coming from all four classes. As the Ivy League tournament championship game reached its critical point last weekend, tied 6-6 at halftime, it was freshman Lillian Stout who came on to win seven of the last 11 draws after Penn had won 10 of 13 in the first half.

Still, having this kind of a senior class is invaluable.

At one point, Princeton was 5-3, with consecutive losses to Brown and Maryland, and faced with the prospect of having to win out to get a share of the Ivy League title, including four on the road. Having a group that has been through everything before makes navigating something like that easier.

And so now that group gets its reward. It's a chance to play at home again, this time with really high stakes.

It's a Senior Day II, one that has been well-earned. 

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