Tuesday, September 10, 2019

No. 1, Again

TigerBlog forgot to mention one really funny moment from the U.S. Open men's final that he watched Sunday.

Actually, it was during the post-match interviews. If you saw the match, you know that those interviews took place more than five hours after the start between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev, a match won by Nadal in five amazing sets.

When it ended, there was a tribute on the stadium videoboard to Nadal and his now-19 Grand Slam wins. Then there were interviews with the players, and Medvedev, just 23 and playing in his first Grand Slam final, essentially said this: "I was watching the videoboard and thinking that if would have won, what would they have shown?"

Medvedev was really impressive during the match, never giving up at all, even down two sets and a break and appearing to be finished. He was even more impressive after, with his composure, humor and humility when he apologized for his unsportsmanlike behavior earlier in the tournament.

He can be TB's new favorite tennis player.

Medvedev is now the fourth-ranked tennis player in the world. Princeton? No. 1 again.

The annual U.S. News and World Report rankings of America's best colleges and universities was released yesterday, and once again Princeton is ranked No. 1. It's an annual thing around here - now nine straight years - but it's also one that should never be taken for granted.

Princeton was ranked No. 1 in best in the categories of National Universities, Best Value and Best Undergraduate Teaching. That's a really good trifecta.

Here's part of what the magazine has to say about Princeton:
Princeton students have the flexibility to shape dynamic academic programs and independent projects that prepare them for leadership and lifelong learning. Through its groundbreaking financial aid program, Princeton ensures that all qualified students who are accepted can afford to attend the University.

Those are good starting spots for a university.

TigerBlog was asked yesterday what he likes most about working here, and he said the same thing he always does. It's the people, especially the athletes.

While that's true, the University itself also plays into it. This has been a great place to come to work every day, knowing that it's a place of excellence, one with a reputation literally around the world for being an extraordinarily special institution.

TigerBlog's alma mater, Penn, is sixth. Or, as TB looks at it, six times lower than his long-time employer.

While not quite ranked No. 1, the fifth-ranked Princeton field hockey team had itself a pretty good weekend to kick off its season.

Princeton opened its season with a pair of games in Chapel Hill, first against No. 1 UNC and then against No. 10 Wake Forest. Princeton split, falling 4-3 to Carolina after building a 3-1 lead and then defeating Wake 2-1 in OT after trailing 1-0 early.

The game against Wake Forest featured a rarity in field hockey, and it came at a huge moment.

The Demon Deacons scored first, early in the second quarter. It took TB a little time to realize that field hockey was now playing four 15-minute quarters, as opposed to two halves.

It was 1-0 at the half before Hannah Davey tied it for the Tigers in the third. It stayed 1-1 into overtime - and fortunately for the Tigers, there was no football game on the adjacent field that required fireworks (see Temple-Maine at Kent State for more details).

Princeton would win on Ali McCarthy's goal six minutes into the second 7v7 OT period. The key moment came one overtime earlier, though, when Tiger goalie Grace Baylis made a sprawling save on something that is usually automatic to keep the game going.

As usual, Princeton is shying away from no one, with a schedule that includes seven of the other top 10 teams in the country. The next five games are all non-league games against Top 25 teams, beginning this weekend with visits from No. 22 Albany and No. 9 Penn State.

Princeton is in Year 4 under Carla Tagliente. In her first three years she has a pair of Final Four appearances. There was nothing from this past weekend to suggest that a third would be unrealistic.

That's for later in the year though. In the meantime, if you're looking for a game that moves at a lightning pace at a beautiful venue, come check out the Tigers on Bedford Field.

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