Wednesday, January 12, 2022

A Busy News Day

Suppose, for a moment, that you wrote a blog every day about Princeton Athletics.

Where would you start today? There was some big news that broke yesterday, and there's a big women's basketball game today.

For instance, it was announced yesterday that Princeton will be represented by two players on the Canadian women's Olympic hockey team. The MLS draft was held, and senior Kevin O'Toole was selected in the second round, with the 34th overall pick, by NYCFC.

Those are both huge stories.

How about this: TigerBlog will mention the women's basketball game and then get back to the other news. 

The Princeton women will take on Towson this evening at 6 at Jadwin Gym. With the current attendance limitations, only faculty, staff and students in the University testing protocol will be admitted. As a result, you definitely want to watch this one on ESPN+ with the great Jon Mozes and great Dei Lynam.

This game is the second of a four-games-in-10-days stretch and the only one of those games that isn't an Ivy League game. In fact, it's a rare non-league game after the first week of January, though this might become more normal with the new Ivy League schedule that has weekends with one game, not two.

If you don't feel like going back through the women's basketball year-by-year results, do you want to know when the last time Princeton women's basketball played a non-league game after it opened its Ivy season? You have to go back to 2004 (unless you count the NCAA tournament, in which case it's happened a lot in the last 12 years).

The opponent tonight is not just a schedule filler. These Tigers (the Towson ones) are 11-1 on the year with a NET of 71 and some really, really impressive wins on their resume. It should be a really good one.

Whatever happens tonight, it'll be a quick turnaround for Princeton, who gets on a bus Friday to play at Brown Saturday and then comes back to make a shorter trip, to Penn for the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day game.

If you want more on the women's basketball team, click HERE (game notes) and HERE (Carla Berube podcast).

And that's the game tonight.

As for the other news yesterday, Sarah Fillier and Claire Thompson were named to the Canadian women's hockey Olympic team, which sort of guarantees them either a gold or silver medal. This will be the seventh time there has been a women's Olympic ice hockey tournament, and Canada currently stands at four gold medals and two silvers. 

The United States has won the other two golds, along with three silvers and a bronze. The only time Canada and the United States have not met in the final was back in 2002, the second tournament, when Sweden defeated the U.S. in the semifinals before losing to Canada in the final.

Fillier and Thompson were teammates on Princeton's ECAC championship team in 2020, Fillier's sophomore year and Thompson's senior year. They were also teammates on the Canadian team last summer that won the gold at the World Championships. They've been playing together on the Canadian team all fall.

The Games in China begin Feb. 2. The first game for Canada is the next day, against Switzerland, in Group A. The championship game will be Feb. 17.

Fillier and Thompson are the first two Princetonians to be assured of being in the Winter Olympics. There will almost surely be others to follow. It's an exciting time.

It was also exciting to hear the news about O'Toole, who led Princeton to a 7-0-0 men's soccer record last fall while earning the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year award for the second time. 

This is from the story:  

"Princeton Soccer is thrilled for Kevin and his family," said head coach Jim Barlow. "It has been his dream to play professional soccer after his time at Princeton. He put that dream on hold for a year to come back to his team and he led us remarkably during our run to an undefeated Ivy League season and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. He's been a first-class player, student and leader during his Tiger career and it's awesome to see his efforts rewarded with a chance to play for NYCFC."

Over his career, O'Toole appeared in 58 matches, scoring 15 goals and adding 18 assists -- the fourth-most assists in a career by a Princeton player.

TB wrote about O'Toole late in the season. He learned to play soccer in Poland, where he lived for two formative years, and he came back to Princeton after taking a Covid gap year to make that run that the team eventually would. He is an outstanding young man, the exact kind you want representing your athletic department.

Now he has a chance to play professionally, near his North Jersey home on top of that. It was great news to hear yesterday, when there was plenty of good news to go around.

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