Friday, May 6, 2022

Tournament Time

Before TigerBlog gets into this weekend's Ivy League women's lacrosse tournament, he invites you to read THIS story.

Actually, it's more accurate to say he implores you to read it. 

The subject is mental health, and the story talks to former Princeton great Crista Samaras about her struggles and even her contemplations of suicide. It's a chilling story, especially if you know Samaras, who is a bundle of non-stop energy and positivity. Depression? Crista? 

The bottom line is that it can be anyone. Crista's message is to get help, to realize that you're not alone, to be aware that so many are feeling the way you are. 

Here are two quotes from the piece (and they're not even the most brutal):

“I never use the word ‘fearless,’” Samaras explains. “We don't want our girls to be fearless. Being afraid is a natural human reaction, and trying to minimize it creates unrealistic expectations.”

And this one:

“I sat for hours in the freezing rain on the golf course in Princeton, New Jersey, purposely exposed to the elements, hoping they'd kill me. Because then I wouldn't have to kill myself.”

As TB said, it's chilling. Given the recent instances of highly successful Division I women athletes who actually have committed suicide, it's also a subject that needs all the attention it can get.

It's hard to segue from that into the games on the field, so TB won't even try. He'll just get into it.

First, there is the Princeton men's team. The Tigers will not be playing in the Ivy League tournament this weekend, having tied for fourth while losing out on a tiebreaker. Why are the Tigers not in? Here's why: Princeton, Penn and Harvard tied for fourth, all going 1-1 against each other. The next tiebreaker is comparing how the teams did to the top seed, which didn't break the tie. It was only because Penn beat second-seeded Cornell and Princeton and Harvard did not that Penn took the fourth spot.

On the bright side for the men, they're a near-lock to hear their names called on Selection Sunday, which happens to be this Sunday. Princeton has the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country, having played seven of the top 10 RPI teams (and they're one of the other three).

Yes, the men would love to be in the Ivy tournament. At the same time, a week off after a brutally challenging schedule isn't a bad thing. 

As for the Princeton women, they're the host school. It'll be Cornell-Yale at 4 this afternoon, followed at 7 by Princeton-Harvard. The winners meet Sunday for the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid.

Like the men, the Princeton women seem to be in pretty good shape to get into the NCAA tournament no matter what goes on this weekend on Sherrerd Field, but of course you never want to leave anything to chance. Princeton won the Ivy League championship last weekend with a 17-14 win over Yale, making it seven straight Ivy titles.

Also, it's a joint selection show this year, with the men's and women's brackets to be revealed Sunday at 9.

As Wednesday of this week came and went, it was the first time since April 13 that the Tigers didn't have a midweek game. They were a busy group in April, with three straight weeks of playing Saturday-Wednesday, for a total of seven games in 22 days. 

Princeton also played six of those seven games against Ivy opponents. For the entire time, it was chasing Yale, trying to match wins with the Bulldogs until they reached their season finale, with both unbeaten. That's how it played out. 

You could not have asked for a better weekend last weekend for the women's lacrosse team. It was a big win in the winner-take-all game; had the Tigers lost that game, the tournament would be at Yale instead. 

It was Senior Day and Chris Sailer Day, as TB wrote about earlier this week. There were alums everywhere. It was a big Princeton women's lacrosse party.

Now the task is to move past all of those emotions. At this time of year, pages need to be turned quickly. This is May, which makes it tournament time.

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