Wednesday, November 30, 2022

TAGD Thanks And Tip-Off Tonight

Another TAGD has come and gone, and once again Princeton Athletics — and more specifically, Princeton's athletes — have been the beneficiary of some incredible generosity.

On behalf of the entire department, TigerBlog would like to say "thank you." For the leaderboards and to see which Friends' Groups won each division, you can go to the TAGD website HERE.

As with every other TAGD, yesterday's event was filled with fun and laughs, much of which was capture on social media.

There was this, for instance: 

The field hockey team had a great social media day. What else would you expect from Gracie McGowan (with help from assistant coach Sarah Mansfield).

In addition, TigerBlog enjoyed what the baseball team put out as well, especially this blooper reel, which is really, really well done:

There were all kinds of social media successes. These were just two of them. Pick a team, and you'll get a feel for how much this all means to them.

Again, to remind you of what TB said yesterday, these are more than donations. They're investments in the future of the people who compete here.

Beyond that, the success of TAGD is a sign of faith in the direction of the current programs, a message of approval for the athletes - and a reaffirmation of what the Princeton experience meant to so many people who have competed here through the years. Princeton Athletics clearly appreciates it.

With another TAGD completed, there's a time for everyone involved in making it happen to exhale a bit, at least until 7 tonight, when the men's basketball team has a home game against Cairn. If you're wondering about the visitors, they're making a short drive from Lower Bucks County to Princeton.

It's a home game for Princeton, obviously, but it also comes on the heels of a very, very long ride, this one from London back to New Jersey after the London Basketball Classic over Thanksgiving weekend. It's a challenge that has never before happened for the program, the first game back after a Transatlantic flight. 

The game tonight will be a matchup of Tigers and Highlanders, as Cairn's teams are known. The Highlanders are one of the better defensive and rebounding teams in Division III, ranking in the top 20 nationally in both. Point guard Jesse Rivera, a first-team All-Colonial States Athletic Conference selection a year ago, is seventh in Division III in assists per game at 7.2.

The Highlanders reached the league championship game a year ago, falling 77-72 to Wilson College. 

As is to be expected, Cairn will be at a size disadvantage, with no player taller than 6-7 and only four players taller than 6-4. Princeton's leading rebounder is Matt Allocco, who himself is 6-4. Allocco averages 7.2 rebounds per game, which is actually more than last year's leader for the season, Ethan Wright, who 1) averaged 6.9 for the year and 2) is also 6-4.

The game tonight starts a run of games either in Jadwin (five) or not that far away from Jadwin (two) for the men's basketball team during the next month plus a day. The Tigers will start December with a short drive to Drexel Saturday, with tip for that game at 2.

Then it will be home against Monmouth (Dec. 6) and Lafayette (Dec. 10) before heading to Kean College in Union Dec. 13 to take on Iona, with home games against Delaware (Dec. 16), Kean (Dec. 23) and then Harvard in the Ivy opener on New Year's Eve. 

By the way, speaking of the Tigers and basketball, TB was briefly watching the Georgia Tech-Iowa men's game last night on ESPN. And what was the first thing said about the Yellow Jackets on their first possession? 

"They run that Princeton offense at you."

Ah, did Pete Carril hate that. And yes, if he was watching the game in heaven's sports bar, he probably frowned at the term, and smiled at the offense that seconds later got a layup.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022


For information on TAGD or to make a gift, click HERE.

TigerBlog mentioned yesterday that the men's basketball team won a pair of games at the London Classic last week.

In addition to the on-court success, the event spoke volumes to something else about Princeton Athletics. You can see for yourself:

Wherever Princeton goes to play, in whatever sport it is, there are always Tigers there. Whether they travel or live there, whether they played for Princeton or are just fans, whether they are Tiger parents or Tiger alums, they are always there.

TigerBlog has never seen an institution that generates the love and loyalty the way Princeton does. From his viewpoint, that applies even more so to Princeton Athletics.

Today is the ninth Tiger Athletics Give Day — TAGD, as former Friends' Group coordinator Diana Dreyfuss named it in 2014. Back then, it began as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first Princeton Athletic event, a baseball game in 1864 between Princeton and Williams.  

TAGD has grown into a stunning show of Princeton loyalty and support. A year ago, Princeton had 6,624 donors who contributed an extraordinary $3,741,823, raising the all-time total to just short of $20 million. 

Maybe stunning isn't the right word. Stunning, after all, would suggest that this was unforeseen. As TB said, the loyalty and support that exists should never be stunning.

That loyalty, by the way, was probably most on display during the pandemic, when TAGD endured and even thrived, something that said "hey, even when there are no games to be played, there is still a Princeton Athletics and that is something that is still hugely important."

This support is not to be taken for granted, ever. 

TAGD is a day of fun for everyone involved, especially the coaches and the athletes. It's a social media festival, and there have been some really, really creative posts that have been produced by the teams through the years.

These are seriously competitive people, of course. They don't want to lose at anything, whether that's against the outside opponents who make up the schedules or, in this case, against their intramural Tiger rivals.

More than anything else, though, TigerBlog has always seen TAGD as something a bit deeper. To him, this is more of an investment, in the young people who represent Princeton now.

It's an investment in their experience. It's an investment in Education Through Athletics, and all of the benefits that come from that philosophy.

Because of the generous support, Princeton Athletics is able to provide the best possible experience. Because of that, the lessons that are learned through intercollegiate competition are taught. Because of that, a set of values that last a lifetime are reinforced.

With that background, Princeton's athletes then head out into the world to do their best, in their communities and globally. Every step of the way, they are reminded of what their experience as Tigers meant to their own personal growth and development. In fact, what they learned becomes more acute as time goes on.

That is why there is such loyalty in the first place. The ones who will be donating today lived this experience themselves and have seen the enormous benefits it has brought.

And so have fun today on TAGD. And thank you again for all that you do. 

This experience wouldn't be what it is without you.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Smile, Keller

Before TigerBlog talks about anything else, he wants to mention first that tomorrow is TAGD.

If you are new here, TAGD stands for "Tiger Athletics Give Day." It's a huge celebration for Princeton Athletics and everyone who has given such generous support through the years. 

TB will have much more on TAGD tomorrow. For now, you can click HERE for more information.

Elsewhere, how was your Thanksgiving? Do you head out early for Black Friday savings? 

Is it safe now to listen to Christmas music, or do you need to wait a few more days? 

Among all the wholesome Thanksgiving content that there was last week, this might have been the best, courtesy of the Instagram account of Ashley Madalon, the wife of head men's lacrosse coach Matt Madalon:

If you can't make that out, it's from kindergartener Waverly, the older Madalon daughter. It's her Thanksgiving wish list, and it goes in this order: Food, Dog, Mom and then something else that TB has narrowed to either "pots," "pets" or "Playstation 6." What it definitely does not say is "Dad."

How cute is that?

On more serious matters, there were some big moments in Princeton Athletics this weekend, most notably in DeNunzio Pool, where ninth-ranked Princeton hosted Fordham in the first round of the NCAA men's water polo tournament.

TB turned it on just as regulation was ending, with the score 9-9. As the teams were heading to overtime, there was a close-up shot of Princeton's No. 7, Keller Maloney as he leaned against one of the lane lines just before play restarted for the two three-minute OT periods.

What was he doing? Smiling. TB made a note of that. 

Then Keller got serious. First he scored to put Princeton on top 10-9 with a goal in the first OT. Then, after Fordham tied it, Maloney made a game-winning play when, with time running out, he didn't force a shot, instead making the extra pass to Roko Pozaric, who ripped in a shot with three seconds left to make the final 11-10.

Besides giving the Tigers a reason to smile, the win advanced Princeton to the quarterfinals against top-seeded USC Thursday at 8 Eastern from the University of California in Berkeley. It's a big ask of Princeton, who did not play USC during the regular season.

If you go by comparative scores, though, there's no reason to think Princeton won't give a good account of itself. For instance, both teams lost to UCLA by an 8-6 score (USC was 1-2 against the Bruins this season) and both beat Stanford (USC 19-14, Princeton 11-10).

Meanwhile, while the men's water polo team was competing in Princeton for the chance to head to the West Coast, the men's basketball team was competing in London, knowing it would return to Princeton after its two games there.

Princeton was part of the four-team London Basketball Classic, an event that gave the Tigers a chance to explore England, allowed reigning Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan a chance to return to his native country and presented the team with two very competitive games. When the team got back on the plane to come home, it had with it the championship trophy and the MVP trophy, which went to Evbuomwan.

Princeton started the tournament Thursday, which was not Thankgiving in Engand, which doesn't have an official Thanksgiving holiday. To get things started, Princeton turned around an early deficit to beat Army-West Point 74-66. 

After a day off Friday, which included watching the England-USA World Cup draw, the Tigers then came back Saturday and used a 12-0 second half run to take down Northeastern 56-54.

Princeton will be back in Jadwin Gym Wednesday to take on Cairn to start a run of six of its next eight games at home, a stretch that ends with the Ivy opener against Harvard on New Year's Eve afternoon. The two road games in that run are both within an hour of campus.

Before all that, though, don't forget about TAGD tomorrow. TB will be back with more on the subject tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving, With A Side Of All-Ivy

As you know, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

TigerBlog has included these thoughts on the holiday almost every year, other than last year, for reasons he'll get to in a minute:

As holidays go, you can't do much better than Thanksgiving. It's got it all, really: a huge meal (with turkey, no less), football, family, history (dates back to 1621), start of a four-day weekend for most people, leftovers. It's even a secular holiday, so every American can dive right in, regardless of religion.

The Lions and the Cowboys, obviously, always play at home on Thanksgiving, and the NFL has now added a third game (maybe a little too much). Beyond watching football, how many out there have played their own Thanksgiving football games, all of which, by the way, are named "the Turkey Bowl?"

The holiday may lag behind Christmas in terms of great Hollywood movies, and "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" is no match for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Still, there are some great moments in movies and TV shows around Thanksgiving.

Rocky and Adrian had their first date on Thanksgiving – "To you it's Thanksgiving; to me it's Thursday," Rocky said romantically – as did Meadow and Jackie Jr. on "The Sopranos" (it didn't quite work out as well as it did for Rocky and Adrian). "Everybody Loves Raymond" had two pretty good Thanksgiving episodes, the one where Marie makes a low-fat dinner and the one where Debra makes fish instead of turkey. As an aside, TigerBlog's Aunt Regina once made Cornish game hens instead of turkey, so he knows how they all felt. And of course, there was the Thanksgiving episode of "Cheers," which has the big food fight at the end.

The Woody Allen movie "Hannah and Her Sisters" starts and ends on two different Thanksgivings. "Miracle on 34th Street" is a Christmas movie, but it does start with the Thanksgiving parade in New York City.

And of course, there is the best of all Thanksgiving movies: "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." It'll make you laugh a lot and cry a little, and it ends on Thanksgiving.

TB wishes everyone a great holiday and hopes that maybe you take a few minutes to think about what you really are thankful for these days.

Why didn't he post this last year? It's because he wrote about how he ran into James Johnson, who was a senior linebacker on the football team, and shared with Johnson the news that he had been named first-team All-Ivy League.

Even a year later, the memory of that moment makes TB smile. You can read it HERE.

The 2022 All-Ivy League football team was announced yesterday, and Princeton had 16 players who were honored, including seven on first-team. One of the first-team picks was sophomore linebacker Liam Johnson, who along with wide receiver Andrei Iosivas and offensive lineman Henry Byrd were unanimous picks. 

You can read the entire story HERE. TB is really happy for Dylan Classi, whom TB figured might not be first-team because of the presence of Iosivas at the same position.

Liam Johnson is the younger brother of James Johnson, and they're both younger brothers of Tom Johnson, who was also a first-team All-Ivy League linebacker (in both 2017 and 2018). Liam's selection marks the first time in Princeton football history that three brothers have all been first-team All-Ivy.

The closest any other brothers have come would be the Garretts in the 1980s. Judd and Jason were both first-team picks, and John was second-team.

Beyond football, the first siblings who popped into TB's mind were the Reinprecht sisters, Sarah, Julia and Katie. They took the "three siblings named first-team All-Ivy" to another level, with 11 selections between them (four each for Katie and Julia and three for Sarah). 

Elsewhere, TB also thought of the Behncke family, who had three first-team All-Ivy soccer players at Princeton (brothers Griff and Matt, sister Emily). 

Are there others? There must be. TB will give it more thought.

First, though, he'd like to wish everyone the happiest and healthiest of Thanksgivings, even to the men's basketball team, who is in England and will play Army at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon and then will play again Saturday against either Northeastern or Manhattan. 

In England, tomorrow is not Thanksgiving. In fact, there is no official Thanksgiving holiday in the U.K.

The men's basketball games won't be streamed, but you can listen to Derek Jones HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving, Tigers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

In The ’56 Lounge

Lola Wheeler, a current senior, was a netball player in her native England before coming to Princeton. 

Eager to continue her athletic career, she decided to walk on to the women's open rowing team when she got here. She's been part of the program ever since.

Cosmo Iacavazzi is one the greatest athletes Princeton has ever had, a legendary football player on the great Tigers teams of the mid-1960s.

TigerBlog introduced them to each other Saturday afternoon in the Princeton Stadium Class of 1956 Lounge. As he did so, he couldn't help but think about what this meeting says about Princeton Athletics and what it has almost meant.

First, some background.

Lola emailed TB last week to talk about a project she was doing for a class. The basic idea is that she is writing about what it is like for highly competitive athletes when their athletic careers come to an end, whether that is on the college, professional or international level.

TB put her in touch with the first two people who came to mind, both of whom are Princeton alums who were former Olympians. The first was Donn Cabral, the 2012 NCAA steeplechase champion and two-time Olympic finalist whose running career has recently ended. The other was Cathy Corcione, a 1968 Olympic swimmer when she was only 15 who was one of Princeton's first women athletes (and a four-time individual national champion with the Tigers).

Beyond those two, the lounge Saturday figured to be a great place for Lola's research, since there would be a reception (organized by Associate Director of Athletics Kim Meszaros) there that figured to be teaming with former athletes. As it turned out, that was the case.

During the course of the game, Lola was able to talk to several former athletes, from different decades, different sports, different levels of competition. She got answers that were funny, serious, in-depth, heartfelt — often from the same people. 

At halftime, Cosmo walked past the two of them, and that's when TB introduced them. Here you had so much of what is great about Princeton Athletics, all in one really quick snapshot. 

You had two people for whom the ability to compete in sports has meant so much, and in Lola's case, that meant learning something completely new just to be able to continue her athletic career. You have two people whose athletic experience at Princeton has done so much to shape who they are.

And yet they have almost nothing in common. Princeton didn't have women when Iacavazzi played. Now it's been more than 50 years since women first competed. Cosmo is a Hall of Fame football player. Lola is a walk-on rower. Cosmo is from Scranton. Lola is from England. Cosmo graduated nearly 60 years ago. Lola will graduate this year. 

None of that matters, though. They share that common bond of being Princeton athletes. It's special, and it lasts forever.

It certainly did in the case of Ed Weihenmayer. He wasn't at the reception Saturday, at least not in body. He was certainly there in spirit.

Weihenmayer passed away in June at the age of 81. He was the captain of the 1961 team, so he was there just before Iacavazzi.

An undersized offensive lineman (it's possible he was the last Princeton offensive lineman who didn't weigh at least 200 pounds), Weihenmayer had a zest for life that was remarkable, and he and his family traveled the world for one adventure after another. Wherever he went, though, he never fully left Princeton, a place that he loved his entire life.

Weihenmayer was an engineer who stepped away from that career to become a Marine Corps fighter pilot who flew 118 missions during the Vietnam War. After he returned, he had a long career on Wall Street in human resources, and he then retired and became the manager of his son Erik's climbing career. 

Ah yes, Erik Weihenmayer. 

If the name is familiar, it's because there has never been anyone else quite like Erik Weihenmayer. Born with a degenerative eye disease, he fully lost his sight by the time he was 13. Has that slowed him down? Uh, no.

Erik is one of about 250 people all time who have summited the highest mountain on all seven continents. That includes Mount Everest, by the way. He did all this without the benefit of vision (check out the documentary on his Everest climb entitled "Farther Than The Eye Can See").

Erik was one of about 10 or so members of his family who were also in the ’56 Lounge Saturday. TB had met him before and had spoken to him last week to write THIS STORY about his father, but everytime TB is around him or hears him speak, he is just mesmerized. 

How can you not be? Here is a blind man who has summited the highest peaks in the world and who has served as such an inspiration to so many others. Like his dad, he is also defined by his humility and absence of any pretentiousness. 

So maybe the game itself didn't end the way TB and every Princeton fan was hoping. Still, the lounge provided something that in many ways was as special as a championship would have been.

It was a reminder, once again, of what Princeton Athletics is trying to be and is.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Sports Drama

The football game had just ended Saturday, and now TigerBlog sat down in front of his computer to write the story for

Where to start? What to say? As he sat there, he just figured he'd go with what he was thinking in the moment, and so he began:

"Sometimes, sports can be brutal."

If ever that happened to be true, it was Saturday for the Princeton football team. The Tigers, needing a win to get a share of the Ivy League championship, instead fell 20-19 to Penn on a touchdown on a fourth-down play with five seconds left.

It was harsh, for sure. TB's next sentence was this: "Sometimes you find yourself on the wrong end of the drama."

There was all kinds of drama at the end. Penn's winning drive lasted 17 plays and included two huge fourth-down conversions before the touchdown, which made it three successful fourth downs. When that happens, you have to tip your hat to the other team, but it doesn't make it any easier to digest if your team is the one that lost.

TB, of course, is always an optimist who likes to look on the bright side. And so for him, the disappointment spoke volumes about where the program is right now. To go 8-2 and come within a few seconds of another Ivy title and feel the sting? 

Your program has to be a really good place fort that to be the case.

A loss like that will also be a motivator for the players who come back. Every lifting session. Every workout. Every rep. They'll all be done with the memory of how the 2022 season ended.

The seniors who were introduced on Powers Field before the game Saturday finish their Princeton careers with a record of 33-5, as well as Ivy titles in 2018 and 2021. TB was struck by this tweet from senior offensive lineman Henry Byrd after the game:

It's impressive that a young man whose Princeton career ended in such heartbreaking fashion had the composure and maturity to post that.

The day began with the possibility of a four-way tie for the championship, but that ended when Yale closed out Harvard 19-14 in Cambridge about an hour before the Tigers and Quakers finished up. As Penn was driving at the end, TB was hoping that the score would stay the way it was, and that Princeton, like Yale, would celebrate a championship off a 19-14 win.

Obviously, as TB said, sometimes you're on the wrong side of the drama. 

Yesterday, one day after the football game, the men's water polo team found itself on the right side of the drama. The Tigers, who were the heavy favorites, defeated St. Francis (N.Y.) 13-8 yesterday at Brown to win the Northeast Water Polo Conference title.

The championship was the second straight for Princeton, marking the first time in program history the men's water polo team has won back-to-back titles. It's also now three championships out of the last four seasons for the Tigers.

Princeton also won its 26th game of the year, equaling last year's program record for wins.

The NCAA selections were announced late last night. Princeton will return to the NCAA tournament.

The men's water polo team is the fourth Princeton team this fall to win a league championship, after men's cross country, field hockey and women's volleyball all won Ivy titles. The field hockey team did so after their own Ivy title hopes of 2021 ended in similarly heartbreaking fashion as the football team this year. 

It's the nature of sports. It's what makes it great. It's also what makes being a player or coach — or even just a fan — so emotional sometimes. 

You hope you'll be on the right side of the drama, but it doesn't always break in your favor. When it does, there's nothing better. 

When it doesn't, it can be brutal. Saturday afternoon on Powers Field was an example of that. 

When you've built what Princeton football has of late, though, you take a little time and then you focus on the task ahead. These Tigers will be back.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Week 10

It appears that the women's basketball team picked an unfortunate weekend to schedule a game at Buffalo.

What does the forecast for that city say? Possibly six feet of snow? What the heck? 

TigerBlog isn't sure what the NFL will ultimately do regarding the Bills-Browns game that is scheduled for Sunday. If you're a football fan, though, there's nothing you like more than watching a snow game. And kudos for the Bills for planning an outdoor stadium for their new facility. 

Remember when it was nearly 80 degrees a week ago? TigerBlog still hasn't worn a coat this entire fall. And now, it's getting to be wintry, if not winter (or even Thanksgiving).

There won't be any snow in Princeton tomorrow, though it will easily be the coldest day of the football season. Still, that shouldn't make a bit of difference. The whole point is to play big games this time of year, and that's exactly what Princeton will be doing on Powers Field tomorrow at 1.

The Ivy League football season has reached its final Saturday. As always, another 10 weeks have flown by.

As you already know, this Week 10 is unlike almost any in Ivy history. This time around, there is a chance for the league's first-ever four-way tie for the championship.

With six Ivy games in the books, Princeton and Yale are tied for first at 5-1. Penn and Harvard are a game back, at 4-2. 

Harvard plays host to Yale tomorrow at noon. Princeton hosts Penn at 1. Should Harvard and Penn win, then Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Penn will share the championship.

This is not news to you, if you're an Ivy fan. You probably also know that there have been three seasons that have ended in a tri-championship (something that can't happen this year mathematically) — 1966, 1969 and 1982.

If you remember the 1995 season, that's the closest to a four-way tie that there has been. Had Alex Sierk not kicked his field goal on the final play of Princeton's game at Dartmouth, then Princeton, Dartmouth, Penn and Cornell would have all been 5-2. Instead, Sierk, aided by a great drive put together by Brock Harvey, rallied the Tigers for a 10-10 tie, one that gave Princeton the outright championship.

That season was the final one before college football adopted overtime, by the way.

Should Princeton and Yale both win tomorrow, they'd be co-champs, Should one of them win and the other lose, then the one who wins will be the outright champ.

All of this got TB to thinking. If you look at the Ivy League statistics, in which categories would you see the four contenders ranked 1-2-3-4 in the league. In other words, what stats might be the most predicting of success, if this year's Ivy football season is an indicator.

What would you guess? There are actually five stats, out of the 28 team stats the league keeps, in which Princeton, Yale, Penn and Harvard are the top four in some order.

It is said that defense wins championships, and there are two defensive stats among the five. First is fewest yards allowed per game, in which the teams are ordered Princeton, Penn, Harvard, Yale. Then there is sacks (Penn, Harvard, Yale, Princeton).

For special teams, there is net punting yardage (Penn, Princeton, Yale, Harvard). 

On the offensive side, there is passing efficiency offense (Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Penn). The final one is scoring offense (Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Penn).

Would you have guessed scoring defense over scoring offense? 

There is no stat in which the four teams are 5-6-7-8, though there is one where they are 4 (Penn)-5 (Yale)-7 (Harvard)-8 (Princeton). What is that one? Opponent penalties. In other words, Princeton's opponents has drawn the fewest penalties in the league. 

What does that say? 

What does any of it say?

TB can tell you after the game if any of this matters. In the meantime, it's the last week of the football season, which is somewhat sad. 

Of course, you want to get into the final game in this position, playing for a championship. It's not something that should ever be taken for granted, and it's always something to get excited about.

So TB will see you at Powers Field tomorrow. Dress warm, but be there.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

One Of Those Days

Ethan Pearson had to be the easiest choice ever for a league Player of the Week award.

The Princeton men's hockey sophomore goalie had back to back saves last week, leading Princeton past Yale 3-0 and Brown 1-0. He even assisted on one of the goals against Yale.

If you're adding it up, Pearson's weekend was 46 saves, no goals against, one assist. That's pretty astonishing. It's no wonder that Pearson now leads Division I in goals-against average and save percentage.

Those two games were his first career shutouts. They were, for that matter, his first two career wins. 

If you're wondering the last time Princeton had back-to-back shutouts, it was in 2008. They came by scores of 4-0 against Yale on March 16 in Game 3 of the ECAC quarterfinals, and then 3-0 against Colgate in the ECAC semifinals. Princeton would win the championship game that year 4-1 over Harvard.

Who was the Princeton goalie in those two games? TB will tell you in a few paragraphs.

If you're wondering the last time Princeton had back-to-back shutouts in the same weekend, it was against Williams and Amherst — on Jan. 8-9, 1932.

The men's hockey team has two games this weekend against Quinnipiac, it's ECAC travel partner. The game tomorrow is in Baker Rink, and the teams meet again in Hamden, Conn., Saturday. Both games start at 7.

Only twice has Princeton ever had at least three straight shutouts. The first time was when the Tigers blanked Yale on Dec. 31, 1908 and then Jan. 1-2, 1909. For some reason, those games were played in Pittsburgh. Princeton also had four straight shutouts the season before. 

And that's it. 

So yes, that made Pearson an easy choice for ECAC Goalie of the Week. He made quite a bit of history last weekend. 

And the Tiger goalie in 2008? Zane Kalemba.


What else does TB have for you today? It's one of those days where it turns out he has a bunch of stuff:

Joe Dubuque, associate head coach for the wrestling team, strolled into TigerBlog's office yesterday morning.

It's always good to spend a few minutes with Joe, or any other member of the wrestling coaching staff, whose offices are next door to where TB's is. The conversation yesterday centered around Bloomington, Ind., where the wrestling team will open its season tomorrow night at 7 against the University of Indiana.

The Princeton-Indiana wrestling match, which will be held in Assembly Hall, will be a homecoming for Dubuque and Tiger assistant coach Nate Jackson, both of whom are Hoosier alums. Dubuque was a two-time NCAA champion at Indiana, while Jackson was a two-time All-American.

The trip to Indiana kicks off a Big Ten-heavy start for the Princeton schedule, as the Tigers will next face Wisconsin and Michigan State at the Prudential Center in Newark Dec. 4 and then host Rutgers in Jadwin Gym Dec. 11. After that is a trip to Northwestern for the Midlands Tournament.

With two returning NCAA finalists and a wrestling room full of talent, Princeton should be pretty excited to get going.

It's actually a hockey doubleheader tomorrow, as the women will play St. Lawrence at 3. The Tigers are also home Saturday, facing Clarkson, also at 3.


TigerBlog has been to Assembly Hall once, back in 1996, for Bill Carmody's first game as Princeton's head men's basketball coach. 

That was quite a day. TB was traveling to that game on the day it was played, with then-play-by-play man Tom McCarthy and then-local sportswriter Mark Eckel, and the group missed their plane at Newark due to a truck fire on the New Jersey Turnpike — even though they got to the gate while the plane was still sitting there, only to be told that the doors had been closed. 

TB can still remember watching the plane back away slowly, taunting them through the windows. Anyway, they ended up getting on a flight out of Philly to Indianapolis and then driving a rental car to Bloomington, an hour away, barely arriving in time for the game.


As a reminder, the Ivy League women's volleyball tournament begins tomorrow in New Haven. Princeton, the Ivy League co-champ, takes on Brown at 4, to be followed by Yale, the other co-champ, and Dartmouth at 6.

The winners play Saturday at 6 for the Ivy League's automatic NCAA tournament bid. For more on the tournament, click HERE.

TigerBlog was hoping to be headed to Storrs, Conn., this weekend for the NCAA field hockey Final Four. Instead, the Ivy League champion Tigers fell a week ago against Syracuse in the first round. It was still a great year for the Tigers, who went 7-0 in the league to win their 27th Ivy title.

TB did watch the end of the quarterfinal between Syracuse and Maryland and then Northwestern and Iowa. Both games went to penalty shootouts, and TB cannot state enough how much he can't stand that (or PKs in soccer). Keep playing overtime. Someone will score.

As for the Final Four, it's North Carolina-Penn State and Northwestern-Maryland in the semis. TB says UNC-Maryland in the final, with UNC the winner.


Among the other highlights of the weekend are Saturday's NCAA cross country championships in Stillwater, Okla., the men's water polo league tournament at Brown, a men's basketball game at Marist tomorrow and a women's basketball game at Buffalo, also tomorrow.

Oh, and a football game on Powers Field too. TB will have more on the Princeton-Penn game tomorrow.

The complete weekend schedule is HERE.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Board Game

There is women's basketball in Jadwin Gym tonight, which means you have your next chance to root for the Tigers to miss some shots.

Wait? What? 

TigerBlog will explain.

First, the game is between Princeton and Fordham, and it tips at 7. It's also the last home game until Dec. 11, with five straight road games on the Tiger horizon after tonight.

Here are two scores that should get your attention: Fordham 76, Princeton 67 last season and Maryland 83, Fordham 76 in the Rams' most recent games.

By the way, after the NCAA field hockey game last Friday, TB walked across the big parking lot at the University of Maryland to the XFinity Center, where he saw the Terps play No. 1 South Carolina. Maryland lost 81-56, but Princeton alum (and reigning Ivy Player of the Year) Abby Meyers led all scorers with 21 and has now been in double figures in all three games this season.

So getting back to why you have your next chance to root for missed Princeton shots, the answer is obvious. On missed shots, you get to see Ellie Mitchell go after offensive rebounds.

There are few things better these days with Princeton Athletics than watching Ellie Mitchell chase down missed shots. This applies on either end, but especially on the offensive end.

It's early in the season, yes, but here is the list of players in Division I who have more rebounds than Mitchell does to date: 

Yes, the answer is nobody. 

If you go per game, then she also leads Division I at 17.0. She was trailing only Lilly Ritz of Youngstown State before last night, when Ritz had only six against Penn State. Also for Mitchell, that means that she is averaging at least twice as many rebounds as every other player in the Ivy League with three exceptions.

Ritz, by the way, had 20 in her first game this season. She's an interesting story, a transfer from Division II Wheeling, where she led that division in rebounding, and before that, a player at Division II California (Pa.). Her father is Kevin Ritz, who pitched for a decade for the Tigers and Rockies.

Back to Mitchell, she is eighth in the country in offensive rebounds per game, with 6.3 per game. Only eight other players in the league average that many total per game.

Mitchell is coming off a game where she hauled in 23 rebounds, in a 62-58 win over Seton Hall Monday night. Only one player in Princeton women's basketball has ever had more than 23 rebounds in a game, and that's Margaret Meier, who had games of 30, 24 and 24 in the 1970s. Ellen Devoe had a 23-rebound game in the 1980s.

Who's the last men's player to get at least 23 rebounds in a game? If you guessed Bill Bradley in 1964, you'd be correct. 

The 23 rebounds are one off the most by a women's player in Division I this season (Kansas City's Dani Winslow had 24 against Tennessee State). Interesting note: Mitchell, Winslow and Ritz are all listed at 6-1, so they're hardly the tallest players in the country.

In her three games this season, Mitchell has these three stat lines:

vs. Temple: 12 points, 15 rebounds
vs. Villanova: no points, 13 rebounds
vs. Seton Hall: eight points, 23 rebounds

Mitchell finished last season with double figures in rebounding in 16 games, including seven of the last eight. She led the Ivy League in rebounds per game, and she finished the season with 23 in two NCAA games. She had eight in the win over Kentucky, matching the number of the Wildcats' Ryhne Howard, who just happened to be the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft. She then had 15 more in the one-point second round loss to Indiana.

Fordham, who reached the WNIT a year ago, brings a 2-1 record of its own to Jadwin tonight, with the Maryland loss after double figure wins over Yale and St. Peters. 

And no, TB doesn't really expect for you to root for Princeton to miss shots. Still, in those moments when they do, you'd be wise to keep your eye on No. 00.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Women's Volleyball, Then And Now

Okay, TigerBlog just found out something that's fairly amazing.

First, though, he'd like to start with a simple "oops." He'll get back to the amazing part later.

TigerBlog made a big mistake in yesterday's review of where the Ivy League football race stands as it heads into its final weekend. He said that there was definitely going to be a celebration on Powers Field Saturday at the end of the Princeton-Penn game, something that is incorrect.

Penn can only gain a share of the title if Harvard beats Yale in a game that starts one hour ahead of the one at Princeton. Should Yale beat Harvard, then Penn would be eliminated. 

TB would like to thank everyone who pointed that out to him. He also took great comfort in knowing that, because he got such immediate response for an incorrect fact, that he probably doesn't make that many mistakes.

So there's that.

Should Princeton and Yale both win in football this weekend, they will share the Ivy League championship. The Tigers and Bulldogs are already co-champs in one fall sport, women's volleyball. Both teams went 12-0 against the rest of the league and 1-1 against each other, each winning on its home court.

In any previous year of Ivy League women's volleyball, the two would be playing a third match against each other to determine the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. This year, things are much different.

As such, this weekend will see Princeton play in the first Ivy League women's volleyball tournament. Well, sort of the first tournament. You can call it the first modern tournament.

And that's where the amazing part of the story picks up.

The first Ivy women's volleyball tournament was held in the spring of 1977, and Princeton was the champion. This was sort of an unofficial tournament, by the way, and it does not count as one the Tigers' least-best 19 titles.

The first official Ivy tournament took place a few months later, in October of 1977. There were seven schools who participated (Dartmouth did not), and Penn, the host team, was the winner. Princeton came in fourth.

As TB said, there were seven schools who competed, and they each played each other once, all on one day. How's that for grueling? 

TB knew that there had been an Ivy tournament back then. In fact, it was how the league championship was earned until a more traditional round-robin began in 1987. In 2001, the league went to a double round-robin. Now it's double round-robin and the tournament for the top four teams. 

And the amazing part? When TB went back to read in the Daily Princetonian archives about the first Ivy volleyball tournament, and guess who was the one who wrote this intro:

The past two weeks have been a time for ups and downs for the women's volleyball team. Last Monday the spikers (16-13) discovered that they had been granted a berth in the EAIAW regionals, through which an Eastern champion is chosen. That news, however, came a week after the team failed to retain its Ivy League title at the championship meet in Philadelphia. Host Penn won the tourney while Princeton placed fourth behind Yale and Cornell. Tiger coach Susana Occhi termed the championship a "marathon tournament," in which each team played all six other squads (Dartmouth was not represented) in the course of one day.

Here's your hint: the writer did not have a career in sportswriting.

Who is it? Elena Kagan. Yes, the one who is currently a Supreme Court Justice.

So yes, there is precedent for an Ivy tournament. Precedent. Sometimes TB cracks himself up. 

As for this weekend's tournament, it is being held at Yale because the Bulldogs had a three-set win for its win against Princeton and the Tigers had a four-set win for their win over Yale. The other two teams are Brown, Princeton's opponent in the first round, and Dartmouth. 

The Tigers play at 4 Friday. The final is at 6 Saturday.

As with all Ivy sports, the winner of the tournament will earn the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. No matter what happens this weekend in New Haven, Princeton and Yale will be the 2022 Ivy League champions (Yale, with 12  championships, is second all-time to Princeton).

Monday, November 14, 2022

A Wild Week 10 On The Way

So TigerBlog apparently put on the Vikings-Bills game yesterday at the perfect time.

It was 27-23 Buffalo with less than a minute to go when TB flipped it on just in time to see a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1 for the Vikings. A quarterback sneak from Kirk Cousins was ruled short, and replay confirmed it (this was an incredible call by the official by the way, as there were lots of big bodies in the way and Cousins was really, really close to being in).

Now it was Buffalo ball, but well inside the 1. On the first play, Buffalo's Josh Allen fumbled the snap, and the Vikings recovered. Touchdown Minnesota.  And what happened next? Allen marched his team into field goal range to tie it and force overtime. Darryl Johnston called it the most incredible last two minutes of a football game he'd ever seen, and TB didn't even realize at the time that Justin Jefferson of the Vikings had made one of the greatest catches you'll ever see.

At that point, TB was rooting for a tie between these teams, who could be headed to a Super Bowl rematch. And wouldn't that be the best Super Bowl matchup ever, between two teams who are a combined 0-8 in the big game all time? 

Anyway, the Vikings won 33-30, getting an OT field goal and then intercepting Allen in the end zone to end it.

And speaking of ties, TB will get back to them in a second. 

Shifting to Princeton football, if you're unfamiliar with the early 1980s for Tiger football, it was a time of passing.

Lots and lots of passing.

In fact, there have been 13 times in program history where a Tiger quarterback has attempted at least 50 passes in a game, and ten of those 13 games happened between 1981 and 1985.

The top eight single-game passing attempts marks belong to just three players — Bob Holly, Doug Butler and Brent Woods. Those are legendary names in Princeton quarterback history.

The player who is now in ninth place is Blake Stenstrom, who threw 52 times against Yale Saturday for the most by a Princeton QB since Doug Butler's 59 passes against Colgate in 1985. 

Unfortunately for the Tigers Saturday in New Haven, Stenstrom could have used a 53rd attempt before he just ran out of time. The result was a 24-20 Yale win and a guarantee of a crazy end to the Ivy League football season this coming Saturday.

Stenstrom threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns on the day, completing 34 of his 52 passes. His 34 completions tie him with Butler for sixth best in a game (Quinn Epperly and Chad Kanoff hold the record of 37, both within the last 10 years).

Had he gotten a 53rd attempt, it would have come with Princeton on the Yale 15, which is where the game ended. Stenstrom had just brilliantly driven the Tigers 65 yards on 12 plays in 95 seconds, but his final pass was high and that was that game.

It was a thrilling game, but it wasn't the ending Princeton wanted. The loss was the Tigers' first after eight wins to start the season, and it set up what will be a wild final Saturday in the Ivy League.

Here's where the concept of the tie comes back in.

Princeton is 8-1, 5-1 in the league. Yale is also 5-1 in the league. Penn is 4-2. Harvard is 4-2. The schedule has Penn at Princeton (kickoff at 1) and Yale at Harvard (kickoff at noon).

Should Penn and Harvard both win, then the Ivy League would have itself its first-ever four-way tie for the football championship.

On the other hand, should both home teams win, then Princeton would be the outright champ. If Yale wins and Princeton loses, then Yale is the outright champ.

There have been three times in league history where there has been a three-way tie, most recently in 1982. Twice Princeton has been involved in a three-way tie, in 1966 and 1969. About the only certainty right now is that there won't be a three-way tie in 2022, because three teams can't be 5-2 without a fourth at 6-1 and three teams can't be 6-1.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Tigers In Annapolis, Jadwin And New Haven

TigerBlog imagines that spending Veterans' Day at the Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy will be a pretty special experience for the Princeton men's basketball team.

A service academy is an amazing place to watch a game on any day, in any sport. TB has seen a few at Navy and at Army-West Point, and he's been a bit in awe each time.

To be there for a game on Veterans Day, though? 

MotherBlog was a nurse who spent much of her career working with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She did spend several years in the 1980s with the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and TB vividly remembers the times he spent with veterans who had been in wheelchairs after suffering catastrophic injuries in Vietnam and Korea and even World War II.

Today is Veterans Day, which takes place on the anniversary of the end of World War I. Today marks 104 years since the Armistice ended a war that caused 10 million military deaths and eight million civilian deaths.

Spending such a day at a service academy is an honor that Princeton will enjoy tonight at 8:30, when the Tigers take on the host Naval Academy in the second game of a doubleheader that begins at six with Houston and St. Joe's. The games can be seen on CBS Sports Network.

The day and venue deserve respect. When the game starts, that respect is best shown by, in the words of Pete Carril, "giving a good account of ourselves."

There is also a home women's basketball game tonight at 7, when Villanova is in Jadwin in a matchup of teams who reached the second round of the NCAA tournament last season. Both teams are 1-0, with an average margin of victory on opening night of 23.5 points (Princeton over Temple, Villanova over Marist).

As the basketball season has begun, that has to mean that the football season is reaching its later stages. That, in fact, is the case, with two games remaining on the Ivy League schedule.

For Princeton, there's a lot more to do than count down the hours until the season ends. Between now and a week from Saturday night, Princeton could find itself anywhere from having had a perfect season to finishing out of the running for even a share of the league championship.

For that matter, as TB wrote earlier in the week, there could even be a four-way tie for the Ivy football title, something that has never happened before. In fact, there have only been two three-way ties, and none since 1982.

Princeton is currently 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the Ivy League. Behind the Tigers are Yale and Penn at 4-1 and Harvard at 3-2. As it turns out those teams have two games against the other three to finish the year.

The schedule goes this way: Princeton at Yale tomorrow at noon. Harvard at Penn tomorrow at 1. Penn at Princeton next Saturday. Yale at Harvard next Saturday. 

Princeton knows that a win in either of the last two games means at least a share of the league title. Penn and Yale, however, both know that if they win out, they'll have no worse than a share as well.

It's a bad idea for a team, any team, to get caught up in what it has to do or not do in the big picture. As another former men's basketball coach, John Thompson III, always stressed, the biggest thing to do is worry about the next possession.

Yale gives you enough to worry about on every possession, certainly. The Bulldogs come in having just put up 69 points in a win at Brown.

Princeton, on the other hand, comes in off its season low in points, having scored 17 against Dartmouth. If you factor in last week, Yale leads the Ivy League in scoring offense (32.5) and Princeton is second (29.9). If you take away last week, Princeton is at 32.3 and Yale is at 27.2, but hey, none of that matters.

Princeton and Yale are also 1-3 in the league in scoring defense. Princeton, at 11.4 is first. Yale allows 20.1 per game (Penn is second at 17.6).

In fact, Princeton leads all FCS schools who aren't coached by Deion Sanders in scoring defense. The Tiger D has been incredible to watch all year, and it's shown in the last two weeks that it can win on a day when it gives up yards but causes turnovers and on a day when it causes no turnovers but hardly gives up any yards.

The weather tonight and overnight in New Haven looks iffy. Hopefully the rain ends by gametime, as the forecast says it will.

No matter what, though, it'll be a fun one. In fact, the last two weekends will both be. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Picture Perfect

As you are aware, TigerBlog loves a great sports photo.

He saw such a photo on yesterday.

This was a special kind of great sports photo in that it captured a moment perfectly and also was something of a work of art. You can see for yourself:

You could almost see that painted on a canvas instead of taken with a camera. It has everything you could ask for in a sports photo, starting with the exultation of victory but also including great coloring, lighting and perfect expressions from both of the featured subjects. 

Well done, Lisa Elfstrum.

The picture is of Princeton's Quincy Monday at last year's NCAA championships, where he finished as the runner-up, along with his Tiger teammate Patrick Glory. There was a story on GPT yesterday about how Monday is the preseason No. 1 at his weight class (157), while Glory is preseason No 2 at 125. You can read the entire story HERE.

By the way, at the first NCAA wrestling championship in 1928, the lowest weight class was 115 pounds. It bounced around a bit, never getting below 114 (for one year, in 1948) or above 123 — and more than half the time it was 115 — until it became its current 125 in 1999.

It cannot be overstated or repeated enough to fully recognize what Chris Ayres, Joe Dubuque, Sean Gray and Nate Jackson have done in building Princeton Wrestling into the national power that has become.

Will Princeton have an individual NCAA champion this year? And if so, in what sport? 

You have Monday and Glory who have a legitimate shot in wrestling. You have the defending NCAA indoor and outdoor pole vault champ in Sondre Guttormsen, and his brother Simen, who was fourth in both a year ago. 

To that list, you can add Darya Frayman, a senior on the women's tennis team who just completed a remarkable run through the ITA Fall Nationals tournament in San Diego. Frayman defeated four ranked players to reach the final, where she lost a tight three-set match to North Carolina's Fiona Crawley, the 21st ranked player. Frayman came in ranked third.

None of those athletes competes this weekend. Monday and Glory, along with the rest of the wrestling team, are a week away from their opener at Indiana, where Dubuque was a two-time NCAA champion (at 125, in 2005 and 2006). 

As for this weekend, it is nevertheless a busy one for Princeton.

The NCAA cross country regionals will be held tomorrow, and Princeton will run at Penn State in hopes of moving through to the NCAA championships Nov. 19 at Oklahoma State. The Tiger men finished first at the Ivy Heps two weeks ago, and the women were second at Heps.

The Princeton men are ranked second in the Mid-Atlantic Region, behind Villanova and ahead of Georgetown and Navy. The women are ranked fifth in the region, behind Georgetown, West Virginia, Penn State and Villanova.

In both races, the top two teams in the region will receive automatic bids to the championship race. There will also be at-large bids and individuals who qualify as well.

The women's basketball team is back in Jadwin tomorrow night to take on Villanova at 7. This game should be a really good one.

It matches two teams who reached the second round of the NCAA tournament a year ago. While Princeton knocked off Kentucky in the opening round and lost by one to Indiana in Round 2, Villanova had a first round win over BYU and then a second round loss to Michigan.

Both teams also won their openers Monday, the Tigers by 18 over Temple and the Wildcats by 22 over Marist.

The men's basketball team plays at Navy at 8:30 tomorrow night as the second game of the Veterans Classic doubleheader that begins with Houston and St. Joe's. 

There is also a home weekend series against Syracuse in women's hockey, as well as the field hockey NCAA game against Syracuse at Maryland that TB wrote about yesterday. The men's hockey team is at Yale and Brown, and the men's soccer team ends the regular season at home Saturday at 4 against Penn. 

You can see the entire schedule, as always, HERE.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

NCAA Bound


The All-Ivy League teams for field hockey were announced yesterday, and Princeton, not surprisingly, was well-represented.

The Tigers had both the Offensive Player of the Year (Beth Yeager), Defensive Player of the Year (Hannah Davey), the Coach of the Year (Carla Tagliente), three first-teamers, two second-teamers, three honorable mention picks and an Academic All-Ivy pick. Added all together, that's 10 Tigers who earned at least one honor.

You can read all about them HERE.

If there was an All-Ivy selection for the combination of playing and doing a team's social media, then Gracie McGowan would have been a unanimous selection. The junior is a key member of the team's defense, and she also has crushed it all year on social media.

If you looked at the team Instagram page yesterday, you know what TigerBlog is talking about when it comes to McGowan, who did all the posting. 

It's worth checking out all of her work, especially how she mixed in video with the graphics. TB, by the way, did all the graphics, in case you're thinking he pawned everything off on her. Of course, he'd do a graphic and send it to her, and then she'd either approve or make him change the look or the photo, but hey, TB yields to her in these situations.

As for the honorees, TB was hoping Gabby Andretta would have been first-team instead of second-team, and he's glad that Ophelie Bemelmans got at least honorable mention for her first career All-Ivy selection. He was really happy for Davey, who is now a three-time first-team All-Ivy pick. Yeager, who was a unanimous choice, is the second player in league history to be an Ivy Player of the Year as a freshman and sophomore, joining former Tiger great Katie Reinprecht.

He'd also like to talk about a player who didn't get any recognition, and that's senior midfielder Zoe Shephard. She's one of TB's favorite kinds of players, the ones who make such a huge impact on a team's success but who do so without putting up any gaudy statistics. 

In Shephard's case, she had two goals during the 17-game regular season. Her value, though, is huge. She plays an unforgiving position, on the left side in a sport where all shots must be righthanded. That means she spends her whole life trying to move the ball up the field while always playing across her body. Worse, she has a steady diet of opposing midfielders coming at her to their strong side, and she has to keep them from reaching the circle. 

It's a thankless position, certainly one that isn't going to lend itself to all-league honors. It's also a position that could become an exploitable weak link if you don't have someone of her caliber there. Her impact on this season has been huge.

The honors announced yesterday close the door a bit on the regular season. The Tigers are now busy readying for the postseason, which for them begins Friday at 2:30 against Syracuse in a game that will be played at the University of Maryland. The opening game at noon will match Maryland and Liberty, last year's NCAA runner-up.

The two winners will meet Sunday at 1 for a trip to the Final Four, which is next weekend at UConn.

Princeton and Syracuse met on Sept. 9, in Princeton's third game of the year. The Tigers, who were 0-2 at the time, won that game 5-1. It started a 13-2 run to finish the season, one that included a 7-0 Ivy League record. It also included a 4-3 win over Maryland, which for much of the year was the Terps' only loss.  

The paring in College Park is the only one of the four where every team is ranked in the top 13 of this week's NFCHA poll. Princeton, by the way, is No. 7, one spot above Syracuse. 

Princeton will be gunning for its fourth Final Four appearance since Carla Tagliente and Dina Rizzo took over the coaching staff in 2016. The Tigers missed the tournament last year but reached the NCAA championship game in 2019.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Breathing Easier

So TigerBlog was in the doctor's office yesterday, ostensibly to get his splints out of his nose. 

The first task was removing the one stitch that connected the two splints. Before he did this, the doctor said "this won't hurt at all."

That, as it turned out, was a bit untrue, but it wasn't too bad. Then he went for the splints — and said nothing.

This was TB's thought process in the next five seconds:

Hey doc. Where's the reassurance that this won't ... mother--------.

Ah, but after that rather unpleasant moment, all was good. TB could actually breathe through his nose, which is the whole point. In case you're wondering, the splints were about two inch long pieces of plastic, and the doctor said that it's an improvement over the 12 inches of gauze that used to be packed into your nose after the surgery.

The doctor, you may recall, is a Cornell alum, one who didn't quite like when TB pointed out the final score of the football game between the two teams a week earlier. He was also bummed that Cornell had lost to Quinnipiac Saturday in men's hockey, but on the plus side, it turns out he's a big fan of Cornell men's basketball coach Brian Earl. 

By the time TB reached the parking lot, he figured he had to be the doctor's favorite patient, right? How many times a day can you talk about all that nose stuff without wanting to get some Ivy League sports in when you can?

By the way, TB said the last thing he remembered was mentioning that Chad Levitt was the 1996 Bushnell Cup winner and then waking up in the recovery room. Fortunately, TB doesn't have a lot of experience with anesthesia, and the doctor explained that patients can sometimes have retrograde amnesia after getting a general anesthesia, meaning they can forget the five to 10 minutes before it was actually administered. That's freaky.

Anyway, as TB said, the whole point of doing this in the first place was to be able to breathe a little easier. You know, like the women's volleyball team, right? 

Princeton entered this past weekend a game back of Yale with two weekends to go. The Tigers were to play Brown Friday night and then Yale Saturday night. Yale had beaten Princeton 3-0 in New Haven earlier in the season, so a Bulldog win Saturday night would have been a big nail in the Tigers' Ivy League title hopes.

When TigerBlog saw the score from Friday, he saw that Princeton had beaten Brown but had to go five sets to do so. Would the Tigers be able to turn it around quickly against Yale? As it turned out, the Bulldogs also went five sets Friday, against Penn, before winning 3-2 as well.

The grueling Friday nights meant that Saturday would be a mental test as much as a physical one. For Princeton, the task was to stop Yale's 17-match winning streak, which was the second-longest in the country, to force a tie for the league lead.

And that's exactly what Princeton did, winning in four sets.

There aren't too many venues in the Ivy League that get louder than Dillon Gym does for volleyball. 

Will Princeton be back in Dillon this year? That depends. This is the first year of the four-team Ivy League women's volleyball tournament, which will determine the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid.  

The four teams are set, as it'll be Princeton, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth. The host will be the top seed. 

Princeton and Yale are the only two teams left in the running for the league championship, which goes as it does in other Ivy sports to the regular season winner. The Tigers are at Columbia and Cornell this weekend, while Yale is at home against Dartmouth and Harvard.

The obvious question is who hosts the Ivy tournament if both teams finish 13-1 with only a loss to each other. Turns out, the answer is Yale, who holds the first tiebreaker edge by virtue of having beaten Princeton 3-0, to the Tigers 3-1 win the other night. 

Princeton could still host, but it would require at least one Yale loss.

Either way, the Tigers had a huge weekend when it was most needed. As a result, they are still in the hunt for an Ivy League title, something that would have been most unlikely had they lost to Yale. 

In other words, they're breathing a little easier this week, even as the season reaches its crucial points.

Breathing easier. Great moments in segueing.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Getting Defensive

Tonight is opening night for Princeton basketball, as the women host Temple at 5 and the men play Hofstra at 7:30. For ticket information, click HERE.

There are just two weekends left in the Ivy League football season, and between now and Nov. 19, you could see anything from a perfect season and outright championship to the league's first-ever four-way tie.

TigerBlog is rooting, of course, for the former, since the latter would require Princeton to lose both of its remaining games.

Right now, Princeton is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Ivy League. Yale and Penn are both 4-1 in the league. Harvard is 3-2. Those four each have two games remaining against the other three.

Doing the simple math, should Harvard win twice, it would be 5-2 and Yale and Penn would both have a second loss. Should Princeton lose to both Yale and Penn, then viola - four-way tie, something that's never happened in Ivy League football history.

As TB said, he's not rooting for that, as much as he loves a good historical anomaly. 

Princeton, on the other hand, would have no worse than a share of the championship with one win in its last two games. 

Princeton got to 8-0 Saturday with its 17-14 win over Dartmouth. It was never going to be easy to get a win over the Big Green. It just never is. Even after Princeton scored touchdowns on its first two drives, TB didn't think the game was going to be easy.

In each of its last four seasons, Princeton got to 7-0 and had to play Dartmouth. The Big Green won the previous two, last year in Hanover and in 2019 at Yankee Stadium. The 2018 game was the last one between the teams on Powers Field, and like that one, Princeton won a close, defensive battle.

Also like in 2018 — a 14-9 Princeton win — the majority of the scoring came in the first quarter. In that game, it was 7-7 after each team had the ball once and 7-2 the rest of the way. This past Saturday, it was 14-7 after one and 7-3 the rest of the way.

When you play a game like that, it puts incredible pressure on your defense, as any score shifts the entire dynamic and momentum of the game. As was the case in 2018, Princeton's was up to the task Saturday as well.

From the time Dartmouth scored to make it 14-7 Princeton until the Big Green drove 78 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown with 17 seconds left, Princeton's defense forced three punts and a missed field goal, as well as one kneel down to end the first half. 

In all, Dartmouth had eight possessions for the day (minus the kneel down) and punted five times. Princeton's defensive effort resulted in a 15-minute time of possession edge for the Tigers.

It was a different defense than the week before against Cornell, when the Tigers relied on turnovers for a 35-9 win. In that game, Cornell gained 433 yards but turned it over five times (six if you count the return of the two-point conversion attempt). Dartmouth didn't turn the ball over at all against the Tigers, who were the No. 1 team in the country in turnover margin coming in, but the Big Green managed 256 total yards, or 178 prior to that last drive. Of the 20 first downs Dartmouth got on the day, six of them came on that last drive as well.

In other words, Princeton's defense was awesome. And who was the star? They all were. Princeton had no player with more than six tackles, but there were 10 Tigers who made at least three. That's as impressive as any other stat from the day.

Oh, and Dawson De Iuliis deserves a special mention. After Dartmouth scored, there was still the matter of an onsides kick. Had Princeton not recovered, then the Big Green would have at least had one chance for a Hail Mary. 

So who recovered it? De Iuliis. He seems to make a lot of big plays. He's done so on special teams his whole career and has done so more and more on defense this year, including a big pass breakup on the final Dartmouth drive. When the ball was squibbed in the direction of No. 30, TB had no doubt he would do exactly what he did, which was to secure it and not let anyone get a crack at it.

Once he did, there was one more kneel down, and then the Tigers were at 8-0. Next up is a trip to Yale Saturday at noon. The Bulldogs come in after a 69-17 win over Brown this past weekend. After that it's Penn at home in Week 10.

Neither of these last two weekends will be easy. This past one didn't figure to be, and it wasn't. 

Like the seven that preceded it this year, though, it was a win for Princeton football.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Welcome To November

So TigerBlog had a little surgery Wednesday morning.

It was nothing big, as surgeries go. Just a little opening up of the septum, which means that for the first time in his life, he figures to be able to breathe through his right nostril.

The surgeon is a Cornell alum. Perhaps as he was getting wheeled into the operating room might not have been the best time for TB to mention that Princeton had defeated Cornell 35-9 a few days earlier.

The doctor did mention that he was good friends with a former Cornell running back Chad Levitt. The last thing TB said before he went under was "1996 Bushnell Cup winner."

Next thing he knew, he was in recovery.

Levitt, by the way, led Cornell to a 33-27 overtime win over Princeton as a senior when he carried 40 times for 178 yards. How many Princeton players have ever rushed 40 times in a game? The answer is three. Can you name them? TB will give you a few paragraphs.

The 35-9 win last Saturday over Cornell did more than mildly annoy TB's surgeon, who is more of a hockey fan than a football fan. In fact, TB offered him tickets to tonight's game between the Big Red and the Tigers at Baker Rink even up for the operation.

The win last weekend improved Princeton to 7-0 on the season, and if that number sounds familiar, it should. This is the fourth straight season that Princeton has won its first seven games.

The last time Princeton started four straight seasons with 7-0 records? That's ’98-’03. As in 1898 to 1903.

This is a remarkable run for the Tigers, who haven't lost a game in September or October since 2017. Ah, but now it's November, though tomorrow's forecast of 76 degrees and clear skies doesn't quite suggest that the season now has reached its final three games.

The first opponent this month is Dartmouth. If something is different between this 7-0 start for Princeton and the three that preceded it is that Dartmouth is not also 7-0.

In each of the last three years, it was 7-0 Princeton and 7-0 Dartmouth. Princeton won the epic 14-9 game in 2018 on Powers Field. Dartmouth won the epic Yankee Stadium game the following year. Dartmouth won last year in Hanover as well.

This time around, Dartmouth is 1-3 in the Ivy League and 2-5 overall. Those are decidedly not Dartmouth numbers at this time of year. 

Neither is this: Dartmouth is seventh in the league in yards allowed per game at 375.7. Of all the things that should get Princeton's attention, perhaps the biggest is that Dartmouth allows one more yard per game than Cornell and the Big Red held Princeton to 288 yards in the game last week.

In other words, stats tell you somethings but they are not absolutes. Dartmouth is a team that prides itself on playing great defense and especially playing great defense against Princeton. In the last three years, Dartmouth has held Princeton to 14, 10 and 7 points. 

There are some teams that just bring out the best in other teams. Princeton always brings out Dartmouth's best. This is not a typical 7-0 vs. 2-5 game.

Princeton is the Ivy League's only unbeaten team right now. There are three teams with one loss apiece: Harvard, Penn and Yale. The Tigers finish their season with the Dartmouth game Saturday and then a trip to Yale before a home game against Penn. Harvard still has to play Penn and Yale after its game against Columbia at home tomorrow, when Yale hosts Brown and Penn is at Cornell.

In other words, there is a long, long way to go in this Ivy football race, and none of these three remaining weeks will be easy.

On the other hand, the goal is always to get to November in position to play for a championship. And that's exactly where Princeton finds itself as the first Saturday in November arrives.

Trivia answer, by the way: Bobby Isom (44 carries, 209 yards against Harvard in 1977), Judd Garrett (42 for 209 against Brown in 1988), Jordan Culbreath (40 for 276 against Dartmouth in 2008).

Thursday, November 3, 2022

A Celebration Of Princeton Rowing

The first weekend of November has some "circle this on your calendar" events at Princeton.

As TigerBlog mentioned last week, it's crossover season, with more and more winter teams who are starting their seasons while fall teams are winding down or looking ahead to postseason. This weekend offers a great deal to choose from on both counts.

And yet, with all of that, TigerBlog starts today with a team (or more accurately teams) who won't be competing for a championship until May.

Despite that, this is a huge weekend for Princeton rowing. The Princeton Chase will be held Sunday, after a huge celebration Saturday night as each of the four rowing programs celebrates a major anniversary.

Rowing at Princeton dates back 150 years, to 1872, when it became Princeton's third varsity sport after baseball and football. Since then, the program has added men's lightweight rowing in 1920, women's open rowing in 1970 and women's lightweight rowing in 1998. 

 In that picture, you can see an A. Marquand ’74. That would be the same Marquand as the Marquand Art Library and Marquand Park. This is from his Wikipedia page:

After obtaining his Ph.D., he returned to Princeton in 1881 to teach Latin and logic.[1]

During the 1881–1882 academic year, Marquand built a mechanical logical machine that is still extant; he was inspired by related efforts of William S. Jevons in the UK. In 1887, following a suggestion of Peirce's, he outlined a machine to do logic using electric circuits. This necessitated his development of Marquand diagrams.[2]

McCosh, the President of Princeton, deemed Marquand's relatively mathematical approach to teaching logic "unorthodox and uncalvinistic",[3]an approach he had learned at Peirce's feet. Hence in 1883, Marquand was offered a position teaching art history, a position he held until his death and at which he excelled. He was elected chairman of the Department of Art and Archaeology in 1905. He also served as the first director of the Princeton University Art Museum.


There is no practical way to look this up, but TB would guess that Princeton has had more rowers than it has athletes in any other sport, with maybe the exception of football. Rowing at Princeton has been a constant success story from pretty much Day 1, with basically everything Princeton Athletics has ever wanted to be for its athletes and teams. 

Princeton has had more Olympic medals in rowing than in any other sport. The teams have won multiple national championships each, including most recently the last two in women's lightweight rowing.

The program has had great coaches and athletes who have gone on to successes in all walks of life. It's also a deep and loyal alumni organization made up of people from multiple generations who have all benefited so much from their experience with Princeton Rowing.

The celebration this weekend will include 1,000 such people. Think about that. There will be 1,000 people back on campus under the umbrella of Princeton Rowing. That's something that has touched so many in such a positive way.

While the rowing celebration goes on, there are also other events that are huge. Perhaps the biggest is the women's volleyball match Saturday against Yale in a matchup of teams that are currently 10-0 and 9-1 in the league (Yale defeated Princeton in New Haven earlier this season for the Tigers' only league loss). Princeton has to get past 7-3 Brown tomorrow night to set up the match against the Bulldogs Saturday.

This year is also the first of the Ivy League women's volleyball tournament, which will bring the top four teams in the league together to play for the automatic NCAA tournament bid. Princeton and Yale have clinched their spots, and the winner of the regular season race will be the Ivy League champion.

There's also the first two home men's hockey games (Cornell and Colgate), a soccer doubleheader and of course the football game against Dartmouth. You can see the entire schedule for the weekend HERE.