SPORTS | 2011-2012 in Review | May 11
Top 10 games of the 2011-12 season
Published: Friday, May 11th, 2012
As the school year comes to a close, the ‘Prince’ brings you the best of Princeton sports in the 2011-12 season. Earlier this week, we listed our coaches of the year; today, we count down the top 10 games. Stay tuned as we unveil our Athletes of the Year next week. From sprints through snowfall to five-overtime slugfests, the Tigers’ seasons were hardly short of highlights.10. Cross-Country Hepswhen the Ivy League scheduled the cross-country Heptagonal Championships for Oct. 29, the last thing it expected was three inches of snow. But the Ancient Eight runners battled through such conditions at West Windsor Fields, creating an unforgettable spectacle. Princeton made a late charge to win the men’s team race, and the individual final was exciting as Dartmouth’s Ethan Shaw passed Columbia’s Kyle Merber — who was eventually hospitalized with hypothermia — near the end. Racing in even worse conditions an hour later, the Cornell women edged out Columbia by just two points, with Princeton finishing third.9. Women’s Basketball: Kansas State 67, Princeton 64after being blown out in its first two NCAA Tournament games, the women’s basketball team competed for 40 minutes against the Wildcats. Both teams played excellent offense in stretches, as runs for each side flipped the lead back and forth several times. In the end, Kansas State led for the final 12 minutes and held off a late Princeton charge to win an intense game on the biggest stage.8. Baseball: Cornell 4, Princeton 3 (12)After winning the first three games in the series, Princeton was tied with Cornell atop the Gehrig Division with one game to play. The Big Red took its first lead of the weekend 3-2 with a seventh-inning homer, but freshman pinch-runner Peter Owens scored from first base on a bunt and an error to tie the game in the ninth. The draw held through two extra innings, but Ben Swinford homered in the 12th to send the Big Red to the Ivy League Championship Series.7. Men’s Water Polo: Princeton 13, St. Francis 11 (OT)Trailing by three goals with just over four minutes to go in the Eastern semifinals, Princeton’s season was nearly over. But the Tigers scored three unanswered goals, capped by star freshman Drew Hoffenberg’s strike with 36 seconds left, to force overtime. Sophomore goalie Ben Dearborn continued to hold firm while Princeton scored twice in the extra period, and the Tigers went on to win the tournament and reach NCAAs.6. Women’s Water Polo: Princeton 7, Brown 6 (OT)Just two weeks after beating the Bears with a last-second goal at Southern Championships, Princeton got some last-second magic in an even more important game. The Tigers scored three goals after trailing 5-2 at the half, but Brown answered to take a 6-5 lead. Freshman utility Camille Hooks got the ball as the clock ticked toward zero and found the back of the net, keeping Princeton’s season alive in the Eastern semifinals. Hooks scored the eventual game-winning goal in overtime, and Princeton went on to beat Maryland in the final, earning the program’s first ticket to NCAA Championships.5. Men’s Lacrosse: Princeton 10, Yale 9 (5OT)In 2011, the Bulldogs beat Princeton in an exciting 8-7 overtime game. This season, the Tigers got revenge in New Haven in a game that took 18 more minutes, the longest game in team history. Princeton had the ball and a two-goal lead with just over a minute left, but the hosts forced a turnover and struck twice in a 26-second span to tie the score 9-9. After four-and-a-half overtime periods and a combined nine saves, senior attackman Alex Capretta fired a shot into the net to escape Princeton’s toughest Ivy League challenge of the regular season on its way to a perfect 6-0 conference record and NCAA Tournament bid.4. Men’s Basketball: Princeton 70, Harvard 62Harvard was the talk of the Ivy League: The team was undefeated in league play, Linsanity was in full form and Harvard was nationally ranked for the first season in program history. But the Tigers cooled off the red-hot Crimson at Jadwin Gymnasium, dropping 48 points in a blistering second half to overcome a five-point deficit and snap Harvard’s streak. Freshman forward Denton Koon threw down a dunk in the final seconds and a raucous student crowd stormed the court, celebrating Princeton’s first win over a ranked opponent since 1997.3. Men’s Volleyball: Penn State 3, Princeton 2Penn State entered the game having won 25 straight sets against Princeton, so it came as a surprise when the Tigers won the first game 25-23 at Dillon Gymnasium on March 30. It was even more of a surprise when the hosts took the third set by the same score, then took a 24-23 lead in the fourth for a match point. Princeton lost that point but earned an amazing seven more match points, coming within less than an inch of victory at 33-32. But Penn State fought off every single point and eventually won the unbelievable set 37-35, going on to win its 44th straight EIVA match.2. Field Hockey: Princeton 1, Rider 0 (2OT)In an NCAA Play-In Game at Class of 1952 Stadium, 70 minutes passed without either team scoring a goal. Then a 15-minute overtime period went the same way. Rider and Princeton earned a combined 10 penalty corners and took 12 shots on goal before the scoreboard changed in the 89th minute. Freshman forward Sydney Kirby — whose attempt at the end of regulation was blocked — smacked a hard shot into the net, sending Princeton to the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight year.1. Men’s Squash: Princeton 5, Trinity 4Trinity’s 252-match win streak came to an end in January when it lost at Yale, but the Bantams still had a 13-year championship streak rolling when they visited Jadwin Gymnasium for the national championship tournament. Trinity cruised to the title match, where it met Princeton, the runner-up in seven of those seasons. Fighting the forces of history, Princeton took a 2-1 lead, fell behind 4-2 but battled back with victories by sophomore Dylan Ward and junior Todd Harrity, leaving senior Kelly Shannon on the court. Shannon, who missed the first part of the season due to an injury, played a brilliant match to win in three games, ending Trinity’s remarkable streak and avenging so many prior losses.