Men's Lacrosse: Princeton loses heartbreaker to No. 8 Syracuse
The men's lacrosse team faced Syracuse on Saturday in the latest chapter of a storied rivalry. The teams came into a packed Princeton Stadium extremely evenly matched, and the score reflected that, but Princeton (6-3 overall, 2-1 Ivy League) came up short in a heartbreaking 13-12 loss.
Both teams went into the match with No. 8 rankings and 6-2 overall records and were almost identical in many statistical categories. Despite these similarities, their styles of play were markedly different.
"We came out slow; they came out fast. They seized the moment when it counted, and we didn't,” junior attacker Tom Schreiber said. “Both teams needed to win so bad; we both knew how much. If we won, it would help us, and if we lost, [we knew] how much it would hurt us."
"We knew this was going to be a one-goal game, and [considering] how we competed, I don't think we left anything on the field," head coach Chris Bates said. "[But] there's no solace in that."
Syracuse (7-2, 2-1 Big East) brought adversity early to a Princeton squad that has gotten used to slow starts. Orange midfielder Henry Schoonmaker put in the first goal five minutes into the first period and would net another goal four minutes later. After a converted man-up opportunity, Syracuse was up 3-0 halfway though the first.
"It's not the way we wanted to start, but I'm OK with that we had a little adversity," Bates said. "We clawed our way back. I thought that would serve us well. Ultimately, I want those three goals back, but that's how the game went."
Syracuse head coach John Desko explained that Schoonmaker's presence caused an unexpected mismatch for the Tiger defense.
“Just the fact that we had [Schoonmaker] out there made their match-ups change defensively. We needed him out there. We asked a lot of him, and he performed for us,” Desko said.
Schoonmaker, who normally starts in the second line for the Orange, finished the match leading his offense with four goals.
But the Tigers would not stay down for long, as goals from freshman midfielder Jake Froccaro and sophomore attack Mike MacDonald put the Tigers within one.
By the beginning of the second quarter, the Tigers had tied it at 3-3 after a goal from the elder Froccaro brother, senior midfielder Jeff Froccaro.
The teams would exchange goals for a long stretch after that, with neither team holding much momentum until late in the third period.
With a little over five minutes left in the quarter, Schreiber punched in his first goal of the match, setting off a four-goal streak to give the Tigers a 9-7 lead over the Orange.
"It took [Schreiber] a little while to warm up," said Bates. "Ultimately, I think every defense's goal when they come out is to know where Schreiber is."
But the Tigers could not keep the momentum for long. They started to lose steam in the fourth as Orange midfielder Jojo Marasco, along with attacker Derek Maltz, found his stride. Schoonmaker evened the match at 12 apiece with four-and-a-half minutes left.
"In the fourth quarter, I thought you saw us wearing down a little bit. I thought we got tired, and that really hurt us,” Bates said. “They had a few cutting goals — like Jojo's big goal — and they can slide too, and that can make a difference."
Marasco scored the winning goal with 2:32 left in the game. Princeton got the ball with seconds remaining, but a shot from MacDonald went over the goal.
The Syracuse defense held Schreiber, a power attackman, to only a single goal. Jeff Froccaro led the Tigers on offense with four goals, followed by MacDonald with three.
The game also saw another strong performance from the younger Froccaro brother, Jake, who scored two goals and is already an emerging anchor on the Tiger offense.
Syracuse had the edge over Princeton on face-offs throughout the entire game, but the real punch came in the fourth quarter. The Orange won seven out of 10 face-offs in the quarter, quickly converting three into goals that eroded the Tiger lead.
The Tigers will take the field again Tuesday night when they travel to Rutgers. Princeton will close out its Ivy season with three more games and still controls its own destiny in the hunt for the Ivy championship tournament.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.