Men's Lacrosse: Big Green upsets Tigers in Hanover
It was a 29-second defensive lapse that the Tigers wish they could have back: Dartmouth senior midfielder Nikki Dysenchuck and freshman midfielder Cam Lee scored back-to-back goals just seconds apart, turning Princeton’s 9-8 lead to a 10-9 score in favor of the Big Green with only 4:40 left on the clock. A peppering of Dartmouth shots on the Tiger goal ended with Dysenchuck finding the net with 5:09 to play, and Lee's subsequent goal came just moments later on an extra-man opportunity after junior defender Brandon Bonvino was flagged one minute for tripping with 4:56 remaining in the game.
That score would hold for the final minutes, causing No. 9 Princeton (7-4 overall, 2-2 Ivy League) to drop its second Ivy League matchup of the season on Saturday afternoon in Hanover while unranked Dartmouth (3-8, 1-3) picked up its first Ivy victory of the year. Dartmouth’s victory stood in stark contrast to the matchup a year ago, when the Tigers defeated the Big Green 21-6 at Princeton. However, Princeton has had trouble playing in Hanover in recent years — the Tigers have now fallen to Dartmouth there on two consecutive occasions, dropping their last matchup at Dartmouth 11-9 in 2008.
Although Dartmouth emerged with the victory at the final whistle, Princeton controlled much of the game, forcing the Big Green to climb back from two separate three-goal deficits to pick up the victory. The Tigers got on the board first, scoring early and often with three consecutive goals in the first quarter before Dartmouth notched its first score with 4:23 remaining the quarter. The Big Green managed to draw even with the Tigers at 4-4 in the second quarter, but Princeton achieved a three-goal margin at 8-5 again by the middle of the third quarter following goals by sophomore midfielder Kip Orban, senior attackman Luke Armour (2) and freshman midfielder Jake Froccaro. Still, the Big Green climbed back, scoring five of the last six goals and holding its first lead of the afternoon for the final 4:40.
Although the Tigers have the eighth-best scoring offense in the NCAA this season, their performance on Saturday did not reach the standards set earlier in the year. Princeton’s final tally of nine goals marked the first time this season that the Tigers have failed to score at least 10 points in a game. Entering the Dartmouth matchup, the Princeton squad was averaging 12.5 points per game, having reached double-digit figures in every game since falling 6-5 to Virginia in the first round of last season’s NCAA tournament. Princeton’s third goal, scored by sophomore attackman Mike MacDonald, was the 49th goal of his Princeton career. He needs just one more goal to become the first Princeton sophomore to reach the 50-goal mark since Jack McBride did so in 2009.
The Tigers lost despite leading the Big Green in most important statistical categories. Princeton outshot Dartmouth, picked up 10 more ground balls and dominated the face-offs 16-7. The Tigers did commit 15 turnovers, however, six more than they had against then-No. 8 Syracuse the weekend before last.
Now, Princeton will turn its attention to its important upcoming matchup against rival Harvard. The Tigers will play host to the Crimson (6-6, 2-2) at 1952 Stadium on Friday night at 6 p.m. before a national audience on ESPNU. Princeton will likely have to defeat either Harvard or Cornell, whom the Tigers will face the following weekend, to ensure a spot in the Ivy League Tournament in early May.
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