After opening the season with two wins against New Jersey Institute of Technology (0-2) and Marist University (2-1), the men’s lacrosse team will look to continue its strong start when Hofstra (1-0) comes to town on Saturday. The teams will face off in a 1 p.m. game at Sherrerd Field in the Class of 1952 Stadium.
Princeton (2-0) has started the season off well, winning it recognition from the USILA/Nike Coaches Poll, in which Princeton received votes to be ranked in the top 20 teams in the country, for the first time this season. This poll was released before the Tigers’ win over Marist, a team that was also receiving votes. With a win over Hofstra on Saturday, Princeton could very well find itself in those top 20 ranked teams.
The Pride won’t make this game an easy one to win, with half of its starters returning from last year. Most notable of those returnees are goalie Jack Concannon and attack Josh Byrne. Concannon was selected as a Preseason All-American and was also selected to the All-Conference first team last year. He finished the season with a save percentage of 56.8 percent, the tenth best in the nation. On the other hand, Byrne led Hofstra last year in goals, assists, and point, with 30, 15, and 45 respectively. These numbers put him second in the conference in points and third in goals and assists.
Both Byrne and Concannon led the way for the Pride in its first game of the year. Byrne tallied three goals and three assists to lead Hofstra with six points. Concannon, meanwhile, tallied 11 saves, including one with 18 seconds left in the game, allowing Princeton to keep its two-goal lead.
To combat this duo, Princeton has its own trio of stars that it will look to lead the way on Saturday, namely freshman attack Michael Sowers, senior attack Gavin McBride, and junior goalie Tyler Blaisdell. Sowers was part of a USA U-19 team that won the gold medal at the World Championships this past summer. Notably, fellow Tiger and junior midfielder Austin Sims was a captain of this team.
In the two games that the Tigers have played, these three have played important roles. Notably, Sowers leads Princeton in points with 12. Not only has he led this category, he also set a school record in his first game against NJIT for assists in the first game of a freshman year with five, breaking the old record of four. This also made Sowers only the sixth Tiger in the last century to have a five-assist game. In addition, Blaisdell has been great in the net with a save percentage of 69.2 percent, making 18 saves and allowing only 8 goals. McBride has also picked up right where he left off last year as the team’s leading goal scorer. This year, so far, he’s scored six goals, with three in each game; this has extended his streak of games with at least three goals to now seven in a row.
The game will be streaming on the Ivy League Digital Network, for those who can't make it down to Sherrerd Field.