After splitting two non-conference games this past week with a win at Stony Brook (5-5 overall) on Saturday and a loss at Lehigh (6-5) on Tuesday, the men’s lacrosse team will be looking to continue what has been a good season so far through the last three regular season games against Dartmouth (2-8 overall, 0-3 Ivy), Harvard (5-5, 1-2), and Cornell (3-7, 2-2).
First, Princeton (7-4, 2-1) will travel to Hanover to take on the Big Green at noon on Saturday. The Tigers’ season so far has earned them a No. 13 ranking in the USILA/Nike Coaches Poll, the highest of any Ivy League team and a strong ranking for a team that started the season unranked and without receiving any votes. This set of rankings was released before Princeton's loss to unranked Lehigh, but a strong performance against Dartmouth can work to even out any possible drop that may have resulted from the loss.
The Big Green have had a tough season so far, but they won their most recent game to end a six-game losing streak dating back to March 4. No doubt, this will give Dartmouth some energy going into Saturday’s game; the team will be looking to defend its home turf, where its two wins this season have come, and to pick up its first Ivy League win of the season. A big part of this recent win was Dartmouth goalie George Christopher, who has had 15 saves while only allowing eight goals. Christopher currently ranks third in the conference in saves per game, averaging 12.1. Dartmouth Attack Ben Martin was also electric for the Big Green on Tuesday night, scoring seven goals, including four in a five-minute span in the first quarter. Both Christopher and Martin are freshmen, promising a strong future for the team.
Princeton’s success this season has too been heavily influenced by the performance of freshman, including freshman attack Michael Sowers. On Tuesday night, Sowers made Princeton history when he broke Kevin Lowe’s 26-year-old school record for points by a freshman with a four-point night (one goal, three assists). Sowers has also tied the record for goals by a Tiger freshman, set by Mike Chanenchuk in 2010. Sowers' historic season will be even more special if he scores two more goals, which will make him the third player in program history to record at least 30 goals and 30 assists in the same season.
In addition to Sowers, senior attack Gavin McBride and junior goalie Tyler Blaisdell have been instrumental in Princeton’s accomplishments thus far. On Tuesday night, McBride lost a school-record streak of four consecutive games with at least five goals, but he still added three goals and an assist, giving him at least three goals in 13 of his last 16 games. Blaisdell has in turn anchored the Tigers’ defense, leading the Ivy League in save percentages, at 55 percent. Last year against Dartmouth, Blaisdell made 15 saves and had an 83.3 percent save percentage, a performance that brought the Tigers to victory over the Big Green last year and one he will no doubt be looking to replicate this year.
Saturday’s game will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network for those that are unable to make the trip up to Dartmouth.