Last Saturday, the men’s lacrosse team played its first game of the season, and it was a very exciting start. No. 18 Princeton came out on top 9–8 in a double overtime win against Monmouth. This was the first time that these two teams have ever played, mainly because the Hawks’ men’s lacrosse program is only five years old. Despite its short history, Monmouth has had tremendous success, including a MAAC championship and NCAA tournament appearance last year.
The Tigers started the game strong, going into halftime with a 5–1 lead. Princeton’s goals were scored by junior attack Dawson McKenzie, sophomore attacker Phillip Robertson (who scored two), freshman midfielder Chris Brown, and senior midfielder Austin Sims. McKenzie and Robertson’s first goals were both assisted by sophomore attacker Michael Sowers. Brown assisted on Robertson’s goal and Sims’s goals.
The second half was a different story, with Monmouth rallying back to tie the score at 8–8 at the end of regulation. The Hawks scored four goals in the third period and three goals in the fourth period. A key play that sent the game to overtime was senior goalie Tyler Blaisdell’s save on Bryce Wasserman, Monmouth’s all-time leading scorer, in the last ten seconds of regulation. Blaisdell had 17 saves on the day, a performance that earned him the first Ivy League Player of the Week award in 2018. Princeton’s second-half goals came from Sowers, Robertson, and Brown; Robertson’s goal was assisted by Brown.
In the first overtime, both goalies made a series of clutch saves to keep the game tied at 8–8. The second overtime saw Sowers get behind the net and set up senior midfield Riley Thompson on the backside. Thompson, a three-year starter, had not attempted a shot all day up to that point, but that didn’t stop him from knowing what to do with the ball when he buried it in the back of the net.
Beyond Blaisdell’s performance, two important things to note for the Tigers were Brown’s collegiate debut with two goals and three assists and Robertson’s three goals in his first collegiate start. Sowers, despite only having one goal, remained active with three assists, extending his streak of putting up at least two points in every game of his career.
Up next, Princeton has two important and tough road tests as the Tigers try to move up from No. 18 in the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rankings. First, this Saturday, Princeton will head down to Charlottesville to take on No. 6 Virginia. Next, the Tigers will again travel south, this time to Baltimore, to take on No. 14 Johns Hopkins on March 3. Finally, Princeton will have just two more non-conference games, against NJIT on March 6 and Rutgers on March 10, before beginning its Ivy League schedule at home against Penn on March 17.