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Men's lacrosse's comeback attempt fell short at Rutgers Saturday. Photo credit: Debbie Robertson / goprincetontigers.com

Men’s lacrosse (2–3) was defeated by Rutgers (4–3) last weekend 9–8. The Tigers will head to Philadelphia to face Penn (2–3) for their first Ivy League game of the season.

Princeton and Rutgers go way back — the first time the two teams played each other was in 1888 (Princeton won that game 5–1). Last Saturday, the team traveled to Piscataway to face off against the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers outscored the Tigers in the first two quarters and by halftime led 9–3. In the first quarter, Princeton’s senior midfielder Charlie Durbin and sophomore attacker Chris Brown each had a goal, keeping the Tigers only one behind the Scarlet Knights. The quarter finished 3–2. In the second, Rutgers opened the scoring with a goal two minutes in. 

First-year midfielder Alexander Vardaro responded for Princeton at 11:28, bringing the team within one, 4–3. Vardaro has scored at least one goal in every game this season. Rutgers took off, responding with five goals in the remaining minutes and shutting Princeton out to end the half 9–3.

Junior attacker Michael Sowers opened the second half scoring with his first goal of the game at 10:31. With five minutes to go in the third quarter, Brown hit his second one of the game. A minute and a half later, Sowers had his second of the game, too, bringing Princeton within three of Rutgers and the score to 9–6. The Tigers’ defense prevented Rutgers from scoring any goals in the third quarter — the Scarlet Knights only had one shot on target, which was saved by junior goalie Jon Levine.

In the fourth, Princeton once again shut out Rutgers. The Tigers inched closer to tying the game with goals from Durbin with five minutes left and Brown with two minutes left. Brown’s goal made it a one-point game, with Rutgers leading 9–8, but Princeton was unable to capitalize on shots by first-year middie Beau Pederson and Durbin in the final seconds. The game finished 9–8 in Rutgers’ favor.

Last season, Princeton defeated Rutgers 15–14 in an OT thriller at home.

This coming Saturday, the team will travel to Penn for its first match of Ivy League play. The last time the two teams played in Philly, in 2017, the Tigers dominated the Quakers 17–8. Last season, though, at home, Penn defeated Princeton 14–7. The two teams tied in the first and third quarters of that game, but Penn outscored the Tigers 3–0 in the second and 6–2 in the fourth.

The face-off against Penn is at 3:30 p.m.

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