Lacrosse, as they say, is a game of runs. Princeton men’s lacrosse (3–6, 0–3 Ivy) has recently found itself too often on the wrong end of those runs. A 7–1 run in a loss to Johns Hopkins. A 12–1 run in a loss at Penn. A 6–1 run in a loss to Yale. Most recently, Princeton suffered a 6–1 Brown run in the second half of its 14–10 loss to the Bears (4–5, 2–0) this Saturday at Sherrerd Field.
The result is that Princeton is on a three-game run of Ivy League losses. The team sits at the bottom of the conference standings, and the possibility of a top-four finish and Ivy League tournament bid looks increasingly bleak.
Brown’s late run included five goals in the first ten minutes of the fourth quarter, compared to one for Princeton. The Bears won face-offs, caused turnovers, and buried shots, while the Tigers lost ground balls and struggled to find the back of the net.
“Execution,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon when asked about Brown’s fourth quarter surge. “They capitalized on opportunities, we didn’t. We hit the pipe, hit the goalie, [and had] careless turnovers. I think they ran a little harder for a little longer out there.”
Princeton started the game with four quick goals from four different players, taking a 4–0 lead less than ten minutes into the game. After that, Brown took over. The Tigers scored just one more goal in the first half, and the Bears clawed back to take a 6–5 lead at halftime. Princeton scored thrice early in the third quarter to tie the game at 8, but the Bears followed that with their 6–1 run to give themselves a comfortable lead.
After the four early goals for Princeton, Brown’s defense was stellar, allowing just six goals in the game’s final 50 minutes. Brown goalie Phil Goss saved 16 of Princeton’s 26 shots on net.
“[Their] goalie made some nice saves down the stretch,” said Madalon. “I think as a whole their unit played well. They caused some turnovers, their spacing was good, and I just don’t think we executed.”
Princeton’s offensive stars, junior attack Michael Sowers and sophomore attack Chris Brown, both had quiet games with one goal apiece. Senior midfielder Emmet Cordrey, not a major contributor until this year, led Princeton in scoring with three goals and an assist.
“He’s playing well,” Madalon said about Cordrey. “He did his job, everyone else needs to step up and do their job a little better.”
One silver lining was Chris Brown scoring his first goal with 1:35 left in the game. He’s scored at least one goal in each of his 22 games played, a Princeton record.
Princeton’s next battles will be two non-conference games, first at Stony Brook, then against Siena. The team will resume its Ivy schedule Saturday, Apr. 13, against Dartmouth. The Tigers are not currently out of the running for the Ivy tournament, but they’ll likely need to win their final three Ivy games, and then get some help.
“A team’s never not going to fight,” Madalon said. “These guys will be ready to get back to work. We dug ourselves a hole, and the only way to go from there is to dig yourself out.”