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Men's lacrosse crushes Yale to earn Ivy win

The vaunted attack trio of seniors Jon Hess, Jesse Hubbard and Chris Massey generated goals early and late in the men's lacrosse team's game against Yale Saturday. But in the crucial opening minutes of the third quarter, with the lowly Elis down by just two goals, the three attackmen hardly made a whisper on offense.

Strangely enough, nobody seemed to notice. That's because everyone was busy watching Josh Sims break the game open.

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Sims, a sophomore midfielder, used an array of spectacular one-on-one moves to ignite a third quarter run that buried the Elis (1-4 overall, 0-1 Ivy League) and propelled No. 3 Princeton (4-1, 1-0) to a 16-5 victory in the Ivy opener for both teams at 1952 Stadium.

Halftime speech

The Tigers entered halftime clinging to a 5-3 lead after Yale had seized the momentum by outscoring Princeton 2-1 in the second quarter. After a fire-and-brimstone admonishing by head coach Bill Tierney at the half, the Tigers – led by Sims – went to work in the third quarter.

Just 50 seconds into the quarter, Sims beat Yale goalie Joe Pilch for an unassisted goal to extend the lead to three. Five minutes later, he charged unchecked into the restraining box on a fast break and fired another shot past Pilch.

After a goal by senior midfielder Seamus Grooms, Sims found the back of the net for his fourth and last score of the day with six minutes, two seconds left in the quarter. Senior midfielder John Wynne and Massey added goals to cap Princeton's third quarter run and give the Tigers an 11-3 edge.

Hubbard finished with five goals and one assist, while Massey had two goals and an assist and Hess added two assists. But there was no question as to who was the Tigers' MVP Saturday.

Shining sophomore

"Josh was our leader today," Tierney said. "He was the one who really got us going."

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Sims' most spectacular move came at the end of the first quarter. The sophomore ran around the back of the left side of the net, faked back in the direction he came, then quickly spun and shot the ball past Pilch's stick.

Princeton struggled in the first half for the second straight week. After taking early 2-0 and 4-1 leads, the Tigers endured a 13:27 scoring drought after Sims' first goal. Junior midfielder Lorne Smith finally broke the scoreless streak when he fielded a pass from Hess in the center of the restraining box and fired a high shot into the goal.

Last week against Penn State, the Nittany Lions challenged Princeton in the first half and the Tigers led by only two goals at halftime.

"We can't continue to have the first halves that we've been having," Hubbard said. "I don't know what it is. I can't explain it. We come out fired up and ready to play. It's just that things don't click for us."

Balance

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As opposing defenses continue to clamp down on Princeton's attack trio, Tierney wants the humble Sims to contribute more on offense.

"Because of Josh's innate unselfishness," Tierney said, "we have a couple of calls for him that I think in his mind makes it okay for him to go to the goal, because (otherwise) he wouldn't do that out of fear of being selfish."

"(This year) I have more confidence in my ability and I feel like the team has more confidence in me," Sims said. "They want me to take a more aggressive role."

If Sims can continue to his impressive play – he already has 12 goals, four more than all of last season – opposing teams will no longer be able to concentrate solely on Hess, Hubbard and Massey. And if that happens, don't count on seeing many more scoring droughts this season.

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