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On Tap with Austin Sims and Sam Bonafede

Men’s lacrosse is off to a 3-0 start to the season and is now ranked 10th in the nation after a statement overtime win against Johns Hopkins. The Daily Princetonian sat down with freshmen midfielders Austin Sims and Sam Bonafede to talk about Ivy League rivalries, ice cream and Wiz Khalifa.

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Daily Princetonian: Where are you from and what’s it like there?

Austin Sims: I’m from Fairfield, Connecticut. It’s a beach town — Fairfield U. is there. It’s pretty laid-back — a lot of lacrosse players come from there. Also I guess we’re pretty good at baseball now. Our Little League team has gone to the World Series for a few years.

Sam Bonafede: I’m from Bay Shore, Long Island. Also a beach town, minus the lacrosse and anything athletic. A lot more of a surfer beach area: people are pretty easy going, nothing much to it.

DP: Describe each other’s playing style?

AS: Sam is a little energizer-bunny type player I’d say. He’s always running around getting ground balls and his short little legs make him look like he’s running ten times as fast as he is.

SB: Austin’s more of a power-speed-combination type guy. He’s got long strides, probably the second fastest shot on the team besides our captain, and once he starts to see the offensive side of the field he’ll make some noise. As of now playing d. middie [defensive midfielder] he’s a force down there, knocking some guys over with his strength.

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DP: Austin’s currently recorded a penalty in every Division 1 game he’s played in, one of the more impressive streaks in college sports.

AS: Very true.

DP: Both of you were very highly recruited coming out of high school — why did youchoose Princeton?

AS: I chose Princeton because as a kid Princeton had always been one of my favorite teams, and then once the recruiting process started there was no reason to pass up a chance to come to Princeton. And the tradition here is pretty incomparable; obviously we’re very talented too, so a combination of all the best things.

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SB: I kind of wanted to stay close to home, and it was the best option for me. Like Austin I came to camp here when I was seven, eight years old and fell in love with the place. Since then I had the opportunity to come and it’s only an hour and a half away from home so I just hopped on it.

DP: Who on your team has the best game on and off the field?

AS: The face, [senior midfielder] Kip [Orban].

SB: Yeah, I don’t think he uses as much game; he’s kind of just the face. If we’re talking game I’d say…

AS: Maybe Wobbles [junior midfielder Bobby Weaver]. He’s got sneaky good game.

SB: No. I think you’ve got to go with Kip.

DP: The Ivy League is especially deep this year and you guys have some great matchups. Which teams would you consider your biggest rivals?

SB: From years past it’s always been Cornell — last game of the season they’re kind of our habitual rival in the Ivy League Championship and it usually has some playoff implication that late in the season. Yale, Penn’s a pretty big game. Even Brown we lost to last year, it’s a very even playing field.

AS: I’d have to agree. I’d say Cornell historically, but the last couple of years it’s been Yale. Going back three years we beat them in 2012 in a five overtime game up in Yale, 2013 was a one-goal game at Princeton, last year was a one-goal game at Yale, so the last couple of years Yale and then Harvard has started to come on strong. Those will be big games this year.

DP: Who’s the funniest member of the team?

AS: [Senior attackman] Brendan DeTommaso.

SB: I’d agree, Brendan DeTommaso. [Junior goalie] Matt O’Connor comes in second, they’re both pretty witty guys.

AS: Yeah, or OC. Bones [senior midfielder Will Rotatori] is up there. Bones isn’t really funny; he’s just a little crazy. [Senior midfielder Will] Himler.

DP: Bono, do you identify as a FOGO? [FOGO stands for “Face off, get off,” used to describe players who get the face off and then are replaced with another player.]

SB: I mean no, I don’t want to be, but right now that’s kind of how it is. I don’t know, we’ll see, maybe one game I’ll stick one and that will change, but as of right now I’m a face-off monkey just doing my job.

DP: Along those lines, the face-off unit’s done a really nice job this year, especially against a highly touted Hopkins unit. Could you talk a little about the team’s success on face-offs?

SB: I don’t really have all that much to do with it; our wings are awesome. I mean I’m sure as everybody saw, Zach Currier came into his own last game and literally picked up anything that was within five feet of him. He was amazing, I really have to credit the wings. I just get the ball on the ground and they do the dirty work.

DP: Some people have described fellow freshman [midfielder] Drew O’Connell as slightly slow. How would you respond to those comments?

AS: I’d say we love Drew, but he does move at a snail’s pace sometimes. We just love Drew.

SB: He’s not the fastest guy out there.

AS: He’s got a good first step.

SB: And a hard shot. Good heart.

DP: Do you have any special pregame rituals?

AS: Not really. In high school I used to eat a big bowl of ice cream the night before games, but I haven’t really translated that to the college game. I like to watch a movie the night before a game, a nice little pump-up movie, re-tape my stick.

SB: I always listen to the same song before I go out. When The Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin gets me going.

AS: I like Real Estate, by Wiz Khalifa.

DP: Describe each other’s spirit animal.

SB: For Austin, I’m thinking more of a cougar, because you’ve not yet developed into a lion. That’s where we all want to be in the endgame. You have the tools in place, you have the confidence, the size, the speed. I’m talking this is all field stuff, you’re at stage two of three of the jungle cat, cougar’s just below a lion. You just need to take that next step to go from a cougar to a lion. You’ll get there.

AS: I’d say you’re a falcon. Don’t know why, it just comes to mind. Falcons are pretty fast, pretty agile. They’ve got that dive bomb thing going, if they see something they go after it. It’s like you.

DP: There are some big home games on your schedule, any in particular that you’d like to tell fans to come out to?

AS, SB (at the same time): Harvard! Night game.

AS: April 17 [correct] or whenever it is. Also Yale if you’re around campus.

SB: Yale’s a big one. And, if all goes as planned this is the home run. Sunday… I don’t know what day it is.

AS: Sunday, May 3.

SB: Spring Lawnparties, Ivy League Championship game. If we win all Ivy League games, we host said game. Lawnparties followed by 7 PM night game, crowd goes wild. That’s what we’re shooting for.

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