Undefeated men’s lax takes on Hopkins this weekend after taking down defending NCAA champion UVA| February 27, 2020
No. 8 men’s lacrosse (3–0, 0–0 Ivy) hosts the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (1–2) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Sherrerd Field. To improve on their undefeated record, the Tigers are looking to carry over momentum from last weekend’s win.
Last Saturday, Princeton topped defending NCAA champion and then-second-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. GoPrincetonTigers.com described the win as “more than just the Michael Sowers show,” referring to the usually dominant performance of senior and all-time leading scorer Michael Sowers. Princeton led 8–7 at the half and continued to fight off UVA shooters in the final two periods to clinch a 16–12 victory.
The game saw junior attack Chris Brown reach 100 career points with four goals and an assist. Senior attack Phillip Robertson added four goals of his own, while first-year attack Alex Slusher netted two insurance goals in the final four minutes to seal the win.
Meanwhile, Sowers followed up his Ivy-record-breaking, 14-point game against Colgate with four goals and four assists against Virginia. For his efforts, he was honored with a second-straight Ivy League Player of the Week award and was named the US Lacrosse National Player of the Week.
“It was great to compete against a great team in UVA and be able to put our Princeton lacrosse brand on the national stage and show everyone in the country what all that work has created here,” senior face-off Philip Thompson said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian.
Princeton head coach Matt Madalon agreed with Thompson’s assessment.
"This was a great win for us. We think we have a good team. We want to play the best teams we can, and Virginia is certainly that. We got contributions from everyone, and that was great to see. Now we can enjoy this for a few minutes and then start to think about the next game, which is against another great team,“ Madalon said.
The Tigers play John Hopkins next, who sits at number 18 in the USILA Coaches Poll but is not ranked by Inside Lacrosse. After beating the Cavaliers, the Tigers are ranked eighth in this week’s Inside Lacrosse poll.
Still, Hopkins is one of the most well-respected lacrosse programs in the history of the men’s college game. Thompson said there will be “some new wrinkles” in the Tigers’ system designed to take down the Blue Jays but highlighted the fact that Princeton will remain focused on “overwhelming teams with elite hustle, toughness, and energy for the full 60 minutes.”
The Blue Jays are 1–2 on the season, with losses coming at the hands of Loyola and North Carolina.
Thompson attributes much of Princeton’s early success this season to the “hard work everyone on the roster has put in.” According to Thompson, team captains George Baughan, Nick Bauer, Jon Levine, Robertson, Strib Walker, and Sowers “have done an incredible job leading and creating a culture where every player is accountable.”
“This team is also a very close-knit group, and that togetherness allows us to push each other in a constructive way that makes the whole better than the sum of its parts,” Thompson said.
Following the Hopkins game, Princeton will face Rutgers before beginning Ivy League play. The Tigers were picked to finish fourth in the league behind Yale, Penn, and Cornell. Yale, the national champion in 2018, is currently ranked number one in the polls, and Penn and Cornell immediately follow the Tigers at numbers nine and 10.
Despite this ranking, Thompson believes that if the Tigers can “take a step forward every day and keep getting better and learning from mistakes in practice and games,” then they’ll be able to contend with any opponent on the schedule.