The Marist Red Foxes held the lead for 41 seconds out of a 60-minute game before the Tigers tied the game two-all, taking off with a 9–0 run.
On a gloomy Tuesday evening, No. 3 Princeton (7–2 overall, 2–1 Ivy League) claimed a dominant 18–7 victory over unranked Marist (3–7, 2–1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) on Sherrerd Field.
In the opening minutes of the first quarter, junior midfielder Sam English outran his defensive matchup, netting one in from the center seam.
Less than two minutes later, Marist attackman Jake Deacy answered with a goal of his own to even the score. Building off the momentum of Deacy’s goal, attackman Kellen Pulera netted another to give the Red Foxes a short-lived one-goal lead.
This would be their only lead of the evening.
English followed with a second goal of his own, and from there, the game was entirely in the Tigers’ control. Senior midfielder Jamie Atkinson pulled Princeton ahead with his first goal of the season. Two more goals in the first quarter — one from junior midfielder Alexander Vardaro and another from Atkinson — put Princeton ahead by three heading to close off the first.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, senior attackman Chris Brown, assisted by first-year attackman Coulter Mackesy, found the net with ease from the bottom right of the crease despite the lack of an angle for a shot. Fifty-one seconds later, junior attackman Christian Ronda received a pass from Brown, spun away from his defender, and netted one in.
Ronda wasn’t done. Once again, 56 seconds after his first goal of the game, he scored another. This goal was more impressive than his last. After moving the ball between Brown and himself a couple of times, Ronda switched up the play. He cut into the center while receiving the ball in transition and shot one in with his feet touching the crease, but skillfully staying outside of it.
Many of the Tigers’ goals aren’t easy shots. With defensive pressure, crowding in front of the goal, and a lack of angle, making the decision to take a shot isn’t always so black-and-white.
“A lot of it comes down to what’s going on in the game at the moment. If we [had] just played a lot of defense or if we need a longer offensive possession, we look to be more selective with our shots,” Ronda told The Daily Princetonian. “We also have a lot of talented and unselfish players on our team, and we put a lot of trust in each other to make those decisions.”
The trust within the team was definitely apparent in Tuesday’s game. With the depth of talent the Princeton team holds, no one person is more heavily relied on than the others. Throughout the game, the ball was shared among every player, and out of 18 total goals, nine different Tigers scored. Moreover, 10 of the goals were assisted by a fellow teammate.
The team chemistry is undeniable, and it all starts in practice.
For Ronda, playing on the left field with Brown has allowed them to build a strong dynamic. Two of Ronda’s four goals Tuesday evening were off assists from Brown.
“Each game we get more comfortable playing off each other and learning each other’s tendencies. In practice, we talk a lot about where the other likes to dodge, when to set picks or give space, and I think this chemistry has translated well to in-game,” Ronda said. “Brown is also a great leader on the field. He elevates everyone’s game with his leadership and play-making ability.”
Ronda’s words are true: Brown totaled two goals and four assists to help lead the Tigers to victory — and this was one of his quieter games.
With a 9–0 run in the first two quarters, Princeton led Marist 10–2 heading into halftime.
The Red Foxes saw a much better second half, opening the third quarter with a goal from attackman Jojo Pirreca to end a 28-minute scoring drought before the Tigers took off with a 6–0 run to make it 16–3.
Despite gaining more offensive possessions than they did in the first half, the Red Foxes still struggled to make successful plays. The Tigers put up a hard defensive fight, causing 21 total turnovers on Marist’s end.
Still, Marist played with determination. The fourth quarter saw a 3–0 run from the Red Foxes to bring the score gap from 13 to 11. With about eight minutes left to play, Marist’s long stick midfielder JT Roselle snuck one past the Princeton defense.
Roselle’s goal was arguably the prettiest goal of the game. With a spin-dodge to avoid the Tigers, followed by a skillful switch of hands, he bounced one past junior goalie Griffen Rakower.
Despite the late three goals to finish the game, the Tigers outshot the Red Foxes 58–30. Princeton outplayed them both defensively and offensively with more turnovers and more ground balls and face-off wins.
With a victory to kick off this week’s home games, the Tigers will host No. 13 Boston University (BU) next on Saturday, April 9 at 1 p.m.
“BU is a great opponent, and they’re going to come here ready to play on Saturday. I think we did a lot of things well today: moving the ball and getting everyone involved on the offensive end and getting stops on the defensive end,” Ronda told the ‘Prince.’
And while BU may be a competitive top-20 matchup, Ronda made it clear that the Tigers have at least one advantage: fans to cheer them on.
“The students and fans have been incredible all year, and we’d love to see some of that support on Saturday!” he said.
Julia Nguyen is a co-head editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince’ who usually covers the weekly recaps. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @jt.nguyen.