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No. 4 men’s lacrosse falls to defending national champions No. 6 Maryland, 11–5

The game was a rematch of last year’s national semifinals, in which Maryland won 13–8

The team will return to action next Saturday at home against Georgetown.
Courtesy of @TigerLacrosse/Twitter.

On a chilly Saturday afternoon that saw snow flurries, No. 4 men’s lacrosse (2–1 overall, 0–0 Ivy League) fell 11–5 to No. 6 Maryland (3–1, 0–0 Big Ten) in a rematch of last year’s national semifinals. In that game, the Terps won 13–8 and went on to win the national championship two days later. The rematch was highly anticipated, with a sold-out crowd of 1,753 at Sherrerd Field. 

“I have a lot of respect for [Tigers head coach] Matt [Madalon] and Princeton, one of the best programs out there. For us to go on the road and get a win here is huge for us,” Maryland head coach John Tillman told The Daily Princetonian. 


The revenge matchup between the Terps and the Tigers began as a defensive battle, with both teams struggling to find quality shots on goal. Maryland won the opening face-off, but the Tiger defense forced a shot clock violation to win the ball back. 

Maryland struck first just over two minutes into the game with a goal by attacker Daniel Kelly. The two offenses were held scoreless for the next 12 minutes of play until Maryland scored a second goal to gain a 2–0 lead, where the scoreline would stay until the end of the first quarter. 

As snowflakes began to fall on Sherrerd Field at the Class of 1952 stadium, the Tigers opened the second quarter looking to generate some much-needed offense and continue their stalwart defense. Sophomore attacker Coulter Mackesy was able to put Princeton on the board with 11:49 on the clock in the second quarter. 

The hard-fought physical battle went on throughout the second quarter, as the two goalies made save after save to keep the score low. Still, Maryland managed to add a third goal with 8:03 left in the quarter. 

With the quarter ticking down, Princeton led a long offensive possession full of high-quality shots, but they were not able to capitalize, as Maryland’s first-year goalie Brian Ruppel made a key save.

Princeton senior goalie Griffin Rakower capped off his brilliant first half with his 11th save with 1:18 left in the second quarter to stall the Terp offense yet again. The two juggernauts headed into halftime after 30 minutes of gritty defense, with Maryland leading 3–1.


“It was a low-scoring, physical game. I thought both defenses did a good job and all three goalies played well,” Tillman told the ‘Prince.’ “Certainly in the first half, I thought [Rakower] was great, letting in three goals with 11 saves.”

The Tigers suffered a breakdown on defense to start the second half, allowing two quick goals by Kelly and senior Terps attacker Daniel Maltz. Princeton tried to strike back, but the offensive difficulties remained. Senior midfielder Sam English netted an unassisted goal for Princeton with 9:35 on the clock to bring the score to 5–2. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the third quarter was marred by Princeton penalties, leading directly to a Maryland man-up goal just two minutes later. 

Then, in perhaps the most controversial moment of the game, Princeton face-off specialist Tyler Sandoval had his stick inspected by the referees after winning a face-off and immediately scoring. The referees ruled his stick was too narrow at the head and disallowed the goal. This crucial call halted the Tigers’ attempts to cut the deficit and resulted in a three-minute non-releasable penalty for Sandoval. 

Junior goalie Michael Gianforcaro made a fantastic man-down save with 5:13 left on the clock in the third quarter, but the Princeton penalties piled up. An offside penalty caused the Tigers to be two men down on defense and Maryland quickly capitalized, scoring their eighth goal of the night. The game continued to get out of hand for Princeton, and shortly after, the Terps took a commanding 10–2 lead. 

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The scoring-filled third quarter ended with Mackesy netting his second of three goals for Princeton after a pass from English on a Tiger man-down. Heading into the fourth quarter, the game seemed lost for the Tigers, as they found themselves in a seven-goal deficit.

“Coming out of the first half, we were down 3–1, with 1-for-20 shooting, so our message was to get better shots on the cage, test the [first-year Maryland goalie] a bit, keep it away from his hands,” Madalon told the ‘Prince.’ “The offense definitely struggled at times to create some advantages, but we’re a group that will get back to work and be better.”

Princeton entered the fourth quarter aiming to eliminate the costly penalties that plagued their third quarter and to jumpstart their offense. They had a man-up opportunity early in the quarter but could not get the ball in the net. 

Senior attacker Weston Carpenter came around a pick with 12:50 left in the game off of another assist from English. Princeton showed their Final Four pedigree from last year, fighting late in the game to make a comeback. Mackesy made it a hat trick on a beautiful underhanded shot assisted by senior attacker Alex Slusher, bringing the score to 10–5.

The Terp defense consistently gave Tiger attackmen and midfielders little space to operate on the offensive half of the field, and quality shots were hard to come by all game long. The deficit proved too large to overcome, and Princeton suffered their first loss of the year, 11–5. 

The Maryland matchup is not the end of a rigorous out-of-conference schedule, as Princeton will play another storied program in Georgetown (0–3, 0–0 Big East) next Saturday at home before traveling 20 miles north of the Orange Bubble to take on No. 13 Rutgers (3–1, 0–0 Big Ten). 

The difficult out-of-conference schedule should prepare the Tigers well for Ivy League play, which starts on Mar. 18 and will feature three other teams in the top eight of the national rankings. 

“For us, it’s right back to work,” Madalon said. “Start cracking tape on Georgetown and try to prepare our group to play for Saturday. Georgetown is awesome, a very rare group to be 0–3, they’ve had some great early season tests, it should be a good one.” 

Harrison Blank is a Sports contributor at the ‘Prince.’ 

Hayk Yengibaryan is an assistant Sports editor at the ‘Prince.’ 

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