Princeton Travels To Hofstra For 2013 Opener
Princeton has won 10 national championships, the first back in 1937, with four USILA championships and then six NCAA tournament championships. Princeton has played in the NCAA Final Four 10 times and the NCAA championship game eight times and is the owner of 26 Ivy League championships.
Surely the program has seen it all in that time, right?
If there has been another season-opener quite like the 2013 one, then there haven't been many.
Princeton enters 2013 with an offense that shows every sign that it could be improved over last year, when the Tigers were one of the top scoring teams in Division I. And with a defense with no returning starters.
Add to that the rule changes that were designed to open the game up more - and early season scores that seem to suggest they have been successful - and it's even more unlikely that Princeton has ever been in this situation before.
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Princeton attackmen and offensive midfielders have combined for 101 career games started.
Princeton's defenseman and goalie have combined for three career game started (two by Derick Raabe and one by Eric Sanschagrin).
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Princeton averaged 7.08 goals per game in 2011 and 11.2 goals per game in 2012.
Princeton returns four players - Tom Schreiber, Jeff Froccaro, Mike MacDonald, Tucker Shanley - who all reached at least 20 goals last year. The last time Princeton had four
returning players who reached at least 20 goals was 1998, with Jesse Hubbard, Chris Massey, Jon Hess and Lorne Smith.
Princeton returns four of its six starters on attack and midfield and returns six players who started at least three games on offense a year ago - Tom Schreiber (16 starts), Jeff Froccaro (16), Mike MacDonald (16), Tucker Shanley (9), Kip Orban (4), Hunter deButts (3).
Graduation took both Alex Capretta (16 starts, 23G, 11A) and Mike Grossman (16 starts, 7G, 8A). Freshmen Ryan Ambler (attack) and Jake Froccaro (midfield) figure to start for Capretta and Grossman.
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Princeton graduated goalie Tyler Fiorito (2012 Ivy League Player of the Year, second-team All-America), defenseman Chad Wiedmaier (2012 first-team All-America, Princeton's first four-time first-team All-Ivy League selection), longstick midfielder John Cunningham (four-year contributor, MLL draftee) and defenseman Jonathan Meyers (four-year contributor). Returning defenseman Rob Castelo, who started all 16 games a year ago, tore his ACL prior to the start of preseason practice.
Between them, those five combined for 11 All-America selections and 13 All-Ivy League selections, not to mention 253 games and probably more than 10,000 minutes played.
Princeton ranked fifth last year in Division I in scoring defense with 7.2 goals allowed per game.
In their place, Princeton's starting defense will consist of a converted shortstick defensive midfielder (Nick Fernandez), a converted longstick midfielder (Derick Raabe, who has started two career games on defense) and a freshman (Mark Strabo). The goalie will be one of three players - Matt O'Connor, Brian Kavanagh or Eric Sanschagrin - who between them have one career game started. The longstick midfielders will be Alex Beatty and Brandon Bonvino, who between them have appeared in five career games.
Shortstick defensive midfielder Jack Strabo will be the only Princeton defensive player who starts the 2013 season in the same role he had in the 2012 opener against Hofstra.
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Nick Fernandez will be moving from shortstick defensive midfielder, where he played his first two years, to close defense.
There is precedent for this at Princeton. In 2006, Ryan Schoenig, a shortstick defensive midfielder and face-off man, became a starter at close defense.
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It's possible that Princeton will start four freshmen against Hostra, one each at attack (Ryan Ambler), midfield (Jake Froccaro), defense (Mark Strabo) and goalie (Matt O'Connor).
The only time in the last 25 years that Princeton has started as many as three freshmen in the opener were in 1991 (Kevin Lowe, Scott Reinhardt, Scott Bacigalupo) and 1995 (Jon Hess, Chris Massey, Jesse Hubbard).
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Princeton and Hofstra have played 26 times, and each team has won 13. In the last eight years, the series is 4-4.
Princeton and Hofstra have met ever year since 2000. Of those 13 games, nine have been decided by three or more goals, while two each have been by one or two.
Princeton defeated Hofstra 12-6 last year as Tom Schreiber had three goals and four assists and Mike MacDonald had three goals. In two career games against Hofstra, Schreiber has five goals and four assists.
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Princeton will start Jeff (attack) and Jake Froccaro (midfield) against Hofstra.
The last time Princeton had two brothers start the same game was the 2000 NCAA championship game, when Trevor (goalie) and Brendan (attack) Tierney started for the Tigers.
Princeton will also have Mark Strabo start on defense and Jack Strabo will be a first-line shortstick defensive midfielder.
Princeton has had first-line shortstick D middie with his brother in the starting lineup three times since the Tierneys started together, though an SSDM is not considered a starter.
Alex Hewit was the starting goalie when his brother Grant was a shortstick D middie. Whitney Hayes was a starting midfielder when his brother Dixon was an SSDM. Jimmy Davis was an SSDM when Tommy Davis started on attack.
Princeton has three sets of brothers on its team.
In addition to the two Froccaros and Strabos, there is also Austin deButts and Hunter deButts.
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Princeton's last win at Shuart Stadium was in 2007. The Tigers actually lost twice in Hempstead in 2009, both to Hofstra in the regular season and Cornell in the NCAA quarterfinals.
Hofstra defeated Princeton 11-9 in 2011 in the Tigers' last game in Hempstead.
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The Princeton men's lacrosse team spent a week in Costa Rica last June. The Tigers played one game against the Costa Rican national team, gave clinics for the Costa Ricans and for the local youth and worked on various service projects, including refurbishing a community center.
Princeton traveled to Spain and Ireland in 2008 and Japan in 2004.
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Princeton won 40.7% of its face-offs in 2011 and 51.3% of its fface-offs in 2012. Princeton won nearly 100 more face-offs last year than the year before, going from 87 to 182.
Hofstra won 16 of 22 face-offs in its 11-9 win over Princeton in 2011.
Princeton won 13 of 22 face-offs last year in its 12-6 win.
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Princeton's two captains for the 2013 season will be Tom Schreiber and Chris White.
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Princeton is at Johns Hopkins next Friday, March 1, in the first of its five ESPNU games. The game, which faces off at 5, is actually the first game of a Princeton doubleheader on ESPNU that night, with lacrosse followed by Princeton-Harvard men's basketball.
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What Can You Say About ...
Ryan Ambler #14
• will be the second Princeton freshman in two years to start the first game of his freshman year on attack after Mike MacDonald did last year; prior to MacDonald, the last time a Princeton freshman started Game 1 of his freshman year on attack was 2004, when Peter Trombino did so
• high school All-America from Abington High, outside of Philadelphia, where he had 186 career goals and 210 career assists
• younger brother of former Princeton assistant coach Colin Ambler, who also played for Princeton head coach Chris Bates at Drexel
• father Bob is the all-time leading scorer at Drexel
Luke Armour #16
• senior who can play attack or midfield
• was slowed by injury for most of 2012
• had three goals and an assist against Dartmouth
• three goals and four points were career highs
• had two assists against Manhattan
• played in every game, starting seven, in 2011
• was fourth on the team with 14 points (9G, 5A) in 2011
Alex Beatty #36
• will be the No. 1 longstick midfielder
• played in two games last year, when he was slowed by injuries
Brandon Bonvino #21
• will be the No. 2 longstick midfielder
• played in three games last year
Hunter DeButts #47
• had two goals on two shots (including the first goal of the game) against Brown after missing the first seven games due to injury
• had an assist against Cornell, Rutgers, Dartmouth and Yale in the Ivy final
Nick Fernandez #24
• moves to being a starter on close defense after having been a shortstick defensive midfielder his first two years; Ryan Schoenig (in 2006) did the same for Princeton
• had his first career goal in the game against Syracuse
• also had a goal in the next game against Rutgers
• had four ground balls and a caused turnover vs. Manhattan
• missed games with ankle sprain, concussion, broken arm in 2011
Jake Froccaro #9
• will start at midfield
• had 65 goals and 20 assists as a high school senior at Port Washington
• can also face off
• younger brother of senior attackman Jeff Froccaro, a first-team All-Ivy League selection last year
Jeff Froccaro #10
• 2013 preseason honorable mention All-America
• 2012 first-team All-Ivy League selection
• started on attack last year after playing as a midfielder first two years
• was second on team with 27 goals and 39 points; had 38 points his first two years combined
• had career-highs with five goals and seven points while tying career high with two assists against Villanova
• leads all active Princeton players with 55 career goals and is second for career lead with 77 career points
Will Himler #18
• was second on the team with 13 assists a year ago
• has been slowed by injury in the preseason
Bobby Lucas #17
• won 91 of 152 face-offs (55.6%) a year ago
• won 46.2% of face-offs in 2011 and 52.1% as a freshman
• also plays shortstick defensive midfield
Mike McDonald #8
• has started every game on attack as a freshman
• ranked fifth all-time among Princeton freshman with 22 goals
• had 22 goals on 39 shots (56.4%)
• had the highest shooting percentage (56.4%) of any Princeton player ever with at least 20 goals in a season
• shot 12 for 16 in six Ivy games
• had four goals in the Ivy tournament (two in each game)
• two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week
Justin Murphy #32
• won 15 of 30 face-offs as a freshman
• missed the first nine games after breaking his leg in the fall
Matt O'Connor #11
• freshman goalie from Lawrenceville Prep
• should he start against Hofstra, he would become the third Princeton goalie in the last 25 years to start Game 1 of his freshman year (Scott Bacigalupo in 1991, Tyler Fiorito in 2009)
Kip Orban #13
• started four games as a freshman
• will be on the first midfield unit this year
• had eight goals and three assists as a freshman
Derick Raabe #5
• is the only current Princeton player who has ever started a game on defense (vs. Penn and Harvard in 2011)
• had first career goal in the game against Harvard last year
• has played mostly longstick midfield in his career
Eric Sanschagrin #31
• made 11 saves while allowing five goals in first collegiate start, against Manhattan
• played final 5:05 against Brown in regular season without allowing goal
Tom Schreiber #22
• 2013 preseason first-team All-America
• 2012 first-team All-America
• led team in goals and assists as a freshman and sophomore; is the only Princeton player ever to do so
• 2012 unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection
• 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year
• 2011 first-team All-Ivy League selection
• had 32 goals and 28 assists last year, falling two assists short of having the second 30/30 season in school history (Dave Tickner 1977)
• became the fourth player in school history with at least 30 goals and 25 assists in the same season and first since Jon Hess in 1996 (Tickner did it twice and Wick Sollers)
• became the first Princeton player since Ryan Boyle in 2004 to reach 60 points in a season
• was tied for ninth in points in a single season at Princeton
• had at least one point in every game and at least three in 13 of 16 games
• leads active Princeton players in career points (87) and assists (39)
• averaging 3.36 points per game for his career
• team co-captain
• father Doug, who played at Maryland and won an NCAA title there in 1973 and then the 1974 World Championship with the U.S., is a member of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame
Tucker Shanley #7
• started on first midfield last year; has been slowed by injury this preseason
• had 20 goals as a junior after having seven as a sophomore
• had six multi-goal games as a junior
Jack Strabo #35
• first-line shortstick defensive middie as freshman and sophomore
• has four goals, one assist, 19 ground balls and five caused turnovers a year ago
• had two caused turnovers in Ivy final
• younger brother Mark will start on defense as a freshman
Mark Strabo #3
• freshman who will start on defense
• played at Landon
• younger brother of junior SSDM Jack Strabo
Chris White #29
• team co-captain along with Tom Schreiber
• one of top shortstick D middies
• moved from offense to defensive middie as a sophomore