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No. 16 Men's Water Polo Splits Final Day at SoCal Tournament

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 09/30/2012
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer
Matt Weber tallied five goals Sunday.
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The No. 16 Princeton men's water polo team concluded its West Coast road swing with a split Sunday to wrap up the SoCal Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Tigers got back in the win column versus No. 17 Santa Clara, outlasting the Broncos 13-8, before suffering a heartbreaker to No. 19 St. Francis, 9-8. Princeton (8-8, 2-1 Southern) played only ranked opponents at the tournament, going 1-3 and finishing in 14th place.

Led by three goals from both Drew Hoffenberg and Matt Weber, the Tigers were able to snap their three-game losing skid and push past 17th-ranked Santa Clara to open action. The win also marked the squad's first win over a ranked opponent.

Princeton jumped out early and remained in control until the end of regulation. Behind a 2-0 advantage in the first quarter, the Tigers' propelled that momentum into a 6-2 halftime advantage.

Both sides would score three goals in the third quarter and the Tigers managed to deflect off Santa Clara's fourth quarter chances to come away with the victory.

Hoffenberg also finished with two assists, two steals and drew five ejections in the game. Kurt Buchbinder had two goals and Tommy Donahue, Kayj Shannon and Tim Wenzlau each scored once.

Defensively, goalie Alex Gow had eight saves, two steals and an assist. Nick Gilligan made his debut in the cage in the fourth quarter, tallying two saves.

Princeton was unable to carry its momentum from game one and overcome an early deficit versus No. 19 St. Francis, as the Terriers edged the Tigers 9-8.

SFC would hold a 3-2 lead in the first quarter, but both sides would find the back of the net twice before halftime.

The game would remain close in the second half, but St. Francis would add an insurance goal to go up 7-5 in the third.

With the game on the line, Princeton managed to resurge back and even the score, 8-8, with a three-goal rally. The Tigers were unable to garner the lead before the Terriers' Vuk Vujosevic sent in the game-winner with 2:17 left in regulation.

The Tiger offense saw two goals apiece from Hoffenberg, Weber and Wenzlau, while Sam Butler and Donahue each had solo goals. Hoffenberg also had three saves and Butler dished one.

Defensively, Gow made seven saves and Butler made a team-high three steals. 

Princeton returns home to host a three-game homestand, beginning on Saturday, Oct. 6 versus Bucknell at 7 p.m.

No. 16 Princeton: 2 - 4 - 3 - 4 - 13
No. 17 Santa Clara: 0 - 2 - 3 - 3 - 8

Goals: Buchbinder 2, Donahue 1, Hoffenberg 3, Shannon 1, Weber 3, Wenzlau 1
Assists: Buchbinder 1, Gow 1, Hoffenberg 2, Kuprenas 2
Steals: Buchbinder 2, Butler 2, Hoffenberg 2, Ruth 2, Wachtell 1
Saves: Gow (30:00) 8, Gilligan (2:00) 2

No. 16 Princeton: 2 - 2 - 1 - 3 - 8
No. 19 St. Francis: 3 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 9

Goals: Butler 1, Donahue 1, Hoffenberg 2, Weber 2, Wenzlau 2
Assists: Butler 1, Hoffenberg 3
Steals: Butler 3, Donahue 1, Hoffenberg 2
Saves: Gow 7
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