Paolo Iaccarino started Senior Day off in fairy tale fashion and almost ended it in Hollywood fashion.
Unfortunatley for the Princeton men's soccer team, this wasn't the script that was destined to play out in the 2011 season.
After back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, Princeton's men's soccer team ended a frustrating year with another tough, one-goal loss, falling to Yale 2-1 in front of 325 at Roberts Stadium.
The loss ended a 5-10-2 season, one that saw Princeton suffer eight of its 10 losses by a single goal.
Yale finished its season 8-7-2 overall, 4-3-0 in the Ivy League.
As for Iaccarino, he started on Senior Day and made his coach's faith pay off by ripping in his first career goal with just 6:46 gone on a play that started when goalie Max Gallin sailed a free kick deep into the Yale end, where it bounced right to Iaccarino.
The goal stood up until early in the second half, but Yale's Peter Jacobson tied it two minutes after intermission and then put the Bulldogs up with 23 minutes to go.
Princeton had four really good chances after that, none better than the header by Iaccarino of all people that was just snared by Yale goalie Bobby Thalman with 1:50 to go. Iaccarino had another header fro a little further away with less than a minute to go, but Thalman was able to make an easy save on that one.
As was the case in many games this year, Princeton outshot its opponent, this time 16-10.
The loss ended the Princeton careers of the seven members of the Class of 2012: Iaccarino, Colby Hahn, Stephen Park, Zach Wysgoski, Antoine Hoppenot and Manny Sardinha.
Text of Senior Day Script:
Ladies and Gentlemen.....Princeton University, the Department of Athletics, and the Men's Soccer program would like to honor the 7 seniors of the class of 2012 participating this afternoon in their final home game. As freshmen in the fall of 2008, this class played the inaugural season on Myslik Field in Roberts Stadium, and they helped Princeton Soccer enjoy two of the most successful seasons in the program's history in 2009 and 2010. Over their four seasons, this class compiled an overall record of 32-28-9 and an Ivy League record of 14-8-5.
The class of 2012 helped the Tigers earn back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament in 2009 and 2010, and the group played a big part of a record setting 12-game winning streak in 2011, as Princeton compiled a perfect 7-0 record in the Ivy League for the first time in school history. This season, the Tigers have played one of the most difficult schedules in the nation, gone to overtime 6 times, and recorded impressive victories against Harvard, Seton Hall, Villanova, Lehigh, and Lafayette. Princeton Soccer thanks the Class of 2012 for all of their contributions to the program and would like to call each of them out on the field individually.
First, this senior has been a mainstay in the Tiger midfield throughout his career, playing in 62 contests and starting in 11 matches this fall. A tireless worker, good passer, and engine in the midfield, he also brought a great personality and sense of humor to Princeton Soccer. An economics major from Coto de Caszo, California, please say thank you to #2 Colby Hahn......
Our next senior has been a mainstay on the reserve team and has seen action in 2 contests this fall after taking time off last spring to prepare for the MCATs. He has been a steady presence in the midfield in training and his competitiveness and consistent play have made the team better. A molecular biology major from Inverness, IL, Princeton Soccer says thank you to #6, Stephen Park.
This senior forward has played in 17 contests during his career, including 7 this fall. He scored a great goal in the Tigers' 7-3 victory at Seton Hall, and his vision, good feet, and passing have helped Princeton's attack over the past four years. A computer science major from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, please give a round of applause to #8 Zach Wyzgoski.
Our next senior has played in 68 contests over the past four seasons, scoring 26 goals and assisting on 15 others. In 2010, he was named Second Team All America, First Team All Ivy, was voted the Ivy League's Player of the Year, and was a semi-finalist for the Hermann Trophy awarded to the nation's top player. This fall he has scored four goals and assisted on 6 others, and his speed and skill have made him one of the most dangerous attacking players in college soccer. A sociology major from Princeton, NJ, please help Princeton Soccer say thank you to #9, Antoine Hoppenot.
Next, this senior has been a key component in the Tiger midfield over the past four seasons while also playing on the men's volleyball team, spending a semester abroad in Panama, and majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. He also organized the men's soccer fundraiser this fall to raise awareness and funds for the A-T Children's Project, devoted to helping children with ataxia-telangiectasiahas. Over his four years, he has played in 55 contests and has registered four goals and four assists. After battling back from some nagging injuries, he has played his best soccer late in the season. Princeton Soccer would like to say thank you to #14, from San Diego, California, Manny Sardinha.
Our next senior forward has appeared in 33 matches during his career and has added athleticism and energy to the Tiger attack while being a consistent presence and goal scorer on the reserve team. This fall, he has appeared in 10 contests and has given Princeton a spark off the bench. A politics major from Newport Beach, California, please help Princeton Soccer say thank you to #22 Paolo Iaccarino.
Finally, this senior defender has just returned to training after suffering a torn ACL in the spring season. His willingness to stick with the team and continue to rehab, despite his grueling academic schedule and the seriousness of his injury, says a lot about his commitment to his teammates and dedication to Princeton Soccer. A great role model for all of his teammates, please give a great thank you and round of applause to a chemical and biological engineering major from Saratoga, California, #24, Charles Lin.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the class of 2012. Thank you.