The Princeton men’s lacrosse team will make two road trips this week, totalling nearly 700 miles. The two opponents are a combined 4-16 overall and 0-7 in their two leagues.
Easy week? Hardly.
Both opponents are coming off solid performances this weekend, and both would like nothing more than to derail Princeton.
And the Tigers?
Princeton needs to get on the bus and face forward, not backward, since there is nothing the Tigers can do anymore about Saturday’s tough loss to Syracuse.
The first 40 or so miles of the week will be up and back to Piscataway Tuesday night, where Princeton will take on a Rutgers team that is 2-9 overall and yet has only scored two fewer goals that it has allowed for the year. To the winner of that game goes, as it does every year, the Meistrell Cup. After that, it will be back in the Ivy League, beginning with a trip this weekend to Dartmouth.
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The first men’s lacrosse game in Princeton history was played in 1881. It was six years later that the game was first played by Rutgers.
Clearly, the sport didn’t take at first on the banks of the Raritan, as RU dropped its team in 1889. Princeton gave up on lacrosse a little after that, in 1893.
It would take nearly 30 years and the work of one man to revive the sport on both campuses. Harland (Tots) Meistrell went from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn to Rutgers in 1920, where he played varsity football as a freshman and also restarted lacrosse.
A year later, in 1921, he did the same at Princeton.
Today, he represents both schools in the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Since that 1921 season, Princeton and Rutgers have played every year except for the World War II seasons of 1944 and 1945. Since 1958, the winner of the game has received the Harland Meistrell Cup.
The 2013 meeting will be the 91st in the series, and Princeton brings a 58-29-3 lead into the game. The Tigers have won 24 of the last 25 meetings.
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Princeton is 6-3 on the season, with three one-goal losses. Princeton had the lead in the fourth quarter of all three losses.
The Tigers fell 16-15 to North Carolina and 11-10 to Penn before this past Saturday’s 13-12 loss to Syracuse. UNC is ranked ; Syracuse is ranked.
Princeton has played nine games, and four of them have been one-goal games, including the 10-9 win over Yale.
Speaking of close games, Rutgers has lost nine games, of which four have been by one goal and three have been by two goals. Of the four one-goal games, two have come in overtime.
For the year, Rutgers has scored 112 goals and has allowed 114.
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Princeton is ranked ninth by the media and 10th by the coaches after being seventh and eighth last week. Syracuse was ranked eighth in both polls last week (tied with Princeton in the coaches’ poll).
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Jeff Froccaro comes into the Rutgers game having scored four goals in back-to-back games. It is the first time in his career that he has done so.
In fact, the last Princeton player with back-to-back four goal games was Mark Kovler, who had four goals against both Albany and Rutgers in 2009.
Should he get four more against Rutgers, Froccaro would be the first Princeton player since Jesse Hubbard to do so in three straight games. Hubbard scored five against Cornell, five against Rutgers and four against Dartmouth in three straight games in 1997.
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Rutgers ranks second in Division I in face-off winning percentage, having won an incredible 66% of its face-offs (177 of 268). Joseph Nardella has won 174 of 262, for 66.4%.
Princeton has been on a face-off roll before the Syracuse game, where the Orange won 18 of 29. Princeton is just below .500, having won 110 and lost 114 face-offs for the season.
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Tom Schreiber, who had a goal and three assists against Syracuse, leads the team in points (37) and assists (19) and is third in goals (18). Schreiber led the team in goals and assists each of his first two years.
The junior has at least three points in every game this year and in his last nine games dating back to last year. He has at least three points in 31 of 38 career games.
His current streak of at least one point in 26 straight games is the longest active streak by a Division I midfiedler and the ninth-longest overall in Division I.
Schreiber is also the only midfielder in the top 10 in the Ivy League in goals and points.
Schreiber has six goals and four assists in two games against Rutgers. He had three goals and three assists as a freshman in the 11-10 win in the rain, wind and cold that forced the game to be moved to the turf practice field and then three goals and one assist in the 13-4 win over RU on Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium last year.
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Princeton has been in double figures in every game this year. It is the second-longest such streak to start a year in program history.
The only other time Princeton started a season with more consecutive games scoring in double figures was in 1951, when Princeton did so in all 10 games.
The longest streak of consecutive games in double figures is 13, set over the final 13 games of the 1996 season.
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At one point this season, Princeton scored on seven straight extra-man opportunities. Take away those seven (against Manhattan and North Carolina), and Princeton is 6 for 28 the rest of the year.
Rutgers has scored on 42% of its EMOs.
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Princeton has scored 112 goals for the year, and its starting attack and midfield (Jeff Froccaro, Mike MacDonald, Ryan Ambler, Jake Froccaro, Kip Orban, Tom Schreiber) have combined for 104 fo them.
Those six also have 58 of the 68 assists.
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Princeton has had the same starting lineup in all nine games. It includes four freshmen (Ryan Ambler on attack, Jake Froccaro at midfield, Mark Strabo on defense and Matt O’Connor in goal).
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Mike MacDonald and Jeff Froccaro are tied for the team lead with 24 goals each, through nine games.
MacDonald had 22 goals in 16 games as a freshman last year.
Froccaro had 28 goals his first two years combined and then had 27 a year ago.
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Princeton averaged 31.6 shots per game in 2011 and 36.8 shots per game last year.
This year, Princeton has averaged 43.2 shots per game.
There was an average of 66.9 shots per game between Princeton and its opponents last year. This year, that number is 78.6 per game.
Rutgers averages 37.8 shots per game.
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What Can You Say About ...
Ryan Ambler #14
• has 10 goals and 14 assists
• has had three five-point games (Villanova, Manhattan, Brown)
• two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, most recently after a one-goal, four-assist performance against Brown
• four assists were the most in a game to date
• also named Cascade/Inside Lacrosse Freshman of the Week after Brown game
• had two goals against Yale, with Princeton’s eighth goal with four seconds left in the third and then ninth goal 1:04 into the fourth in 10-9 win
• had three goals and two assists in the win over Villanova for first career five-point game
• also had three goals and two assists in win over Manhattan
• had two assists against Syracuse
• began career with a four-point game against Hofstra (1G, 3A) to earn first Ivy League Rookie of the Week award
• had a goal and two assists to snap a 3-3 tie as Princeton built a 6-3 lead in the second quarter; Hofstra would never pull even again
• was the fourth Princeton player with four points in opening game of his freshman year (Ryan Boyle in 2001, Jesse Hubbard in 1995, Jason Buttles in 1993)
• had one assist against Johns Hopkins
• was 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
• has missed entire season due to injury
• 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
• team’s No. 1 longstick midfielder
• tied for team lead with seven caused turnovers
• had two caused turnovers against Brown
• caused three turnovers against Johns Hopkins
• played in two games last year, when he was slowed by injuries
Brandon Bonvino #21
• is the No. 2 longstick midfielder
• had caused turnovers against Syracuse, Brown, Penn, North Carolina and Manhattan
• missed the Villanova game due to injury
• played in three games last year
Hunter DeButts #47
• has moved from attack to the offensive midfield to defensive midfield
• had a goal and two assists against Manhattan for his first career three-goal game
• had his first goal of the season in the win over Villanova
• had two goals on two shots (including the first goal of the game) against Brown after missing the first seven games due to injury a year ago
• had an assist against Cornell, Rutgers, Dartmouth and Yale in the Ivy final
Nick Fernandez #24
• moved 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 last year
• 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
• starter at midfield
• has 13 goals and six assists
• had first three goal game of career in win over Brown
• scored goal against Brown on assist from brother Jeff for Jeff’s 100th career point
• had two goals and an assist in the win over Villanova
• had two goals and one assist against Syracuse
• had one goal and two assists against North Carolina
• named Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Week after the Villanova and Carolina games
• had two goals and two assists against Johns Hopkins
• first career assist was to his brother Jeff
• had two goals against Manhattan and one against Yale
• won 1 of 2 face-offs against Hofstra
• had 65 goals and 20 assists as a high school senior at Port Washington
• 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
• tied for team lead with with 24 goals; third on the team with 30 points
• two-time Ivy League Player of the Week, most recently, after four-goal, one-assist game against Brown
• had four goals against Syracuse for back-to-back four-goal games for first time in career
• second among active players with 106 career points
• leads active players with 78 career goals
• has at least one goal in 21 straight games; streak is the sixth-longest active streak in Division I
• one of two players (Tom Schreiber) with at least one goal in every game this year
• had four goals against North Carolina
• had three goals against Villanova
• won 5 of 7 face-offs in the fourth quarter against Villanova; prior to fourth quarter, Villanova had won 15 of 21 face-offs.
• had three goals and one assist in win over Hopkins to earn Ivy League Co-Player of the Week honors
• had two goals and two assists against Hofstra
• had two goals against Manhattan
• had a goal and assist against Yale
• was second on team with 27 goals and 39 points last season
• had career-highs with five goals and seven points while tying career high with two assists against Villanova
Will Himler #18
• had first point of the season with a goal against Manhattan
• had an assist against Yale
• was second on the team with 13 assists a year ago
• slowed by injury in the preseason but returned to play against North Carolina
Brian Kavanagh #44
• No. 2 goalie
• has played 14:07 in two games, with a .500 save percentage and 8.50 goals-against
Bobby Lucas #17
• has moved to second midfield unit after playing defensive midfield and facing off his entire career
• had first career point with an assist against Manhattan
• also had an assist against Brown
• won 6 of 8 face-offs against Hofstra, all in the second half
• was 4 for 4 in the fourth quarter
• twice won face-offs after Hofstra goals that led to Princeton goals on that possession
• 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
• tied for team lead for goals (24) and is second in points (33)
• third on the team in caused turnovers (5)
• has 24 goals in nine games this year; had 22 goals in 16 games last year
• has at least one point in every game
• had career highs with five goals and seven points at North Carolina
• had four goals and two assists against Penn
• had three goals against Syracuse
• had three goals and an assist against Yale
• had two goals and an assist against Brown
• had two goals and two assists against Villanova
• had three goals on five shots against Hofstra
• had two goals against Johns Hopkins
• has started every game of his career
• ranked fifth all-time among Princeton freshman with 22 goals
• had 22 goals on 39 shots (56.4%) in 2012
• 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
• has won 69 of 131 face-offs (.527)
• won 13 of 22 face-offs against Yale
• won 15 of 22 face-offs against Penn, with four ground balls
• won 12 of 16 face-offs and had seven ground balls against Manhattan
• won 3 of 6 face-offs against North Carolina
• won 15 of 30 face-offs as a freshman
• missed the first nine games freshman year after breaking his leg in the fall
Matt O’Connor #11
• freshman goalie from Lawrenceville Prep
• became 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)
• made 12 saves while allowing 11 goals in win over Villanova
• made 11 saves against Brown
• made five saves while allowing eight goals in the first half against Villanova; made seven saves while allowing three goals in the second half
• made 12 saves against North Carolina and Penn
• made 10 saves while allowing seven goals in win over Johns Hopkins
• allowed one goal while making eight saves against Manhattan
• made six saves and allowed seven goals against Hofstra
Kip Orban #13
• starter at midfield
• has 15 goals and four assists in nine games this year after having eight goals and three assists a year ago
• has at least one point in every game this year
• had three goals against Manhattan
• had two goals against Yale and Brown
• had two goals and one assist against Villanova
• had a goal and assist against North Carolina
• had two goals against Hofstra
• had a goal against Syracuse
• had an assist against Hopkins
Derick Raabe #5
• starter on close defense
• leads team with 41 ground balls
• had 15 ground balls in the first five game and now has 26 in the last four
• has at least five ground balls in four straight games
• had three caused turnovers and five ground balls against Syracuse
• was the only current Princeton player who had ever started a game on defense (vs. Penn and Harvard in 2011) prior to this season
• had first career goal in the game against Harvard last year
• has played mostly longstick midfield in his career
Will Rotatori #27
• playing in the second midfield
• had first career goal in win over Manhattan
• had first career point with an assist against Villanova
• had an assist against North Carolina and Brown
Eric Sanschagrin #31
• made two saves and did not allow a goal against Manhattan
• made 11 saves while allowing five goals in first collegiate start, against Manhattan, a year ago
• 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
• ranks 21st all-time at Princeton with 126 career points; next up would are Charles Stillwell and Bill Chaires with 127 and Tommy Davis with 128
• leads team in points with 37 and assists (19) and is third in goals (18)
• has at least one goal in every game this year; has at least three points in every game this year
• has at least three points in 31 of 38 career games
• has at least one point in 26 straight games, the ninth longest current streak in Division I and the longest current streak by any Division I midfielder
• had two goals and three assists against Brown
• had a goal and three assists against Syracuse
• had three goals and two assists against Penn
• had a goal and three assists against Yale
• had four goals and two assists against North Carolina, including goals that tied the score and put Princeton up 15-14 late in the fourth
• had three goals against Johns Hopkins
• had two goals and an assist against Hofstra
• had a goal and two assists against Villanova
• had a goal and three assists against Manhattan
• 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
• 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
Jack Strabo #35
• first-line shortstick defensive middie
• had two caused turnovers and two ground balls against Hofstra
• had four goals, one assist, 19 ground balls and five caused turnovers a year ago
• younger brother Mark starts on defense as a freshman
Mark Strabo #3
• freshman starting on defense
• had two caused turnovers against Yale, including one on Conrad Oberbeck, Yale’s leading scorer, on Yale’s final possession of one-goal win
• has four caused turnovers and 16 ground balls
• played at Landon
• younger brother of junior SSDM Jack Strabo
Chris White #29
• team co-captain along with Tom Schreiber
• moved from defensive middie back to offensive middie
• had a goal against Syracuse
• had a goal and assist agains Brown
• had a goal against Johns Hopkins
• had two ground balls and a caused turnover against Hofstra
• moved from offense to defensive middie as a sophomore