An unlikely source kept Princeton in the game in the first half of its men's lacrosse opener against Hofstra Saturday afternoon. The likely sources pulled it out for the Tigers in the second half.
Brian Kavanagh made 10 saves in the first half and Princeton's offense exploded in the second half, and added together the result was a tough 12-10 win over Hofstra in front of 1,231 at Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium.
Kavanagh, a senior, made the most of his first start, making seven of his 10 saves in the second quarter before giving way to Matt O'Connor at halftime and keeping Princeton within two of the Pride at the break at 6-4 when it could have been worse. Then, after the visitors got the first two of the second half, Princeton went on its decisive 8-1 run, led by Tom Schreiber, Mike MacDonald, Ryan Ambler and Kip Orban.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Princeton and Hofstra were even at 9-9 midway through the fourth quarter when Ambler fed Schreiber, who ripped a shot into the top corner to give the Tigers the lead for good. The ball went from Ambler's stick to Schreiber, who was about 15 yards from the goal, to the back of the net in the blink of an eye. For Schreiber, it was his third goal of the day and went along with two assists, giving him at least three points in a game for the 17th straight time.
BONUS PLAY OF THE GAME
The face-off following Schreiber's goal to make it 10-9 was kicked ahead to the Princeton box, where Ambler got a tough ground ball and then found MacDonald, making it 11-9 13 seconds after the Schreiber goal. MacDonald and Ambler joined Schreiber with five-point days, as MacDonald had four goals and an assist and Ambler had a career-best five assists.
STAT OF THE DAY
Princeton trailed 8-4 on John Reicherter's goal with 7:34 left in the third quarter. During the next 17 minutes, Princeton used its 8-1 run to go up 12-9. During that 8-1 run, Schreiber, Orban, Ambler and MacDonald combined for six goals and six assists.
Princeton took eight shots in the first half and 21 in the second half. Princeton was still outshot 41-29.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brian Kavanagh made the most of his first career start. The senior made 10 saves while allowing six goals, and he made some one-on-one and point-blank saves in the second quarter to keep the Tigers in the game. How close did Hofstra come to taking control of the game? Second quarter shots favored the Pride 18-3, but goals were just 4-2. Kavanagh played the first 30 minutes of the game after playing a total of 29:40 for his first three seasons combined.
Princeton started two freshmen on defense - Bear Goldstein and Will Reynolds - making this the first time since 1996 that Princeton had two freshmen defenders start Game 1 of a season. Back then, it was John Harrington and Kurt Lunkenheimer. Will Rotatori made his first career start on attack and had a pair of goals during the 8-1 run.
Princeton is at Manhattan Tuesday night at 7 before returning home next Saturday at noon to take on Johns Hopkins.