O'Connor, Tigers Grow Up Fast With 11-8 Win Over No. 3 Johns Hopkins
With one game under its belt, Princeton, complete with four starting freshmen and only two starters back from two years ago, was faced with the giant task of playing third-ranked Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field in Week 2.
Was it too much to ask of such a young, inexperienced team?
As it turned out, the Tigers would turn quite a few heads, including one who had a better-than-front-row view of the game.
"I was impressed," said Princeton head coach Chris Bates.
Why wouldn't he be? His Tigers showed amazing poise from start to finish en route to an 11-8 win over Hopkins in front of 2,352 in Baltimore.
It was a great team effort by Princeton, who got big performances all over the field, starting with reshman goalie Matt O'Connor, who made 10 saves against the powerful Blue Jays.
Princeton's first 10 goals came from four players, as Tom Schreiber and Jeff Froccaro had three goals each and Jake Froccaro and Mike MacDonald had two each. Chris White scored the 11th goal, becoming the first Princeton player not in the first midfield or on attack with a point this season.
Princeton trailed 7-6 midway through the third quarter before scoring five of the final six goals of the day.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
It's really hard to pick just one, since basically everyone played well. All of Princeton's defensemen were great, both the longsticks (Alex Beatty had three caused turnovers) and shortsticks (Jack Strabo, Chris White, Bobby Lucas), while the offense put continuous pressure on the Blue Jays. It was O'Connor, though, who had the best day, and it was O'Connor who got the game ball from Bates when it was over.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
The end of the first quarter, as weird as it might sound, was the turning point. Johns Hopkins outshot Princeton 17-5 and won all six face-offs in the first quarter, but O'Connor made four huge saves and Princeton turned its five shots into three goals (both Froccaro's and Schreiber) to make it 3-3 heading into the second. It could easily have been a three- or four-goal JHU lead instead.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Jake Froccaro's second goal, which made it 4-4 in the second quarter, was a great shot. So was Schreiber's third. The play of the game, though, was Princeton's 11th and final goal. The Tigers led 10-7 when Brandon Benn scored his fourth goal of the game, making it 10-8 with 7:37 to play. Hopkins won the face-off, but O'Connor made a save to start transition the other way. Chris White took the ball near midfield and had a full head of steam heading into the box. Without ever slowing a step, White put a laser past Pierce Bassett to make it 11-8 with 5:40 to play.
STAT OF THE GAME
Johns Hopkins averaged 14.7 goals per game in its first three games. Princeton held the Blue Jays to nearly half that number.
Princeton won despite winning just seven of 22 face-offs.
ANOTHER BONUS STAT
Princeton took 33 shots, and 27 of them were from the starters on attack and the first midfield.
YET ANOTHER BONUS STAT
Princeton scored two goals during a timer-on situation.
WHAT THE BOX TELL YOU
Hopkins had 27 shots in the first half - and then just 10 in the second. Princeton's defense guarded extremely well, especially considering it's just the second game with a longstick for Nick Fernandez, that Derick Raabe was primarily an LSM his first two years and Mark Strabo is a freshman playing his second college game.
WHAT THE BOX DOESN'T TELL YOU
Princeton got a huge lift from its second midfield group of Will Rotatori, Brendan McGrath and Hunter deButts - despite not getting any points from them. Rotatori did help set up one of Jeff Froccaro's goals, though he didn't get an assist on the play, but mostly what the second group did was keep the offense flowing and allow Princeton to rest its first group as much as possible. "Our second midfield did a great job," Schreiber said.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
Tom Schreiber had three goals. He has now played 29 career goals and has at least three points in 22 of them.
IT WAS INEVITABLE
The first Froccaro-to-Froccaro goal came early in the third quarter. Jeff scored. Jake assisted.
Princeton plays its home opener against Villanova Tuesday at 7.