Chris Bates couldn’t find a lacrosse ball, so all he could do was tell Eric Sanschagrin that if had a game ball, it would have been his.
Sanschagrin, making his first start in goal this season and second in his career, helped shut out Harvard in the second and third quarters and five players had at least three points to lead Princeton to a 14-6 win over Harvard in front of 1,809 fans at Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium.
The win improved Princeton to 8-4 on the season and 3-2 in the Ivy League and enabled the Tigers to join Cornell and Yale as teams that have clinched spots in the upcoming Ivy tournament.
Harvard is now 6-7 overall and 2-3 in the Ivy League but could still make the Ivy tournament field.
Sanschagrin, a sophomore, made one start a year ago but had played only 3:13 for the season prior to the Harvard game. He made eight saves in the game, seven of which came while Princeton built a 12-3 lead at the end of three quarters.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME - It's a bit of a stretch, but it might have been the first four minutes, when Harvard's Peter Schwartz and Jack Walker unleashed strong shots that Sanschagrin was able to save. With a confident goalie at one end, Princeton scored five times before the end of the first quarter and then led 8-3 at the half.
WHAT THE BOX SCORE DOES TELL YOU - Princeton had five players with at least three points in the game, led by a three-goal, two-assist night by Jake Froccaro and a four-goal night by Mike MacDonald. Kip Orban tied his career high with three goals and added an assist, and Jeff Froccaro had two goals and two assists. Tom Schreiber did not have a goal for the first time this year, but he had three beautiful assists, two to MacDonald and one to Jake Froccaro.
WHAT THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T TELL YOU - Eric Sanschagrin is a vegetarian.
WHAT ELSE THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T TELL YOU - WIth his four goals, Mike MacDonald now has 53 for his career, making him the seventh player in program history to reach 50 goals before the end of his sophomore year. The other six: Jesse Hubbard, Chris Massey, B.J. Prager, Sean Hartofilis, Jason Doneger and Jack McBride.
NOTES - Jake Froccaro's five points were a career high ... Ryan Ambler returned after missing the last two games due to injury and had an assist ... Chris White also returned to the lineup ... Luke Armour had his third straight game with a goal after missing the first nine games with an injury ... Derick Raabe had seven more ground balls and now has at least five in seven straight games ... Princeton outshot Harvard 45-23, including 39-17 in the first three quarters ... Harvard did not score for 31:04 after scoring with 0.8 seconds in the first quarter to make it 5-3 after 15 minutes.
WHO WILL HOST THE IVY TOURNAMENT - Cornell would clinch the outright league title and home field for the tournament with a win over Brown Saturday afternoon. Should Brown defeat Cornell, then the winner of next week's Princeton-Cornell game at MetLife Stadium would host the league tournament.
WHY IS PRINCETON DEFINITELY IN THE IVY TOURNAMENT - Princeton is now 3-2 in the league. Cornell is currently 4-0, and Yale is 3-2. Harvard and Penn are 2-3, while Dartmouth and Brown are 1-3. Princeton has beaten Yale, Harvard and Brown with losses to Penn and Dartmouth, so Princeton would be out if it finished in a tie with either Penn or Dartmouth or a three-way tie with both. But because Penn and Dartmouth play each other, a three-way tie is not possible. Princeton can only be in a two-way tie with either Dartmouth or Penn if Yale beats Harvard, but then only four teams would have three wins, so even though Princeton would lose the tiebreaker, it would still be in the top four. There could be a five-way tie for second at 3-3 between Yale (with a loss to Harvard), Harvard (with a win over Yale), Princeton (with a loss to Cornell), Penn (with a win over Dartmouth) and Brown (with a win over Cornell and a win over Dartmouth). In this scenario, Princeton would be the two seed by virtue of its 3-1 head-to-head record against the other four.