Beset by a welter of season-ending injuries to key players, the men’s lacrosse team struggled to a 2–5 start. The effects of the injuries have been especially pronounced on offense, where Princeton has averaged only 6.4 goals a game, and they’ve been magnified by the Tigers’ difficult schedule, which began with six teams ranked in the top 20.
The health woes began in October when Mike Chanenchuk ’13 broke his collarbone in a scrimmage against Georgetown and had to have surgery. Second on the team in goals last year and a second-team All-American midfielder, Chanenchuk withdrew from school in December. His plans for next year remain uncertain.
Next to fall was Jack McBride ’11, Princeton’s leading goal-scorer last year. He missed Princeton’s February scrimmages because of a nagging groin injury, then scored a goal but aggravated the injury in the Tigers’ season opener, an 11–9 loss at Hofstra. He played briefly against Penn, but the team announced April 1 that he would miss the rest of the season.
Even Princeton’s impressive 8–3 win at Johns Hopkins March 5 came at a cost, as starting defenseman Rob Castelo ’13 tore two knee ligaments and broke his kneecap. Other injuries on defense left Princeton scrambling, and the Tigers lost all three games over spring break. The team fell 9–5 to the University of North Carolina March 11 and 10–9 to Villanova four days later before suffering an 8–3 defeat at Penn March 19, Princeton’s first loss to the Quakers since 1989.
Things continued to worsen the following week when Yale beat Princeton 8–7 in overtime. Short-stick defensive midfielder Nick Fernandez ’14 broke his arm in the game. And starting midfielder Tyler Moni ’11 broke his wrist later that weekend. Both players are done for the year.
Overtime was kinder to Princeton on April 2, when the Tigers beat Brown 5–4 on a goal by Tucker Shanley ’13 in the fourth extra period. The game was the second-longest in the history of Princeton men’s lacrosse. The assist on the game-winner came from Tom Schreiber ’14, Princeton’s offensive leader this year and one of the few bright spots in a difficult season. Perhaps the nation’s top midfield recruit, Schreiber scored twice against Hofstra and had four goals and an assist against Johns Hopkins.
With Chanenchuk and McBride out of the lineup, opposing defenses have been able to focus their attention on Schreiber, who has responded by becoming more of a playmaker. He scored a goal against Brown and added two assists, giving him a team-leading six for the season. Head coach Chris Bates tried to maximize Schreiber’s time on the field against Brown by giving him some minutes on attack instead of using him exclusively at midfield.
Princeton has been very good on defense, giving up only 7.3 goals a game, and goalie Tyler Fiorito ’12 saved 60 percent of the shots he has faced (eighth-best in Division I).