The Princeton men’s lacrosse team was at midseason form despite the Valentine’s Day snow, burying Manhattan 14-4 in its first game of the season Feb. 14. The Tigers return nine of their 10 2014 starters, and it was clear that they were already in sync Saturday.
The Tigers got to work before the snow started to fall with a flurry of goals in the first quarter. In less than three minutes, Princeton drew first blood and built up a 4-0 lead, with attacker Bear Altemus ’17 opening the scoring with 8:16 to go in the period. Midfielder Zach Currier ’17 struck next, assisted by midfielder Jake Froccaro ’16. After assisting Gavin McBride ’17’s first career goal, Froccaro won the ensuing faceoff and quickly dished the ball to Ryan Ambler ’16, who found the back of the net for the Tigers’ second goal in eight seconds.
Attacker Mike MacDonald ’15 notched an unassisted goal with under a minute to go in the quarter, and the Tigers never looked back. Ambler would add three more goals while MacDonald scored again and logged three assists as Princeton built up an imposing lead.
Manhattan showed only flashes of offensive prowess, striking at the beginning and end of the second quarter and twice at the end of the game after Princeton head coach Chris Bates replaced his backup goalkeeper with rookie Tyler Blaisdell ’18. Blaisdell made two saves in his first collegiate game.
Also playing his first game as a Tiger was midfielder Sam Bonafede ’18, who did not start but was perhaps the most impactful Princeton player of the afternoon. Bonafede won nine of 11 faceoffs and picked up five ground balls, giving the Tigers the possession they needed to keep the Jaspers from drawing close. Froccaro, who practices faceoffs with Bonafede every day, said he saw it coming.
“Sam’s unbelievable. He’s a grinder, he works hard every day in practice,” Froccaro said. “I anticipated a great game for him.”
Froccaro also praised his teammates for their attention to detail.
“We executed the little plays, which made the difference in the end,” he said. “We highlighted picking up first-time ground balls all week … making one more pass offensively, little plays like that.”
The Tigers’ returning starters and new faces were on the same page Saturday to the point that it would have been difficult to tell them apart, even without the snow. The blowout win was an encouraging start to a campaign Princeton hopes will top last year’s 7-6 season, marred by a 2-4 Ivy League record. The next test — one that will likely be more of a challenge — comes Friday at Class of 1952 Stadium against Hofstra.
No. 16 women’s basketball remained undefeated over the weekend, blowing out Brown before escaping New Haven with an uncommonly narrow six-point win. After a back-and-forth first half, the Tigers executed better in the second but the Bulldogs continued to nip at their heels. Princeton made just one three-pointer all game to Yale’s seven, but Alex Wheatley ’16 still managed 18 points and Annie Tarakchian ’16 pulled off her seventh double-double of the season to bring the Tigers to 23-0 on the year with seven games to go.
The weekend marked a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season for men’s hockey. The Tigers came into their matchup with Clarkson on Friday with a 3-17-2 record but came back to beat the Golden Knights 2-1 on a third-period goal from Tucker Brockett ’15. On Saturday, Princeton earned a hard-fought tie with No. 20 St. Lawrence, knotting it up in the second on a goal from Mike Ambrosia ’16 and holding on thanks to 34 saves from goalie Colton Phinney ’17.
Both track and field teams won easily at the H-Y-P meet in Cambridge Saturday. Greg Caldwell ’16 set a new personal best at 8 seconds flat in the 60m hurdles and Princeton took the first five spots in the 60m dash as the men accumulated 125 points to win their 24th straight H-Y-P. Led by Megan Curham ’17, the women took first, second, and fourth in the 3,000-meter run. Inka Busack ’16 won the high jump with a personal best of 1.73 meters and Julia Ratcliffe ’16 continued her domination of the hammer throw.