PRINCETON VS. LEHIGH
Ulrich Sports Complex • Bethlehem, Pa. • Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Princeton Probable Starters
The Princeton men’s lacrosse team is in the middle of an eight-day stretch in which it is playing three road games. Prior to that, the Tigers played two road games – in the first 49 days of the season.
The second of those three trips will also be shortest, as Princeton heads to Lehigh for a 7 p.m. face-off Tuesday night. The game, Princeton’s fourth mid-week game in 2017, will be the final non-league game of the season.
It comes three days after Princeton played at Stony Brook and four days before Princeton heads to Dartmouth to begin what will be a three-game run of Ivy League Saturdays to end the regular season. After the game at Dartmouth, Princeton will be home against Harvard and then at Cornell.
Princeton hopes to be playing beyond the end of this month, starting in the Ivy League tournament. As of right now, the Tigers can win the league outright and host the tournament, not make the tournament at all or have anything in between. Nothing that happens Tuesday night in Bethlehem will affect that, but every game is huge down the stretch of the season.
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Princeton and Lehigh meet for the fourth straight season and for the, well, nobody is really sure how many times they’ve met.
The Princeton record book and the Lehigh record book agree that the first game in the series was a 3-1 Princeton win in 1888. They also agree that there were 10 more games through 1933, though they disagree on the final score of the 1933 game – Lehigh has it 8-4 Princeton; Princeton has it 8-1.
It gets a little murkier in 1934 and 1935, when Lehigh has games against Princeton but Princeton has games against Lehigh L.C., not Lehigh, like the first 11 games.
Then there’s 1940 and 1941, when Lehigh has a pair of games against Princeton that Princeton has no record of having been played.
The teams definitely resumed the series in 2014, and the home team has won each of the three years since. Princeton won 13-6 last year on Sherrerd Field and 11-10 in OT in 2014, when Kip Orban tied it with 2.7 seconds left and Tom Schreiber then hit the game-winner. Lehigh won two years ago in Bethlehem 16-15 in a game played on a cold night in driving rain.
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Princeton leads the country in team shooting percentage at .386. The two players on the team who have taken the most shots – Gavin McBride and Michael Sowers – are both in the top 20 in Division I in shooting percentage.
Princeton scored 13 goals on 28 shots in last year’s win over Lehigh.
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Princeton had five players with a point in the game against Stony Brook: Gavin McBride (5G), Michael Sowers and Zach Currier (3G, 1A), Riley Thompson (1G, 1A) and Dawson McKenzie (1G).
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Gavin McBride enters the game having scored five goals in four straight games, something that no other Princeton player has ever done. McBride also scored the game-winner in the 13-11 win over Stony Brook Saturday, earning Ivy League Player of the Week honors.
McBride has 84 career goals, tying him with Mark Kovler for 20th all-time at Princeton, two away from Jeff Froccaro for 19th.
Directly ahead of McBride:
94 Bill Chaires, Dave Tickner, Lorne Smith
90 Jack McBride
86 Jeff Froccaro
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MIchael Sowers is tied with Kevin Lowe for the record for points in a season by a Princeton freshman with 55. Lowe had 12 goals and 43 assists in 1991; Sowers currently has 27 goals and 28 assists.
Sowers also trails Mike Chanenchuk by one for the record for goals in a season by a Princeton freshman. Chanenchuk had 28 in 2010.
Should Sowers get three more goals and two more assists, he’d join Dave Tickner and Mike MacDonald as the only Princeton players ever with at least 30 goals and 30 assists in a season Tickner did it as a junior in 1976; MacDonald did it as a senior in 2015.
Also, with five more points, Sowers would become the ninth player in program history to reach 60 points in a season. Sowers is currently leading the Ivy League in assists and points per game, and he ranks third and fourth in Division I in the two categories.
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Since the start of last season, Princeton is 10-0 when its save percentage plus its face-off winning percentage equals at least 1.00. In the same time, Princeton is 2-11 when it does not.
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Princeton ranks third in Division I in scoring offense at 15.00, trailing only Albany and Virginia. Princeton averaged 10.0 goals per game a year ago, so this is an increase of exactly 50 percent.
Only one Princeton team has ever averaged at least 15 goals per game, and that’s the 1996 team, which averaged 15.7 on the way to the third of Princeton’s six NCAA titles.
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Princeton has 11 players who have played in all 10 games, including only one shortstick defensive midfielder – Chase Williams – and three longsticks – Danny Winschuh, Nick Bauer and Alistair Berven.
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Zach Currier is 11th in Division I in assists per game and fifth in Division I in ground balls per game.
Currier has 252 career ground balls, third-best all-time at Princeton. He trails Greg Waller (333) and James Mitchell (284).
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Tyler Blaisdell leads the Ivy League in goals-against average, save percentage and saves per game. He was fifth in all three a year ago.
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