Midway through the second quarter at Lehigh Tuesday night, the Princeton men’s lacrosse team found itself with a extra-man opportunity for two minutes. Two minutes and 18 seconds later, Lehigh scored an extra-man goal.
It was that kind of first half for the 13th-ranked Tigers, the kind you’ll have over the course of a long season.
And even though the Tigers didn’t go quietly and at times after intermission looked like they might turn a night to forget into a night to remember, the first-half hole was too much to overcome.
Lehigh, looking more like a top five team than a team with five losses for the first 30 minutes, jumped out big over Princeton en route to a 15-10 at the Ulrich Sports Center. The teams have played each of the last four years, and the home team has won all four.
Princeton’s Michael Sowers broke Kevin Lowe’s 26-year-old school record for points by a freshman with a one-goal, three-assist night, giving him 59 points for the season, four better than Lowe, the Hall-of-Famer with whom Sowers entered the night tied. Sowers also tied the Princeton freshman goals record of 28, set in 2010 by Mike Chanenchuk.
Princeton now needs to put “one of those nights” in the rear view mirror quickly, as the regular season will end with three straight Ivy League games, beginning Saturday at Dartmouth and including a home game against Harvard and a trip to Cornell the two Saturdays to follow. Princeton, 2-1 in the conference, will be looking to solidify a spot in the Ivy League tournament and a chance to play into May.
Princeton had the first possession of the night and looked sharp, but it turned quickly from there. It would be 5-0 before Princeton would score, and then Lehigh would add four more after that to build a 9-1 lead after a nightmarish first half.
The Tigers surged back in the second half and got as close as three, but Lehigh answered each time it was needed.
* McBride had his school-record streak of consecutive games with at least five goals snapped at four, but he still had three goals and an assist. McBride now has at least three goals in 13 of his last 16 games.
* Sowers needs two goals to become the third player in program history with at least 30 goals and 30 assists in the same season. His 59 points are tied for 13th-most in a season at Princeton, and he would move into a tie for 10th with one more point.
* Zach Currier had a goal, two assists, seven ground balls and 13 face-off wins in 19 attempts.
* Adam Hardej sparked Princeton’s third-quarter run with a goal and two assists. Riley Thompson also had two goals.