March 26, 2011

Another Injury, More Heartache for Princeton

from press releases

PRINCETON, N.J. -- A season that was already painful for the Princeton men's lacrosse team got another dose Saturday of both the literal and figurative kind as the Tigers lost another player and ultimately another game.

A difficult stretch for Princeton continued Saturday afternoon as Yale's Brandon Mangan squeezed a shot between two Tiger defenders that went through the crease, bounced off the far pipe and carommed into the net with 33 seconds gone in overtime to give the Bulldogs an 8-7 come-from-behind win in front of 1,309 chilled fans at the Class of 1952 Stadium.

"We're finding ways to lose games," said Princeton coach Chris Bates.

The loss dropped Princeton to 1-5, 0-2 in the Ivy League and continued a frustrating run that has seen the Tigers struggle with possession and holding onto leads. This time, Princeton led 6-2 in the third quarter before Yale came back, helped by winning 11 of 19 faceoffs. Yale is now 5-1 overall, 1-1 in the Ivy League.

Princeton, who has played Yale more than any other opponent, leads the all-time series 70-21-2.

Making it worse for Princeton was the loss of freshman shortstick defensive midfielder Nick Fernandez, who broke his arm in the game. Princeton was already without All-America attackman Jack McBride, who is out with a groin injury, and starting defenseman Rob Castelo, who tore two knee ligaments and broke his kneecap in Princeton's lone win, which came three weeks ago against Johns Hopkins. All-American midfielder Mike Chanenchuk had to withdraw from school after he broke his collarbone in the fall, and Princeton has been without other key players such as Tom Schreiber and Jonathan Meyers, both of whom returned from their injuries to play against Yale.

For Fernandez, it was his third injury of the year, after a preseason ankle injury and a concussion against Hopkins.

Still, for all that, Princeton still had a four-goal lead after Forest Sonnenfeldt's goal midway through the third quarter. Princeton has now had at least a three-goal lead in four of its five losses.

"When we're up 6-2 and they score, the momentum changes," Bates said. "You have to make a play to get it back. You can't let that turn the whole game around."

Princeton went on a 5-0 run after falling behind 2-1 early, and Yale was kept off the board for more than 33 minutes before it scored again with five minutes left in the third to change the game.

From there, Yale scored twice more before the end of the third quarter to make it 6-5 and then tied it with nine minutes left on a Deron Dempster goal.

The Tigers retook the lead when Sonnenfeldt ripped one home with 5:15 left, making it 7-6, the same score that Princeton had beaten Yale by in both of their meetings last year.

There would be no repeat of that score, though, as Yale forced overtime when Dempster scored again with 1:03 left and then neither team could convert on their chances before the ned of regulation.

Princeton won the OT faceoff but turned the ball over, and Mangan then ended it on his tough shot that found its way in.

Sonnenfeldt and Chris McBride had two each for the Tigers, while Schreiber and Tyler Moni each had a goal and assist.

The Tigers are home again the next two weekends, next Saturday against Brown and April 9 against Syracuse.

*****

PRINCETON, N.J. – Brandon Mangan knew he shouldn't shoot the ball. His team had just gotten its first possession in overtime and had come out of a timeout. The freshman attackman was off-angle, had a defender checking him and was 25 feet from the cage. Instead of passing to a more experienced teammate, Mangan unleashed nasty shot that found the net to give Yale a come-from-behind, 8-7 men's lacrosse win over Princeton at Class of 1952 Stadium.

"It feels great that my teammates have the confidence to give me the ball in a situation like that," said Mangan, the Wantagh, N.Y., native who had two goals. "I never should have shot the ball, but it's better to be lucky than good. I had no angle, but it hit off the goalie's elbow and went in."

The No. 19 Bulldogs (5-1, 1-1 Ivy) earned their first league win by erasing a 6-2 deficit on the way to Yale's first win over the Tigers (1-5, 0-2) since 2005. It snapped Princeton's six-game win streak in the storied series.

Senior Johnathan Falcone proved he belongs ranked among the top Division I goalies in goals against and save percentage. The Bulldog veteran made 11 saves spread out evenly over regulation and prevented the Tigers from running away with the game after a series of damaging Yale turnovers.

In fact, a Yale turnover in the second minute turned into the game's first tally off the stick of Tom Schreiber. Fortunately for the Blue, Gregory Mahony evened the score with a great spin move after taking a heavy check and firing a high shot high on Tyler Fiorito (7 saves).

The Blue went up 2-1 when Brian Douglass walked in untouched from behind the cage and protected his stick before flicking it over the goalie's shoulder. That was Yale's last lead until the game-winner.

Eight turnovers in the first half helped the home team go on a four-goal run to take a comfortable lead into the intermission.  Two of those tallies came from Chris McBride, while the Tigers seemed to possess the ball for the entire second frame. That kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for 33 straight minutes.

When things looked down for the visitors, Yale rose up and made a third-quarter run with three goals in 5:43.

Matt Gibson got his fifth of the year when he one-timed a pretty Mark Dobrosky feed from behind the net. Gibson jumped and caught the pass and flicked it low before he hit the ground to cut the margin to 6-3 with just under five left in the third.

Mangan then cut the lead to two. He took three steps after receiving a pass and fired a low laser late in the third to make it a two-goal deficit.

The Bulldogs have one of the top Man-Up units in the country and it worked well to bring the Blue to within one. Matt Miller's long shot from up top hit the pipe and went in to make it 6-5 with 70 seconds left in the third. He looked to pass, which gave him some space, and then unleashed a rocket.

Deron Dempster also had two goals for the Elis. He took a pretty feed from Mahony and deposited it behind Fiorito to even the score midway through the fourth and the score was even at 6-6.

The Tigers grabbed the lead back four minutes later when Forest Sonnenfeldt got his second of the day to end a four-goal streak by the Bulldogs.

Things got a little crazy from there. Yale was called off-side with three minutes left but got the ball back by creating a turnover. Shortly after, Dempster converted a great pass from Matt Gibson with 1:02 left to tie the game again.

Cole Yeager, who won 11 of 18 faceoffs today, won the biggest battle on the X to that point, but the Elis turned it over and were forced to rely on Falcone making a huge save on Sonnenfeldt's shot with 10 seconds left. The ball got to Michael Pratt who raced up field and sent a shot wide of the net with one tick left.

Princeton won the faceoff in the extra session but quickly turned it over.

"It wasn't a pretty win. We didn't play well in the first half. We really didn't play well until late in the third," said Yale head coach Andy Shay. "I'm just glad to get a win and now we can concentrate on Penn. We just try to think one game at a time."


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