Princeton Lacrosse
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Princeton Lacrosse: 2022 Season Summary

Who hasn’t gone into the fourth quarter or been in a locker room and heard the lyrics to this 80s power ballad blaring? The song parallels the journey the Princeton lacrosse program has taken over the last two years to get back to Championship Weekend. 

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive.

Princeton was the team everyone was chasing in the 90s. Between 1992 and 2002, Bill Tierney led the Princeton Tigers to eight NCAA Lacrosse Championship game appearances, winning six National Championships.

The Tigers seemed poised to return to that form during the 2020 season. Michael Sowers led Princeton to a hot start in 2020. The senior averaged more than 9 points a game. The Tigers started the season 5-0, knocking off Virginia, Johns Hopkins, and Rutgers and climbing to No.2 in the country. 

The pandemic forced their program to shut down for almost two full years. Many questioned whether Princeton or their Ivy League counterparts would ever be the same again. 

Princeton saw many of its top performers for 2020 play for other teams in 2021. Michael Sowers and Phil Robertson transferred to Duke. Connor McCarthy transferred to UNC. 

More than 20 Princeton players left school for the 2020-2021 school year, leaving Matt Madalon with a roster of about 25 players.  

Rather than complaining or asking why me? Madalon came out in support of his players and went to work on the recruiting trail. Princeton brought in seven freshmen on Inside Lacrosse’s Class of 2021 Power Rankings, led by attackman Coulter Mackesy.

Madalon wasn’t the only one preparing for the 2022 season during the postponement in 2021. Despite not being in school, the Tigers stayed together and stayed connected to each other and the game.  

The hard work has paid off for Madalon and the Tigers. On Saturday afternoon, they will return to Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 2004. 

The path to Memorial Day has been filled with ups and downs. The Tigers had a nice three-game winning streak in March against Georgetown, Rutgers, and Penn to jump to No.2 in the rankings. The Tigers looked poised to win and host the Ivy League tournament carried by their high-flying offense.

The Tigers have the fourth best offense in the country, scoring an average of 15.3 goals a game. The Tigers are led on offense by Senior Attackman Chris Brown (30G/41A). 

Princeton’s offense benefits from a depth of scoring, with seven players having 20 or more goals on the season. The future is bright in New Jersey. Of the seven, Brown is the only senior.

A late-season slide against Harvard and Cornell kept Princeton home from the Ivy League Tournament. At times this season, Princeton has had difficulty stopping their opponents. In their loss to Harvard, the Tigers could not hold a three-goal halftime lead. The defense spotted the Big Red a seven-goal first-half lead.

The week off gave Princeton a chance to rest and regroup. The Tigers earned the No.5 seed in the tournament. They ousted BU 12-5 in the first round and avenged their regular-season loss to Yale, defeating the Bulldogs 14-10 last Saturday. 

The Tigers face a big challenge in Maryland on Saturday. On paper, the undefeated Terps hold the offensive, defensive, and faceoff advantage. 

Princeton has been counted out before and rose to the challenge. The Eye of the Tiger will be ready. 

So many times it happens too fast
You change your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

Quint Kessenich’s NCAA D1 Lacrosse Semifinals Preview

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