By David Marcus ’92
Tyler Fiorito ’12 has been one of the best lacrosse goalies in the country since his freshman year, but he got off to a rocky start this season. He was shaky in a 10-8 loss to Johns Hopkins March 2, then missed Princeton’s 13-7 win over Manhattan because he violated an unspecified team rule – the first game in Fiorito’s Princeton career that he hasn’t started – and made only two saves in a 9-8 loss to the University of North Carolina at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore March 10.
Fiorito returned to form in a 14-8 win at Villanova on March 14 and an 11-4 victory over Penn four days later that left Princeton with a 4-2 record and a No. 13 ranking. He made 11 saves against the Wildcats and seven more against the Quakers. He also played well outside the cage by picking up several loose balls against Penn and making good decisions when clearing the ball. That’s encouraging news for Princeton, whose offense is good enough to compete with any team in the country if Fiorito and his defense are on their game.
The centerpiece of that offense is Tom Schreiber ’14, who generates more points per possession than any player in college lacrosse, according to one Web commentator. And that analysis came just after the UNC game, when Schreiber didn’t score on any of his seven shots, though he did notch three assists. Attackman Jeff Froccaro ’13 also shot 0-for-7 against UNC, whose goalie, Steven Rastivo, turned in his best effort of the year with 16 saves.
Schreiber and Froccaro scored five goals each against against Villanova, which came into the game ranked tenth in the country. Midfielder Tucker Shanley ’13 added two more in a game the Tigers led from the middle of the second quarter on. Like Princeton, Villanova likes to play an up-tempo style, but Penn prefers to slow the game down by taking its time on offense and forcing teams to take outside shots. That approach worked for a while against Princeton, but Mike Grossman ’12 scored on assist from Mike MacDonald ’15 with 18 seconds left in the first half to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead, and Shanley scored twice early in the third quarter to put Princeton firmly in control. MacDonald iced the game with three goals on assists from Schreiber, who now has 13 assists to go with his 14 goals. That puts Schreiber on pace to have more assists in a season than any Princeton player since Ryan Boyle ’04, one of the game’s best attackmen over the last generation.
Princeton returns to action on Saturday at Yale, then plays at Brown on March 31 before traveling to No. 9 Syracuse on April 7 for a key game. The Ivy League isn’t as strong as it has been in recent years, and the Tigers may well need to beat Syracuse or No. 4 Cornell to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament in May.
David Marcus ’92 is a frequent PAW contributor.