After slipping out of contention for a second consecutive Ivy League title, Princeton football will have plenty of work ahead to prove that the end of the 2014 season was not the end of an era.
Two bonfires, an Ivy League championship, two Ivy League Player of the Year awards, two NFL draft picks, and an 18-12 combined record is an impressive run for three seasons. But with the Tigers’ top two starting quarterbacks graduating in the spring, the program will be tested as it searches for players to follow in the footsteps of the senior class, which played its final game in Saturday’s 41-10 loss to Dartmouth.
“All the work that it takes to put in to be great — it starts tomorrow,” sophomore defensive lineman Ty Desire said. “We have to realize we’re not the team we were last year up front, and we can’t ride anyone’s coattails.” Continue reading
At Saturday’s Princeton-Harvard game, packed stands eagerly awaited a thrilling victory reminiscent of the past two meetings between last year’s Ivy League co-champions, but alas it was not to be. Instead, Tiger fans were stunned as they watched their team lose 49-7 to drop into third place in the Ivy standings.
Joe Rhattigan ’17 scored Princeton’s only points against Harvard with a rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter. (Office of Athletic Communications)
The past two weekends the Tigers (3-3 overall, 2-1 Ivy) came out strong, and the defense showed no indication that the day would be any different on the opening drive. But when the offense took the field for its opening drive, it became apparent that this was not going to be the case.
The Tigers were their own worst enemy, with penalties proving too costly to overcome as they prevented the offense from extending drives whenever they seemed to be gaining momentum. Harvard’s explosive offense took away the rest of the Tigers’ momentum as it dominated in the second quarter.
“I’m definitely surprised, but they played really well,” senior linebacker and co-captain Mike Zeuli said. “They executed better than us and that’s what happens.”
With Princeton and Harvard leading the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with two of the top five run defenses, Harvard’s initial success came from its passing game, which exploited mistakes in the Princeton secondary. But the Crimson did not stop there: the visitors threw for 392 yards, compared to the Tigers’ 190, and rushed for 306, compared to the Tigers’ 54. Continue reading
Last year, Princeton football made headlines for lining up its three quarterbacks on the field at the same time, alternating who took the snaps. As unusual as the strategy seemed, it paid off—the Tigers led the Ivy League in yards per game and rushing yards last season. Of that trio, then-junior Quinn Epperly was the most familiar face on the field. The 2013 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year topped the conference in both rushing and passing touchdowns, leading the nation in points responsible per game.
Connor Michelsen ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)
But as Ivy football rolls into its midpoint this season, Princeton saw a change of scenery in its quarterback spot during a 27-16 victory over Brown. Senior Connor Michelsen, taking over for his injured classmate Epperly, looked comfortable in the pocket throughout the game, throwing for 367 yards and two touchdowns to keep Princeton perfect at 2-0 in Ivy play (3-2 overall).
On Saturday, there was no trace of the sluggish starts that plagued the Tigers last season. Princeton sealed its victory early, scoring on each of its first four drives to the Brown end zone. Kicker Nolan Bieck ’16 converted on a 26-yard field goal to start things off, bringing him to twelve consecutive conversions since last season. Michelsen later connected with Matt Costello ’15 for a 49-yard touchdown, moving the seasoned wide receiver into sixth place on Princeton’s all-time receptions list. Continue reading
On a gray Saturday in the Orange Bubble, the women’s soccer team put on a dazzling performance for their head coach, Julie Shackford. The Tigers recorded their 200th win under Shackford and had plenty of time to celebrate, scoring in the third minute and adding four more goals as goalkeeper Darcy Hargadon ’15 and her defense kept Brown scoreless.
Haley Chow ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)
The 5-0 margin of victory was the team’s biggest since 2012, and it may have been a sign of things to come. All the scoring was done by two sophomores: Haley Chow ’17 scored at 2:19 and 15:02, and just three minutes after Chow’s second goal Tyler Lussi ’17 netted the first goal of her hat trick. Chow’s first score came from well out of the box as Brown attempted to clear, and she headed in her second goal on a Natalie Larkin ’18 free kick.
Defender Lauren Lazo ’15 set up Lussi’s first goal of the night with a perfect cross. Lazo set up another cross 11 minutes into the second half, and Lussi found the net again after Mikaela Symanovich ’18 got control in front of the net and slipped the ball past a Brown defender and to her sophomore teammate. Lussi completed the hat trick in the 62nd minute, heading a long pass to herself and firing the ball off the far post and into the net. Continue reading
Home field advantage is an expression for a reason—familiar turf comes with knowledge, comfort, and an atmosphere of success. At least it’s supposed to. But for Princeton men’s soccer, the pressure of playing on the road, away from the supposed advantages of home, has brought them more victories this season.
Cameron Porter ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)
A tough 2-1 overtime loss to Dartmouth on Saturday was the Tigers’ second loss at Roberts Stadium this season, bringing their home record to 1-2-1, while their away record sits at 2-1-1. The loss to Dartmouth also was the Tigers’ first Ivy League match of the season.
“It’s a tough loss because when you look at the teams who end up winning the Ivy League and getting the bid into the [NCAA] tournament it generally takes six wins, and so losing your first game means you have a lot to do,” senior forward and co-captain Cameron Porter said. “Going into the rest of the season it really puts the pressure on you because its also kind of out of your hands. Dartmouth is a good team, [so if] they go win out, you’re kind of out of luck no matter what.” Continue reading
Sarah Daschbach ’16’s serves helped Princeton open the Ivy League season with a win over Penn. (Office of Athletic Communications)
For the last four years, Yale has held an iron grip on first place in Ivy League women’s volleyball. Each Ancient Eight team knows that the key to dethroning the Bulldogs is winning out their other Ivy matches, since Yale has gone undefeated in league play only once in that time.
Add that kind of heavy Ivy pressure to the fact that Princeton’s league opener against Penn has gone deep into the fifth set in each those four years, and the odds start stacking up against the Tigers. But this Friday in Philadelphia, Princeton broke with this tradition and pulled out a quick three-set victory, pulling the team up to 6-5 overall on the season. The 25-15, 25-16, 25-14 win was a much needed confidence booster for the Tigers—it is their only three-set victory this season.
The match didn’t look so bright for Princeton at first. Penn held a 10-8 lead early in the first set, until junior libero Sarah Daschbach embarked on a 10-0 service run to blow the Quakers away. Daschbach’s serves would be critical in the second game as well, when she built up the Tiger lead in an opening 9-0 run.
“Smart and aggressive hits were the key to success,” Daschbach said. She also pointed to junior Kendall Peterkin and sophomore Cara Mattaliano’s offensive skills, saying on the backcourt, “Kendall and Cara are great at hitting from the back row and giving us plenty of offensive options.” Continue reading