Category Archives: Sports

#ThrowbackThursday: Princeton’s Role in the Birth of Thanksgiving Football

Princeton and Yale played their first Thanksgiving Day game in 1876. (Athletics at Princeton — A History)

Princeton and Yale played their first Thanksgiving Day game in 1876. (Athletics at Princeton — A History)

Detroit and Dallas may have cornered the market for pro football’s Thanksgiving Day games, but the holiday’s gridiron tradition began well before the creation of the NFL.

On Nov. 30, 1876, Princeton and Yale faced off in Hoboken, N.J., playing what would best be described as an 11-on-11 form of rugby. Princeton entered the game with a 3-0 record and a fresh set of uniforms — black tights and jerseys with an orange P on the chest — but the Elis prevailed, two goals to none. The Princetonian, then in its first year of publication, questioned a few key calls by the referee, noting that he was “a Yale man.”

The Princeton-Yale game would eventually move to New York’s Manhattan Field, where it briefly became a Thanksgiving phenomenon. In 1893, some 40,000 spectators turned out to see the Tigers win a showdown of two unbeaten teams, 6-0. Richard Harding Davis of Harper’s Weekly described the stream of fans heading north before the game: Continue reading

Football Falls to Dartmouth in Class of 2015’s Final Game

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

Princeton Men’s Soccer Shares Ivy Title, Waits for Postseason Fate

Cameron Porter ’15, left, in action vs. Penn Nov. 8. (Beverly Schaefer)

Cameron Porter ’15, left, in action vs. Penn Nov. 8. (Beverly Schaefer)

As the clock wound down in New Haven Saturday night, the men’s soccer team was faced with the possibility of ending its Ivy League season the same way it had started — with a long, drawn out match in which the Tigers (11-3-3 overall, 5-1-1 Ivy) came out on the wrong side.

“We knew the game would be a challenge,” senior forward Cameron Porter said. “No team wants to end the season on a loss.”

Porter — No. 1 in the NCAA in total goals, goals per game, and points per game — stepped up with the league title on the line. With 32:35 to play in the second half, he scored the only goal of the match. Princeton held on and clinched a share of the Ivy championship.

“For parts of the game they definitely had the better of us, but it was great to see the defense step up and get a huge shutout,” Porter said. Continue reading

Penn Spoils Princeton Women’s Soccer Finale

Not every ending can be storybook. Saturday afternoon’s heartbreaking loss to Penn was certainly not the way women’s soccer head coach Julie Shackford wanted to end her 20-year, 203-win career at Princeton, but she could not have asked for a harder-fought or more exciting finale.

Lauren Lazo '15 scored her 28th career goal in her last game for the Tigers. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Lauren Lazo ’15 scored her 28th career goal in her last game for the Tigers. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The Tigers conceded a goal early and let up another just before the break as Penn came out in surprisingly strong form. During the first half, news broke that Harvard had defeated Columbia 2-1, dashing the Tigers’ already dwindling hopes for an Ivy League title.

If there was nothing left to play for, nobody told forward Tyler Lussi ’17. Lussi was constantly in the attacking third, pressing even the slightest advantage and once colliding mid-air with Quaker goalie Kalijah Terilli. She hugged the sidelines all afternoon, frustrating one defender after another, and stayed in the game after a shot hit her in the head at point-blank range.

Lussi started the second period with a cross to Lauren Lazo ’15, who netted her 28th and final collegiate goal, good for fifth on Princeton’s all-time list. After that, it was all Tigers: Princeton took 16 shots to Penn’s two in the second half, earning seven corners. After 30 minutes that saw several inspired saves from Terilli, the Tigers broke through again as Beth Stella ’18 bounced the ball in off the crossbar from the top of the box. Continue reading

Quick Takes: Men’s Cross Country Team, Women’s Standout Curham ’17 Win Heps; Football Rebounds, Tops Cornell

Editor’s note: The Monday sports column is on a brief hiatus for fall break and will return Nov. 10.

Women’s Heps champion Megan Curham ’17. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Women’s Heps champion Megan Curham ’17. (Office of Athletic Communications)

The men’s cross country team earned Princeton’s first Ivy League championship of the 2014-15 academic year, outpacing the field on a cold and rainy day at the Heptagonal Championships Nov. 1. Michael Sublette ’16 led the Tigers, finishing second on the 8,000-meter course at West Windsor Fields. Princeton’s five scoring runners each placed in the top 12. Women’s cross country placed second in the Heps team standings, behind Dartmouth, and Megan Curham ’17 won the individual crown, becoming the first Tiger to win gold since Alex Banfich ’12 in 2010. She ran the 6,000-meter course in 20:24.3.

After struggling to find the end zone against Harvard last week, Princeton football rebounded on the road at Cornell, scoring 38 points to defeat the Big Red, 38-27. Receiver Connor Kelley ’15 had a career day, catching 13 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Quinn Epperly ’15 was sidelined by an injury for the second time in three weeks. Connor Michelson ’15 played well in Epperly’s place, completing 23 of 33 passes for 281 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Comeback Pitcher Chris Young ’02

Chris Young ’02 (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Chris Young ’02 (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Last December, when former All-Star pitcher Chris Young ’02 came to Princeton to speak on a panel of alumni baseball pros, he said in a PAW interview that he was ready to get back on the mound in the major leagues after missing nearly all of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury. “I’ve always said I want to play as long as I possibly can,” Young said. “I’m 34 right now, and I feel like there are still some good years ahead of me.”

Young’s peers agree: Last week, the Seattle Mariners righthander was voted the American League Comeback Player of the Year by a group of more than 100 players surveyed by Sporting News. Young finished the season with a 12-9 record and a 3.65 earned-run average in 29 starts. He pitched 165 innings, the most since his All-Star season in 2007.

Young had surgery in the offseason to correct a nerve injury that affected his pitching arm. “To think he won as many games as he did, and made 29 starts, coming off the type of surgery and the injuries that he had, I think it’s just tremendous,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told Sporting News. “He is a tireless worker and showed his determination with his performance.” Continue reading