A season that was already painful for the Princeton men’s lacrosse team got another dose yesterday 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 face-offs. 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-America 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 face-off 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.