February 25, 2012

Princeton's Comeback Tour Begins With Hofstra Win

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com | Related: Live Blog Replay

Sophomore midfielder Tom Schreiber scored a career-best seven points in the Tigers' season-opening 12-6 win over Hofstra.
© Joe Rogate (file) 

PRINCETON, N.J. - Tom Schreiber didn't hesitate. The Princeton sophomore had never experienced a season like 2011, when the Tigers struggled through a 4-8 record and averaged just over seven points per game.

"None of us had," Schreiber said. "A lot of us were highly-recruited guys with lots of success from high school and losing that many games is tough. It builds up and builds up and it's like you don't know what to do."

No. 17 Princeton left last year behind in a big way Saturday, defeating No. 14 Hofstra 12-6 on a cold, windy, and sometimes snowy afternoon in New Jersey.

Schreiber led Princeton with three goals, four assists and a collegiate-best seven points. He scored a rally-killing goal late in the third quarter and added the eventual game-winner early in the fourth.

"Just to come out and get a statement win for the fans, everybody's on the sideline and they're jacked up," Schreiber said. "It's awesome."

Princeton dominated much of the game, winning 13-of-22 draws, controlling ground balls 28-19 and out-shooting the Pride 39-20. Yet, when Steve Serling fired Hofstra's third-straight goal midway through the third quarter, the deficit stood at just 6-5.

The Tigers responded at the other end when Will Himler hit Schreiber in front of the cage to kick-start a game-ending 6-1 run.

"It was a team effort," Schreiber said. "The team just flowed better, everyone in the right spot, guys breaking off ground balls, transition goals, things like that. It was easy."

Freshman Mike MacDonald had two of his three goals during Princeton's late run and Tucker Shanley and Jeff Froccaro scored two goals each for the Tigers. Senior Alex Capretta had three assists after notching just two in the previous three seasons.

The play of MacDonald came as a pleasant surprise for Princeton. The freshman from Georgetown, Ontario was playing in his first collegiate game.

"I don't know if I expected this but I'm very excited by it," said MacDonald, who suffered a concussion in the fall and was cleared to return just before winter began.

MacDonald played the last two seasons at Trinity-Pawling, a prep school in upstate New York, and credited his time there as preparing him for the NCAA.

"It's definitely an adjustment," MacDonald said, of the American game. "I wouldn't be able to jump on the field if I hadn't gone there first."

Ian Braddish led Hofstra with two goals and one assist. Lance Yapor added two goals and now has six goals on six shots this season.

Hofstra coach Seth Tierney echoed Schreiber when he talked about the struggles his young team will face.

"Things can go really well with a young team and they can go really bad," Tierney said. "Some of these guys just haven't had the experience handling that type of adversity."

He said Hofstra needs to work on a litany of problems.

"Face-offs," he said. "We can't get out ground balled again. We gotta start diving for ground balls. We gotta have the ball offensively, so we can give our guys a little bit of a break defensively. We have to get goalie play. We have a lot to work on and we have to do it one thing at a time. If we think we're just gonna patch all the holes at once, it doesn't work that way."

Hofstra (1-1) hosts Fairfield Tuesday at 7 p.m. Princeton (1-0) hosts Manhattan Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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