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Sowers, Baughan, Stevens lead Princeton past Denver in Tierney’s Homecoming

Wednesday, 27th March 2019

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/27/19
From Press Release

The story before the game was all about Bill Tierney’s Princeton homecoming, returning to the site of the first six NCAA championships he won with the team with whom he’d won a seventh.

The current Princeton Tigers then honored Tierney’s legacy in the best possible way. They played hard. They played well. And when they couldn’t do either, they made up for it by playing tough.

In as thrilling a game as has ever been played on Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium, Princeton outlasted Tierney’s ninth-ranked Denver Pioneers 14-13. It was Tierney’s first game back since he left Princeton after the 2009 season to take over at Denver after he won 238 games, six NCAA championships and 14 Ivy League championships in 22 years with the Tigers.

“It was incredible to have Coach T come back Princeton,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “A lot of the reason we’re here is because of what he was able to do here, and we’re forever grateful for what he has meant for Princeton lacrosse. But for us it was about our team, playing 60 good minutes and getting back in the win column.”

Princeton improved to 3-5 and snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory, and the Tigers now have a quick turnaround to play Brown at home Saturday. Denver is now 5-3 on the season.

Princeton needed some simply great individual efforts to get this win.

Michael Sowers (Upper Dublin) had three goals and three assists in a performance that showcased his amazing skills, and with his six points he moved past Mike MacDonald and into a tie with Jesse Hubbard for fourth place all-time at Princeton with 211 points. It was hardly just Sowers though who made the difference in this one.

Princeton got extraordinary performances from several players, including sophomore defenseman George Baughan (Springfield-Montco), who had five caused turnovers as he harassed Denver all over the field. And from freshman middie Jake Stevens, who played the face-off wings and ended up with a ridiculous stat line of one goal, nine ground ball and three caused turnovers.

There were others, most notably Emmet Cordrey and Chris Brown, who had three goals and an assist each. And Luc Anderson, who had a huge assist and four ground balls as well. And goalie Erik Peters, who made four of his 14 saves in the fourth quarter, including one with eight seconds to play on a fast break.

“Sowers. Outstanding. Stevens, Baughan, [Andrew] Song, outstanding,” Madalon said. “Peters. Big growing up moment for him. We got some great individual performances. And now we have to keep working. Keep getting better. It’s difficult when you’re not getting W’s to back up the learning curve.”

Princeton led 2-0 early after goals by Cordrey and Stevens 10 seconds apart, but there was no chance that this one was going to be easy. The game was 7-7 at the half and 11-10 Princeton after three after Sowers set up Phillip Robertson with a lookaway pass to the crease, and then Princeton got it out to 14-11 when Sowers fed Cordrey for an underhanded shot with 3:15 left.

Denver did not go quietly. The Pioneers cut it to two with 1:04 to go and then 14-13 with 15 seconds left. Brett Boos then won the face-off and came in uncontested, but he was stuffed by Peters. Denver had two more chances after that but couldn’t get the tying goal.

“Our guys all know who Coach Tierney is,” Madalon said. “They know how important he is in the history of this sport here. But really, to them it was a lacrosse game that they wanted to win and wanted to close out, and that’s what they did. It wasn’t easy. I wish it had been easier. But in the end, we did the things we needed to get a great win.”

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