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Princeton gets signature win over UVA behind Sowers, Baughan

Saturday, 22nd February 2020

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 2/22/20
From Press Release

This was the signature win that the Princeton men’s lacrosse team has been looking for, and it came on a day that was more than just the Michael Sowers (Upper Dublin) show.

George Baughan (Photo courtesy of Brian McWalters)

All in all, it made for a nearly perfect Saturday in Charlottesville for the Tigers.

Princeton defeated defending NCAA champion and second-ranked Virginia 16-12 Saturday afternoon, getting contributions from basically everyone who stepped on the field in the process. The win improved the Tigers to 3-0 as they prepare to host Johns Hopkins this coming Saturday.

Among the many highlights, Chris Brown had four goals and an assist to reach 100 career points.

“This was a great win for us,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “We think we have a good team. We want to play the best teams we can, and Virginia is certainly that. We got contributions from everyone, and that was great to see. Now we can enjoy this for a few minutes and then start to think about the next game, which is against another great team.”

Princeton has knocked on the door against Top 10 teams often in the last few years, with leads in the fourth quarter that got away and left nothing but frustration at how close Princeton has been to breaking through. There was even an overtime loss to UVa last year, when UVa went on to win the whole thing.

This time, Princeton did everything it needed to finish a big one off. The Tigers were confident, even when Virginia cut a four-goal lead into a 13-12 game with 8:54 to go in the fourth quarter, after Cavs goalie Alex Rode made as good a save as a goalie can make in a lacrosse game that would have built it back to four five minutes earlier.

“That save was ridiculous,” said Madalon, himself a former professional goalie, of the play where a fully extended Rode dove from pipe to pipe to rob Sowers. “But we didn’t let that beat us. We didn’t hang our heads. We kept playing.”

Speaking of goalies, Princeton junior Erik Peters had by far the best game of his career with 16 saves, one off his career high and definitely a career high for point-blank saves against All-America shooters. He had four in the fourth quarter.

Princeton’s defense swarmed and hounded Virginia for 60 minutes. George Baughan (Springfield-Montco) was everywhere as usual (3GBs, 1 CT), and he and everyone in front of Peters collapsed on UVa shooter after shooter.

In addition, the Tigers answered every time UVa seemed like it was about to go on a run. Princeton led 8-7 at the half and 12-8 in the third, and the Tigers were at their best when it mattered most.

Matt Moore (Garnet Valley) had two goals, two assists and four groundballs, Dox Aitken (Haverford School) had two goals and two groundballs and Peter Garno (Haverford School) scored once for UVA.

Offensively, Princeton got four goals from Brown and four from Phillip Robertson (Duke’s LC), who went to high school next door to UVA’s campus. Oh, and then there was Sowers.

After beginning his season with 25 points in two games, Sowers followed up his Ivy record 14 points night against Colgate with another amazing performance.

His two best moments were a feed to Brown for a goal with 10 seconds left in the half to give the Tigers the lead, an unassisted goal with six seconds left in the third quarter to make it 13-10 and then, biggest of all, an incredible feed inside to Robertson to make it 14-12 with 5:11 left, ending the UVa momentum.

Alex Slusher sealed it with two goals.

It’s not that Sowers wasn’t dominant. It’s that Princeton showed it’s more than just Sowers.

On this day, that was the best news.

Well, that and the final score.

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