Coming off of one of the biggest early wins in the college lacrosse season over Johns Hopkins, the Princeton University Tigers will host Villanova on short rest Tuesday night.
The young Tiger defense showed maturity and improved communication as they went into a hostile Homewood Field in Baltimore last Friday and beat the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays. Freshman Matt O'Conner played well in goal for the Tigers, recording 10 saves in his second collegiate contest. The win moved the Tigers to 2-0 on the year, and the young and doubted defense has yet to give up double-digit goals thus far.
The long stick defenders also played well for the Tigers, limiting the chances for a potent Hopkins offense. Nick Fernandez and Derick Raabe showed great poise and athleticism in leading the defensive unit.
Offensively, the Tigers were led by All-American Tom Schreiber and All-Ivy performer Jeff Froccaro, who both tallied three goals in the victory. Schreiber was guarded closely by Tucker Durkin, perhaps the premier shutdown long pole in the nation. Despite his crafty opponent, Schreiber's quick dodging and excellent shooting on the run allowed him to post a hat trick.
Looking forward, Princeton will host a talented, yet unranked, Villanova Wildcat squad. The Tigers beat Villanova in 2012, which proved to be a turning point in last year's season. The game will be the first at home for the Tigers, who return to Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium with a top-five ranking and a lot to prove moving forward.
Freshman Jake Froccaro (brother of Jeff), also played well against Hopkins, recording two goals and two assists in a breakthrough effort. Look for him to keep his hot streak going in his first contest on Princeton's campus.
Bobby Lucas has also proved to be extremely valuable to the Tigers, winning key faceoffs down the stretch in both games so far. He is a strong midfielder who can dictate the pace of play by winning the draws throughout the game.
Villanova enters Tuesday's game at 1-2, earning their first victory last Saturday against Delaware.
Senior attacker Jack Rice has posted eight goals so far, leading the Wildcats in the scoring column.
With a young defense, Princeton must watch out for the classic "trap game" atmosphere and avoid an overconfident mentality Tuesday night.
The game will be broadcast on 103.3 WPRB FM in central New Jersey, and televised on Verizon FiOs1 Sports in New York City and Long Island.