On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Princeton, New Jersey, more than 4,000 fans were treated to an unbelievable showcase of talent from two of the most prominent programs in college lacrosse history.
The nationally televised game featured two teams that came in with identical records and were neck-in-neck in the rankings. As predicted, it was a seesaw battle that was decided late in the fourth quarter. The Orange prevailed with a late goal by JoJo Marasco to make the final score 13-12.
Syracuse jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Princeton Tigers, which have been notorious for slow starts this year. Finally, once the Tigers' Jeff Froccaro jump-started the offense, the real game began.
What fans saw from that point was nothing short of breathtaking. Fast-paced action highlighted an aggressive Syracuse defense and precision shooting from both teams. Syracuse decided to pressure the ball on defense, forcing the Tigers to play a new style of offense from up top. 'Cuse goalie Dom Lamolinara was tough in the cage, making 14 saves to complement the defensive pressure.
Princeton was able to capitalize when they beat the pressure, but it was a tough task. Froccaro finished with four goals to continue his monumental campaign, while Mike MacDonald recorded a hat trick. Jake Froccaro also had two goals and an assist in the losing effort.
All-American Tom Schreiber continued his impressive point streak. With his goal and three assists, he proved his worth and has now scored at least three points in every game this year.
Despite offensive success from the Tigers, the Orange also showed they could score from anywhere on the field. With quick off-ball movement and great crease movement, they confused a Princeton defense that couldn't make enough plays in the end.
Henry Schoonmaker stole the show, scoring four goals and adding two assists. Derek Maltz and Jack Rice were impressive, while midfielder JoJo Marasco beat Princeton's Will Beatty to the front of the goal to score what would be the game winner late in the match.
In the end, someone had to win. These teams were evenly matched, proving that they are both contenders for potential tournament success.
Princeton has lost three games this year, all by one goal. The Tigers are still looking for a signature win this season, with their next chance against Cornell in two weeks. If Princeton can take down Dartmouth and Harvard, the game against the Big Red will decide the Ivy League champion.