NCAA Quarterfinals: Princeton Tops Yale, Advances to First Championship Weekend Since 2004

(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

For the first time in 18 years, the Princeton Tigers will be playing on Memorial Day Weekend.

The Tigers knocked off the Yale Bulldogs 14-10 on Saturday evening, avenging a regular season 14-12 defeat against the Bulldogs in late March.

While it was a four-goal differential when the final buzzer sounded, the Tigers could have walked off the field with an even wider margin as they appeared to be the more dominant team from the jump. Coulter Mackesy scored off an Alex Slusher feed just seven seconds into the game. And from that point on, the Tigers would only trail for about seven minutes.

The Tigers most dominant stretch of the game came during the opening half scored seven consecutive goals to pull ahead 8-3 with 7:22 left in the second quarter. Midfielder Jake Stevens got the party started and Mackesy capped off that run. The pair were just two of seven different goal-scorers and 10 total point-getters during that stretch alone, and in the first half in general.

Sam English netted a hat trick to lead the way for the Princeton offense while Mackesy (2G/1A) and Chris Brown (1G/2A) each had three points. Christian Ronda and Alexander Vardaro each had two goals, Alex Slusher went 1-1, and three players (Stevens, Sean Cameron, Luke Crimmins) each found the back of the net once. In all, Princeton had nine different goal-scorers in the victory.

Yale made 15 turnovers (four caused) on the day and Princeton especially capitalized on those Bulldogs mistakes, scoring four goals that came directly off unforced Yale turnovers. Twice the Tigers caused a Yale turnover and scored on the ensuing offensive possession. That includes George Baughn’s takeaway late in the game that led to the final goal of the day, which Sam English put in coming out of a timeout.

Baughn and the Princeton defense had another great day as they held the heralded Yale attack to just three goals. Two of those scores came from Chris Lyons. Fellow freshman Leo Johnson was held to just two assists while the Bulldogs’ leading scorer Matt Brandau was held to just one goal and one assist with Baughn matched up with him for the majority of the day. Colin Mulshine got the Johnson matchup.

Erik Peters anchored that defensive effort with 17 saves on the day. The Tigers allowed just one goal in the final frame.

Despite a 20-save game from Jared Paquette and Nicholas Ramsey going 13-for-22 at the faceoff dot, Yale only led for about seven minutes in the first quarter. A successful ride led to a Lyons goal to get Yale started and less than a minute later, Patrick Hackler forced a turnover on defense and went coast to coast for the score.

Midfielder Brad Sharp would get one more in that short spurt for the Bulldogs to put them up 3-1, but that lead would not hold. While the Bulldogs were able to get a pair late in the second quarter to make it an 8-5 game at the half, they were never able to tie it up again or take back the lead.

Twice the Bulldogs got what felt like potential juice goals, but neither time they were able to stack another score on top of it to build upon that momentum. Thomas Bragg put in a laser on a man-up with 7:12 left in the third and just three minutes later Max Krevsky dodged against a short-stick and stung one past Peters.

Only one more goal would be in the Bulldogs’ future after those two as Princeton held Yale to just one goal in the fourth quarter.

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