The Marist men’s lacrosse team faced a tall task on Tuesday evening, traveling to New Jersey to face the third-ranked Princeton in a midweek, out of conference matchup. Despite holding an early lead, the Red Foxes were outclassed and outmatched by their Ivy League foe, falling 18-7.
Being the only game on the Division 1 slate (men’s or women’s) it was all eyes on this game. Coming in, Marist knew that it would have its hands full with Princeton being the third-best in the country in scoring offense at 16.25 goals per game. Junior attackman Alex Slusher ranked third in the nation with 3.26 goals per game.
True to form, the Tigers kept Marist on the backfoot all game long. The Tigers put a whopping 38 shots on goal, bombarding goalie Anthony Novellano, who made 20 stops for the third time this season. Still, they weren’t nearly enough considering the volume he was up against.
It was a much quieter night for Princeton goalie Erik Peters, who made 10 saves on 17 shots. Princeton’s defense proved to be one of the best in the country as they forced twelve turnovers forcing the Red Foxes to look uncomfortable all game.
The reigning MAAC Offensive Player of the Week JoJo Pirreca, who had eight points in last Saturday’s game at Quinnipiac, only recorded two goals as Princeton’s defense was swarming all night long.
Coming into the game, red-hot Freshman faceoff man Dylan Bedell had a tall task in front of him as he faced sophomore Tyler Sandoval who had a 53 percent winning percentage before today’s game. Bedell won 12 out of 29 faceoffs in today’s contest, not an awful number, but one that would not suffice against the high-powered Tigers’ offense.
After Princeton started the scoring, Marist came back with goals from freshman Jake Deacy and junior Kellen Pulera to take a surprising 2-1 lead in the early going.
The home team then went about restoring order. Tigers needed an answer and they got just that as English would score his second of the game to tie the game at 2. While the early stages had the makings of a back-and-forth affair, Princeton reeled off three more consecutive goals to take a 5-2 lead after the first quarter even though Novellano had already racked up six stops.
Princeton would continue their scoring ways as Chris Brown scored less than one minute into the second quarter, forcing Marist head coach Keegan Wilkinson to switch into a zone defense trying to prevent Princeton from getting easy goals.
The nonstop movement of the Tigers offense would strike again as Junior Attackmen Christian Ronda would score two goals in a row sneaking behind the Marist defense cutting back door, making the score 8-2 Tigers.
Princeton continued to pour it on, adding two more goals to make it 10-2 going into halftime. Novellano played a fantastic first half garnering 11 saves for his team. He was effectively a pitcher without run support as Marist was held scoreless for the last 26 minutes of the first half.
Marist finally ended its drought early in the second half, with Pirecca firing one home to make it 10-3 Tigers. The goal provided a brief respite from the Princeton attack that eventually got clicking again.
Princeton’s Sean Cameron scored twice as part of a 4-0 run that gave Princeton a 14-3 lead. The game quickly hit blowout territory and kept going south, with the Tigers tacking on two more to take a 13-goal margin into the final period.
Marist emptied its bench in the late stages, which gave the younger guys a chance to play. Freshman attackman Wiliam Embury, the younger brother of Jamison and Hunter, scored his first career goal on his first career shot for the Red Foxes, as the bench erupted.
Princeton also started to empty its bench as Freshman Attackmen Jack Ringhofer would score his first career goal, squeaking it by Novellano making the score 17-4.
The Red Foxes won the fourth quarter 4-2, a hollow victory on a night where they could not come close to the level of their competition.
Marist looks to bounce back as they will be in action next Tuesday against nonconference opponent New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) at 7 p.m.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Marist Athletics