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High-scoring, poor defending Princeton squad visits Providence to renew historically low-scoring rivalry with Brown

Even coming off a heartbreaking loss, Princeton men’s lacrosse (4-3 overall, 1-1 Ivy League) should be very confident going on the road against Brown (5-3, 0-1). Last weekend’s 16-15 loss to currently No. 11-ranked Yale was, wire-to-wire, a spectacular contest which demonstrated the sheer quality any given Ivy League men’s lacrosse contest can provide.

This group of Tigers is not lacking in offensive firepower. Senior captain and midfielder Tom Schreiber ranks second in the Ivy League in total points with 33 (18g, 15a), and most in points per game. Junior attack Mike MacDonald sits in fifth with 27, and sophomore midfielder Jake Froccaro follows in sixth with 23. Recently, the three-time all-America selection ranked among Inside Lacrosse’s midseason picks for national first-team honors.

At the other end of the field, a young and talented defense has proven that they can handle any individual matchup opposing offenses can throw at them. Sophomore Mark Strabo along with freshmen Will Reynolds and Bear Goldstein provide more than enough athleticism required at the Division I level. Senior captain and long stick midfielder Derick Raabe, whose 28 ground balls ranks second only to faceoff specialist junior Justin Murphy’s 38, provides support on faceoffs and necessary veteran leadership.

However, team defense is about much more than winning one-on-one battles. Princeton has allowed 11.43 goals per game. Yet, not all competition is of equal caliber. Johns Hopkins, North Carolina and Yale – these three ranked sides handed Princeton its three losses – have provided the type of challenge which will come standard should the Tigers have postseason ambitions. These three opponents have averaged 14.7 goals against the Princeton defense. No offense can be expected to match this total on a game-by-game basis.

It appeared a game ago that sophomore Matt O’Connor had solidified his place in the crease, especially with his 13 save effort against Penn. Junior Eric Sanschagrin replaced the sophomore in net after he allowed 12 goals through three quarters, but O’Connor is likely to hold on to his starting spot.

Princeton holds the all-time series lead over Brown by a 31-21 margin. To find a Princeton loss, you’d have to go back to 2008, when Brown pulled off a 6-5 win in Providence, R.I. This league rivalry is noteworthy for its low-scoring propensity. According to GoPrincetonTigers.com, the winner has scored on average 9.5 per game with the loser scoring 5.2 per game. This mean score line falls well short of the typical Ivy League contest.

Despite being summarily dispatched by the only currently-ranked opponents they’ve faced – No. 14 Massachusetts handed them a 15-2 defeat – the Bears are not a side to be scoffed at. Senior attackman Sam Hurster leads his offensive unit with a listed 195-pound frame and 17 goals. He has shot with a remarkable success rate of 43.6 percent, getting 74.4 percent of his attempts on goal.

Last year saw the Tigers break open the Bears’ defense with a series-high 15 goals, including seven combined goals from the Froccaro brothers – Jeff, a member of the Class of 2013, had four scores on the day and 32 on the year.

The 3:00 p.m. showdown will be available on the Ivy League Digital Network.

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