No. 4 Princeton Holds on in NCAA Opener vs. No. 15 UMass

Jim Connolly was the story on the offensive end with a four goal effort, his 13th career hat trick (second in the NCAA Tournament), while fellow senior Doc Schneider ended his career with another outstanding 13- save effort. The Minutemen used two separate two-goal spurts in the third quarter to pull within three, but could never pull any closer.

The loss ends the program's five-game winning streak in the NCAA First Round. The Minutemen conclude the season with a 9-6 record while Princeton advances to Saturday's NCAA Quarterfinal matchup against Cornell.

Tim Balise, Evan Blum, and Bobby Hayes added UMass' other tallies. Princeton was led by midfielder Mark Kovler's five goals. The Minutemen defense held the Tigers' attackmen to only one goal, by Tommy Davis. Defensemen Diogo Godoi held the Tigers' top scorer Jack McBride pointless while Travis Tripucka did the same to 23-point scorer Chris McBride.

After finding themselves down 6-1 at the half, the Minutemen came out from the locker room with a vengeance, scoring twice in the first 1:35 of the third quarter to cut the Princeton lead to 6-3. Balise started with a jump shot at 14:10 on a delayed penalty while Connolly beat Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito low on the man-up at 13:25.

Princeton answered with two quick scores of their own, by Kovler and Rich Sgalardito to make it 8-3 at 6:45. UMass wouldn't go away, as Blum found the back of the net only 43 seconds later to make it 8-4. Connolly then scored his third of the game 1:02 after that at 5:00 to make it 8-5. Davis became the first Princeton attacker to score as his tally at 2:22 gave Princeton a 9-5 lead after three quarters of play.

Connolly added his fourth of the day in the fourth quarter, converting an unsettled situation at 8:52 to pull UMass back to within three. Then the Minutemen had a long offensive possession trying to make it a two-goal game, but the possession was ultimately denied when a Rory Pedrick shot was denied. Sgarladi added his hat trick goal and Hayes scored his first for the 10-7 final.

UMass came out strong with three shots on goal within the first six minutes, but Fiorito shut the door each time. It was the Tigers that got on the board first at the 11:44 mark behind a Sgalardi tally for a 1-0 lead. Connolly tied the score at one at 7:20, finding the short side on a nifty right- handed shot. Princeton retook the lead at 2-1 when Kovler beat Schneider high after an impressive dodge.

Princeton controlled the second quarter of play with four unanswered goal for the 6-1 score heading into halftime. Scott Mackenzie's shot on the run gave the Tigers the 3-1 advantage. Kovler then netted his second and third goals of the game, both within 47 seconds to open up a 5-1 advantage.

Kovler netted his fourth goal after a frantic set of circumstances, which started with Schneider receiving a misconduct penalty after a controversial push call.

Final shots were 36-35 in favor of the Tigers, while Schneider had 13 saves to Fiorito's 12. UMass dominated the ground ball battle, 35-19, and the Minutemen won 11 of 19 faceoffs, including a superb 8-of-9 effort from Anthony Toresco.

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2009-05-10



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