In a match originally scheduled for Saturday but moved up to Friday night due to today’s Nor’easter, Rutgers and Princeton squared off on a cool, pleasant March evening in Princeton in the nation’s 7th oldest collegiate lacrosse rivalry. Over 1,400 vocal fans decked out in Princeton orange and Rutgers red enjoyed the 99th all time meeting in a series that dates back to 1922. The game is officially known as the Meistrell Cup, for Harland “Tots” Meistrell who restarted the Rutgers program in 1920 and then headed down what I assume was Route 1 to restart Princeton’s lacrosse club in 1921. This match was the 99th in the rivalry and longest in Rutgers athletics series history. The Knights donned uniforms with Tom Hayes name plates, in memory of the legendary Rutgers coach that passed away this past Monday.
The game started well for the Knights with Jonathan Dugenio winning the opening face-off, Rutgers moving quickly in transition, and Ross Scott feeding a beautiful pass to Brian Cameron to send one home from point blank range to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. The Tigers would knot the score up at 1-all two minutes later on a goal by Sam English.
It was a back and forth affair as Princeton took a quick 2-1 before Rutgers rallied for two goals, the second by Erik Civetti on a beautiful feed from Nick Teresky. The Tigers knotted the score at 3 before Michael Sanguinetti put the Knights back up 4-3. The Tigers scored the final two goals of the quarter, including one with 2 ticks left to go up 5-4 heading into the 2nd.
Mitch Bartolo fired a laser in from long distance to knot the score at 5, followed less than a minute later by a goal from Teresky. The Tigers then went on a three-goal scoring run before Bartolo stemmed the tide and brought Rutgers back within one, trailing 8-7. Princeton went on another scoring run with three consecutive goals to take control of the match, 11-7.
The teams settled in with stout defense and goaltending, with Rutgers logging the only goal of the quarter at the 11:53 mark, the 2nd by Sanguinetti to pull within 3 at 11-8.
The Tigers’s Jake Stevens and Knight’s Ronan Jacoby traded goals early in the 4th before the Tigers scored 4 consecutive goals to go up 16-9 and put the game on ice. Scott and Bartolo would close out the scoring for Rutgers. Final score 16-11 Princeton.
- The Ivy’s are back. 2021 was certainly a strange season not having the Ivy teams in action. With 5 teams in the top 20, the Ivy League is back and stronger than ever and will be a force in the NCAA tourney in May.
- Princeton runs a very similar offense to Rutgers. Both teams fly down the field in transition and the first 3 quarters were a very entertaining back and forth affair before the Tigers seized control of the match in the 4th quarter.
- This game was won by Princeton at the face-off circle and with stellar goal-tending. Rutgers had 58 total shots to Princeton’s 46 and only 7 turnovers to Princeton’s 15. The Tiger’s Erik Peters dominated in goal, making a whopping 21 saves and they won the face-off battle, winning 19 of 31. Rutgers has to fix the face-off problem quick before conference play starts in two weeks.
- While a crucial loss for Rutgers, the big picture is still in front of them: Win the majority of their conference games and challenge in the Big Ten tourney, and they will firmly have a shot to make the NCAA Tournament field of 16 in May.
- Earlier this week Mitch Bartolo and Ross Scott were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, honoring the nation’s top player
- Mitch Bartolo had his fourth game at Rutgers with at least three goals
- Nick Teresky had his first career assist and a career-high three points (one goal, two assists).
- Michael Sanguinetti tied his career-high in goals (two) with his fifth career multi-goal game.
- Bryant Boswell, the Bucknell transfer, made his first start at Rutgers on defense
Rutgers finally returns home after 3 consecutive road games for a midweek contest. The Scarlet Knights host Lafayette at SHI Stadium on Tuesday at 3 p.m.