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The Meistrell Cup Game Preview

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#3 Rutgers travels to #7 Princeton in a top-10 men’s lacrosse battle

Goalie Max Edelmann holds the Meistrell Cup after Rutgers beat Princeton in 2019.
Rutgers Athletics

The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team (6-0) looks to continue maintain a undefeated record this season in another top-10 clash this weekend against in-state rival Princeton (3-1).

Where: Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium, Princeton, NJ

When: Friday, March 11th at 6:00 p.m. ET

(note: game changed due to weather)

TV: ESPN+ (6.99 per month - can cancel anytime)

Weather Forecast: Mid 40s with rain and snow showers

Harland W. Meistrell
USA Lacrosse

Series History: Princeton leads the annual rivalry 64-31-3. This is the most significant rivalry between both schools and the nation’s 7th longest college lacrosse rivalry. A century ago, on May 20th 1922, the Tigers wont the first meeting by a score of 6-1.

The program’s compete for the Meistrell Cup, named after Hall of Famer Harland (Tots) Meistrell, who helped restart the lacrosse teams at both schools in the 1920s. Princeton had disbanded its team in 1894 before its resumption in 1920, while Rutgers discontinued its program in 1889, before its 1920 revival.

The teams have split the last four games, with the Tigers winning the most recent by a score of 16–11 in 2020.

Why this game is crucial for both teams: Princeton starts conference play March 19th and Rutgers on March 27th. Both the Ivy and Big Ten currently have 5 teams each ranked in the top 20. With a total of 8 at-large bids for the NCAA tourney for non-conference champions, this is a huge opportunity for each program to strengthen their resume and bolster their chances for an NCCA berth.

What to look for: Which team can win the face-off battle? Both the Tigers and Knights struggled mightily in their games at the face-off circle and had to rely on stingy defense, strong goaltending, and caused turnovers to pull out victories. Princeton has won 51 and lost 66 at the face-off circle while Rutgers has won 96 and lost 81. The Knights were strong early in the season but were over-matched this past Saturday against Stony Brook.

Both teams excel in causing turnovers, which besides your goalie, keeps you in the game when struggling at the face-off circle.

The Goalies: The Scarlet Knights’ Colin Kirst has a .565 save percentage and allows just under 10 goals per game at 9.91. For the Tigers, Erik Peters has a .615 save percentage and allows just over 10 goals per game at 10.17. Peters has faced 136 shots to date and Kirst 221.

For those that can’t tune in live, look for my game recap this Saturday.