March 28, 2009

Rich Sgalardi had 18 points for his first three seasons combined. It's taken him eight games of his senior year to better that total.

Sgalardi had a career-high five points and the biggest goal of the day to lead fifth-ranked Princeton to an 11-7 win over Yale in front of 1,116 fans at Reese Stadium in New Haven. The win improved Princeton to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in the Ivy League, while Yale fell to 4-4, 1-2.

Princeton now leads the all-time series against the Bulldogs 68-20-2 as the teams met for the 90th time. The first meeting between the schools was on Oct. 14, 1882.

Sgalardi's career high came four days after he had set his old one with a four-point day against Rutgers. The senior midfielder had three goals and an assist in that one, giving him five goals and four assists for the week.

That total exceeds last year's goal total of four and almost matches the point total of 11, numbers that left him with seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points for his career heading into his final season.

And now? Sgalardi's big week leaves him third on the team in scoring with 22 points, on 10 goals and 12 assists. His day against Yale included a goal with 27 seconds left in the third quarter that snapped a 6-6 tie and put the Tigers on top for good.

Princeton led 3-1 midway through the first quarter before Yale's Michael Pratt turned the game around with an end-to-end run and goal with 5:37 to play in the firs.t From that point, neither team would have more than a one-goal lead for the next 40:31, as the Tigers couldn't shake Yale.

The Bulldogs would lead 4-3 after the first quarter but score only three more times the rest of the way. Princeton regained the lead at 5-4 after goals from Scott MacKenzie and Paul Barnes, but Colin Still tied it at 5-5 with a goal 36 seconds before intermission.

Mark Kovler scored on a Sgalardi feed midway through the third, but Yale's Brian Douglass answered nine seconds later to make it 6-6.

Sgalardi, though, would score his goal on a strong dodge in front to make it 7-6, and he then set up Tommy Davis to make it 8-6 early in the fourth. Sgalardi would score again and Jack McBride would add two as the Tigers finally pulled away.

The goalie matchup featured Princeton freshman Tyler Fiorito and Yale sophomore Johnathan Falcone after Princeton's Alex Hewit had played every minute the last three years and Yale's George Carafides had played every minute the last four. Both goalies were sharp, as Fiorito made 10 saves and Falcone made 14. Princeton outshot Yale 42-29.

Kovler, Davis and MacKenzie had two goals each for Princeton to join Sgalardi and Jack McBride. Yale had seven different players score one goal each.

The Tigers play No. 2 Syracuse next Saturday in the Big City Classic at Giants Stadium.