The methodical style of play by the No. 13 Princeton lacrosse team Saturday against No. 20 Hofstra wasn't by design.
With a number of high-scoring players returning and an inexperienced defense, the Tigers don't intend to slow the pace. But that's what happened in a rain-soaked affair in which Princeton overcame an early deficit, then held on to a 10-7 win at Shuart Stadium.
"We knew it wasn't going to be pretty and we talked about the weather and we talked about mucking it up," Princeton coach Chris Bates said. "I thought Hofstra came out well and put us on our heels a little bit. I was pleased with our resolve with how we reacted and didn't lose poise."
After opening a 3-1 lead in the first nine minutes, coach Seth Tierney was disappointed with his team's lack of poise.
"We need to play smarter," Tierney said. "I don't question our effort. I thought we came out pretty hard. We probably lost the game in the second quarter."
Hofstra (1-1) went almost 23 minutes between goals, allowing Princeton to take a 6-3 lead into halftime. The Tigers (1-0) outshot the Pride 12-3 and outscored the Pride 4-0 in the second quarter.
"They finished their opportunities and we didn't," Tierney said. "When you play a team like Princeton, if you don't take advantage of those opportunities to put them away or at least build yourself a bigger lead going into the second half or the fourth quarter, then you know they're coming back."
Torin Varn snapped Hofstra's scoring drought with one of his team-high four goals a minute into the third quarter. Princeton answered a minute later on a goal by Kip Orban (two goals), but Hofstra scored the next two goals to cut the gap to 7-6 entering the fourth quarter.
Hofstra began the fourth with a one-minute man-advantage but failed to score the equalizer. Princeton built its cushion with a man-up goal by Jeff Froccaro (two goals, assist) with 12:02 remaining and then dominated possession.
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers held the advantage in shots (11-5), ground balls (11-2), faceoffs (4-0) and extra-man opportunities (4-0). As a result, it was nearly impossible for the Pride to mount a comeback.
"They did a good job controlling the ball, and we had a lot of penalties and that certainly didn't help," said Varn, who has nine goals in two games. "When we did have our opportunities, sometimes we didn't play with great poise."
Varn's final goal pulled Hofstra within 9-7 with 5:04 left, but the Tigers won the ensuing faceoff and sealed the victory nine seconds later on a goal by Tom Schreiber. The junior midfielder, who was an All-Long Island lacrosse and football star at St. Anthony's, had two goals and an assist while engineering Princeton's offense.
"[Schreiber] is a bear," Tierney said. "Tom Schreiber knows how to play the lacrosse game, there's no getting around it."
And he's got a lot of good parts that play off of him. Schreiber makes it go and I thought he was real good."