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At 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the Ivy League, Princeton's postseason hopes would appear bleak.

But the players and coaches remain optimistic that they can still qualify for the Ivy League tournament, capture the crown and automatic qualifier, and earn a berth in the NCAA tournament.

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"Every one of our goals is right in front of us," Tigers coach Chris Bates said Wednesday. "We felt that at the beginning of the year that we could be a deep-into-May kind of team, and we're still kind of finding ourselves, but that possibility is still very real for us. That's the approach we take as coaches, that's the approach we're demanding of our team, and that's the expectation. So we're preparing as such."

Injuries have taken a toll on Princeton. Freshman midfielder Tom Schreiber, who leads the team in scoring, sat out the team's loss to Penn on March 19 because of a rib injury before registering a goal and an assist in last Saturday's 8-7 overtime loss to Yale.

Junior long-stick midfielder Jonathan Meyers has been hobbled by a strained hamstring, and sophomore defenseman Rob Castelo (torn knee ligaments) and freshman short-stick defensive midfielder Nick Fernandez (broken arm) are out for the rest of the season.

Joining them could be senior attackman Jack McBride, who has missed three games with a groin injury. Bates, who hinted to NJ.com last week that McBride could be shelved, said a decision on his status and his eligibility will be made at the end of the week.

"To be determined on both fronts," Bates said. "I'd prefer to leave it at that. I'd rather not speculate. Let's let the kid work through the issues here. I think we'll have a decision in the next two days."

The Tigers next face Brown on Saturday before meeting two non-league opponents in top-ranked Syracuse and Rutgers. Then they finish the regular season with games against Dartmouth, Harvard and No. 8 Cornell.

Bates said the team understands the task ahead.

"We're certainly behind the 8-ball because of the goals we still have for this season," he said. "Honestly, I was rooting hard for Hopkins for no other reason than we had beaten Hopkins. Just from my team's standpoint, that was a very clear message. 'Fellas, we essentially dominated Johns Hopkins, who three weeks later, beat the No. 2 team in the country, and you can't tell me that so much is different in three weeks.' Jack McBride didn't play against Hopkins, so it was essentially the same team. This week is a big week. We've got two non-conference games and then we finish the last three weeks with the Ivies. We feel good about going into Saturday, and we'll take it from there."

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