Even during a rebuilding year, Princeton has more lacrosse talent than Notre Dame.
The Tigers, still trying to regroup after key personnel losses from last year's national championship team, took an early two-goal lead and hung on for a 6-4 win over Notre Dame yesterday at the Gilman School.
Notre Dame midfielder Jason Pett scored his third goal with 10:15 left in the game to cut the deficit to two goals, but the Fighting Irish could not score in the remaining time despite outshooting the Tigers, 7-2.
Princeton goalie Pat Cairns, from Boys' Latin, was superb in the final minutes with four saves.
"You hear about teams from the West not being strong, but I think Notre Dame is going to surprise some people," said Princeton defenseman Todd Higgins. "We worked hard for this one, and this is our hump game. We finally won one."
Princeton (1-2) lost seven key players from a year ago, and the Tigers are still hurting. Yesterday, they had little motion in their offense and were slow with defensive slides and double teams.
The Fighting Irish (1-3) seemed a little intimidated by Princeton in the first quarter when they fell behind 1-0, but gained confidence over the last three periods, especially when Pett scored a goal at the buzzer to end the first half with Princeton leading only 3-1.
The Tigers went up by three goals twice in the third quarter, but Pett scored again with 5:24 left to cut the lead to 5-3 at the end of the period.
"I think today we were a little rusty," said Princeton defenseman Josh Miller, a graduate of Gilman. "We're young on offense and we don't have the same skill level as a year ago. But right now, we'll take anything we can get."
Notre Dame .... 0 .. 1 .. 2 .. 1 .. -- .. 4
Princeton ..... 1 .. 2 .. 2 .. 1 .. -- .. 6