No. 14 Princeton University Falls to No. 1 USC and No. 11 Loyola Marymount University to Begin West Coast Swing

Matt Weber

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- No. 14 Princeton University suffered setbacks against No. 1 University of Southern California (13-4 L) and No. 11 Loyola Marymount University (9-7 L) to begin a six-game West Coast road-swing.

In the opener against Loyola Marymount, the Tigers rallied from a four-goal first-half deficit to draw even in the third quarter, but would eventually fall 9-7.

The teams traded goals in the first minute of the game, but LMU went on a four-goal run to lead 5-1 after a quarter. Princeton would trim the lead to 5-4 at the half with three goals in the second quarter as Tim Wenzlau, Mike Helou and Matt Weber all scored. Wenzlau's goal was a natural score, while Helou scored on a counter and Weber scored from the set.

The Lions started the second half with a man-up goal to stop the Princeton run, but a goal from Drew Hoffenberg brought Princeton back to within one. LMU again stretched the margin to two goals but Weber and Wenzlau netted back-to-back goals 34 seconds apart to draw Princeton even at 2:04 of the third quarter.

The score remained tied through the end of the third quarter and the first three minutes of the final frame before LMU's Edgaras Asajavicius scored on a 5-meter shot midway through the final period. The Lions would get an insurance goal with 1:21 to go to seal up the 9-7 win.

Wenzlau and Weber each had two goals for Princeton, while Hoffenberg, Billy Tifft and Kayj Shannon all had assists. Hoffenberg added three steals and drew two ejections. Ben Dearborn returned from injury to make his first start of the season and stopped 13 shots in the loss.

Princeton was scoreless on five man-up chances, while the Lions scored on four of eight tries, as well as a five-meter penalty shot.

In the evening affair under the lights of McDonald's Swim Stadium, Hoffenberg scored twice but the University of Southern California rolled to a 13-4 victory to drop Princeton to 10-3 on the season.

The nonconference clash saw the Trojans keep their undefeated start to 2011 intact at 7-0. 

Brian Boswell ripped in the Trojans' first two goals out of set as Princeton had leveled things after Boswell's first, but his second of the night helped spark a five-goal USC surge in the first period. Stephen Siri and Peter Kurzeka each knocked in the first of their two goals in the game during that run, with Forest Monroe and Andrew Reego also finding the back of the net as USC opened up a 6-1 lead on the Tigers.

Princeton got an even score to open the second before the Trojans again regrouped and silenced the Tigers for the rest of the half while Kurzeka found his second goal, Tobias Preuss blasted one of his own and Nikola Vavic rounded out the half with two power moves and finishes for a 10-2 USC lead.

That wrapped up senior goalie Joel Dennerley's time in the cage for the night. He finished with four saves during that stretch before giving way to redshirt freshman Ely Bonilla for the second half. Bonilla was similarly dominant in goal, matching Dennerley with four saves of his own while Princeton was only able to manage a five-meter penalty shot in the third period and a late 6-on-5 score in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Trojan offense knocked in two more in the third -- Boswell's third to complete his first hat trick of the year, and a blast from Siri for his second of the night. Ivan Kustic put the final touch on USC's offensive onslaught in the fourth period with a 6-on-5 rocket, giving USC its 13th goal of the game on the way to the nine-goal decision.


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