Former teammates Orban and Ambrose battle each other
Updated 8:35 am, Thursday, April 5, 2012
Little did anyone know that the homecoming for former Staples lacrosse star Kip Orban would turn into an historic afternoon for the Princeton and Yale University men's lacrosse programs.
Alex Capretta scored with 1:39 left in the fifth overtime Saturday, giving the Tigers a 10-9 victory over the Bulldogs at Reese Stadium at Yale.
Even though he didn't play in the overtimes, it was a thrill for Orban, a freshman at Princeton, to be part of a game that will go into the record books as the longest in the history of both schools, especially since his team came out on top.
Prior to Saturday, neither the Tigers nor the Bulldogs had ever been involved in a game that stretched beyond four overtimes.
"It was definitely exciting even though I was on the sidelines for the overtimes," said Orban, who played against former Staples teammate Jack Ambrose, a sophomore defender for Yale. "It was crazy, so exhilarating seeing our guys battling out there. It was unreal, just a great experience, a lot of intensity at the end, emotionally draining."
Amid the postgame chaos that ensued, Ambrose said he didn't get an opportunity to visit with Orban.
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"I didn't get a chance to see him after the game, which I'm kind of bummed about, but I'll definitely shoot him a text and talk to him," Ambrose said. "Ever since I knew Kip was going to Princeton, we always joked about it, so it's awesome being able to see him on the other side."
Yale rallied from a 9-6 deficit in the final 3:20 of regulation and got to the third overtime despite getting outshot 14-1 in the first two sudden death periods.
Ambrose was on the field in two crucial spots as he helped kill off Yale penalties at the end of the second and fourth overtimes.
"When [Yale] coach [Andy Shay] has faith in you, it makes you believe in yourself more, so it's really awesome that he has the trust in me to let me be out there at the end of the game," Ambrose said.
Princeton, ranked 13th nationally, improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Ivy League while Yale dropped to 2-5 and 0-2. The Tigers' two losses have come against Johns Hopkins (10-8) and North Carolina (9-8).
Orban has played in all seven games, recording four goals and two assists. On Saturday, he had several shifts in the third quarter and was on for one Princeton goal.
"It was good being back in New Haven and being in front of a crowd with a bunch of people who have supported me back home through high school. It was like the old days being on this field because I've played here since the sixth grade with the Bulldog club team."
Orban said he is happy with the way his freshman season is progressing.
"I set a few goals early on and I'm really happy with what I'm doing," he said. "I'm just doing what I can on the team and doing what the coaches ask me -- doing what I can to make the right play at the right time and not turn the ball over so much. "
Ambrose couldn't remember the last time he played against Orban in a competitive situation.
"It's funny," he said. "You always want to cheer him on, but when he's on another team, you can't really do that."
In 2010, Ambrose's senior year at Staples, he and Orban helped lead the Wreckers to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the CIAC Class L semifinals.
"Our time at Staples was some of the best years of my life," Ambrose said. "It was just awesome turning a program around and really getting a whole town excited about lacrosse."