Vol. LXII, No. 26
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)
SMOOTH FLIGHT: Former Princeton High boys lacrosse star Tyler Moni sprawls out as he flies to goal during his senior year at PHS in 2007. Moni came across town to continue his career as he joined the Princeton University mens lacrosse program this past fall. After struggling to adjust to the college game this spring, Moni flew high on Princetons recent trip to Spain and Ireland. Moni tallied three goals and two assists in helping PU go 3-0 on a trip that saw it post two wins over Englands national team and a victory over the English U-19 squad.
Former Princeton High boys lacrosse standout Tyler Moni came across town to continue his career as he joined the Princeton University mens lax program this past fall.
While becoming a member of the PU team was the culmination of a dream for Moni, the midfielder struggled to adjust to the college game.
The 511, 180-pound Moni got into only one game this past spring, scooping up a ground ball in a brief appearance against Harvard in mid-April.
It turned out that Moni had to go across the Atlantic Ocean to develop a comfort level as he starred on Princetons recent trip to Spain and Ireland.
Showing the form that helped him earn All-State honors during his PHS career, Moni tallied three goals and two assists in helping PU go 3-0 on a trip that saw it post two wins over Englands national team and a victory over the English U-19 squad.
In reflecting on the European jaunt, Moni enjoyed getting the chance for some extended action.
It was good to get on the field with some starters; I was a little nervous at first but things started to slow down, said Moni.
I made good progress. I tried to do the little things and let the guys who have been playing lead the way.
In Monis view, having a better feel for the game allowed him to let loose in Europe.
I think that being more aggressive comes from having that comfort level, said Moni.
Before I was hesitant to take the ball, afraid that if I made a mistake, the world would be falling in on me. I took my opportunities on the field.
Princeton head coach Bill Tierney liked the way Moni took advantage of his opportunities on the trip.
We had been seeing this in practice, said Tierney. If he continues to learn, he will be a good player for us. Hes big, fast, and he needs to be aggressive like he was over there.
For Moni, the learning curve started with the programs fall practice sessions.
I knew it was going to be tough; its hard to prepare on your own, said Moni.
The speed of the game is hard to catch up with; it makes it hard to adapt your skills. Learning the system was tough. I was working with 10 guys who can all dodge, shoot, and pass. I had to learn to stay out of their way and then memorize the offensive sets.
It was tough for Moni to learn what it is like to be a benchwarmer. You always want to play, you always want to help the team, said Moni a four-year starter for the PHS lacrosse team who was also a star receiver for the Little Tiger football squad.
I knew I was sitting behind some great players. We all have a role on the team. The coaches were good about encouraging us and telling us that they saw good things.
Moni and his teammates were a bit discouraged by how they finished the spring, losing their last two games to finish 7-6 and miss out on a trip to the NCAA tournament.
After the Cornell win, I think a lot of people thought that we would roll, said Moni. We hit a couple of speed bumps after that.
There were no bumps in the road for Princeton on its European tour. It was a different dynamic to do things as a group away from school with 48 of your best friends, said Moni.
We get to hang out at school and on the lacrosse field but this was different. I got to know a lot of guys better. I especially got to know the seniors and what they are interested in.
For Moni, it was interesting to experience different sides of Europe on the trip.
It was fun hanging out with the guys on the beach in Spain, recalled Moni.
Going into the city at night was great; I met a lot of different people out there. Hiking the countryside in Ireland was great, it was very impressive.
As he goes through the rest of the summer, Moni is dedicated to building on his impressive showing in Europe.
Im really excited, I cant wait to get back and playing, said Moni.
Im a lot more confident than before. Im looking to get better and see if I can get some playing time.
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