Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 48
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
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JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: Stuart Country Day School junior forward Jackie Gaudioso-Radvany, center, chases down a ball in a game this fall. Gaudioso-Radvany scored a program-record 30 goals to help Stuart go 20-1-3 as it won the the Patriot Conference title, a third straight county crown, and tied nemesis Lawrenceville 2-2 in the Prep final as the team shared the crown.

Stuart’s Gaudioso-Radvany, PHS Football Star Borchert Get Nods as Town Topics’ Outstanding Fall Performers

Bill Alden

Jackie Gaudioso-Radvany had a lot on her shoulders as she entered her junior season on the Stuart Country Day field hockey team this past September.

Gaudioso-Radvany was facing her first high school season without her trusted running mate at forward, Kelly Bruvik, who had graduated and moved on to the Bucknell field hockey program.

In addition, Gaudioso-Radvany was dealing with learning the new offensive system being installed by rookie head coach Katie Grant.

But steeled from the experience she has gained by playing in the U.S. national program, Gaudioso-Radvany didn’t miss a beat as she dealt with the change around her.

The fleet Gaudioso-Radvany got out of the gate quickly, scoring 20 goals and eight assists as the Tartans got off to a 13-1-2 start.

Gaudioso-Radvany took the Tartans on her back in the Mercer County Tournament (MCT), scoring two goals in the Tartans’ 3-0 win over Hun in the quarterfinals and then scoring both goals in the dramatic 2-1 overtime win against Robbinsville in the county semis.

Days later, in the championship game against powerful Allentown, Gaudioso-Radvany got Stuart on the board midway through the first half with a scintillating strike. The Tartans eventually won the game 2-1, giving the program three MCT titles in Gaudioso-Radvany’s three years on the team.

A week later, Gaudioso-Radvany was the dominant player in the state Prep championship game against Lawrenceville. Flying all over the field as Stuart looked to avenge defeats to the Big Red in the last two Prep title games, Gaudioso-Radvany scored two goals as the teams knotted in a 2-2- tie and shared the title.

In sparking the Tartans to a 20-1-3 record, Gaudios-Radvany scored a school-record 30 goals, shattering the program’s previous single-season record of 22. Gaudioso-Radvany now has 70 career goals, besting the old mark of 66.

For Gaudioso-Radvany, crunch time is her time to shine. “I think when things are at stake, I want it bad,” said Gaudioso-Radvany, who totaled nine goals and one assist in Stuart’s county and state playoff games. “I think everyone here wants it bad; we change our level of play.”

Stuart head coach Grant admired the way her junior standout battled defenses designed to stop her.

“She has been challenged a lot, the other teams know about her and they are having players watching her,” said Grant of Gaudioso-Radvany.

“It’s tough because someone is always in her face, grabbing her arm. It’s good for her to be challenged like that as a junior. She’s not letting it get her down.”

For overcoming challenge after challenge in sparking Stuart’s rise to championship heights, Gaudioso-Radvany is the choice as the Town Topics’ top female performer of the fall season.

Top Male Performer

Doug Borchert and his fellow seniors on the Prince-ton High football team were on a mission coming into this fall.

With the program having not qualified for the state playoffs since 1993, Borcert and his classmates were determined to leave no stone unturned as they took their last shot at that elusive goal.

With running back-linebacker Borchert taking a lead role, the team religiously went through 6:30 a.m. weight room sessions throughout the spring and summer. Once in pre-season camp, the seniors shaved their heads in a show of solidarity.

That physical and mental preparation paid early dividends as PHS displayed its power game in routing Steinert 29-7 in the season opener.

The bruising 6’1, 210-pound Borchert set the tone, rushing for 180 yards and three touchdowns together with making three fumble recoveries from his linebacker spot.

Borchert kept pounding the opposition throughout the fall, leading the Colonial Valley Conference (CVC) in rushing with more than 1,200 yards and consistently disrupting opposing offenses with his rugged play at linebacker.

Sparked by Borchert’s contribution, PHS went 2-1 in CVC Colonial Division play to tie for the division crown. In a homecoming clash against WW/P-N, Borchert bulled his way for 179 yards rushing as PHS topped the Knights 27-6 to improve to 5-2. That win turned out to clinch the playoff berth for the Little Tigers.

While seventh-seeded PHS fell 38-3 to No. 2 Long Branch in the Central Jersey Group III quarterfinals, there was electricity in the air as Borchert and his teammates accomplished their playoff goal.

Borchert knew from the opening game win over Steinert that the team’s hard work would pay dividends.

“They really took it to us last year; we knew that Steinert was physical so we had to come out and punch them in the mouth,” said Borchert.

“To play with a big strong team, we had to work hard in the winter, off-season and the pre-season. We probably have done the most conditioning this year than in my entire high school career.”

PHS head coach Steve Everette cited Borchert’s work ethic and leadership as pivotal factors in the team’s success this fall.

“That kid didn’t miss a weight room session in the off-season,” said Everette of Borchert. “It’s his time; it’s his team. He’s one of our leaders. He puts the team on his back and says let’s go; this is the way we do it.”

For putting PHS on his back as it accomplished its playoff dream, Borchert gets the nod as the Town Topics’ top male performer this fall.

Top Newcomers

Samantha Lieb joined the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team this fall with plenty of hoopla.

The willowy freshman was ranked in the top 40 nationally in her age group and won a national tournament in Glen Cove, N.Y. before hitting the court for PDS.

With the bull’s eye planted firmly on her back, Lieb lived up to her advance notice as she made an immediate impact for the Panthers at her No. 1 singles spot.

In the Mercer County Tournament, she left the competition in the dust, posting four straight-set wins on the way to winning the title at first singles, becoming one of the few freshmen to ever win a singles title in the high-level competition.

Her excellence at the top of the lineup helped PDS post an 11-4 mark and win the Patriot Conference title.

Lieb, whose only loss this fall came when she had to default due to an asthma attack, enjoyed contributing to the PDS squad.

“I love the girls on the tennis team,” said Lieb. “At first I was kind of worried that I might not fit in, that maybe they wouldn’t like me because I was playing No. 1 as a freshman. They have all been really nice to me; I’m looking forward to playing the next four years with them.”

PDS head coach Patty Headley is looking forward to having Lieb with the program over the next few seasons.

“Sammy really made a good impression,” said Headley. “She came in as an elite player and a freshman new to the school. It can be tough in a place where a lot of people have been going to school together for a while. She is committed to her athletics and academics; she really fit in.”

For living up to her advance notice and then some, Lieb is the pick as the Town Topics’ top female newcomer of the fall season.

Coming into the fall, the Princeton High boys’ soccer team had one major question mark.

Even with the departure of a corps of seniors from the 2006 Central Jersey Group III champions, the Little Tigers seemed well-stocked at defense, midfield, and forward as they looked to make another deep playoff run.

But at goalie, PHS was turning to untested sophomore Stephen Hellstern to replace graduated star Jason Barber.

The wiry, curly-haired Hellstern quickly proved he was up to the challenge, posting nine shutouts as PHS produced an unblemished 13-0 regular season campaign.

In the Mercer County Tournament, Hellstern recorded two more shutouts to help PHS advance to the title game against Steinert. In the championship game, Hellstern produced his most sterling effort of the fall, making 10 saves on a soggy night as PHS blanked the Spartans 1-0 to win the country crown, the program’s first since 2003.

While Hellstern acknowledged that he was nervous replacing Barber, he did bring big game experience to the table as he took the varsity job.

“I felt a little bit of everything,” said Hellstern. “I was concerned; I had never played competitive high school soccer. I did have a lot of confidence from playing on my club team (the Princeton Soccer Association’s Union 90 team). We had played a lot of big games; we won the New Jersey Cup and played in the regionals.”

PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe was impressed by the maturity Hellstern exhibited as he emerged as one of the top goalkeepers in the area.

“He just plays beyond his years; he’s not like a 16-year-old,” asserted Sutcliffe, whose team finished 17-1 after falling in the sectional quarterfinals. “He approaches the game like a professional. He’s very focused and very talented.”

Hellstern’s consistently cool-headed play in the pressure-cooker position of goalie in his varsity debut marks him as the Town Topics’ top male newcomer this fall.

Top Coaches

Katie Grant brought a glittering playing resume but little in the way of coaching experience as she took the helm of the Stuart Country Day field hockey program.

In following the legendary Missy Bruvik, who stayed with the program as an assistant, Grant boasted a college career that saw her earn All-American and All-ACC honors in leading the Duke field hockey program to multiple NCAA Final Four appearances.

But the youthful Grant’s coaching background consisted of some work this past spring with the U.S. Futures field hockey program.

On paper, Grant appeared to be in over her head as she looked to continue the winning tradition of a program coming off two straight county titles and a slew of prep championships over the years.

The 2006 Duke alum showed mettle in the preseason as she installed a new offensive system and then took part in practice field drills to help her players adjust to her approach.

The Tartans, though, struggled to score goals in the early going, hitting a low point when they fell 1-0 to WW/P-N in mid-September. Stuart, though, never lost a game after that as it posted a 20-1-3 record.

Along the way, the Tartans won the Patriot Conference title, a third straight county crown, and tied nemesis Lawrenceville 2-2 in the Prep final as the team shared the crown.

In the wake of the Lawrenceville tie, a tearful Grant credited her players with coming through in the clutch.

“Of course every coach comes into a season wanting to be a champion,” said Grant. “We’ve won three championships in one season. They are the ones that get on the field and do it. I do my best to prepare them but when it comes to doing it, it’s all them.”

For doing a superb job of preparing her players to succeed in her first season at the helm, Grant gets the nod as the Town Topics’ top coach among female teams.

When longtime Hun School football head coach Dave Dudeck looked ahead to the 2007 season, he had plenty of doubts.

“I was sitting on the beach this August and I was concerned,” recalled Dudeck. “I was thinking that we were real young; I didn’t know how we were going to do. I was worried.”

Hun’s relatively inexperienced squad came of age quickly, routing Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 33-12 in the season opener.

The Raiders rolled through the next five games, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 37-8 as they clinched the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title in the process.

On October 27, it looked like Hun’s dream of perfection was about to be dashed. After building a 14-0 lead over Valley Forge, the Raiders found themselves trailing 18-14 late in the fourth quarter. Digging deep, Hun put together a scoring march to pull out a 21-18 win.

Hun then cruised in its next two games, blanking Hill 38-0 and thumping Worcester Academy 46-6 to finish 9-0. It was the program’s first perfect season since 1991.

In reflecting on the undefeated season, Dudeck said the team’s success taught him a lesson in teamwork. “We accomplished more this fall with less talent,” asserted Dudeck.

“You don’t have to have a lot of Division I talent if the kids play together and are a team. We had some talent, sure, but it was our bond and love as a team that made us undefeated.”

For triggering that special team chemistry, Dudeck is the choice as the Town Topics’ top coach among male teams.

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