While things have been unsettled for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team in the preseason, Peter Stanton is confident things will come together for the squad as the weather warms up.
“We have a number of injuries and the kids are involved in a number of activities that overlap, like hockey and soccer tournaments, the lead in the musical, EMT certification, all admirable things,” said PHS head coach Stanton, who is entering his 18th season at the helm of the program and guided the team to a 10-9 record in 2012.
“We don’t always have the same group on the field. Once we get the pieces in line, we really hope that when we come to the month of May, we can contend for a county title and win some games in states.”
The Little Tigers boasts two good pieces at attack in senior Matt Purdy and junior Will Hare.
“Matt Purdy is exceptionally dedicated, he worked extremely hard in the fall,” said Stanton, whose team was slated to get regular season play underway with a home game against Hightstown on April 2 before playing at WW/P-N on April 4 and at Allentown on April 9.
“He was in as often as he could in the winter with his swimming. He stays after practice, working on his shooting. Will Hare was with us as a freshman and he was in California last year. He is back with us. He is extremely crafty and a player with a really good knowledge of the game.”
Stanton has some others with offensive game in senior Adam Ainslie, junior Matt Corrado, and sophomore Stephen Clark.
“Adam Ainslie is an interesting story, he was a goalie as a freshman and he stopped playing,” said Stanton.
“He came back and is trying attack. He is the lead in the school play so we won’t have him full-time. Matt Corrado can play attack and midfield; Clark can also play both attack and midfield.”
The PHS midfield will be spearheaded by senior star Zach Halliday. “Zach is everything you would expect and more; we marvel at how one can get so much out of oneself and never hit the ceiling,” said Stanton of Halliday, who also stars for the PHS boys’ soccer team and helped the Little Tigers to a share of the Group III state title last fall.
Halliday’s younger brother, junior star Kevin, will also help in the midfield along with juniors Pat McCormick and Dalton Sekelsky and a trio of sophomores Chase Ealy, Joseph Hawes, and Chris Diver.
“Zach and Kevin will be leading the way; Kevin is resting an ankle right now,” said Stanton. “Pat McCormick works really well with Zach and Kevin. Chase Ealy is also in the mix. Sekelsky will also get a good look. Hawes is developing nicely as is Diver. Corrado and Clark can go back and forth from attack to midfield.”
The PHS defense features a nice mix of talent and experience with sophomore Jackson Andres, senior Matt DiTosto, senior Jack Persico, sophomore Colin Buckley, and junior Spencer Reynolds.
“Jackson is the guy who gets your attention, he can impact a game by disrupting the other team,” said Stanton.
“Matt is a senior and has good skills, he is good with hits and clearing. Persico is big and strong and was dedicated in the offseason. Buckley is a transfer from Cranbury, he is going to be good. Spencer Reynolds is somebody else who has improved a lot.”
In order to be a title contender, the Little Tigers will need sophomore neophyte Kenan Glasgold to improve rapidly in goal.
“Kenan Glasgold has never played goalie before, he is new to the position,” said Stanton.
“He has gone out of his way to learn about the position. He has learned as much as he can in a short period. He is physically courageous. You would expect somebody in his position to be extremely nervous but he shows a certain level of poise.”
Stanton is confident his squad will display poise collectively as it looks to live up to expectations.
“It is a mixture of leadership and youth,” said Stanton “Some of it is going to depend on how the young players develop. We are balanced on both sides of the field; we need to get the younger kids up to speed, especially in the midfield. We have some good leaders.”