Sports Year in Review: 2015
Mirroring the Success Achieved by Pro Women Athletes, Girls Had More Fun on the Local Sporting Scene in 2015
SUPER SAVER: Princeton University women’s water polo player Ashleigh Johnson makes a save in a game this season. Junior goalie Johnson starred as the Tigers won the CWPA crown and took sixth in the NCAA tourney. Johnson went on to help the U.S. national team win the FINA world championship in early August. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
In a year that saw such women athletes as tennis player Serena Williams, U.S. women’s soccer star and New Jersey native Carli Lloyd, and mixed martial arts phenom Ronda Rousey dominate the headlines, it is no wonder that female athletes spiced up the local sporting landscape.
During the winter, the Princeton University women’s basketball team thrust itself into the national spotlight as it went 30-0 in the regular season, becoming the first men’s or women’s Ivy League hoops program to accomplish that feat. Coach Courtney Banghart’s squad topped Wisconsin-Green Bay 80-70 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to earn the team’s first-ever win in the national tourney and ended the season at 31-1 after falling to Maryland in the second round. Banghart, for her part, was named United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Women’s Coach of the Year.
Princeton track star Julia Ratcliffe added another line to her glittering resume as she placed second in the hammer throw at the NCAA championships. Led by the two Erins, midfielder Erin Slifer and attacker Erin McMunn, the Princeton women’s lacrosse team won the Ivy League tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. With junior star and U.S. national team goalie Ashleigh Johnson leading the way, the Tiger women’s water polo team won the CWPA title and placed sixth at the NCAAs.
Under new head coach Sean Driscoll, the Princeton women’s soccer team produced a 12-0-1 streak on the way to going undefeated in Ivy competition and defeating Boston College in the first round of the NCAA tourney. Junior distance runner Lizzie Bird flew high, taking first at the Ivy League Heps to pace Princeton women’s cross country to the team title at the meet.
On the high school scene, girls produced some of the biggest moments of 2015. The Princeton High girls’ swimming team won its third straight county crown and advanced to the state Public B final on the way to a 15-1 campaign. Featuring a number of freshman and sophomore standouts, the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team caught fire down the stretch and won the state Prep B title in May. The Princeton High girls’ lax team overcame a slow start to make it to the county and sectional semis. Showing its depth, the PDS girls’ tennis team won its fourth straight Prep B crown. Despite saying goodbye to a stellar group of seniors from its 2014 squad, the PDS girls’ soccer team didn’t miss a beat as it won its second straight Prep B title in early November.
While the girls may have been in the spotlight, the guys were certainly heard from. Princeton men’s volleyball star Cody Kessel culminated a superb career by earning All-American honors and leading the Tigers to the EIVA semis. The Tiger wrestling team sent a program-record five athletes to the NCAA championships. Senior stars Mike MacDonald and Kip Orban both enjoyed record-setting seasons for the Tiger men’s lax program. Sophomore men’s golfer Quinn Prchal produced a dominant performance in winning the Ivy individual title. The Princeton men’s tennis team competed in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 1998. Thomas Sanner went out with a bang for the Tiger men’s soccer team, leading the league in goals and getting named as the Ivy Offensive Player of the Year in his senior season.
As for high school male athletes, the Hun School boys’ hockey team emerged as one of the top teams in the state, winning the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep tourney. Soaring into the top 5 nationally, the Hun boys’ lacrosse team won the state Prep A title. Led by freshman star Noah Lilienthal, the PHS boys tennis team advanced to the state Group 3 championship match. The PDS boys’ tennis squad, for its part, earned its third straight Prep B crown. The Little Tiger boys’ soccer team went undefeated in regular season play and won the CVC title. Led by junior star Alex Roth, the PHS boys’ cross country team enjoyed a big season, making the Meet of Champions for the first time since 1986. Featuring a stingy defense and a powerful rushing attack, the Hun football team mowed through the opposition on the way to an 8-0 campaign.
While the Princeton University women’s basketball team had established itself as the dominant program in the Ivy League, winning four of the last five league crowns coming into last winter, it took things to a new level of excellence in 2014-15.
Methodically dispatching its opponents one by one, coach Courtney Banghart’s team turned heads and became the darlings of the national media, rising to No. 13 in the national polls. The Tigers made history as they ended the regular season with a 30-0 record, the first Ivy men’s or women’s hoops program to achieve that feat.
With President Obama in attendance cheering on niece Leslie Robinson and the Tigers, Princeton defeated Wisconsin-Green Bay 80-70 in the first round of the NCAA tournament at College Park, Md., earning the program’s first-ever win in the tourney. While the Tigers fell 85-70 to host and third-ranked Maryland in the second round, the disappointment of the loss was far outweighed by what was accomplished in the epic campaign.
Senior guard Blake Dietrick was named the Ivy Player of the Year while juniors Alex Wheatley, Annie Tarakchian, and Michelle Miller also earned All-Ivy honors. Banghart, for her part, was named the national coach of the year.
Although the Tiger men’s hoops team didn’t make history, it did enjoy a solid campaign. Coach Mitch Henderson’s club went 16-14 overall and 9-5 in Ivy play, finishing third in the league standings. Sophomore guard Spencer Weisz and sophomore forward Steven Cook both earned All-Ivy honors.
Riding a late 7-3-1 surge, the women’s hockey team nearly won the Ivy League title, finishing two points behind Harvard. Coach Jeff Kampersal’s squad lost to Quinnipiac in the first round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs to finish with an overall record of 15-14-2. Sophomore forward Molly Contini and sophomore defenseman Kelsey Koelzer were named as second-team All-ECAC Hockey performers.
Under first-year head coach Ron Fogarty, the men’s hockey team underwent a rebuilding campaign as it posted a 4-23-3 mark. Sophomore goalie Colton Phinney was a bright spot for the Tigers, playing in all but one game and and finishing with a .910 save percentage and a 3.08 goals against average.
The Princeton squash community came together in sadness, mourning the death of longtime men’s coach Bob Callahan at age 59 in late January as his valiant battle against brain cancer came to an end. A memorial service was held at the Princeton chapel in early February for the legendary Hall of Fame coach, drawing a standing room only crowd which included both the men’s and women’s squash teams.
On the court, the Tiger women’s team produced a superb season as it placed third in the Howe Cup national championships. Coach Gail Ramsay’s squad posted a record of 12-3 and boasted five All-Americans as senior Nicole Bunyan, sophomore Maria Elena Urbina, along with freshman and Ivy League Rookie of the Year Olivia Fiechter, earned first-team honors while senior Alex Lunt and junior Rachel Leizman were second-team selections.
Under second-year head coach Sean Wilkinson, the successor to Callahan, the men’s squash team went 8-8 and won the Hoehn Cup title at the Collegiate Squash Association national competition for the teams seeded 9-16. Senior Samuel Kang ended his stellar career by earning first-team allAmerican honors.
Continuing its recent ascension, the wrestling team sent a program-record five wrestlers to the NCAA championships as juniors Abram Ayala (197 pounds), junior Chris Perez (149) sophomore Jordan Laster (141), sophomore Brett Harner (184) and freshman Jonathan Schleifer (165) all made the competition. Coach Chris Ayres guided the team to a solid regular season as the Tigers went 9-9 overall and 3-2 Ivy League.
The fencing program continued to be a major player on the national scene, taking fourth at the NCAA Championships. Coach Zoltan Dudas’s squad is the only program to have finished in the top four at the NCAAs in each of the last five years.
The men’s team featured five All-Americans, including junior Jack Hudson and sophomore Alex House in the epee, freshman Edward Chin and sophomore Peter Pak in the saber and freshman Thomas Dudey in the foil. As for the women’s team, junior Anna Van Brummen and junior Isabel Ford earned All-America honors at epee while freshman Allison Lee and junior Gracie Stone were All-Americans at saber and sophomore Ashley Tsue earned All-American honors in the foil.
Aiming to reclaim the Ivy title after seeing its five-year championship streak snapped in 2014, the men’s swimming team achieved its goal in style, leading the league championship meet wire-to-wire. In claiming its 30th Ivy championship, coach Rob Orr’s squad built a triple-digit lead after a brilliant first day and never let the rest of the league back into the meet. Senior Harrison Wagner and freshman Corey Okubo went on to compete in the NCAA championships in the 50 freestyle and the 400 individual medley, respectively.
Like the men, the Tiger women’s swimming team also won the Ivy title. But unlike their male counterparts, the women had to come from behind to get the crown, winning the 3-meter diving and the 400 free relay at the end of the meet to overtake defending champion Harvard. It was the 17th Ivy title for coach Susan Teeter, who hasn’t had a two-year stretch without a league title at any point this century. Sophomore diver Caitlin Chambers qualified for the NCAA meet and finished in the top 40 in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events.
After placing second in two straight Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal meets, the men’s track team broke through with a resounding win, scoring 161 points to easily beat runner-up Cornell’s total of 98. Coach Fred Samara’s team has finished either first or second at the league’s indoor meet for 22 straight season. All-Ivy performers for Princeton included Carrington Akosa the 200 and 60, Greg Leeper in the long jump, Luke Brahm in the 1,000, Garrett O’Toole in the mile, Matt McDonald in the 5,000, Rob Mohr in the 60 hurdles, August Kiles in the pole vault, Tumi Akinlawon in the long jump, Nana Owusu-Nyantekyi in the triple jump, and Chris Cook in the shot put.
The women’s track team placed third in the Indoor Heps, behind champion Harvard and runner-up Columbia. Coach Pete Farrell’s squad was led by sophomore distance runner Megan Curham, who won the 5,000 and placed second in the 3,000 and ended up qualifying for the NCAA championships where she took 10th in the 5,000. Joining Curham as All-Ivy performers were Cecilia Barowski in the 800, Kim Mackay in the 500, Taylor Morgan in the pentathlon, Julia Ratcliffe in the weight throw, and Kathryn Fluehr in the 5,000.
Senior Cody Kessel starred as the men’s volleyball team advanced to the EIVA semifinals. Coach Sam Shweisky’s team finished the season with an 11-13 record. Kessel, for his part, four-time First-Team All-EIVA honoree, capped his brilliant career by getting named as a 2015 Second-Team All-America honoree by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Kessel ranked in the NCAA Top 3 this season in both kills and points and became the third player in program history to earn All-America recognition.
TOP GUN: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Mike MacDonald heads up the field in action this spring. Senior attacker MacDonald set a Princeton single season record with 78 points in 2015 as he tallied 48 goals and 30 assists. He was the Ivy Co-Player of the Year and was an honorable mention All-American. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Led by the two Erins, senior midfield Erin Slifer and senior attacker Erin McMunn, the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team produced a banner season. Coach Chris Sailer’s squad won the Ivy League regular season title and the league’s tournament. The Tigers topped Fairfield 18-8 in the first round of the NCAA tournament and then upset No. 6 Stony Brook 8-4 in the second round. Princeton fell 7-3 to Duke in the NCAA quarters to end the spring with a 16-4 record.
Slifer was a first-team All-Ivy League choice and was named the league’s Midfielder of the Year. She was later named a second-team All-American. McMunn passed the 200-point mark in her career, ending up with 222, the second-most in program history, and also earned All-Ivy honors. She was joined on the All-Ivy team by sophomore attacker Olivia Hompe, junior defender Liz Bannantine, and sophomore midfielder Anna Doherty. Sailer was named the inaugural Ivy Coach of the Year.
The one-two punch of senior attackman Mike MacDonald and senior midfielder Kip Orban powered the men’s lacrosse team to a superb campaign. Coach Chris Bates’ team advanced to the final of the Ivy tournament where it was edged 11-10 by Yale to end the spring at 9-6.
MacDonald set a Princeton single season record with 78 points as he tallied 48 goals and 30 assists. He was the Ivy Co-Player of the Year and was an honorable mention All-American. Orban, for his part, set a team record for midfielder with 45 goals as he earned first-team All-Ivy and second-team All-American honors. Sophomore midfielder Zach Currier, sophomore defender Bear Goldstein, and junior attacker Ryan Ambler also received All-Ivy honors.
Senior Ashley Hatcher sparked the offense while goalie Ashleigh Johnson spearheaded the defense as the women’s water polo team produced one of the best campaigns in program history. Coach Luis Nicolao’s squad edged Indiana 7-6 in the CWPA finals to earn a spot in the NCAA tourney as Hatcher scored four goals and Johnson made 17 saves. The Tigers ended up finishing sixth in the NCAA competition, posting a final record of 31-5 to tie a team single-season best in wins. Johnson went on to help the U.S. national team win the FINA world championship in early August.
With senior star Stephen Soerens providing the clinching points with a victory in the decathlon, the men’s track won the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal championship meet. Coach Fred Samara’s squad edged Cornell 163-159.50 to earn triple crown for the seventh time in program history — claiming Ivy League Heps victories in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
First-team All-Ivy performers for Princeton included Soerens in the decathlon, Tumi Akinlawon in the long jump, Adam Bragg in the pole vault, John Hill in the 100, Matt McDonald in the 10,000, and Nana Owusu-Nyantekyi in the triple jump. Samara was named the inaugural Ivy League outdoor men’s track Coach of the Year. Soerens went on to star at the NCAA Championships as he placed sixth and and set a school record in the decathlon with a final score of 7,669. The former record of 7,466 was held by Peter Hunt ’89 set in 1988, incidentally at the NCAA championships. Senior Sam Pons ended his career on a high note, taking ninth in the 10,000 at the NCAAs to join Soerens as an All-American.
Sophomore distance star Meghan Curham starred as the women’s track took second at the Ivy League Outdoor Heps. Coach Peter Farrell’s team piled up 118 points at the meet, trailing champion Harvard’s total of 157. Curham won both the 5,000 and 10,000 to earn first-team All-Ivy honors. Other Tigers who earned first-team All-Ivy honors included Cecilia Barowski in the 800, Lizzie Bird in the steeplechase, and Julia Ratcliffe in the weight throw. Junior star Ratcliffe went to take second at the hammer throw at the NCAAs, one year after she was the national champion in the event.
The men’s lightweight crew enjoyed a solid season as its varsity 8 took third at the Eastern Sprints and fourth at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championships. Coach Marty Crotty’s team was ranked in the top 5 nationally most of the spring and won the H-Y-P Regatta.
Continuing its ascension back into the elite of college rowing, the men’s heavyweight crew’s varsity 8 took third at the IRA to medal at the championship regatta for the first time since 2006. Coach Greg Hughes’ team won the Rowe Cup team points title at the Eastern Sprints for the first time since 2005 as the top boat placed third.
Battling a deep field, the women’s open crew varsity 8 took 12th at the NCAA championship regatta. Coach Lori Dauphiny’s rowers did enjoy a big day at the Ivy championships, winning five medals including bronze by the varsity 8.
Producing a gutsy performance, the women’s lightweight crew battled through the repechage second chance final to place fourth at the IRA championships. Coach Paul Rassam’s top boat did make it to the medal stand at the Eastern Sprints, earning bronze.
It was a tough spring for the baseball team as the Tigers went 7-32 overall and 4-16 Ivy League. Coach Scott Bradley’s team received some top-notch play from junior infielders Danny Hoy and Billy Arendt, who both earned All-Ivy honors with Hoy being named first-team at second base and Arendt garnering honorable mention at third base. Princeton baseball was in the news this fall as Tiger alum Chris Young ‘02 helped pitch the Kansas City Royals to the World Series title in five games over the New York Mets.
Keeping in the Ivy South division title race until the final weekend of the season, the softball team went 18-24 overall and 10-9 Ivy. Coach Lisa Van Ackeren’s club boasted four All-Ivy performers as junior pitcher Shanna Christian and senior outfielder Rachel Rendina were named to the second-team while third baseman Alyssa Schmidt and first baseman Cara Worden earned honorable mention.
Sophomore men’s golf star Quinn Prchal produced a dominant performance at the Ivy Championships, carding a 6-under total of 210 to win the three-round event by three strokes. Coach Will Green’s squad fell just short of winning the team title as they placed second, just one stroke behind champion Penn.
Junior women’s golfer Alex Wong tied for fourth at the Ivy Championships as the Tigers placed fourth in the team standings under coach Erika DeSanty. Former Princeton women’s golf standout Kelly Shon ’14 broke into the LPGA tour and turned heads as she finished third at the ShopRite Classic in Galloway, N.J. in early June.
Senior Zack McCourt and sophomore Tom Colautti earned All-Ivy honors and helped the men’s tennis enjoyed a breakthrough campaign as it competed in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. Coach Billy Pate’s squad fell 4-1 to Minnesota in the first round of the NCAAs, ending the spring with a 19-8 record.
Led by a trio of All-Ivy performers in Lindsay Graff, Alanna Wolff, and Amanda Muliawan, the women’s tennis team rolled to the outright league title. Coach Laura Granville’s squad fell 4-3 to South Carolina in the first round of the NCAAs to end the spring at 12-9. Granville, for her part, was named the inaugural winner of the Ivy League Coach of the Year award after leading the team to back-to-back Ivy League titles.
COMING TOGETHER: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Erin McMunn (No. 20) and her teammates celebrate after a goal in the Ivy League tournament. The Tigers went on to win the tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tourney. Senior attacker McMunn ended her career with 222 points, the second most in program history. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Taking over the Tiger women’s soccer program for Julie Shackford, who retired in 2014 after going 203-115-29 in 20 seasons at the helm, Sean Driscoll guided Princeton to a historic fall in his debut campaign. Led by the one-two punch of junior Tyler Lussi and precocious freshman Mimi Asom, the Tigers went 6-0-1 in league play to win the outright Ivy crown and headed into the NCAA tournament riding a 12-game unbeaten streak (11-0-1). Hosting Boston College in the program’s first-ever NCAA tourney game at Roberts Stadium, the 24th-ranked Tigers rolled to a scintillating 4-2 win in the first round contest. Princeton fell 3-0 to No. 10 USC in the second round to end the fall at 14-4-1.
The team’s success earned its stars a number of accolades. Lussi, who scored a league-best 15 goals, was named as the Ivy Offensive Player of the Year, a first-team All-Ivy performer, and earned All-American honors. Asom was the Ivy Rookie of the Year and a second-team All-Ivy choice. Sophomore midfielder Vanessa Gregoire, sophomore midfielder Natalie Larkin, senior defender Emily Sura, and sophomore defender Mikaela Symanovich joined Lussi and Asom as All-Ivy selections. Driscoll, for his part, was named the Ivy Coach of the Year, becoming just the second Princeton coach to record double-digit wins in his first year and just the third coach in Ivy history to win a league title in his or her first year.
With Thomas Sanner providing the offense, the men’s soccer team went on a late run of its own, going 7-2-1 in its last 10 games. But with those losses coming to Columbia and Cornell, coach Jim Barlow’s team fell short of an Ivy title. The Tigers went 10-5-2 overall and 3-3-1 Ivy, hitting double-digits in wins for a second straight year.
Senior forward Sanner scored 13 goals to lead the league and was named the Ivy Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-League choice. Junior defender Patrick Barba earned first-team All-Ivy honors with senior midfielder and former Peddie School standout Brendan McSherry earning second-team honors and senior defender Josh Miller receiving honorable mention.
Continuing its amazing run of Ivy dominance, Tiger field hockey won the outright title with a 7-0 conference mark, earning its 21st league crown in the last 22 years. Coach Kristen Holmes-Winn’s squad, ranked 18th in the nation, showed its mettle as it defeated No. 7 Maryland 3-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Princeton’s season came to an end as it fell 5-0 to eventual national champion Syracuse in the national quarterfinals to post a final record of 11-7.
Senior forward and former Stuart Country Day and Peddie standout Maddie Copeland went out with a bang in her final campaign, scoring a career-high 16 goals as she was named the Ivy Offensive Player of the Year, a first-team All-Ivy choice and a third-team All-American. Freshman striker Sophia Tornetta was the Ivy Rookie of the Year and was a first-team All-Ivy choice. Freshman defender Elise Wong was a first-team All-Ivy selection while senior midfielder Teresa Benvenuti, sophomore striker Ryan McCarthy, and junior midfielder Cat Caro were second-team choices and senior goalie Anya Gersoff earned honorable mention. Holmes-Winn was named the Ivy Coach of the Year and has posted a 163-79 overall record with an 86-5 Ivy mark in her 13 years at the helm.
Displaying a high-powered offense and a stingy defense, the Princeton football team won its first four games and appeared to be on the way to a banner campaign. But coach Bob Surace’s squad was hit with a number of key injuries and suffered some hard-luck losses down the stretch as it dropped four games where it was either tied or leading in the fourth quarter on the way to going 5-5 overall and 2-5 Ivy.
Senior Nolan Bieck and sophomore quarterback John Lovett earned first-team All-Ivy honors. Senior linebacker Matt Arends, senior offensive lineman Britt Colcolough, junior running back Joe Rhattigan, and junior defensive back Dorian Williams earned second-team All-Ivy League honors while junior tight end Scott Carpenter, senior defensive back Anthony Gaffney, senior returner Dre Nelson, junior defensive lineman Birk Olson, junior defensive lineman Henry Schlossberg, and sophomore offensive lineman Mitchell Sweigart earned All-Ivy Honorable Mention.
Led by senior center Thomas Nelson and sophomore goalie Vojislav Mitrovic, the Tiger men’s water polo team won the CWPA championship and qualified for the NCAA tournament. Coach Luis Nicolao’s squad fell to University of California-San Diego 12-7 in the NCAA play-in game to finish the season with 22-5 record. Nelson and Mitrovic were both named as honorable mention All-Americans.
Senior Michael Sublette set the pace with a 10th-place finish as the men’s cross country team took fifth at the Ivy League Heps. Coach Jason Vigilante’s runners ended up taking fourth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals, just missing out on a spot in the national championship meet.
Junior star Lizzie Bird flew high, taking first at the Ivy League Heps to pace Princeton women’s cross country to the team title at the meet. Coach Peter Farrell’s squad took third at the the NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional and was given an at-large bid to the national championship meet where it placed 21st. Farrell was the Ivy Coach of the Year while Bird and seniors Kathryn Fluehr and Emily de La Bruyere earned first-team All-League honors.
Writing one of the more impressive comeback stories of the year, the Tigers women’s volleyball team rebounded from a 0-3 start in Ivy play to tie Harvard for the league regular season crown. Coach Sabrina King’s squad fell 3-1 to the Crimson in a play-off game for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tourney and ended the fall with an overall record of 15-9. Junior Cara Mattaliano was named the Ivy Player of the Year and earned first-team All-Ivy honors. Senior Kendall Peterkin joined Mattaliano as a first-team All-Ivy choice while junior Brittany Ptak and freshman Claire Nussbaum were selected to the second team. King was named the league’s Coach of the Year.
GETTING IT DONE: Hun School boys’ lacrosse player Chris Donovan heads to goal in the state Prep A title game against Lawrenceville. Post-graduate and Georgetown-bound Donovan tallied four goals and an assist to help Hun top the Big Red 14-6 and end the spring at 19-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Producing one of the best seasons in program history, the Hun School boys’ hockey team emerged as one of the top squads in the state. Coach Ian McNally’s squad won the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep tourney on the way to a 22-2-3 record. The trio of sophomore forwards Blake Brown, Jon Bendorf and Evan Barratt triggered the offense while senior defenseman Bobby Wurster and junior goalie Diesel Pelke spearheaded the defense.
Led by a group of eight seniors, the boys’ basketball program posted a 14-10 record. Coach Jon Stone’s team advanced to the semifinals of both the state prep A tournament and the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tourney
Senior guards Janelle Mullen and Erica Dwyer carried the load for girls’ hoops, providing offense and leadership for the Raiders. Coach Bill Holup’s squad ended the winter at 6-16.
The one-two combination of Chris Donovan and Chris Aslanian on attack and the play of Jon Levine in goal helped Hun produce an historic campaign. Coach M.V. Whitlow’s squad soared to the top 5 in the national rankings and faced top-ranked and undefeated Haverford in the finals of the championship game of the Inter-Ac Challenge. The Raiders battled the Fords hard before falling 15-8. Days later, Hun ended the season on a high note, defeating Lawrenceville 14-6 in the state Prep A championship game to snap the Big Red’s 13-year year title streak and post a final record of 19-1. It was Hun’s first Prep A title since 1998.
Under the guidance of new head coach Liz Cook, the girls’ lacrosse team showed marked improvement. Coming off a one-win season in 2014, the Raiders went 7-8 and advanced to the Prep A semifinals.
Led by senior pitching ace Jason Applegate, the Hun baseball team advanced to the championship final of the Prep A tourney where it fell to Blair. Coach Bill McQuade’s squad ended the spring with a final record of 14-8.
Senior infielders Julia Blake and Vicki Leach along with sophomore catcher Julie Fassl helped the Raider softball team enjoy a fine campaign. Coach Kathy Quirk’s team advanced to the Prep A semis and had a final record of 9-9.
The second doubles team of Ajay Vasisht and Charlie Ill provided a highlight as they advanced to the semifinals of their flight at the Prep A tournament. Coach Joan Nuse’s squad placed sixth in the team standings in the Prep A tourney.
Boasting a strong running game led by post-graduate running back Imamu Mayfield and a swarming defense that gave up only 46 points all season, Hun achieved a perfect season with an 8-0 mark. Coach Todd Smith’s club posted impressive wins over Poly Prep (N.Y.), Canada Prep, Blair, and Peddie on the way to its undefeated campaign.
After getting off to a sizzling 6-1-1 start, the Hun field hockey team faded down the stretch and ended the fall at 7-11-1. Coach Kathy Quirk’s team received strong play from Julie Fassl on attack and and senior Shannon Dragan in goal.
Coming off a stirring Prep A championship season in 2014, the girls’ soccer team struggled this fall as it found itself on the wrong end of a number of close games. Sophomore Kara Borden triggered the offense while senior Jess Johnson spearheaded the defense as coach Joanna Hallac’s squad went 9-8.
Senior defender M.J. Cobb and junior midfielder Jake O’Dowd starred but the boys’ soccer team never got into a winning rhythm. Coach Pat Quirk’s team ended the fall with a 5-12 record.
HEAD GAMES: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Chris Chai bends over backwards for the ball in a game this fall. Senior defender Chai helped PDS make it to the state Prep B title game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Boasting a stingy defense led by the goaltending tandem of sophomore Annika Asplundh and senior Katie Alden along with sophomore defenseman Kristi Serafin, the PDS girls’ hockey team went 9-12-2. Coach Lorna Cook’s squad made the ‘A’ bracket of the WIHLMA tournament as one of the top four teams in the league standings.
Going with a youth movement by necessity with a number of freshmen and sophomores on the roster, the Panther boys’ hockey took its lumps as it went 3-16-3. Coach Scott Bertoli’s club relied on sophomore goaltender Logan Kramsky and junior forward Connor Fletcher to keep things competitive.
Sophomore Chase Lewis showed maturity as he triggered the offense for the boys’ hoops team. Coach Paris McLean’s squad went 5-17 in what turned out to be his final season as he stepped down after eight campaigns at the helm and two appearances in the state Prep B title game. He was succeeded by PDS Director of Athletics Tim Williams, who served as the boys’ hoops head coach at the Louisville Collegiate School for nine years before coming to New Jersey in 2011.
Led by sophomore Shayla Stevenson along with freshmen Bridget Kane and Ryan Robinson, the girls’ hoops team made strides. Coach Kamau Bailey’s squad posted a 5-16 record.
Sparked by a number of young guns, the girls’ lacrosse team got better and better as the spring went on, culminating its rise by rolling past Pennington 18-11 in the state Prep B championship game. Sophomores Hannah Bunce and Morgan Mills along with freshmen Kate Bennett, Bridget Kane and Madison Mundenar provided much of the firepower for coach Jill Thomas’ squad as it posted a final record of 11-6.
Solidifying its standing as one of the best programs in the area under first-year head coach Rich D’Andrea, the boys’ lacrosse team advanced to the championship game of the MCT and the state Prep B semifinals as it posted an 11-7 record. The Panther offense was triggered by Connor Fletcher, Jonah Tuckman, Jacob Shavel and Chris Azzarello while Christian Vik, Kevin Towle and goalie Chris Markey spearheaded the defense.
A trio of exceptional seniors, pitcher/first baseman Cole McManimon, outfielder/pitcher J.P. Radvany, and infielder Jake Alu, starred for the baseball team. Coach Ray O’Brien’s squad went 10-14 this spring and reached the state Prep B semifinals. Each of the senior stars will be going on to play at a Division I college program with McManimon heading to Lehigh University, Alu to Boston College, and Radvany to Villanova University.
The PDS softball program showed progress as the team’s roster swelled to 15, giving it increased talent and depth. Coach Paul Lano’s squad posted a 2-11 record after a winless campaign in 2014, receiving good leadership from lone senior and captain Katie Alden.
With junior Scott Altmeyer winning the second singles title and freshman Lex Decker taking third singles, boys’ tennis cruised to its third straight state Prep B title. Coach Will Asch’s squad also played well in the country tourney, taking fourth of 16 schools.
Despite saying goodbye to a stellar group of seniors from its 2014 Prep B championship squad, the girls’ soccer team stamped itself as a title contender as it started 11-0-1 with a string of eight straight shutouts. Coach Pat Trombetta’s squad was seeded first in the MCT and state Prep B tourney. After losing to eventual champion Notre Dame in the county semis, PDS ended the season on a high note as it edged Montclair Kimberley Academy 1-0 in overtime in the Prep B championship game to end the fall at 17-2-1. Junior Hannah Bunce, who enjoyed a breakout season with 17 goals, scored the game winner in the title game while sophomore goalie Grace Barbara and sophomore sweeper Maddie Coyne led the defense.
Buoyed by a group of 10 seniors, boys’ soccer proved to be a solid side as it advanced to the MCT quarters and the state Prep B title game. Coach Malcolm Murphy’s team fell 2-1 to Gill St. Bernard’s in the Prep B championship contest to finish the fall at 11-7, going 7-3 in its last 10 games. Senior Kevin Hagan and sophomore midfielder C.J. Uche triggered the offense while sophomore Donovan Davis and senior Chris Chai starred on defense.
Displaying its depth by winning both double flights at the Prep B championships with first doubles team of the Kumar sisters, Devika and Tarika, and the second doubles team of Anna Kovacevich and Tauria Salvati earning titles, the girls’ tennis team pulled out its fourth straight state crown. Coach Ed Tseng’s team placed fifth in the county tournament earlier in the season.
Under new coach Heather Farlow, the Panther field hockey team made strides. Riding a late surge that saw it go 5-3-1 in its last eight games, PDS advanced to the Prep B semifinals and finished the fall at 6-13-1. Senior Rowan Schomburg and freshman Val Radvany helped spark the Panthers’ strong finish.
Succeeding beloved coach Merrell Noden who passed away in the spring after a long battle with cancer, former Princeton High head coach John Woodside took the helm of the Panther cross country program. Woodside’s experience and enthusiasm helped PDS stay on track. Led by Kevin Sun, the boys’ team placed sixth in the state Prep B meet. As for the girls, Morgan Mills set the pace as the Panthers took ninth in the Prep B meet.
GOING THE DISTANCE: Princeton High boys’ distance star Alex Roth competes in a cross country race this fall. Roth helped PHS cross country squad make the Meet of Champions for the first time since 1986. He also starred for the track squad in the 1,600 and 3,200. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Paced by its big four of junior Brianna Romaine, junior Madeleine Deardorff, sophomore Melinda Tang, and freshman sensation Abbey Berloco, the Princeton High girls swimming team enjoyed a banner campaign. Under new head coach Carly Misiewicz, PHS cruised to its third straight title in the Mercer County Championships as Berloco won both the 50 and 100 freestyle races in meet record time and was named the meet’s Most Valuable Swimmer on the girls’ side. The Little Tigers went on to win the Public B Central Jersey Sectional title and advance to the Public B championship meet where they fell 100-70 to Scotch Plains-Fanwood to suffer their only defeat in a 15-1 campaign.
The boys’ swimming team enjoyed a superb campaign as it took third in the county meet with freshman Oliver Hunsbedt winning the 100 breaststroke. Coach Misiewicz’s squad fell in the second round of the North 2 Public B sectional to end the winter with a 10-3 record.
Sparked by senior stars and co-captains Connor McCormick and John Reid, PHS boys’ hockey went 10-10-2. Coach Terence Miller guided his team to the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament and the first round of the state Public B tourney.
With a core of seniors including Lucy Herring, Brittney Coniglione, Anne Daly, Julia DiTosto, Marian Hancock-Cerutti, Campbell McDonald, and Stephanie Ren going out with a bang, the girls’ hockey team enjoyed its best season in years. Coach Christian Herzog’s team posted a 7-8 record, more than tripling its win total from 2013-14 when it went 2-11. The Little Tigers ended the winter on a high note by winning the ‘B’ bracket at the WIHLMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) tournament.
Achieving a breakthrough, the PHS wrestling team won the Colonial Valley Conference Colonial Division crown. It was the first division title in the 15-year tenure of head coach Rashone Johnson. Stars for the Little Tigers included James Verbyst at 126 pounds, Patrick Sockler at 132, Thomas Miers at 138, Victor Bell at 182, Ethan Guerra at 195, and Noah Ziegler at 220.
With high-scoring junior Matt Hart emerging as an All-CVC performer and sophomore Zahrion Blue making strides, the boys’ basketball produced a solid season. Coach Mark Shelley’s team went 10-12 and has bright prospects with the return of the one-two punch of Hart and Blue.
Led by a superb group of seniors including Mary Sutton, Brianna Blue, Mira Shane, Catherine Curran-Groome, and Mia Levy, the girls’ basketball showed marked improvement. Coach Dan Van Hise’s squad posted a final record of 8-16 as
it more than doubled its win total from last winter when it won three games.
Sophomore Johnny Lopez-Ona with junior Rory Helstrom led the attack while senior defender Jackson Andres spearheaded the back line as the boys’ lacrosse team made it to the South Group 3 sectional semifinals. Coach Peter Stanton’s team ended the spring at 9-9. Earlier in the year, Stanton received a major honor as he was inducted into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Buoyed by tenacious and skilled goalie Mira Shane with Jordyn Cane and Taylor Lis sparking the offense, the girls’ lacrosse rebounded from a slow start to advance to the Mercer County Tournament semifinals and the North Group 3 sectional semis. Coach David Schlesinger guided the squad to a 10-13 record in his debut season at the helm of the program.
Sparked by seniors John Reid and Steve Majeski along with junior stars Hayden Reyes, Colin Taylor, Matt Lambert, and Joaquin Hernandez-Burt, the baseball team made noise this spring. Coach Dave Roberts posted the first double-digit win season in his seven-year tenure as the Little Tigers went 10-15.
Sarah Eisenach’s leadership as the lone senior and her production at pitcher and at the plate helped keep the softball team competitive. Coach David Boehm guided the Little Tigers to a 7-16 record and is optimistic about the future with the return of stars Nancy Gray, Kelli Swedish, Stephanie Wu, and Kayla Volante.
Alex Roth emerged as a star in the 1,600 and 3,200 to pace the boys’ track team. Roth placed second in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1600 at the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional meet. Coach Rashone Johnson’s team placed sixth of 18 schools at the sectionals.
Featuring strength from the sprints to the distance events, the girls’ track placed fourth at the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional meet. Coach Jim Smirk got good work from junior Maia Hauschild in the 200 and the 400 while senior Paige Metzheiser starred in the 800. Junior Lou Mialhe and senior Mary Sutton were solid in the distance events while sophomore Noa Levy emerged as a standout in the high jump.
Coach Sheryl Severance guided the boys’ golf team through a rebuilding season as it placed 12th of 17 teams at the Mercer County Tournament.
Freshman Noah Lilienthal was a game-changer for the boys’ tennis team as he won the first singles title at the MCT and helped PHS take second in the team standings at the competition. Lilienthal’s brilliance combined with the rock-solid play and leadership of seniors Rishab Tanga and Tyler Hack helped the Little Tigers win the Group 3 Central Jersey sectional and advance to the state Group 3 championship match. Coach Sarah Hibbert’s squad fell to perennial power Millburn in the state final to end the spring with a 16-3 record.
Featuring a stingy defense led by seniors Dwight Donis, Edgar Morales, Chris Harla, Pete Luther, Owen Lindenfeldar and an opportunistic attack sparked by seniors Cole Snyder and Nick Halliday, the boys’ soccer team went undefeated in regular season play and won the CVC title. Coach Wayne Sutcliffe’s team fell just short of earning other championships as it was defeated in the semis of both the MCT and Central Jersey Group 4 sectionals as it ended the fall with a 16-2-3 record.
A battle-tested group of 11 seniors saved their best for last as the girls’ soccer team reached the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinals. Coach Val Rodriguez guided the Little Tigers to an 11-5-1 record, crediting senior tri-captains Haley Bodden, Taylor Lis, and Gabrielle Deitch with providing production and leadership.
Coming off an 8-2 season in 2014, the football team endured a roller-coaster ride this fall as it went 4-6. Senior running back Rory Helstrom and senior quarterback Dave Beamer both had big years and provided many of the highlights for Coach Charlie Gallagher’s squad.
Led by senior midfielder Trish Reilly and high-scoring junior forward Avery Peterson, the field hockey team solidified its status as one of the top programs in the county. Coach Heather Serverson’s squad advanced to the MCT semis and North 2 Group 4 sectional semifinals and posted a 13-6-2 final record.
Despite welcoming a number of new faces to its lineup, the girls’ tennis team maintained its winning tradition. Coach Sarah Hibbert’s squad placed second at the county championships as Rachel Kleiman and Nikhita Salgame won the first doubles crown. The Little Tigers advanced to the second round of the North 2, Group 3 sectionals and ended the fall with a 15-4 record.
With Alex Roth and Will Hare setting the pace, the boys’ cross country team enjoyed a breakthrough season. Coach Mark Shelley’s squad finished a close second to Robbinsville at the county meet and took third at the Group 4 Central Jersey sectional meet. The Little Tigers then placed fifth in the Group 4 meet, earning a wild card entry to the Meet of Champions in the process, the first time that the PHS boys’ team had qualified for the MOC since 1986.
Showing its depth, the girls’ cross country team took second at the county meet, fifth at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet, and 10th at the Group[ 4
Coach Jim Smirk’s top runner was senior Lou Mialhe, who took 11th at the group meet to qualify for the MOC individually.
Under the leadership of new head coach Justin Leith, the Stuart Country Day School basketball team made strides. Leith, a former college and professional hoops star and the school’s athletics director, instilled a more intense work ethic in the team which paid dividends as the Tartans posted an 11-16 record. Harley Guzman and Harlyn Bell led the way in the backcourt while Kate Walsh starred at forward.
The lacrosse team also welcomed a new coach in Kelsey O’Gorman, who moved across the town after guiding the PHS program. Stuart produced a solid 7-9 campaign for O’Gorman as Tori Hannah and Julia Maser triggered the offense while goalie Harlyn Bell was backbone of the defense, passing the 400-save mark in her career.
Going with a youth movement, the field hockey got better and better as the fall went on. Coach Missy Bruvik’s squad won its last three games to post a 6-12-1 final record. The team’s three seniors, Tori Hannah, Sam Servis, and Cate Donahue, came up big as players and leaders to spark the progress.
Enjoying one of its best seasons in years, the Tartan cross country team took fifth in the team standings at the Prep B meet and posted a 10-0 record in dual meets. Coach Len Klepack’s squad was paced by junior Casey Nelson and senior Lindsay Craig.