December 1, 2021

TRIPLE THREAT: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evboumwan dribbles to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, junior forward Evboumwan scored a career-high 19 points and added eight rebounds and five assists as Princeton defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 89-79. The Tigers, now 5-2, play at Hofstra on December 1 before hosting Drexel on December 4 and Bucknell on December 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tosan Evboumwan was sidelined when the Princeton University men’s basketball team played at Monmouth last Wednesday, and he was missed.

Princeton built a 46-39 halftime lead against the Hawks but faltered down the stretch, falling 76-64, lacking the inside presence and playmaking ability that the 6’9, 215-pound junior forward Evboumwan brings to the table.

Last Sunday,  Evboumwan, a native of Newcastle, England, returned to the lineup as the Tigers hosted Fairleigh Dickinson University and he certainly made a difference. Evboumwan tallied a career-high 19 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists as Princeton topped FDU 89-79.

“It is great to be back and playing with my teammates,” said Evboumwan.

“We got a win after the loss to Monmouth. It was tough to watch and not be out there. I am glad to be back.”

Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson was certainly glad to see Evboumwan back in action. more

SHOOTING STAR: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, senior guard Meyers scored a game-high 21 points to help Princeton defeat Maine 82-43. The Tigers, now 5-1, play at No. 22 Florida Gulf Coast on December 1 and at Fordham on December 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Abby Meyers knows that she has to be a go-to offensive player for the Princeton University women’s basketball team this winter.

After playing a supporting role to such stars as Bella Alarie and Carlie Littlefield in the past, it is time for Meyers to carry more of the scoring load.

“As a senior, I have gotten a lot of trust from my coaches and teammates, which I really value and appreciate,” said Meyers, who averaged 9.4 points a game in the 2017-18 and 6.3 points in 2019-20.

“I almost have the green light and that is something that not many people are lucky enough to have. I am working really hard on my game. My teammates are looking for me. In the end, we need the scorers to score. I really want to try and internalize that role, being a good scorer for our team. We need it.”

Last Sunday against visiting Maine, Meyers displayed her offensive game, tallying a game-high 21 points as the Tigers pulled away to an 82-43 win in improving to 5-1.

“Getting 100 shots a day is really key to keeping your shot good,” said Meyers, a 6’0 native of Potomac, Md., who is now averaging a team-best 17.7 points a game this season.

“It is just having fun with and not overthinking it. I think a lot of our players in the beginning started to overthink stuff because there is a year off. They pictured a lot of things, like I am going to do this, this, and this. It is just going in with no expectations and having a short term memory and playing the best that you can.” more

99 AND COUNTING: Princeton University women’s hockey player Maggie Connors fires the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, junior forward Connors scored the lone goal for 10th-ranked Princeton as it fell 3-1 to No. 4 Northeastern. The tally marked the 99th point for Connors in her college career. The Tigers, now 5-4-1 overall, play a two-game set at Providence on December 3 and 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s hockey team having not scored in its previous two games heading into its contest against Northeastern last Saturday, Maggie Connors and her teammates came out firing.

The 10th-ranked Tigers outshot the visiting No. 4 Huskies 15-6 in the first period.

“After last night’s game, we really regrouped,” said junior forward Connors, referring to a 2-0 loss to Northeastern last Friday.

“We wanted to come out strong and really push the pace, knowing that they are a very fast team, respect to them.”

Even though the game was knotted in a 0-0 tie after the first with Northeastern goalie Aerie Frankel coming up big to repel Princeton, the Tigers were confident they would break through.

“We stuck together, we knew that it was going to come if we keep putting pucks on net,” said Connors. “She is an amazing goalie, we had to keep pushing.”

After the Huskies took a 1-0 lead with 6:38 left in the second period, Connors got a puck in the back of the net in the waning moments of the frame, stealing the puck from Frankel and flipping it past her.

“I just wanted to forecheck, I knew I was the closest there,” said Connors, whose tally was her eighth goal of the year and the 99th point in her Princeton career. more

TACKLING MACHINE: Princeton University star linebacker Jeremiah Tyler corrals a ball carrier in action this fall. Last week, Tyler was named as a finalist for the 2021 Stats Perform Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Buck Buchanan Award. The Buck Buchanan Award is presented to the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year. The award, in its 27th season, is named for Buchanan, a legendary Hall of Fame defensive lineman who starred with the Kansas City Chiefs and played collegiately for Grambling State. Tyler produced a team-high 58 tackles this season, adding seven for a loss as Princeton went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy League, to tie Dartmouth for the league title. The senior captain also had two sacks, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and six pass breakups. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Pito Walton has been around Hobey Baker Rink for around a decade.

Growing up in nearby Peapack, Walton played in youth hockey games at the historic rink. Going on to star at the Lawrenceville School, Walton was in the stands to watch Princeton University games.

Now as a junior defenseman for Princeton, Walton relishes the chance play on a daily basis in the storied building.

“It was a real privilege to come here and it is a dream come true,” said Walton.

“I came here to games when I was at Lawrenceville. When I was a kid, I played mite games here.”

Last Saturday, Walton was all over Baker Rink, helping Princeton produce a superb defensive effort as it battled RIT to a scoreless stalemate through regulation before losing 1-0 in overtime and moving to 3-5-1 overall.

“We definitely put an emphasis on our d-zone, making sure that we focused,” said Walton, reflecting on the contest which came on the heels of a 5-4 loss to RIT on Friday evening.

“We are just focused on staying connected in the d-zone and making sure that we are communicating, knowing that we are really a positionally-sound team. When pucks are turned over, we are going to pounce on them and get it going the other way.” more

HAN SOLO: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Han Shin gets ready to fire the puck up the ice in a game last winter. Sophomore defenseman Shin figures to be a key performer for PDS this winter. The Panthers, who open their 2021-22 season by falling 3-2 to Pope John, play the Hun School on December 1 at the Ice Land Rink and then host St. Augustine on December 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The 2021-22 season will mark the dawn of a new era for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team.

While the storied program has established itself as a traditional power, winning state Prep and county titles and posting some memorable victories over Mid-Atlantic Hockey League foes like Lawrenceville and Hun, it is branching out this winter to join the Gordon Conference and compete in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state Non-Public tournament for the first time.

PDS head coach Scott Bertoli is fired up about the program’s new path.

“I feel like the expectation and hope that it will be a normal, uninterrupted season — it lends itself right from the get-go to get really excited about being back on the ice,” said Bertoli, who guided his team to a 4-1-1 record last year in an abbreviated season.

“Every game we are going to play this year is a league game or a conference game. That is exciting.”

The Gordon Conference which includes such formidable foes as Delbarton, Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic, and Seton Hall Prep, among
others, will provide some stern tests for the Panthers.

“Personally I think it is awesome, it is a perfect fit for us,” said Bertoli, whose team fell 3-2 to Pope John in its Gordon debut last Monday. more

BREAKING THE ICE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Nick Dimatos skates in a 2019 game. Post-graduate defenseman and co-captain Dimatos will be leading the blue line unit for the Raiders this winter. Last weekend, Hun started its season by going 3-1 in the Shady Side Academy Thanksgiving Classic in Pittsburgh, Pa. In upcoming action, the Raiders host Princeton Day School on December 1 and St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) on December 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Things were pretty bleak last winter for the Hun School boys’ hockey team as it only got to play three games due to COVID-19 concerns.

“There was a lot of anticipation for last year; you have these little windows where you can be pretty competitive and I think last year seemed like the pinnacle of one,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally.

“Everybody was very excited to play and then we didn’t; the air came out.”

Understandably, the Hun squad was very excited to start the 2021-22 season by heading to Pittsburgh, Pa., last weekend to compete in the Shady Side Academy Thanksgiving Classic where it played more games in three days than it did all season, going 3-1 at the event.

“Once we got on the ice here this season, the excitement was very high,” said McNally.

“People started looking around, saying wait a minute, we are going to be pretty good. The whole point of doing this tournament was to feel like we were hitting the ground rolling in December instead of it taking a couple weeks for you to get going. That is what we got out of it.”

After losing 5-2 to host Shady Side last Friday to open the season, Hun rebounded with a 7-2 win over the Blyth Academy (Ontario). more

ON GUARD: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey, right, guards a foe in a 2019 game. Senior guard Vessey is looking to have a big final campaign at Hun. The Raiders were scheduled to tip off their 2021-22 season by hosting St. Benedict’s on November 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

A year ago, the Hun School boys’ basketball team started its preseason training outdoors on the school’s tennis courts as it wasn’t allowed to practice in the gym due to COVID-19 concerns.

As Hun got ready to tip-off its 2021-22 campaign by playing powerhouse St. Benedict’s on November 30, the Raider players were savoring the chance to be going through their paces inside the Shipley Pavilion.

“I think any way you cut it, we are so much further along than we were last year,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone who guided the Raiders to an 8-2 record in their abbreviated 2021 campaign.

“It is the thrill of playing every day, it has been great, the guys are really excited, as am I.”

Senior guard Jack Scott, who is headed to Princeton University next year to follow in the footsteps of his father, Joe Scott, a former hoops star and coach for the Tigers, is primed for a great season.

“Jack formally committed to the process at Princeton; he had a really big summer,” said Stone.

“It is a little bit of everything, he sees the floor really well, he is a really good passer. He has continued to grow, he is 6’5 now so just his size as a guard is a tremendous asset at both ends of the floor. Offensively, he has the ability to finish around the rim. Defensively, he can guard bigger players and guards.” more

WASHINGTON CROSSING: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Leila Washington brings the ball upcourt in a game last season. Sophomore guard Washington figures to emerge as a star for Stuart this winter. The Tartans were slated to start their 2021-22 campaign by hosting Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on November 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last few seasons, the Stuart Country Day School basketball team featured a formidable inside-outside punch.

With the pair of Ariel Jenkins and Laila Fair dominating in the paint and guards Nia Melvin and Aleah James starring on the perimeter, Stuart won three state Prep B titles from 2018-20 and advanced to the Mercer County Tournament final in 2020 for the first time in program history.

With that quartet having graduated and Jenkins playing at Georgetown, Fair at St. Joseph’s, James at LIU, and Melvin opting not to play at the college level despite a number of offers, the Tartans will have a radically different look this winter.

“Everyone is excited, we have a lot of new faces,” said Stuart head coach Justin Leith, who guided Stuart to a 7-6 record last winter in an abbreviated season.
“W
e have either inexperience or freshmen. It has been fun though as a coach, you are coaching different things, going back to more basic stuff. Even in a short amount of time, I am seeing them reaping the benefits of repetition. They are starting to get an understanding of the game which is exciting.”

As a result of the graduation losses, the Tartans will be employing an up-tempo style featuring interchangeable parts.

“We are tiny, we don’t have a backcourt or a frontcourt, we are just guards,” said Leith, who also lost valuable performers Catherine Martin and Molly Lagay to graduation. more

November 24, 2021

TITLE RUN: Princeton University quarterback Cole Smith runs past a Yale defender. Last Saturday, senior star and co-captain Smith passed for 214 yards and ran for 69 yards to help Princeton defeat Penn 34-14 and clinch a share of the Ivy League title. The Tigers went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy to tie Dartmouth (9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy) for the crown. It marked the fourth league title in eight seasons for the program. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As evening descended on Philadelphia last Saturday, the Princeton University football team held an impromptu party in one corner of venerable Franklin Field.

After thumping Penn 34-14 to earn a share of the Ivy League title, Princeton players, coaches, family and friends mobbed each other on the turf with the revelry including bear hugs, countless cell phone photos, cigar smoke wafting into the air, and dumping buckets of water on Tiger head coach Bob Surace.

The Tigers ended up 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy to tie Dartmouth (9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy) for the crown after having last season canceled by the league due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. It marked the fourth league title in eight seasons for the program, which came into the game ranked 20th nationally in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

Princeton senior quarterback and co-captain Cole Smith, who passed for 214 yards and rushed for 69 and a touchdown in the win over the Quakers, savored the moment of triumph as the celebration went on around him.  more

RESERVE STRENGTH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ryan Langborg guards a foe in game earlier this season. Last Wednesday night, junior guard Langborg scored a career-high 14 points off the bench to help Princeton defeat Marist 80-61. On Sunday, he chipped in eight points as the Tigers edged Oregon State 81-80 in improving to 4-1. In upcoming action, Princeton plays at Monmouth on November 24 before hosting Fairleigh Dickinson on November 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ryan Langborg came off the bench in the early going for the Princeton University men’s basketball team as it hosted Marist last Wednesday and didn’t waste any time making an impact.

Entering the contest with 15:56 left in the first half, junior guard Langborg drained a three-pointer 58 seconds later. That bucket was a harbinger of things to come as Langborg ended up tallying a career-high 14 points to help Princeton pull away to an 80-61 victory.

“We had a good game plan, we were trying to get the ball inside,” said Langborg.

“If we get the ball inside to Keeshawn [Kellman], Mason [Hooks] and Tosan [Evbuomwan] and they make something happen and they crash on those guys, we move and we knew we would be open and get good shots. We like getting the ball inside and getting it back out and swinging it around for a good three. They fell tonight so I just kept taking them.”

In reflecting on his performance, Langborg credited defense with leading to offense. more

OH BOY: Princeton University men’s soccer player Kevin O’Toole dribbles past a foe in recent action. Senior star O’Toole, who was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year this season as he helped Princeton go 7-0 in league play, saw his brilliant career come to an end as the Tigers fell 1-0 at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament last Thursday. Princeton ended the fall with an overall record of 12-6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In late September, the Princeton University men’s soccer team lost a hard-fought 1-0 battle to St. John’s.

Last Thursday, Princeton got a rematch at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Tigers were primed to turn the tables on the Red Storm.

“The last couple of games were really hard to grind out results; we had stretches during those games where I thought we played well but I think the guys were so determined to win the league and get through the league unbeaten,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow, whose team came into the NCAA game at 12-5 overall and 7-0 Ivy and riding an 8-game winning streak.

“At times it was more about competing than it was about putting the best soccer out there. At times we were able to do both. We had stretches down the stretch where I thought we were really connected, defending as group, moving the ball well and creating chances. I think there was a lot of confidence going into the tournament.”

Barlow knew it wouldn’t be easy to overcome St. John’s. “They are just so hard to score on, they concede so few goals,” said Barlow.

“They are big, they are athletic. It is a tough matchup. We didn’t create many chances in the first game against them and I don’t think they did either. It was a pretty competitive game with neither team able to generate many chances.”

The NCAA contest turned out to be competitive but with same result as the Red Storm won 1-0, finding the back of the net at the 43rd minute and holding off the Tigers from there. more

ON BOARD: Princeton University men’s hockey player Finn Evans (No. 16) battles a St. Lawrence player for the puck along the boards last Friday at Hobey Baker Rink. Senior forward Evans tallied a goal and an assist in a losing cause as Princeton fell 6-4 to the Saints. The Tigers, who lost 8-3 to Clarkson last Saturday to move to 3-3-1 overall and 2-2 ECAC Hockey, host a two-game set against RIT on November 26 and 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although their 2020-21 season was canceled by the Ivy League due to COVID-19 concerns, Finn Evans and his teammates on the Princeton University men’s hockey team still made progress.

“We were just skating at local rinks around New Jersey and working out,” said senior forward Evans, who was enrolled in school and living in the Princeton area with some of his teammates last school year.

“We were brought back in the spring and we were able to skate and work out. That was good, the freshmen were here. It brought us closer together as a group. I think it shows this year. We are all really tight, everyone is contributing.”

That group effort had been reflected in scoring balance across the team’s lines.

“It is nice this year, in previous years it has been a top-heavy contribution,” said Evans.

“The great thing about our lineup this year is that you look throughout the lineup and it is evenly spread right through. I think the theme of our team is that it doesn’t matter who scores. It is all just working hard and playing the game.”

Last Friday against visiting St. Lawrence, Evans contributed an assist and a goal as Princeton overcame an early 2-0 deficit  to build a 4-2 lead over the Saints with 14:38 left in the second period.

Evans set up the first goal, feeding Nick Seitz who banged home the pass. more

PEAKS AND A VALLEY: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Megan Rougas, center, battles for the ball in a game this season. Last Sunday, senior star Rougas and PHS made the program’s first-ever state final appearance and fell just short of the crown as they lost 2-1 in overtime to Wayne Valley. The Tigers finished the fall with a final record of 21-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When it was over, Megan Rougas embraced Sophia Lis on the field as they consoled each other.

Although the two senior stars for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team were upset in the wake of the squad falling 2-1 in overtime to Wayne Valley in the state Group 3 final last Sunday afternoon at Kean University, that sadness couldn’t take away from what the Tigers accomplished this fall.

Utilizing a blend of skill and togetherness, PHS enjoyed a dream season this fall, advancing to the state final for the first time in program history and ending the campaign with a 21-3 record.

While her eyes were reddened from tears, Rougas managed a smile in reflecting on how the fall unfolded for the Tigers.

“Unexpected is the word I would use,” said standout midfielder and co-captain Rougas.

“I have seen so much talent pass through this school, with players like my sister (Lauren), and Sophia’s sisters (Taylor, Devon). I think we were the underdogs this year. We took everything we could. We took giant steps, we did exactly what we needed to do to get to where we needed to be. We made it to the top, somehow, some way. I could not be prouder of these girls.”

The Tigers expected a battle from Wayne Valley, the Passaic County champions, who entered the final at 21-3 and riding a 16-game winning streak.

“We knew coming in that this was going to be a really tough game,” said Rougas. more

SO BRILLIANT: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis heads to goal in state tournament action. Senior star and Lehigh-bound Lis helped fuel an unprecedented postseason run for PHS as it reached the state final for the first time in program history. Lis tallied nine goals in the squad’s postseason run, including the winning goals in the sectional quarterfinal, semis, and final and Group 3 semis. She tallied the one goal for the Tigers in a2-1 overtime defeat to Wayne Valley in the Group 3 final in Sunday, giving her 38 for the season, the second highest single-season total in CVC history behind the 65 scored by Steinert’s Lisa Gmitter in 1982. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sophia Lis appeared exhausted as the Princeton High girls’ soccer team prepared to go into overtime against Lacey Township in the state Group 3 semis last Wednesday.

As the PHS players stood in a huddle around Tiger head coach Dave Kosa getting their final instructions before starting the extra session as the foes had played to a scoreless stalemate, a red-faced senior star forward Lis sat on the bench, gulping Gatorade and catching her breath.

Having battled a pesky Lacey defense on its pockmarked grass field as she made run after run to goal, Lis had plenty of reason to be spent.

“I think the grass has a really bad effect on my legs, I have always found that,” said Lis.

“But the playing field is even for everybody. It was hard for me to get over that but this is what we have worked so hard for the whole season so I might as well give it everything I have got this game and see how it plays out.”

Minutes into OT, Lis gave PHS the win, making a run down the flank and dipping the ball over the Lacey goalie.

“I won the ball and I just turned and dribbled down the sideline,” said Lis, recalling the winning tally.

“I have been finding this whole season, I have been doing a lot of sideline work. So using my speed I just ran to the corner and took a shot to see if maybe a rebound could be found or it could find the back of the net. I was fortunate that this time, it did.”

Seconds later, Lis was mobbed by her teammates as they sprinted across the field to hug her. more

GUTTING IT OUT: Princeton High boys’ cross country runner Kento Nakaya heads to the finish line at the Mercer County championship meet in late October. Last Saturday, senior Nakaya helped PHS place sixth at the Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Kento Nakaya’s third and final season on the Princeton High boys’ cross country team has gone better than he could have dreamed.

The PHS senior produced arguably the best race of his career at the perfect time as the Tigers placed sixth at the Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park on Saturday in a meet won by Union Catholic. The finish ties the third-best placing in PHS boys’ history. The 2016 team won MOC, and the 2017 team placed fourth, while the 1974 Tiger boys also placed sixth.

“As a PHS cross country team, we didn’t qualify for Meet of Champions for three years,” said Nakaya, who was the Little Tigers’ third finisher Saturday.

“I’ve never qualified to Meet of Champs in my life. I wasn’t expecting a lot from the meet. I was very surprised to be on the podium getting sixth place, and very happy to be there.”

Nakaya is one of two seniors in the PHS boys’ top seven. They will be without their other senior, Addison Motto, when the Tigers compete at the Nike Regionals in Bowdoin Park, N.Y., on November 27 as a springboard to a potential nationals spot next year. Nationals are not being run this season, and it will be the final race for Nakaya, who expects to return to his native Japan for college following graduation.

“I really want to thank my teammates for helping make my senior year great,” said Nakaya, who moved from Japan to Princeton in sixth grade. “I obviously had a lot of fun with working out with them and getting sixth at the Meet of Champs.”

The PHS girls’ squad also competed at the Meet of Champions. It’s the only time other than 1985 that both Princeton teams reached the Meet of Champions together. In 1985, it was Eva Klohnen in 25th individually who paced the PHS girls to a ninth-place team finish while Nathaniel McVey-Finney who took 41st to lead the Tiger boys to 12th place. more

November 17, 2021

PULLING AWAY: Princeton University football player John Volker races upfield last Saturday as the Tigers defeated Yale 35-20. Freshman running back Volker rushed for 29 yards and caught a 64-yard touchdown pass in the win as Princeton improved to 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy League. The Tigers are tied for first in the league standings with Dartmouth, also 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy, with one game left in the season. Princeton plays at Penn (3-6 overall, 1-5 Ivy) on November 20 in its season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a disappointing 31-7 defeat at Dartmouth, its first setback of the fall, the Princeton University football team was chomping at the bit to get back on the field as its hosted Yale last Saturday with first place in the Ivy League on the line.

But Princeton had to wait a little longer as a line of thunderstorms swept through the area delaying the Senior Day ceremony and kickoff by 90 minutes.

“It was a very emotional day for sure with the lightning delay, it was very unusual,” said Princeton senior receiver Dylan Classi.

Emotions were high for Princeton as it looked to bounce back from the defeat to the Big Green.

“It was a tough loss but everything we want is still in front of us and that was the mentality throughout the week,” said Classi.

“We knew we were playing for a championship. Practice was where it started. We had a great week of practice, we were able to come out today and execute.”

The Tigers went out and executed very well, pulling away to a 35-20 win over the Bulldogs before a crowd of 7,686 at Princeton Stadium to improve to 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy. Princeton is tied for first place in the league standings with Dartmouth, also 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy, with one game left in the season. more

WRIGHT DIRECTION: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ethan Wright dribbles up court last week in Princeton’s season opener against visiting Rutgers-Camden. Senior guard and co-captain Wright scored seven points as the Tigers prevailed 94-28 over the Division III Scarlet Raptors. Over the weekend, Wright starred as Princeton advanced to the final of the inaugural Asheville Championship, topping South Carolina 66-62 in the semis and then falling 87-80 in double overtime to Minnesota in the championship game. In the loss to Minnesota on Sunday, Wright recorded a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Princeton hosts Marist on November 17 before playing at Oregon State on November 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ethan Wright didn’t waste any time getting back into the flow for the Princeton University men’s basketball team as it hosted Rutgers-Camden to open its season.

As Princeton hit the court on November 9 for the first time since March 2020 after that season was halted due to the pandemic and the 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, senior guard and tri-captain Wright scored the first seven points of the contest.

“We have been waiting a long time to be back,” said Wright.

“It felt great to be back with the guys and playing against somebody else in uniform with fans. I haven’t done that in over 600 days. Last time I did that, I was a sophomore. A lot has changed since then. It was incredible to be back in Jadwin.”

Wright’s early outburst set the tone as Princeton went on to rout the Division III Scarlet Raptors 94-28.

“Coach (Mitch Henderson) was emphasizing getting off to a hot start so we could play a bunch of guys,” said Wright.

“I thought we executed really well early on and got some quick baskets. We like to run a lot so that was a quick start for us.”

Princeton executed well despite the long hiatus from game action. more

DOUBLING HER FUN: Princeton University women’s basketball player Julia Cunningham dribbles the ball last Sunday against visiting Boston University. Junior guard Cunningham posted her first career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Tigers prevail 69-40 in its first game at Jadwin Gym since February 2020. The win improved Princeton to 3-0 and extended its winning streak to 25 stretching back to the 2019-20 campaign. The Tigers play at Rhode Island on November 20 and at Temple on November 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team having its 2020-21 season canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, Julia Cunningham took a gap year and turned her attention to self-improvement.

“With the year off, you are not playing games and there is not that kind of strain on your body, you get to focus on some of things you wouldn’t normally get to focus on — getting in shape, getting stronger, lifting together,” said Princeton junior guard Cunningham, a 5’11 native of Watchung, N.J., who lived with two of her teammates in the Princeton area during the 2020-21 school year.

“I think it was really important. We spent a lot of time in the gym, getting shots up, getting reps.”

Last Sunday as Princeton hosted Boston University for its first game at Jadwin Gym since February 29, 2020, Cunningham displayed the fruits of that labor, contributing 20 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double to help Princeton pull away to a 69-40 win over the Terriers.

The win improved the Tigers to 3-0 and extended their winning streak to 25 stretching back to the 2019-20 campaign.

“I think for me it is the defense into offense,” said Cunningham, reflecting on her progress.

“We really get our momentum from the defensive end and coming down offensively we are just very confident. We rep it out in practice here on our home court. We get a lot of shots up on these baskets, it is just being confident with the ball in my hands.” more

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University men’s hockey team playing its first game at Hobey Baker Rink in more than 20 months last Saturday evening, the Tigers gave the fans on hand their money’s worth.

Hosting Long Island University, Princeton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Liam Gorman and Ian Murphy only to see the Sharks tally four unanswered goals in the second period to go up 4-2. Princeton responded with goals by David Ma and Corey Andonovski in the third to force overtime. Neither team scored in overtime and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.

Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty was thrilled to see his players hit the ice at Baker Rink for the first time since losing 2-0 to Brown on February 29, 2020.

“To be back home after 623 days was great,” said Fogarty.

“There was great excitement from the players. They had a major jump in the first part of the game, we played really well throughout.” more

STANDING TALL: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis, left, celebrates after scoring a goal against Hopewell Valley in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional final last Friday. Senior star and Lehigh-bound Lis scored two goals in the contest as top-seeded PHS prevailed 2-0 over the second-seeded Bulldogs. The Tigers, who improved to 20-2 with the triumph, will now play at South champion Lacey (15-6-1) in the Group 3 semis on November 17 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 final on November 21 at Kean University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High girls’ soccer team, the third time proved to be the charm as it hosted Hopewell Valley in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional final last Friday.

With PHS having lost 3-2 to HoVal in the regular season and then dropping a 3-1 decision in the Mercer County Tournament semis, the top-seeded Tigers turned the tables on the second-seeded Bulldogs, winning 2-0 in the sectional final.

PHS, which improved to 20-2 with the triumph, now play at South champion Lacey (15-6-1) in the Group 3 semis on November 17 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 final on November 21 at Kean University.

Coming into round three with Hopewell, Tiger head coach Dave Kosa fine-tuned his game plan.

“We were definitely trying to be the aggressor and get on the attack first,” said Kosa, who is in his first season guiding the program.

“We taped the first two games; it was learning what we did not so good and just trying to take away some of the things that they do well. We limited their corners, we didn’t let them behind us. They got behind us in the first two games and in this case they didn’t so that took away a lot of their set pieces and a lot of their corner kicks. Second of all, we were looking to win all of the 50/50 balls. We scouted them against Brick in the sectional semis and Brick controlled most of the play. They were all over them too, they were really, really aggressive, marking closely. We took that and used that to our advantage.” more

FAST COMPANY: Members of the Princeton High boys’ cross country team take off at the start of the Mercer County championship meet last month at Washington Crossing Park. Last Saturday, PHS placed fourth at the state Group 4 championship meet at Holmdel Park. The Tigers figure to be back at Holmdel on November 20 for the Meet of Champions as they should make the meet as a wild card entry after three state Group races remaining were to be completed on November 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Earlier this month, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team found itself in a battle with Manalapan High for first place at Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet.

PHS prevailed in the November 13 competition at Thompson Park, scoring 82 points to edge Manalapan by two points to win the title.

Last Saturday at Holmdel Park in the state Group 4 championship meet, the two squads were again matching each other stride for stride but this time the prize was third place.

While PHS junior Andrew Kenny had a big day, taking eighth individually in a time of 16:15 over the famed 5,000-meter course, it was not enough as Manalapan came in at 134 to take third with the Tigers posting a score of 149 to grab fourth. Powerhouse Ridge took first at 91 with Westfield coming in second with a score of 99.

The next PHS finisher was junior Marty Brophy who took 42nd in 17:08 with junior Zachary Deng finishing 46th in 17:11, senior Addison Motto coming in 47th 17:13, and sophomore Maxwell Dunlap placing 55th in 17:21.

As for the PHS girls, junior star Robin Roth continued her late surge. After taking second individually at the Mercer County Championships and fifth at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet, Roth placed 17th overall at the Group meet, posting a time of 20:06. more

FINAL PUSH: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player William Vasquez battles for the ball in the South Jersey Non-Public B sectional. Senior Vasquez scored two goals to help seventh-seeded PDS defeat fifth-seeded Ranney School 3-1 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional last Thursday. On Sunday, Vasquez and the Panthers fell just short of a state title as they lost 3-1 to Gill St. Bernard’s in the Non-Public B state final to end the fall with a 12-12 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In its run to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional title, the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team relished its role as road warriors.

Seventh-seeded PDS won 3-1 at second-seeded Holy Cross Prep in the sectional quarterfinal on November 4, 3-2 at sixth-seeded Bishop Eustace in the semis on November 8, and then prevailed 3-1 at fifth-seeded Ranney School in the sectional final last Thursday.

But facing powerful Gill St. Bernard’s in the Non-Public B state final at the spacious Kean University field last Sunday, the Panthers found themselves at a disadvantage far from home.

“In our sectional run we played on relatively small fields,” said PDS first-year head coach Brian Thomsen.

“We were able to withstand pressure, able to handle pressure better, able to play out quickly and counterattack quickly on those fields. That Gill team was just able to spread us out more than we have been used to in the past four weeks. We haven’t seen a team like that in terms of the quality of player since Hopewell Valley three weeks ago. We were playing against a true possession-oriented team that worked on that all year.”

Despite chasing Gill all over the field, the Panthers only trailed 1-0 at halftime. After intermission, the Knights scored two goals to take a 3-0 lead and put the game out of reach. PDS did answer back with a late goal by senior star Milan Shah to make it a 3-1 final. more

FIRST STRIKE: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player John Ramos boots the ball last Thursday against the Ranney School in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional final. Senior star Ramos, who was sidelined for much of the season with a leg injury, helped seventh-seeded PDS top fifth-seeded Ranney 3-1 to earn the title in the program’s first appearance in the sectional. Senior William Vasquez scored two goals in the win with senior Milan Shah adding the third. The Panthers went on to lose 3-1 to Gill St. Bernard’s in the Non-Public B state final on Sunday to end the fall with a 12-12 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

John Ramos feared that his senior season for the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team might have been over just after it started.

“I got hurt in the first game, the first 10 minutes,” said senior defender and co-captain Ramos. “It was a high ankle sprain, it was really bad.”

Ramos was sidelined indefinitely, disappointed to only be able to look on as PDS struggled in the early going.

“It has been difficult on a team you have played with for so long,” said Ramos. “You want them to succeed, it is tough to see losses.”

But Ramos returned to action on October 28 as PDS  defeated Spotswood 2-1 in a tune-up for the program’s first-ever appearance in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional final.

With Ramos patrolling the back line, the seventh-seeded Panthers made an improbable run in the sectional, topping 10th-seeded Gloucester Catholic 8-0 in the first round, upsetting second-seeded Holy Cross Prep 3-1 in the quarters and beating sixth-seeded Bishop Eustace 3-2 in the semis to earn a spot in the final at fifth-seeded Ranney School last Thursday. more

November 10, 2021

BREAKING THE ICE: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Paul brings the puck up the ice last Friday night against RPI. Freshman forward Paul scored the first two goals of her college career to help Princeton prevail 4-1. The Tigers, who defeated Union 4-2 a day later to improve to 4-0 overall and 4-0 ECAC Hockey, will now play a home-and-home set against Quinnipiac this weekend. The Tigers host the Bobcats on November 12 and then play them in Hamden, Conn., on November 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sarah Paul was aiming to make her debut at the Hobey Baker Rink last Friday evening for the Princeton University women’s hockey team a night to remember.

“It was definitely something that our team collectively has been looking forward to, some of us for 600 days, others since we committed in high school, whenever that was,” said freshman forward Paul,  a 5’8 native of West Kelowna, British Columbia.

“It was just a lot of excitement and definitely a good feeling to be here.”

Just under six minutes into the game, Paul got a very good feeling, tallying her first career goal for the Tigers.

“I tried to pass it through the stick of that defender who was on me,” recalled a smiling Paul, clutching the puck with which she scored the milestone tally.

“It didn’t work out so I made the next best play and I ended up getting a good chance and got lucky and back of the net. It feels good, it is a bit of a relief to get that first one out of the way and move forward.” more

TOUGH HIT: Princeton University football player Carson Bobo gets tackled in a game earlier this season. Last Friday night, senior tight end Bobo had one catch for 10 yards as Princeton fell 31-7 at Dartmouth. The Tigers, now 7-1 overall and 4-1 Ivy League, host Yale (5-3 overall, 4-1 Ivy) on November 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University football team girded last week for its clash at Dartmouth, a number of players got ill with the flu.

Early in the contest last Friday night at Hanover, N.H., Princeton was hit with a sickening sight as Tiger senior star running back Collin Eaddy suffered a serious leg injury and was carted off the field in what turned out to be the last play of his stellar college career.

Reeling from that loss and dealing with a Dartmouth squad on a roll, Princeton found itself in a 17-0 hole.

“It was a challenge from a standpoint, there are no excuses, said Princeton head coach Bob Surace. “Dartmouth was great.”

The Tigers battled back, making it a 17-7 game late in the second quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by John Volker to culminate a 13-play scoring march.

Surace believed his team had some momentum at that point. “We have been down to Monmouth (overcoming a 21-6 deficit to win 31-28 on October 9),” said Surace.

“We have been up on teams. We have had to hold leads, we have had every scenario. You are confident in your players, I thought we settled in. We go down and score and we have a two-minute drive and we didn’t make the field goal into halftime.” more