November 22, 2017

SMART SET: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Rachel Cheng sets up a ball in a match this season. Senior star Cheng helped PHS post a 31-2 record this fall. The program, which was in its fifth season on the varsity level, earned its first-ever wins in state tournament play, advancing to the Group 4 quarterfinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Making history, the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team posted its first-ever wins in state tournament play as it advanced to the Group 4 quarterfinals.

But in a measure of how far the program has come in its five years on the varsity level, the players weren’t satisfied with that tourney run.

“It definitely feels good, it is exciting; we made it to the point of what the seeding would dictate, a fourth against a fifth, which was good,” said PHS head coach Patty Manhart, whose team fell 2-1 to Westfield in the state quarters on November 4 as the Blue Devils prevailed 25-16, 15-25, 25-17. more

By Bill Alden

Competing in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC) last Saturday at Holmdel Park, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team took another step in solidifying itself as one of the elite programs in the state.

After placing first at the MOC in 2016, PHS finished a strong fourth in this year’s race, just seven points out of third as it had a score of 118 with Hopewell Valley coming in at 111 to make the top three.

“Obviously we will always talk about the fact that we won the MOC last year but now we have been on the podium two years in a row,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk, reflecting on the competition which was won by Christian Brothers Academy. more

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High boys’ soccer team faced Washington Township in the state Group 4 semifinals last week, Atticus Lynch found himself in the right place at the right time while goalie Patrick Jacobs came up with some timely saves.

That combination proved decisive as junior reserve midfielder Lynch tallied a second half goal and senior goalie Jacobs’ heroics in net helped PHS prevail 1-0 in the November 14 contest played at Rowan University.

In reflecting on his goal which came with 27:34 left in regulation, Lynch seized the opportunity. more

FIGHTING TO THE END: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Quentin Pompliano, right, battles for the ball in state tournament action. Last Sunday, senior star Pompliano and PHS saw their magical postseason run end with a 3-1 loss to Kearny in the state Group 4 championship game. The Little Tigers finished the fall with a 17-6-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton High boys’ soccer team fell behind powerhouse Kearny High 2-0 late in the second half last Sunday in the state Group 4 championship game at Kean University, it could have thrown in the towel.

Instead, PHS threw players forward, putting pressure on the Kardinals. With 2:14 remaining in regulation, the Little Tigers broke through as senior star midfielder Drew Beamer found the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game. more

MAX VALUE: Princeton University men’s hockey player Max Veronneau goes after the puck in recent action. Last Friday, junior forward Veronneau tallied two goals and an assist to help Princeton defeat Yale 5-4. The Tigers, who lost 3-0 to Brown a day later to move to 3-3-1 overall and 2-3-1 ECAC Hockey, host Bemidji State for a two-game set this week on November 22 and 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University men’s hockey team was outskated and outworked by Yale in the first period last Friday, Max Veronneau singlehandedly kept the Tigers in the game.

Junior forward Veronneau tallied a goal and assist as the teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after the first period even though the Bulldogs built a 16-6 edge in shots. more

CANNY MOVE: Princeton University men’s basketball player Devin Cannady heads up court last Wednesday in Princeton’s home opener against Brigham Young University. Junior guard Cannady scored a team-high 19 points in a losing cause as the Tigers fell 65-56. On Saturday, Cannady scored 22 points as Princeton lost 71-58 at St. Joseph’s. The Tigers, now 0-3, host Lafayette on November 22 before playing at Fairleigh Dickinson on November 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Emotions were running high at Jadwin Gym when the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Brigham Young University in its home opener last Wednesday evening.

With 7:06 left in the second half, Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson got ejected from the contest after letting the refs have a piece of his mind. Tiger junior guard Devin Cannady headed over to the home stands and waved his arms, exhorting the fans to raise the volume in support of the Tigers. more

GIVING HER ALL: Princeton University women’s soccer player Abby Givens boots the ball in Princeton’s 4-0 win over Monmouth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament earlier this month. Last Sunday, sophomore forward Givens scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Princeton upset North Carolina 2-1 in the NCAA Round of 16. The Tigers, now 16-2-1, play at UCLA, 18-2-2, on November 25 in the NCAA quarters. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In early September, the Princeton University women’s soccer team traveled to North Carolina and turned heads as it posted wins over two Atlantic Coast Conference foes, N.C. State and Wake Forest.

Last weekend, 13th-ranked Princeton headed back to Tobacco Road for NCAA tournament action and came through again, edging N.C. State on penalty kicks after the teams tied at 1-1 through regulation and two overtimes on Friday in a second-round matchup and then toppled storied and second-ranked North Carolina, the holder of 21 NCAA crowns, in a 2-1 overtime thriller two days later. more

SLIPPING AWAY: Princeton University receiver Stephen Carlson, right, tangles with two defenders in recent action as he tries to catch up with a pass. Last Saturday, junior star Carlson made 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause as Princeton fell 54-44 at Dartmouth in its season finale. The loss left the Tigers at 5-5 overall and 2-5 Ivy League. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at Dartmouth last Saturday in its season finale. the Princeton University football team’s offense ended things with a bang.

The Tigers rolled up 495 yards of total offense and 27 first downs on the way to tallying 44 points. more

November 17, 2017

SPEEDY TIGER: Princeton University football player Tiger Bech tries to elude tacklers from Yale in action last Saturday. Sophomore receiver Bech enjoyed a career day in a losing cause as Princeton fell 35-31 to the Bulldogs. He made six catches for a career-high 175 yards and a touchdown and also piled up a total of 158 yards in kickoff and punt returns. The Tigers, now 5-4 overall and 2-4 Ivy League, conclude their season by playing at Dartmouth (7-2 overall, 4-2 Ivy) on November 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace had plenty of reason to be angry after his Princeton University football team fell 35-31 to visiting Yale last Saturday.

The defeat marked the fourth time this season that Princeton had suffered a loss in Ivy League play with a chance to win in its final possession. The setback before a crowd of 11, 229 at Powers Field also officially knocked the Tigers, now 5-4 overall and 2-4 Ivy, out of contention for their second straight Ivy title while Yale (8-1 overall, 5-1 Ivy) clinched at least a share of the crown. more

November 15, 2017

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High girls’ cross country team, competing at the Group 4 state championship meet last Saturday was a valuable learning experience for the young squad.

“We had a little bit of an uneven day for us; I would have like to have seen us be a little bit more aggressive early on,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk, whose lineup for the race at Holmdel Park included three freshmen and one sophomore. more

DOUBLE PLAY: Fraser Graham displays the form in hockey and golf that helped him make history for Princeton High in both sports. Graham, a 2011 PHS grad who went on to play college golf at the University of Delaware, is being inducted into the Princeton High Athletics Hall of Fame on November 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Fraser Graham entered Princeton High in 2007 focusing on hockey but he ended up making history on the golf course as well as the ice.

Graham enjoyed a superb hockey career, scoring a total of 176 points and helping the Little Tigers win the Mercer County Tournament as a senior in the 2010-11 season. He saved his best for last on the ice, tallying 68 points on 27 goals and 41 assists in his final campaign. more

CAROLINA BLUES: Princeton University field hockey player Elise Wong heads up the field in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Wong scored a goal to help Princeton defeat Virginia 3-2 in overtime in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. A day later, the Tigers’ season came to an end as they fell 3-2 to North Carolina in the NCAA quarters. The Tigers, who entered the tournament ranked 14th nationally, finished with a final record of 12-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals last Sunday, the Princeton University field hockey battled to the last second and beyond. more

CHILLING EFFECT: Princeton University women’s soccer player Mimi Asom, right, goes up for a header last Friday night as the Tigers hosted Monmouth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Braving the Arctic blast that hit the area, junior forward Asom heated things up with two goals and an assist to help Princeton prevail 4-0. The Tigers, now 15-2 overall, face North Carolina State (15-5-1) in a second round contest on November 17 in Cary, N.C. It marks a rematch of a regular season game on September 2 which saw the Tigers defeat the Wolfpack 2-0. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Mimi Asom, a native of Dallas, Texas, the arctic weather that chilled the area last Friday as the Princeton University women’s soccer team hosted Monmouth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament was a shock to the system. more

GOLDEN GOAL: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Drew Beamer controls the ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior star Beamer scored the winning goal as third-seeded PHS defeated top-seeded Hunterdon Central 1-0 in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final. As a result, PHS, now 16-5-1, will face Washington Township (21-2-1) in the Group 4 state semis on November 14 with the victor advancing to the title game on November 19 at Kean University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High boys’ soccer team, the experience gained from five losses over the season proved to be a blessing in disguise as it faced a gauntlet of tough foes on the way to the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title.

“My team had the opportunity to play some high level competition this year and has been on the wrong end of it at times,” said PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe. more

BATTLE-TESTED: Princeton University water polo head coach Luis Nicolao instructs his men’s squad during a game earlier this season. Former Naval Academy water polo star Nicolao, who served a tour of duty in the Gulf War, recently achieved another milestone in his 19-season tenure guiding both the Tiger men’s and women’s programs as he hit the 400-win mark on the men’s side. He has compiled a 442-149 record in women’s play and is currently at 401-162 for the men. The men’s squad, currently 21-5, will be looking to earn a fifth NCAA berth under Nicolao as it competes in the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) tournament in Cambridge, Mass. from November 17-19 where it is seeded first. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Luis Nicolao’s office on the deck of DeNunzio Pool at Princeton University exudes a coziness, with framed family portraits of his wife and two daughters sitting on shelves surrounded by an extensive collection of sports bobbleheads and other knick-knacks. more

GROUP LEADER: Princeton High boys’ cross country runner Will Hare heads to the finish line on the way to taking first in the Boys’ Varsity race at the Mercer County Championships in late October. Last Saturday, senior star and Penn-bound Hare took another title, placing first at the state Group 4 meet in Holmdel Park. Hare’s performance helped PHS take second in the team standings and qualify for the Meet of Champions on November 18 at Holmdel. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In 2016, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team cruised to the title in the Group 4 state championship meet, easily outpointing runner-up Cherokee.

Last Saturday, PHS dropped to second at this year’s Group 4 meet as Kingsway raced to the title but head coach Jim Smirk had no qualms with the effort he got from his runners. more

NICK OF TIME: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Nick Petruso flies after the ball in recent state tournament action. Last Wednesday, freshman striker Petruso, who was called up to the varsity team in October, scored two goals to help third-seeded PHS edge second-seeded Monroe 2-1 in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semis. Petruso and the Little Tigers went on to edge top-seeded and defending Group 4 champion Hunterdon Central 1-0 in overtime in the sectional final on Friday. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Nick Petruso started the fall playing on the freshman squad for the Princeton High boys’ soccer program.

It didn’t take long for the precocious striker to move up the ranks. Dominating at the freshman level and then starring for the junior varsity, Petruso ended up on the varsity team by October. more

November 8, 2017

FINAL SALVO: Hun School girls’ soccer player Nicole Apuzzi boots the ball in recent action. Last Sunday, senior star and co-captain Apuzzi tallied a goal as Hun defeated the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 3-0 in their season finale. The win gave the Raiders a final record of 10-7 and helped them clinch the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title outright as they went 5-0 in league play. Earlier, second-seeded Hun fell 3-0 at top-seeded Pennington in the state Prep A title game on November 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at powerhouse Pennington School in the state Prep A girls’ soccer championship game last Thursday evening, the Hun School squad came into the contest shorthanded.

“It was unfortunate that our main forward, Breezy (Bryonna Worthy) was out with a concussion,” said Hun senior midfielder and co-captain Nicole Apuzzi “We had to adapt and that was hard.”

Second-seeded Hun found it hard to get into a rhythm offensively as top-seeded Pennington controlled possession and pulled away to a 3-0 win. more

HIGH FIVE: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Becca Kuzmicz goes after the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, senior defender and co-captain Kuzmicz helped second-seeded PDS hold the fort as it tied top-seeded Montclair Kimberley 0-0 through regulation and two overtimes in the state Prep B championship game. The win marked the fifth straight Prep B title for the Panthers, who finished the fall with a 12-6-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It has become clear that the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team is evenly matched with Montclair Kimberley Academy.

In 2015, the foes met in the state Prep B title game and PDS pulled out a 1-0 win in overtime.

Last year, the teams had a rematch in the Prep B championship contest and they played to a scoreless tie in a game shortened by thunderstorms. more

KEY MAN: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Josh Nieman, left, goes after the ball against Long Branch in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals last Friday. Junior midfielder Nieman scored a goal to help third-seeded PHS edge the 11th-seeded Green Wave 2-1. The Little Tigers, who improved to 14-5-1 with the win, were slated to play at second-seeded Monroe in the sectional semi on November 7 with the victor advancing to the title game on November 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Josh Nieman wasn’t sure how much he could contribute this fall for the Princeton High boys’ soccer team.

Recovering from a stress fracture in his pelvis, Nieman couldn’t play this past spring for his club team and didn’t see any game action for PHS until mid-October.

“I think there were some points where I thought it was going too be hard to come back,” said junior midfielder Nieman. “I have to thank my coaches, especially coach [Carlos] Salazar. I am still getting back into 100 percent shape but I am just super lucky to be on the field and playing soccer with my friends.” more

MORE TO COME: Princeton High girls’ cross country runner Siena Moran displays her form in a race earlier this fall. Last Saturday, junior Moran placed 10th individually at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional to help PHS finish fourth in the team standings and advance to the state Group 4 meet on November 11 at Holmdel. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Joining the Princeton High girls’ cross country team this fall after having competed for the American School of London program, Siena Moran had trouble keeping up with her new teammates at first.

“It was definitely more intense here,” said junior Moran. “When I came for the first two weeks of practice, it literally destroyed me. I was so not used to that level of training.” more

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: Members of the Princeton High boys’ cross county team take off at the start of the Mercer County Championships at Thompson Park in Jamesburg on October 20 on the way to winning the title. Last Saturday, PHS returned to Thompson Park and won another championship as it placed first in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional for the second straight year. The Little Tigers are next in action when they compete in the state Group 4 meet on November 11 at Holmdel. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although Jackson Donahue ran well at Thompson Park in Jamesburg as the Princeton High boys’ cross county team placed first at the Mercer County Championships in late October, he knew he had more to give.

“I was looking at my times the other day and I realized that I haven’t PR’d since last season,” said senior Donahue, who took 18th at the county meet with a time of 16:47.81 over the 5,000-meter course. more

By Bill Alden

With six defensive starters sidelined due to injury, the Princeton University football team was in danger of being run out of Franklin Field by Penn last Saturday.

The Tigers trailed 17-7 at the half as Penn ground out scoring marches of 80 yards, 71 yards, and 53 yards to reel off 17 unanswered points. more

RYAN’S HOPE: Princeton University field hockey player Ryan McCarthy races up the field in a game earlier this season. Senior star McCarthy has enjoyed a big final campaign for the Tigers, scoring a team-high 15 goals as Princeton went 7-0 in Ivy League play, earning the program’s 25th league crown. The 14th-ranked Tigers, now 11-6 overall, will look to extend their season as they play at No. 4 Virginia (15-4) in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on November 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Starting the season by going 1-4 against a gauntlet of Top-25 foes ended up paying dividends for the Princeton University field hockey team.

After edging No. 10 Maryland 2-1 on September 19, the Tigers caught fire, suffering only two more losses over the rest of the regular season and going 7-0 in Ivy League play, earning the program’s 25th league crown. more

TOURNEY TIME: Princeton University women’s soccer player Vanessa Gregoire tracks the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior midfielder and co-captain Gregoire scored the lone goal as Princeton defeated Penn 1-0. The win by the Tigers and a 0-0 tie between Columbia and Harvard clinched the Ivy League title outright for Princeton as it finished the regular season at 14-2 overall and 6-1 Ivy. The Tigers will now compete in the NCAA tournament where they host Monmouth (15-3-2) in a first-round contest on November 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s soccer team lost 2-0 to Columbia is mid-October, it prompted some soul searching.

“The first day of practice was on Monday and we said there is only one word to describe and that is ‘respond,’” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll. more