September 6, 2017

CAT QUICK: Princeton University field hockey player Nicole Catalino controls the ball last Friday as the Tigers hosted North Carolina in their season opener. Junior defensive midfielder Catalino played well in a losing cause as Princeton fell 2-0 to the Tar Heels. The Tigers, who lost 5-3 to defending national champion Delaware on Sunday to fall to 0-2, host Rutgers on September 8 and Penn State on September 10.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden 

Nicole Catalino resembles the Energizer Bunny in her spot as a defensive midfielder for the Princeton University field hockey team, constantly on the move as she tracks the ball all over the field.

Junior standout Catalino relishes being in the middle of the action. “I have more influence on the rest of the players through experience and just the role I play on the field,” said Catalino. more

ONE-TWO PUNCH: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer defenders Madison Coyne, right, and Becca Kuzmicz control the ball in a recent training session. PDS will be depending on senior co-captains Coyne and Kuzmicz to anchor the back line the fall. The Panthers open their 2017 season by playing at the George School (Pa.) on September 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Months before the 2017 season began, the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team was hit with adversity.

Due to academy system rules promulgated by the U.S. Soccer Federation that prevent players from competing for both high school and club programs, PDS lost the services of three of its top returning players, senior goalie Grace Barbara, senior midfielder Damali Simon-Ponte, and junior midfielder Madison McCaw. This trio helped the Panthers share the state Prep B title and advance to the Mercer County Tournament final last year on the way to posting a 17-1-4 final record. more

RELIEF PITCHER: Princeton High quarterback Jake Renda passes the ball last Saturday as PHS opened its season by hosting Hamilton. Freshman Renda came off the bench after senior quarter Vince Doran was injured in the first quarter and played well, completing 11-of-24 passes for 133 yards in a losing cause as the Little Tigers fell 39-0 to the Hornets. PHS plays at Pemberton (1-0) on September 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hosting Hamilton past Saturday in its season opener, the Princeton High football team came out roaring.

After kicking off to the Hornets, the PHS defense gave its guests a rude welcome, sacking the Hamilton quarterback on first down and then picking up a turnover two plays later when Isaac Webb leaped up for an interception. more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School field hockey player Sasha Sindhwani, right, goes after the ball in a recent scrimmage. Defending state Prep B champion PDS is counting on junior star Sindhwani to provide production again on the front line this fall. The Panthers open their 2017 season when the play at Stuart Country Day School on September 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last fall, the Princeton Day School field hockey came out of nowhere to emerge as a powerhouse.

After going 6-13-1 in 2015, PDS produced a brilliant 16-4 campaign a year ago, winning the state Prep B title and advancing to the Mercer County Tournament final. more

August 30, 2017

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Alex Ratzan races up the field last fall in his senior season for the Princeton High boys’ soccer team. Star midfielder Ratzan, who helped PHS share the Mercer County Tournament crown with Pennington in 2016, is currently going through preseason practice for his freshman season with the Tufts University men’s soccer team. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Helped by a pipeline of Princeton area players, the Tufts University men’s soccer team has ascended to the top of Division III soccer. more

NO LETTING UP: Princeton High girls’ soccer star Colette Marciano controls the ball in 2016 action. PHS will be depending on senior Marciano and classmate Devon Lis to provide a one-two punch in the midfield this fall. The Little Tigers open their 2017 season by playing at Manalapan on September 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Going with a bevy of new faces last fall due to some heavy graduation losses, the Princeton High girls’ soccer struggled in the early going as it got off to a 0-3 start. more

FLYING START: Princeton University women’s soccer player Abby Givens flies over a Monmouth defender last Friday evening. Sophomore forward Givens scored two goals in the contest to help spark Princeton to a 3-0 win over the Hawks in its season opener. On Sunday, Givens added another goal as the Tigers topped Villanova 2-0 to improve to 2-0. Princeton plays at North Carolina State (3-0) on September 1 and at Wake Forest (4-0) on September 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Abby Givens displayed flashes of brilliance last fall in her freshman season for the Princeton University women’s soccer team.

Getting better as the 2016 season went on, forward Givens ended up tallying three goals and three assists. more

BIG BEN: Princeton University men’s soccer player Ben Martin controls the ball in action last fall. After scoring three goals last year as a freshman, midfielder/forward Martin should play a greater role in the Princeton attack this fall. The Tigers start their 2017 season on the road this weekend with games at Syracuse on September 1 and at Colgate on September 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For the Princeton University men’s soccer team, homing in on the little things has been the focus of its 2017 preseason training.

Noting that Princeton came up winless in six overtime games last fall and that all of its Ivy League games were either ties or decided by one goal on the way to going to 7-7-3 overall and 1-3-3 Ivy, Princeton head coach Jim Barlow knows that the devil is in the details. more

MAC ATTACK: Princeton University field hockey player Ryan McCarthy follows through on a shot in a 2016 game. Senior striker McCarthy, who scored 14 goals last year on the way to earning first-team All-Ivy League honors, should be the go-to finisher for the Tigers this year. Princeton opens its 2017 season by hosting North Carolina on September 1 before playing at Delaware on September 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Although it fell just short of winning its 12th straight Ivy League title, the Princeton University field hockey team didn’t let that disappointment keep it from turning 2016 into a season to remember, producing a stunning run in the NCAA tournament.

Getting into the tourney through an at-large bid, Princeton proceeded to advance to the Final 4 where it lost a 3-2 nail-biter in the semifinal to eventual national champion Delaware. more

CATCHING ON: Princeton High star receiver Isaac Webb looks to break loose from a foe in 2016 action. Junior Webb figures to be a key weapon for the PHS offense this fall after emerging as a standout last fall. The Little Tigers kick off their 2017 season by hosting Hamilton on September 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Entering the 2014 season, the Princeton High football team had a chip on its shoulder.

Coming off a 0-10 season the year before, the players were hungry to prove that they could get back in the win column. Beginning with a 28-7 opening day win over Hamilton, the Little Tigers made their point, getting off to a 5-0 start on the way to an 8-2 record and a trip to the state playoffs. more

LION-HEARTED: Haley Bodden dribbles the ball upfield in action last fall during her freshman season for The College of New Jersey women’s soccer team. Former Princeton High standout Bodden, who tallied four goals during her debut campaign in 17 appearances, is currently in preseason camp at TCNJ in preparation for her sophomore season with the Lions. (Photo Courtesy of TCNJ Athletic Communications)

As Haley Bodden developed into a star for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team, she set her sights on playing for a Division I program at the next level. more

August 23, 2017

BALL HAWK: Ashley Maziarz surveys the action from her center back position in action last season during her sophomore season for the Lehigh University women’s soccer team. Former Hun School standout Maziarz played a key role for a stingy Mountain Hawk defensive unit that started the 2016 season with eight straight shutouts as Lehigh went on to post an 11-5-2 record. Last Friday, Maziarz started her junior campaign by helping Lehigh play to a 0-0 draw through two overtimes with visiting Monmouth. (Photo Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics)

During her career with the Hun School girls’ soccer team, Ashley Maziarz played a big role as the program reached new heights.

Starring at midfield and defense, Maziarz’s skill and clutch play helped Hun win the state Prep A title in the fall of 2014. Maziarz’s brilliant goal on a free kick proved to be the game winner in the title contest as Hun stunned perennial power Pennington 2-0. more

LIGHTING THE FLAME: Josh Teves controls the puck in a game last winter for the Princeton University men’s hockey team. This summer, rising junior defenseman Teves got to live out a dream as he skated with his hometown Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League at the team’s Development Camp. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Josh Teves has long dreamed about playing for his hometown Calgary Flames.

“I am a big Flames fan,” said Teves, a 6’0, 180-pound native of the western Canada city. “I had a mock Stanley Cup with the Flames logo on it.” more

LEAP OF FAITH: Benji Issroff jumps for the ball on the back line last fall during his freshman campaign for the Princeton University men’s soccer team. This summer, Issroff starred for the U.S. squad at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, helping the team to a second straight gold medal at the competition. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Benji Issroff traveled to Israel six years ago to celebrate his bar mitzvah.

This summer, Issroff, now a rising sophomore defender for the Princeton University men’s soccer team, returned to Israel as a member of the U.S. squad competing in the 2017 World Maccabiah Games and ended up enjoying another celebration as the team won the gold medal. more

KICK-OFF TIME: Princeton University women’s soccer player Natalie Larkin prepares to kick the ball upfield last season. Senior star and All-Ivy League performer Larkin will be counted on to again shore up the defense this fall for the Tigers, who get their 2017 campaign underway when they host Monmouth on August 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Sean Driscoll is facing a problem this fall in guiding the Princeton University women’s soccer team, but don’t expect any of his foes to be sympathetic.

With an abundance of skilled performers at his disposal, it isn’t going to be easy for Princeton head coach Driscoll to figure out the best way to deploy his resources.

“We have a lot of good players; I think we are probably two-deep at every position on the field which I haven’t been able to say until now,” said Driscoll, who is entering his third season at the helm of the program and led the Tigers to an overall 10-4-3 record and 2-3-2 in Ivy League play in 2016.

“We have a lot of depth and that has to be our focus, utilizing as many of the players as we can to stay fresh and to also put other teams in situations where we are constantly staying a little more fresh perhaps than they are. Our mentality in terms of rotation of players may slightly change from what it was, certainly from two years ago when we basically played 14-16 players. We have a lot more ability to rotate this year.”

At forward, junior star and top returning scorer Mimi Asom (9 goals and 1 assist in 2016) boasts a lot of finishing ability.

“Mimi is the most focused I have seen her, she has a very good mentality about her right now,” said Driscoll, noting that sophomore Courtney O’Brien, sophomore Abby Givens (3 goals, 3 assists), junior Sam McDonough (4 assists), and senior Beth Stella should all see time up top.

“Mimi’s fitness level is the highest it has been. Her overall focus, which is the most important for her, is very high. She is a very good player.”

Princeton features a very good player to trigger the midfield in senior Vanessa Gregoire (3 goals, 4 assists).

“Vanessa has big time potential; I expect a huge year from her in terms of overall quality, her movement, and her endurance,” asserted Driscoll. “She looks fantastic.”

Driscoll has a lot of quality options in the midfield with such players as sophomore Tomi Kennedy (3 goals, 1 assist), sophomore Sophia Gulati (1 assist), senior Alessia Azermadhi (1 assist), and sophomore Emily Hilliard (1 assist) along with a pair of freshmen, Olivia Kane and Carolyne Davidson.

“It is deep, there are going to be a lot of battles,” said Driscoll in assessing his midfield.

“A lot of kids who have had the luxury of being the best at their position are now going to have to really fight, which is good competition. If nothing else, it is pushing to make them better and giving us a better rotation.”

Senior standouts Natalie Larkin (1 goal, 2 assists) and Mikaela Symanovich (2 assists) will battle hard on the back line. “They are the epitome of work rate, fitness, and competitive nature,” said Driscoll.

“They are both tireless workers. There is no way to duplicate them when they leave next year, there will be no replacing that kind of mentality. They both blow away the fitness test. Every year, they are the top two.”

While Larkin and Symanovich form a special one-two combination on defense, Princeton is expecting a number of other players to shore up the unit.

“Katie Pratt-Thompson, a senior, will be in there and you have sophomore Olivia Sheppard, a standout Canadian national team player at center back,” added Driscoll.

“We also have two freshman, Lucy Rickerson and Tatum Gee, who have done really, really well.”

The Tigers boast four goalkeepers in sophomore Natalie Grossi, junior Noelani Kong-Johnson, senior Gudrun Valdis Jonsdottir, and sophomore Kelli Calhoun. Grossi got most of the work last year in her freshman season, starting all 17 games with a 0.93 goals against average and four shutouts.

“Natalie looks good, she has done well; Noelani has also done well,” said Driscoll.

“We are expecting Gudrun and Kelli to make a little bit of a push here. Right now, I would say Natalie and Noelani have been the top two but I do expect the other ones to make it a competitive battle. We have a good group of goalkeepers, they are working hard.”

With Princeton going 1-3-2 in its last six games last fall after a 9-1-1 start, Driscoll is looking for his 2017 team to push harder at both ends of the field.

“I think we need to make sure that we don’t make any game-changing mistakes,” said Driscoll.

“We had some innocuous mistakes where we put ourselves in trouble last year on occasion. We need a greater focus and attention to detail on our defense as a unit. The bottom line is we need to identify where we can manufacture goals as a team. Everyone is going to be involved in helping us score.”

Based on what he has seen in the preseason, Driscoll is confident that the squad can manufacture a lot of wins this fall.

“I would say that we are very excited about the group of kids that we have, the chemistry, and the enthusiasm,” said Driscoll.

“We look forward to seeing how things go. We have a lot of young kids and we also have some good leadership. It is a really enjoyable group to work with.”

With Princeton hosting Monmouth (0-1-1) in its season opener on August 25, Driscoll knows his squad will have to work hard to beat the Hawks.

“Monmouth is a very hardworking, blue collar mentality team with tremendous athleticism and a lot of success,” said Driscoll, whose squad will be playing at Villanova on August 27 before heading south for contests against Atlantic Coast Conference foes North Carolina State on September 1 and at Wake Forest on September 3.

“They are coming off a tie and a loss this past weekend. They will be very hungry and fired up. It will be a good game; it is a cross state rivalry. They are going to be excited to play against us and our team needs to be equal to the task. It is opening night so I expect us to work extremely hard and have a good start.”

PROFESSIONAL APPROACH: Tyler Lussi dribbles the ball up the field this summer in her debut campaign for the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Recently graduated Princeton University women’s soccer star Lussi ’17, the program’s all-time leading scorer, didn’t waste any time making an impact for the Thorns, scoring a game-winning goal in her third appearance for the club. (Photo Courtesy of Portland Thorns)

Tyler Lussi was thrilled to be selected 21st overall by the Portland Thorns in National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Draft this past January but she knew it didn’t guarantee anything on the pro level. more

SOLID GOLD: Andrew Goldsmith tracks the ball in a game last fall during his senior season for the Princeton High boys soccer team. After enjoying a stellar career for PHS, Goldsmith has moved on to the Vassar College men’s soccer program where he is currently taking part in preseason practice. Vassar starts its 2017 campaign when it hosts Western Connecticut State on September 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

Over the course of his four seasons with Princeton High boys’ soccer team, Andrew Goldsmith grew into a leader and a top scorer.

In his senior campaign last fall, he served as a co-captain of the squad with Alex Ratzan and contributed 17 goals from his center midfield spot as PHS went 17-1-2 and shared the Mercer County Tournament title with the Pennington School. more

August 21, 2017

UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE: Claire Klausner gets carried off the field by her U.S. teammates after they won the gold medal in softball at the Maccabiah Games in Israel earlier this summer. The triumph capped off a superb year for the recently graduated Princeton University star who was named the 2017 Ivy Pitcher of the Year in her senior season after she helped the Tigers win their second straight league title. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Over the course of her senior season this spring with the Princeton University softball team, pitching ace Claire Klausner rose to the occasion under playoff pressure.

In the best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series against Harvard, Klausner pitched a six-hit shutout as the Tigers prevailed 1-0 in the opener on the way to a series sweep. more

August 16, 2017

MAX EFFORT: Max Veronneau battles in front of the goal in action last winter during his sophomore season for the Princeton University men’s hockey team. This summer, rising junior Veronneau took part in two National Hockey League Development Camps, skating with the Vegas Golden Knights and the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Max Veronneau got the chance to enjoy himself in Las Vegas for a few days this summer, but it had nothing to do with hitting the casinos or sampling the city’s glittering nightlife.

Instead, Princeton University men’s hockey star forward Veronneau spent his time in Sin City on the ice, taking part in the inaugural Development Camp for the Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team in the National Hockey League that is making its debut in the 2017-18 season. more

OFF THE KUFF: Princeton University men’s hockey player Ryan Kuffner glides up the ice in action for the Princeton University men’s hockey team. After a big sophomore season this past winter for the Tigers, Kuffner honed his skills this summer by skating for the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets at its Development Camp. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Ryan Kuffner isn’t about to take a day off when it comes to pursuing his goals in hockey.

“I work hard every day in the offseason and then in practice as well to try to give myself the best chance to play at the next level when I get the chance,” said Kuffner, a rising junior forward on the Princeton University men’s hockey team.  more

HIGH INTENSITY: Trish Reilly looks for the ball in action last fall during her freshman season for the Lehigh University field hockey team. Former Princeton High standout Reilly saw time at midfield and defense during the 2016 campaign, receiving the program’s Coaches Award. Reilly, who has been voted as a team captain, is looking to earn a starting role on defense this fall for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh begins its 2017 campaign when it hosts LIU-Brooklyn on August 25. (Photo Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics)

For Trish Reilly, playing college sports was a matter of following family tradition.

Her father, George, played football and competed at track at Brown University, while her mother, Ann, was a field hockey player for the Bears. Reilly’s oldest sister, Meg, played for the Muhlenberg College lacrosse program while older sister Katie was a lacrosse player at Amherst College. more

August 9, 2017

RIVETING EXPERIENCE: Julia “Cheeky” Herr flies up the ice during her career with the Trinity College women’s hockey team. Princeton native Herr skated with New York Riveters of the NWHL last year and recently signed a contract to comeback for another season with the club. (Photo Courtesy of Trinity College Sports Communications)

After enjoying a superb career for the Trinity College women’s hockey team, Julia “Cheeky” Herr was thrilled to get a tryout with the New York Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) last spring.

But after hitting the ice to show her skills to the Riveters coaching staff, Herr didn’t get any feedback from the team for weeks. more

ON THE MOVE: Ross Colton heads up the ice last winter during his freshman season for the University of Vermont men’s hockey team. Former Princeton Day School standout Colton enjoyed a big debut campaign for the Catamounts, scoring a team-high 12 goals and 15 assists to tie for second on the team in points with 27 and earn Hockey East All-Rookie honors. Colton, a fourth round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2016 NHL Draft, skated with the pro club this summer at its Development Camp. (Photo Zourtesy of University of Vermont Sports Information)

Ross Colton made quite an impact when he hit the ice for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team in 2011.

Starring from day one as a freshman that winter, Colton tallied 32 points on 24 goals and 8 assists to quickly establish himself as one of the top scoring forwards in the area. A year later, Colton raised his game, amassing 47 points on 25 goals and 22 assists. more

DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE: Eric Robinson glides up the ice last winter in his junior season with the Princeton University men’s hockey team. After totaling 15 points in his first two years with the Tigers, star forward Robinson tallied 21 points on 13 goals and eight assists in the 2016-17 campaign. This summer, Robinson skated in development camps with the Anaheim Ducks and the Boston Bruins of the NHL. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Last winter, Eric Robinson harnessed his speed to put together a sterling junior campaign for the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

After totaling 15 points in his first two seasons, the 6’2, 200-pound forward from Bellmawr tallied 21 points on 13 goals and eight assists in the 2016-17 season. more

BRONZE STAR: Olivia Hompe looks for the ball in action for England at the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup last month. Recently graduated Princeton University player Hompe starred as host England took the bronze medal at the competition. (Photo From England Lacrosse, Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Staying in the moment helped Olivia Hompe produce a lot of big moments for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team over the last four years.

Star attacker Hompe graduated from Princeton this June as the program’s all-time scoring leader with 282 points and top goal scorer with 195 goals and finished second all-time in assists with 87.  more