October 7, 2015

Teresa Benvenuti was down in the dumps for a few weeks last fall during her junior season with the Princeton University field hockey team, missing six games due to a broken nose.

This fall, the upbeat Benvenuti is at full strength and is savoring every minute she has been on the field.

“Someone was saying that we have six weeks left of the season and then I am a retired athlete,” said star midfielder Benvenuti with a chuckle. more

PHS 1st doubles high five afer a point.

HAND IN HAND: Princeton High girls’ tennis first double players, Rachel Kleiman, left, and Nikhita Salgame celebrate a point during their 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 win over Stephanie Ji and Kim Wong of WW/P-S in the finals of the Mercer County Tournament (MCT) last Wednesday. The win by Kleiman and Salgame at first doubles was a highlight as PHS finished second in the team standings to champion WW/P-S. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In mid-September, the Princeton High girls’ tennis first doubles team of seniors Nikhita Salgame and Rachel Kleiman fell in straight sets to the WW/PS pair of Stephanie Ji and Kim Wong in a regular season match. more


TAKING CONTROL: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer star Hannah Bunce controls the ball in recent action. Last Monday, junior midfielder Bunce chipped in an assist as PDS defeated Lawrence High 2-0 to improve to 9-0-1 and record its eighth straight shutout. The Panthers will look to keep on the winning track when they play at Hill School (Pa.) on October 7 and at Morristown on October 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team having gone undefeated in its first eight games coming into its clash against visiting Lawrenceville last Saturday, the squad’s calling card has been an even distribution of talent. more

PDS 1st singles player

SHINING SUN: Princeton Day School girls’ tennis player Renee Karchere-Sun hits a backhand last Wednesday in the first singles final at the Mercer County Tournament. Senior Karchere-Sun fell to WW/P-S’s Claudia Siniakowicz in three sets in the title match. PDS ended up taking fifth in the team standings. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Although the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis squad was out of the running for the team title at the Mercer County Tournament, by the time the singles finals started, Renee Karchere-Sun was primed to produce a championship performance. more

Last November, Ashley Maziarz blasted in a free kick from about 30 yards out in the first half to give the Hun School girls’ soccer team a 1-0 lead over Pennington in the state Prep A title game.

Maziarz’s thunderbolt helped spark Hun to a 2-0 victory over Pennington, snapping its 11-year title streak.

When the rivals met last week for the first time since that historic contest, Kendall Dandridge did her best Maziarz imitation. more


COLD SHOULDER: Hun School boys’ soccer player Chris Andrews, center, thwarts a foe as Elijah Smarr, left, backs up the play. Last Saturday, Hun got two goals from Michael Campbell as it edged the George School (Pa.) 2-1 to improve to 4-2. In upcoming action, the Raiders play at the Blair Academy on October 10 and at Princeton Day School on October 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

At first glance, it doesn’t appear that freshman defender Elijah Smarr is likely to have a major impact when he comes off the bench for the Hun School boys’ soccer team. more


RAIN MAN: Princeton University running back Joe Rhattigan heads upfield in recent action. Last Friday night, junior star Rhattigan sloshed through the rain for 85 yards rushing to help Princeton top Columbia 10-5 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 3-0 overall and 1-0 Ivy, host Colgate on October 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The conditions were miserable as the Princeton University football team hosted Columbia last Friday evening in the Ivy League opener for both squads, with a driving rain, winds gusting over 20 miles an hour, and the temperature hovering in the high 40s. more


GREEN DAY: Princeton University men’s soccer player Patrick Barba heads the ball in a 2014 game. Last Saturday, junior defender Barba and Princeton came up just short as the Tigers fell 1-0 at Dartmouth in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Princeton, which dropped to 3-3-1 overall and 0-1 Ivy with the loss to the Big Green, play at Brown (5-3 overall, 1-0 Ivy) on October 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Having started 1-2, the Princeton University men’s soccer team appeared to be on the right track, winning two straight games by a combined margin of 5-2 as it edged Boston University 2-1 before topping Binghamton 3-1. more


STORMING THROUGH: Princeton High running back Rory Helstrom runs to daylight in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star Helstrom rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown to help PHS top Lawrence 20-6. The Little Tigers, now 2-2, play at Steinert (2-1) on October 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Rory Helstrom sensed that the ground game would be critical as the Princeton High football team played at Lawrence High last Saturday. more

October 4, 2015


HIGH INTENSITY: Princeton University receiver Seth DeValve leaps up for a pass last Saturday against Lehigh. Senior star and co-captain DeValve made four receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown to help Princeton rout Lehigh 52-26. The Tigers, now 2-0, start Ivy League play when they host Columbia (0-2) on October 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Despite falling behind Lehigh 13-10 in the second quarter last Saturday evening to trail for the first time in 2015, the Princeton University football team was unfazed. more

September 30, 2015


TOP OF THE PODIUM: Princeton University fencer Katharine Holmes celebrates after winning the gold medal in the individual epee this summer at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. Holmes, who has taken a leave of absence from Princeton to maximize her chances of making the U.S. squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics, also helped the U.S. to the team epee gold at the Pan Am Games. (Photo Courtesy of the Holmes Family)

Having entered Princeton University in the fall of 2011, Katharine Holmes was scheduled to graduate this past June. more

Heading west earlier this month for its annual swing to California, the Princeton University men’s water polo team hit some turbulence.

The Tigers went 3-2, suffering a 14-6 loss to No. 8 University of California, Irvine and a 10-7 defeat to 10th-ranked University of California, Davis while posting a 12-7 win over Santa Clara, a 14-6 victory over Redlands, and 12-9 triumph over University of California, San Diego.

In assessing the trip, Princeton head coach Luis Nicolao saw plenty of positives as his team tested itself against some of the top programs in the country.

“Overall, I thought it was pretty good for us,” said Nicolao. “I still consider it part of our preseason even though we had some big games. It is a chance to see where we are and play some games that don’t really factor in our league standings but at the same time could factor in the end of the year, depending on what happens if we do well. We ran out of gas at the end against Davis.”

Starting Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Southern play last Friday at Johns Hopkins, Princeton came through at the end as it pulled out a 17-15 overtime victory against the Blue Jays after trailing 12-10 entering the fourth quarter.

“It is just one of those games you always know is going to be crazy; it was Saturday night at 8 p.m. and they had a great crowd for it,” said Nicolao, noting that the Johns Hopkins pool has a shallow end.

“It was a typical game at that facility; it was just back and forth, we are very fortunate to get out with a win and that is what I told the guys, we found a way to win,  let’s get out of here.”

The Tigers are fortunate to have senior star Thomas Nelson, who matched a career-best with six goals in the victory over Hopkins and now has a team-high 33 goals on the season.

“Tommy is a great player; he  has always been a tough competitor,” asserted Nicolao.

“He is one of those guys that you know game in, game out, he is going to compete. He may not have the best game of the day but you can expect Tommy to compete every time he is in the water.”

A day later, Princeton competed well at George Washington, jumping out to a 4-2 lead on the way to a 14-9 victory as Nelson and freshman Ryan Wilson scored four goals apiece with freshman Michael Swart and junior Jovan Jeremic each chipping in two goals.

“I think it helps to get that first shallow game; you come back the next game and you know what to expect a little more,” said Nicolao, whose team improved to 9-3 overall and 2-0 CWPA with the victory.

“We were able to get an early lead and that helped not worry about mistakes and just go out and play.”

The play of newcomers Wilson (21 goals in 2015) and Swart (21 goals) has been a big help to the Tigers.

“We have three freshmen who can really help us,” said Nicolao. “Matt Payne (6 goals) is out with illness, he will be back soon. Swart and Wilson have been really good. That freshman class is going to help us all year. They are really great players, they are intense. They love to play and love to compete. It has made us a little deeper than last year. I think it will help us a lot that we have more guys who can score.”

Sophomore Jordan Colina has emerged as another key scoring threat for 11th-ranked Princeton, having tallied 24 goals and eight assists so far.

“Jordan is a solid, smart player who always finds himself in the right place at the right time for goals,” said Nicolao.

“He moves very well. You throw him in with the three freshmen, we can really swim teams. We have a lot of speed. I think Jordan can have a great year.”

With Princeton falling just short of the CWPA title and a bid to the NCAA tournament last year with a 7-6 loss to Brown in the championship game, Nicolao believes the Tigers can take the next step this season.

“We have a great team, the guys get along very well,” said Nicolao, whose squad is next in action when it plays at Bucknell on October 10.

“It is a long ride. I think we are going to be there at the end. It is just a matter of who gets those breaks in the last weekend. I think last year is going to help us keep motivated and hungry. We have to play well to win this thing.”


LOCKING HORNS: Princeton High star lineman Noah Ziegler, left, battles a Hightstown blocker last Friday night. Senior tri-captain Ziegler starred at defensive end and offensive tackle in a losing cause as PHS fell 35-21 to the visiting Rams under the lights at Harris Field. The Little Tigers, now 1-2, play at Lawrence on October 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As a three-year starter for the Princeton High football team, senior lineman Noah Ziegler strives to set a daily tone for the squad. more

Avery Peterson is only a junior but she sees herself filling the big sister role for the Princeton High field hockey team.

“Last year, two captains, Lucy Herring and Campbell McDonald, were on my line and I was the underclassman,” said Peterson.

“Now as an upperclassman, I take it as my role to help the other forwards. I hope to improve Maggie Lynch, who is a senior, and Mariana Lopez-Ona. I look at them as little sisters this year. I feel that I really need to step up and be the one the team can rely on.”

Last Saturday morning against visiting Ewing, Peterson stepped up early tallying a goal four minutes into the contest, setting the tone as PHS cruised to a 6-0 win over the Blue Devils.

“This was our homecoming game so we wanted to come out with a strong mentality,” said Peterson. “That goal was more of a scrum on the goal line and I pushed it in. I had a lot of help from Mariana Lopez-Ona and Jordyn Cane.”

In Peterson’s view, PHS is coming on strong, having learned lessons from early-season defeats to Lawrenceville, Allentown, and Peddie.

“We started with some really tough games; it helped our mentality and fired us up,” said Peterson, who added two more goals last Monday as PHS edged Hopewell Valley 3-2 to win its third straight game and improve to 5-3-1.

“We took those losses as learning opportunities and we continued to expand on things that we learned from each game. It has really helped us that we had strong challenges in the beginning.”

PHS head coach Heather Serverson is pleased with the way Peterson has expanded her role on the team.

“I think that being the only returning forward, she has a lot of weight on her shoulders and she is starting to relax a bit,” said Serverson.

“She has been on lately, she is getting a lot of tips. Basically the other forwards are all brand new and she is trying to help them all along while trying to  perform well herself. It is a lot of work that she has to do. She is doing very well.”

In reflecting on the win over Ewing, Serverson saw it as a positive step for her squad.

“In general, they did improve on some things we have been working on from the losses we have already had,” said Serverson.

“It is the passing game and not dribbling so much and really making sure you look up and are aware of the next pass before you have the ball. Those things were good today and I think we executed some corners well.”

Senior midfielder and Lehigh-bound Trish Reilly has been executing particularly well for PHS.

“Trish is our anchor in the middle, she is kind of like the quarterback who plays halfway up in the group,” explained Serverson of Reilly, who tallied two goals and an assist in the win over Ewing and then contributed a goal in the victory over HoVal.

“She is able to keep everyone calm, she is a great communicator. She has a good mind-set for someone who needs to make others look good, she understands that and she isn’t always trying to score the goals.”

Another player who has been looking good for the Little Tigers is versatile junior Jordyn Cane, who had two goals against Ewing and an assist against HoVal.

“We have been moving Jordyn around a little bit; she is the kind of player who can do that so she has been a good person to have on the team,” added Serverson.

“She is willing to do whatever I need her to do and she always steps up to the plate. I am happy with the way she is playing.”

Overall, Serverson is happy with her team’s progress. “I think we are starting to find our new normal, which is what we have been working on this season,” said Serverson, whose team hosts WW/P-N on September 30 before playing at WW/P-S on October 2, and at Hun on October 5.

“We lost key players and that is hard. I think they relied on them a lot more than I thought they did. I think the key piece of that is that they played together so long. It is more than losing the players, we lost their tightness on the field.”

Peterson, for her part, feels that PHS is developing into a tight unit. “It is a newer team, almost half the team is new girls,” said Peterson. “I think we are really coming together now especially with those hard losses in the beginning.”


GIFT OF GAB: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Gabrielle Deitch, right, chases after a ball in a 2014 game. Last Saturday against visiting Ewing, senior midfielder and tri-captain Deitch scored a goal but it wasn’t enough as PHS fell 3-2 to the Blue Devils. PHS, which dropped to 3-1 with the setback, was slated to play at Lawrence on October 1 before hosting Steinert on October 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Hosting Ewing last Saturday, the Princeton High girls’ soccer team got an early wake-up call as it yielded two unanswered goals in the first five minutes of the contest. more

For John Woodside, taking the helm of the Princeton Day School cross country program this fall was a matter of coming through for a good friend.

When previous PDS head coach Merrell Noden realized last year that he might be losing his valiant battle with cancer, he reached out to Woodside, a running buddy and former Princeton High boys’ cross country and track coach.

“Last winter I would officiate at some of the Lawrenceville meets and Merrell came to watch (his son) Sam run,” recalled Woodside, who first met Noden, a former Lawrenceville and Princeton University running star, in the 1970s, striking up a friendship through racing against him and running together through the years.

“He said to me, ‘John, look the truth is, I don’t really know if I am going to be able to coach next year because physically I am not able to so if I can’t coach, I really want you to take over.’”

While Woodside didn’t want things to come to that, by late April, Noden formally stepped down from his coaching duties. PDS contacted Woodside and he was quickly hired to guide the Panther boys’ and girls’ cross country programs.

Initially, Woodside believed that Noden would be available to assist him.

“I had expected him to be around and I was really looking forward to it because the kids would really like it and it would have been great for him,” said Woodside, who stopped coaching at PHS after the 2012 cross country season.

“We planned on having the team meeting the last week of school. Merrell had said it would be nice if we all could meet and he could introduce me as the new coach but that didn’t happen.”

Noden died in late May, leaving a huge void in the PDS and local running community.

Woodside acknowledges that the transition was a bit rocky as he succeeded the beloved Noden.

“I am a very different coach; Merrell and I were good friends but we coach differently,” said Woodside.

“I have to coach them the way I coach them. I have a way of coaching that is different so there is an adjustment but I think that is coming along now. They are getting used to what I expect of them. We are working with a good group of kids, the kids that really want to run and to compete are there.”

In Woodside’s view, that work is starting to pay dividends. “You understand the situation and you just work with what you have and we did,” said Woodside, noting that he had runners joining the team at different times, starting with the first day of preseason in late August through the first week of school.

“We have some kids who can run and they are learning my system. They are taking to it. I feel like it is finally kicking into gear.”

As for the PDS boys’ squad, junior Kevin Sun is hitting a higher gear at the head of the pack, followed by junior Russell Kirczow and sophomore Nicholas McLean.

“Kevin is our top runner; he is a true distance runner,” said Woodside. “He truly loves running long distances. We are trying to work on getting his 5k faster. He is adjusting to that. He is very, very dedicated to cross country. He is running well and I think he is going to run even better. Russell was one who came out when school started. He is a good runner. He is a good baseball player so this is his second sport. He is getting in shape. He really wants to get in there and compete. He has been making strides. Nick McLean has been running very well, he is going to be even better.”

On the girls’ side, junior Morgan Mills has been running very well for the Panthers, along with sophomore Bridget Kane and senior Emma Sharer.

“Morgan is solidly our top girl,” asserted Woodside. “She is very competitive, she plays lacrosse as well. She has really taken to the new style and the more competitive focus. She loves it, she really wants to do well. She really wants to improve herself and she is making strides. I am hoping that as we get into October here, her times will come down further. Emma Sharer and Bridget Kane are running similar times, they have been improving. They plateaued a little and now they are getting better.”

With PDS hosting Lawrenceville for a dual meet on October 3, Woodside believes his runners will be primed to compete.

“We are going to run hard and be ready to run what I consider our first real race,” said Woodside, whose team has previously taken part in the George School (Pa.) Invitational and the Newark Academy Invitational along with a dual meet against Rutgers Prep.

“The races we did already were just training. We had so much work to do we couldn’t stop training just to do races. We trained through the races; they weren’t really race ready.”

Woodside is confident that PDS will be ready to peak when it ends the fall with the Prep B championship meet on October 28 at Blair Academy.

“There is no question that the Prep B is the focus of our season,” said Woodside, who is also looking for a good effort in the county meet which takes place five days before. “That meet is the culmination; that is the holy grail.”

l-r #10 and #20

COLE POWER: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Cole Snyder, right, fights for the ball in recent action. Last Thursday, senior forward and tri-captain Snyder scored a goal and added two assists to help PHS top Ewing 4-1. Two days later, Snyder chipped in a goal as the Little Tigers defeated the Lawrenceville School 2-0. PHS, which improved to 6-0-1 with the win over the Big Red, hosts Lawrence High on October 1 before playing at Steinert on October 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As a senior and a battle-tested veteran on the Princeton High boys’ soccer, Cole Snyder is taking charge on the field this season for the squad. more


BRIGHT HUE: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Cate Donohue goes after the ball in a 2014 game. Last Saturday, senior forward and tri-captain Donohue contributed an assist to help Stuart top WW/P-S 2-0 as it earned its first win of the season. The Tartans, who improved to 1-6-1 with the victory, are slated to host the George School (Pa.) on October 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team trailing Blair Academy 1-0 in the the early going last Wednesday, Cate Donohue saw an opportunity and seized it. more

September 23, 2015

Nico Hurtado sees himself as a facilitator for the Princeton University men’s soccer team.

“I am just trying to be the playmaker, trying to set guys up with my passing and hopefully get some goals later on,” said Hurtado, a 5’11, 160-pound senior midfielder from Key Biscayne, Fla. more


A-GAME: Princeton University women’s soccer players Mimi Asom, left, and Haley Chow celebrate after a goal in a 6-0 win against Howard in late August. Last Sunday, freshman forward Asom scored a golden goal in overtime to give Princeton a 2-1 win over 23rd-ranked William and Mary. She was later named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for her heroics. The Tigers, now 5-3, start Ivy play by hosting Yale on September 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For Mimi Asom, making the jump to college soccer has kept her on the move.

“I have never really been a player before this who just goes and goes; I have always been more of a pick my moment player,” said Asom, a freshman forward on the Princeton University women’s soccer team. more


ROARING BACK: Princeton High running back Rory Helstrom heads upfield in 2014 action. Last Friday at Ewing, senior star Helstrom rushed for 236 yards to help PHS rally from a 20-7 first half deficit and pull out a 34-27 victory. The Little Tigers, now 1-1, host Hightstown on September 25 under the lights at Harris Field. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

After losing to Hamilton in its season opener on September 12, the Princeton High football team felt a heightened sense of urgency as it got ready for its game at Ewing last Friday night. more

#12 gets congrats after she scored a 2nd half goal for PDS

TIME TO CELEBRATE: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer star Damali Simon-Ponte celebrates after a goal in a game earlier this fall. Last week, sophomore star Simon-Ponte scored the winning goal as PDS edged Hun 2-1 in a battle of defending state prep champions. The Panthers, who topped Montgomery 1-0 last Monday to improve to 3-0-1, host Peddie on September 24, play at Blair Academy on September 26, and host Hamilton on September 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

It was a clash of defending state prep champions last week as the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team, the 2014 Prep B victor, hosted the Hun School, the winner of last year’s Prep A tournament. more

l-r #11 PDS and #23 Stuart

FORWARD PROGRESS: Princeton Day School field hockey player Madison Mundenar goes after the ball in recent action. Last Thursday, sophomore forward Mundenar chipped in a goal and an assist in a losing cause as PDS fell 7-2 to Germantown Academy (Pa.). The Panthers, who lost 1-0 to Hun last Monday to move to 1-4, play at Peddie on September 24 and at Blair on September 26 before hosting Morrisville High (Pa.) on September 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Coming into its game against visiting Germantown Academy last Thursday, the Princeton Day School field hockey team had one main point of emphasis. more

Last fall, the Hun School girls’ soccer team started the season with a 2-1 defeat to South Brunswick but hardly lost again, going 14-4-1 on the way to the state Prep A title.

Playing at Princeton Day School, the defending Prep B champs, on September 15 to open its 2015 campaign, Hun dropped a 2-1 nail-biter. more


ON THE MOVE: Hun School football player Luke Apuzzi makes a move last Friday in Hun’s 70-6 season-opening win over Wyoming Seminary. Senior wide receiver Apuzzi, a transfer from rival Lawrenceville, made five receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Hun plays at Poly Prep (N.Y.) on September 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

There is no doubt that one of the more heated rivalries in local high school football circles pits the Hun School against the Lawrenceville School. more