November 20, 2019

MILES TO GO: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Miles Ryan controls the ball in a game this fall. Sophomore midfielder Ryan was one of several young players who stepped up this season for PHS as it went 14-7 and advanced to the Mercer County Tournament semifinals and the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional quarters. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Wayne Sutcliffe has never guided such a young Princeton High boys’ soccer team in his 23 years as head coach of the program as he had this fall.

There was not a senior on the field when fifth-seeded PHS lost 1-0 to 13th-seeded and eventual sectional finalist, Long Branch, on November 1 in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinal.

While the harsh finality of the result stung, the Tigers could look ahead with justified optimism to the 2020 season.

“There’s clear desire on their part to win some silverware next year,” said Sutcliffe.  more

SPOILS OF VICTORY: Members of the Princeton Football Club (PFC) Porto U-12 boys team show off the trophy and medals they earned for winning the New Jersey Youth Soccer State President’s Cup earlier this month. The PFC team edged Cinnaminson SC Union 2-1 in overtime in the championship game on November 3 at the Capelli Sports Complex in Tinton Falls. By winning the New Jersey title, PFC qualified to compete in the East Regional, which will be held next June in Barboursville and Charleston, W. Va. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Nishanth Balaji, Mario Radzicki, Quinn Shannon, Gus Shapiro, Siddarth Goyal, and Logan Miller. In the back row, from left, are Coach Yordan Hristov, Aaron Thyrum, Vidur Jain, Trey McFadden,  Billy Crawshaw, Declan Hughes, Christian Tharney, Ivan Marinov, and Aahil Sikkander.

By Bill Alden

Yordan Hristov sensed that his PFC Porto U-12 boys’ soccer team was poised for a championship run this fall.

Hardened by losing in the state quarterfinals last spring as the bounces didn’t go the club’s way, Hristov saw a greater resolve in his players.

“I felt going into this season that we have something special going on,” said PFC Porto head coach Hristov.

“We are more prepared a little more mature and smarter. We have a little bit more determination and we all have a better understanding and the experience of the past.” more

November 13, 2019

MIDFIELD MAESTRO: Zoe Sarnak displays two of her many talents, recently performing on stage, left, and playing soccer for the Harvard women’s soccer team in 2006. Sarnak, a stellar midfielder for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team from 2001-04, will be inducted in the PHS Athletic Hall of Fame this Saturday. (Photos provided by Zoe Sarnak and Harvard Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

As an award-winning composer and lyricist, Zoe Sarnak relishes the process of combining her talents with others to create productions.

For Sarnak, working together to achieve something special stems naturally from her experience as a star midfielder for the Princeton High girls’ soccer program more than a decade ago.

“Team sports were really good because they taught me how to play a certain leadership role on a team; I definitely think they helped me in my career,” said Sarnak, a 2005 PHS grad now based in New York City whose professional resume includes such theater and songwriting honors as winning the Jonathan Larson Award and the Davenport Contest and being named as a finalist for the Fred Ebb Award, Kleban Prize, Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, and the NY Stage & Film’s Founders Award. more

SERVE AND PROTECT: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Emily Dobler blasts a serve in a match last season. Last Thursday, senior libero Dobler contributed 10 digs and nine service points in a losing cause as seventh-seeded PHS fell 2-1 to 10th-seeded East Brunswick in the second round of the state Group 4 tournament. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 19-8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming into the fall, the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team was looking for someone to fill the critical libero role.

“The libero serves as a defensive specialist and playmaker, wearing a different color jersey than her teammates to signify her unique responsibilities.

While PHS senior Emily Dobler had never played that position before, she reluctantly agreed to give it a shot.

“This is my first year paying libero, I used to be a hitter on the front row,” said Dobler.

“I wasn’t that excited about it at the beginning of the year, but it is really fun to work on getting the passes there and getting them up. I am improving on that because I never thought of myself as a passer.” more

FAST COMPANY: Members of the Princeton High girls’ cross country team take off at the start of the Mercer County Championships last month. This past Saturday, PHS took third in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet. As a result of making the top five, the Tigers qualified to compete in the state Group 4 meet this Saturday. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Three apples a day keeps the Princeton High girls’ cross country season going.

“We’ve all been eating apples all year,” said PHS veteran stalwart Lizzy Hare with a laugh. “That’s the key.”

Last Saturday at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional at Thompson Park in Jamesburg, Hare, the lone senior in the Tiger top seven, posted a personal record of 20:37 over the 5,000-meter course to come in fourth out PHS’s scoring five runners and help the squad place third in the meet.

“I think it’s very inspiring,” said Hare. “It’s really pushing us. We want to hopefully make it to Meet of Champs this year. It’s a big goal. We’ll have another hard week of training to hopefully make it out next week.” more

November 6, 2019

THRUST AND PARI: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Tulsi Pari gets the ball up the field last Friday against Newark Academy in the state Prep B final. Senior defender Pari helped top-seeded PDS edge Newark Academy 2-1 to earn the program’s sixth straight Prep title. The Panthers finished the fall with a 16-3-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for Tulsi Pari to realize that playing for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team meant that you had a bull’s-eye squarely on your back.

“It is a lot of pressure because coming in freshman year we already had that legacy and everything,” said senior defender Pari.

“Riley [Felsher], Bri [Astbury] and Ariana [Jones] are all in this together with me. The whole team has worked hard to keep this legacy up.”

Last Friday, Pari and classmates Felsher, Astbury, and Jones helped write another chapter in the program’s storied legacy as the top-seeded Panthers edged third-seeded Newark Academy 2-1 in the state Prep B final to earn their sixth straight state title and end the fall at 16-3-1. more

COMING TOGETHER: Princeton High girls’ soccer players Morgan Beamer, left, and Vanessa Ponce celebrate a goal in recent action. Fueled by team chemistry, PHS went 8-6-3 this fall, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Tournament before getting edged 1-0 at Old Bridge in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the PHS girls’ soccer team didn’t go as far in postseason play as it had hoped, Val Rodriguez believes that her senior group helped the squad accomplish something special.

“I had a group of girls that I enjoy spending time with; they are good kids, they are fun kids with good character who care about each other,” said PHS head coach Rodriguez, whose senior group included Morgan Beamer, Caroline Ealy, Molly Frain, Kirin Kunukkasseril, Shaylah Marciano, Eva Petrone, Voula Papakonstantinou, and Lauren Rougas.

“I finally reached my goal here, creating a team like that, being part of a team like that. They made that a priority this year and they stayed committed to it from start to finish. The seniors work hard, they are committed to the game and a lot of them are going on to the next level to play college sports of some kind, either lacrosse or soccer.” more

October 30, 2019

GILMORE GIRL: Princeton High girls cross country runner Charlotte Gilmore displays her form on the way to finishing third individually at the Mercer County Championships last Friday at Washington Crossing Park. Gilmore’s strong performance helped PHS take fourth in the team standings at the meet. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having emerged as the leader of the pack for the Princeton High girls’ cross country team, Charlotte Gilmore is gaining strength from numbers.

“Working as a pack has been our main focus this season and it has helped everyone,” said junior standout Gilmore.

“It has helped me individually because I know that when I pass someone, that makes it easier for the people behind me to pass them. It helps knowing that I am not just running for myself but for everyone and having that duality.”

Last Friday at the Mercer County Championships, Gilmore passed just about everybody, placing third individually in the girls’ varsity race, helping PHS take fourth in the team standings behind champion Allentown and runner-up WW/P-North and WW/P-South.

“Last year I came in 14th here, so that is exciting,” said Gilmore, who clocked a time of 19:27 over the 5,000-meter course.

“It was really cool to know from the opening to see everyone go to the front of the race and to know I am running with them.”

Running with a full squad helped PHS stay near the front of the race. more

SHEER BRILLIANCE: Princeton Day School field hockey goalie Lexie Hausheer goes to her knees to guard the cage in a 2018 game. Last Wednesday, senior star Hausheer came up big to help second-seeded PDS blank third-seeded Stuart Country Day 1-0 in the state Prep B semis. The Panthers went on to fall 2-0 at top-seeded Morristown-Beard in the Prep B final last Monday to end the fall 8-7-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lexie Hausheer has been a fixture in goal for the Princeton Day School field hockey team, starting from day one as a freshman in 2016.

Over the last four seasons, Hausheer has established herself as one of the top goalies in the area, helping the Panthers to a state Prep B title, two runner-up prep finishes, and two appearances in the Mercer County tournament final.

So when second-seeded PDS hosted third-seeded Stuart Country Day School in this year’s Prep B semis last Wednesday afternoon, Hausheer was determined to extend her career for one more game.

“I did not want my high school career to end today and I know that none of our seniors did,” said Hausheer. “We did lose a couple of key players but the whole season, this was the goal.” more

By Bill Alden

John Woodside knew that his Princeton Day School boys’ cross country team wasn’t going to be in the hunt for a title as it ran in the Mercer County Championships last Friday.

“This race today for us is not about where we are going to place, we are not able to compete with this level,” said PDS head coach Woodside.

Instead, Woodside was looking for his runners to compete hard in the competition held at Washington Crossing Park.

“We try to go out and have each one of them run their best,” said Woodside. “I think they had great spirit and great effort. The results were good.”

PDS got a very good effort from junior Gunnar Clingman, who took 31st individually in the boys’ varsity race, clocking a time of 17:11 over the 5,000-meter course. more

STEPPING UP: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Aislynn Macco, right, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Monday, sophomore midfielder Macco tallied a goal with 25 seconds left in regulation to help top-seeded PDS rally from a 1-0 halftime deficit to defeat fifth-seeded Montclair Kimberley 2-1 in the state Prep B semis. The Panthers, now 15-3-1, will host third-seeded Newark Academy in the Prep B title game on November 1 as they go for their sixth straight Prep crown. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After his Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team edged Princeton High 2-1 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals to follow up a regular season win over the crosstown rival, Pat Trombetta noted how tough it is to beat a good foe twice in the same campaign.

PDS faced the same situation in the MCT semis when the second-seeded Panthers took on a third-seeded Pennington School team it had defeated 3-1 on September 19 during regular season play.

In the rematch, a fired-up Pennington squad put the pressure on from the opening whistle, jumping out to a 1-0 halftime lead.

“In the first half, they were all over us,” said PDS head coach Trombetta. more

FINAL PUSH: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Caroline Mullen pushes the ball upfield in recent action. Senior star and co-captain Mullen enjoyed a big final campaign, helping Stuart go 11-4-1 and reach both the Mercer County Tournament final and the state Prep B semis. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When it was over, the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team didn’t want to leave the field.

Long after falling 1-0 to Princeton Day School last Wednesday in the state Prep B semis to end its season, the Stuart players sat in a circle on the ground near the bench talking things over.

Surveying the scene, Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik wasn’t surprised to see her players lingering together for one last chat with the squad’s senior group of Caroline Mullen, Aditi Mehndiratta, and Caroline Letrent. more

WILD ABOUT HARRY: Hun School boys’ cross country star Harry Carter heads to the finish line at the Mercer County Championships last Friday at Washington Crossing Park. Sophomore Carter finished 11th individually to help Hun take eighth place in the team standings at the meet. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hun School boys’ cross country star Harry Carter didn’t achieve his goal coming into the Mercer County Championships but he was still all smiles after the meet last Friday afternoon at Washington Crossing Park.

“I was shooting for a particular place, 10th, so I was one short,” said sophomore Carter, who clocked a time of 16:30 over the 5,000-meter course in taking 11th in the boys’ varsity race. “Last year I was 52nd so I did a lot better than last year.”

In reflecting on that progress, Carter credited coaching and some inspiration from one of team’s previous stars.

“Our new coach [Kurt Wayton] is really good,” said Carter, whose effort helped Hun take eighth place in the team standings at the event won by WW/P-North.

“Literally, he has helped me with everything. He has taught me so many new techniques and so many new types of training to get much better. Also, my former teammate from last year, Martin Adams motivated me to keep pushing and training.”

Pushing harder in training has helped Carter reach a higher level. “I have upped my mileage a lot in particular,” said Carter. “I am doing more like 50-60 miles a week now; last year I was at 20-30.” more

TRIPPED UP: Hun School football player Ian Franzoni gets corralled in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior star Franzoni rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns in a losing cause as Hun fell 35-32 to Peddie. The Raiders, now 6-2, wrap up their season by playing at Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) on November 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Ian Franzoni scored three long touchdowns for the Hun School football team, but it was small-yardage situations that were the undoing for the Raiders in a 35-32 loss to visiting Peddie last Saturday.

“Those types of things made a difference,” said Hun senior star running back and captain Franzoni. “We missed on three or four two-point conversions. We missed on the fourth down, that’s on me. It is what it is. We worked really hard. Those little short yardage things could have made a difference. You can’t change it now.”

Peddie improved to 7-0 while Hun dropped to 6-2. Their only other loss came at the hands of Life Christian Academy, a school in Virginia that plays a national schedule. Hun hadn’t won a game by less than 37 points on the field with a 44-7 win over Chesire Academy (Conn.) on September 7 being its closest game coming into Saturday. Hill forfeited to them October 12 and Hun routed Blair 50-12 on October 5 and Lawrenceville 54-7 on October 19. The sixth Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) school, Mercersburg Academy (Pa.), dropped football this year. Those circumstances made the game feel even bigger Saturday. more

October 23, 2019

TARTAN PRIDE: Members of the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team celebrate after scoring a goal against Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Thursday night. Seventh-seeded Stuart upset the third-seeded Redbirds 4-0 to make the final for the first time since 2008. Two days later, the Tartans went on to fall 1-0 to top-seeded and four-time defending country champion Lawrenceville in the final. This week, Stuart will pursue another title as it competes in the state Prep B tourney. The third-seeded Tartans topped Newark Academy 3-0 in an opening round contest last Monday to improve to 11-3-1 and will play at second-seeded Princeton Day School in the semis on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Missy Bruvik wasn’t sure that she had the pieces in place to mold the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team into a championship contender as the squad hit the field for preseason this August.

Missing players due to injury, travel, and other commitments, Stuart had only 11 or 12 people show up for some training sessions.

But once the school year started, things started to look up for the Tartans as the roster filled out. more

SHOWING HER A-GAME: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Adrianna Palmer, left, goes after the ball against an Allentown player last Thursday night in the Mercer County Tournament semis. Sophomore midfielder Palmer tallied a goal and an assist to help the seventh-seeded Tartans stun the third-seeded Redbirds 4-0. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the seventh-seeded Stuart Country Day School field hockey team controlling possession but locked in a 0-0 tie with third-seeded Allentown in the first half of the Mercer County Tournament semis last Thursday, Adrianna Palmer decided it was time to break the stalemate.

“We were on their goal, we were down there for most of the time,” said Stuart sophomore midfielder Palmer.

“We had to get it in so I pushed it right into the center and made sure that someone would be there to help me out.”

Tartan freshman Lily Harlan provided the helping hand, directing the Palmer hit into the back of the cage to give Stuart a 1-0 lead. more

MAKING A POINT: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Noah Lapoint clears the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior defender Lapoint helped key the back line as fourth-seeded PHS blanked 12th-seeded Hun 1-0 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. On Monday, the Tigers couldn’t hold the fort as they fell 5-2 to top-seeded Notre Dame in the MCT semis. The Tigers, now 12-6, will host Hopewell Valley on October 25 and then start play in the state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High boys’ soccer team hosted Hun School in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Saturday, it followed the formula that has led to so much postseason success for the program.

Fourth-seeded PHS got a first half goal from Nick Petruso to take the lead over 12th-seeded Hun and made that goal hold up in a 1-0 victory as a stingy Tiger defense stymied the Raiders.

“One of the things we have tried to do throughout the season is to get an early goal and then I think our defense can carry us through the rest of the game,” said PHS senior defender Noah Lapoint.

“You can see when we are playing, we let them come to us and we know when to press. We know what we are doing back there and I think that is one of our strengths.” more

SEEING RED: Princeton High field hockey player Kate Liggio, right, battles a Lawrenceville player for the ball last Thursday evening in the Mercer County Tournament semis. Senior Liggio scored the lone goal for PHS in the contest as it fell 4-1 to the Big Red, who went on to win their fourth straight country crown. The Tigers, who dropped to 13-3-1 with the loss, will start action in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional where they are seeded second and slated to host a quarterfinal contest on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After having fallen to Lawrenceville 4-2 in a regular season contest on September 14, the Princeton High field hockey team was fired up to get a rematch against the Big Red in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Thursday evening.

“Losing to them the first time provided some inspiration for tonight,” said PHS head coach Heather Serverson. “We always want to beat Lawrenceville.”

Displaying some inspired defensive play in the first half in the game played at Lawrence High in windy, chilly conditions, PHS held the fort as Lawrenceville dominated possession but led only 1-0 at intermission.

“It is always a pressured situation defensively when you are playing Lawrenceville,” said Serverson. “Our goal was to just try to keep our cool, play as a unit, and make sure that everyone is marked up.” more

GRINDING IT OUT: Princeton High football player Stephen Avis runs past an opponent in recent action. Last Friday, senior running back and tri-captain Avis rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries in a losing cause as PHS fell 47-0 to West Windsor-Plainsboro. The Tigers, now 0-6, host Hopewell Valley on October 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After playing on the offensive line for the Princeton High football team last year, Stephen Avis moved to running back this fall and has found a home in his new spot.

Last Friday night, senior Avis rumbled for 111 yards on 23 carries to provide a bright spot for PHS as it fell 47-0 at West Windsor-Plainsboro and dropped to 0-6.

Coming into the contest, Avis believed that the Tigers could move the ball on the ground against WW-P.

“We watched film all week and we felt like we could run the ball and get our run offense going,” said Avis. more

ON THE BALL: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kelly Beal goes after the ball in a game last season. Last Saturday, junior star Beal scored a goal and had an assist to help second-seeded PDS edge seventh-seeded Princeton High 2-1 in a Mercer County Tournament quarterfinal contest. The Panthers, who improved to 13-2-1 with the win, were slated to face third-seeded Pennington in the MCT semis on October 22 with the victor advancing to the title game on October 24 at The College of New Jersey. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kelly Beal and her teammates on the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team were girding for a battle as they hosted crosstown rival Princeton High in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Saturday.

“We watched a lot of game film and we saw how aggressive they were in the match before,” said PDS junior star midfielder Beal, referring to a spirited regular season clash between the rivals in early September which saw the Panthers prevail 3-1. “Going into this game, we knew what to expect. We had to out-finesse them.”

In the MCT rematch, seventh-seeded PHS outplayed second-seeded PDS in the early going, jumping off to a 1-0 lead on a brilliant volley from long distance by Kirin Kunukkasseril with 33:36 left in the half.  more

JACK OF ALL TRADES: Hun School boys’ soccer player Jack Tarzy boots the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore midfielder/forward Tarzy and 12th-seeded Hun battled hard in falling 1-0 to fourth-seeded Princeton High in a Mercer County Tournament quarterfinal contest. The Raiders, now 5-6-2, will be starting play in the state Prep A tournament this week where they are seeded fourth and will host fifth-seeded Blair in a first round contest on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

On paper, it didn’t look like the Hun School boys’ soccer team was destined to stick around very long in the Mercer County Tournament.

The MCT bracket had the 12th-seeded Raiders playing at fifth-seeded Hopewell Valley in a first round contest last Thursday.

But building on a recent hot streak, Hun pulled out a dramatic win over HoVal on penalty kicks after the teams played to a 0-0 draw through regulation and two overtimes. more

October 16, 2019

ALL IN: Hun School field hockey player Emily Albanese controls the ball in recent action. Last week, senior standout Albanese contributed a goal and an assist to help 15th-seeded Hun defeat 18th-seeded Ewing 4-0 in a Mercer County Tournament play-in game and earn its first win of the season. The Raiders went on to fall 2-0 at second-seeded Lawrence in Friday in an MCT first round contest. Hun, now 1-11, plays at Ewing on October 16, at Lawrenceville on October 19, and at Moorestown Friends on October 21. In addition, Hun will be starting play in the state Prep A tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Emily Albanese and her teammates on the Hun School field hockey team were primed for a breakthrough as they hosted Ewing in a Mercer County Tournament play-in game.

With Hun bringing a 0-9 record into the October 8 contest, it had endured a rough start to the 2019 campaign.

“We have a lot of downs, there was a lot of wanting to bring things up,” said senior defender Albanese.

The 15th-seeded Raiders got up 1-0 early in the game against 18th-seeded Ewing and never looked back on the way to a 4-0 win.

“It was clicking a lot,” said Albanese, reflecting on the team’s offensive performance against the Blue Devils. more

TOUGH COOKIE: Princeton High field hockey goalie Grace Cooke displays her game face earlier this fall. Last Thursday, senior goalie Cooke made 10 saves to help PHS edge Notre Dame 1-0 as the Tigers held their annual Senior Day celebration. Two days later, Cooke posted another shutout as fourth-seeded PHS defeated 13th-seeded Hightstown 4-0 in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament. The Tigers, who improved to 12-2-1 with win, were slated to host fifth-seeded Notre Dame in an MCT quarterfinal contest on October 15 with the victor advancing to the semis on October 17 at Lawrence High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High field hockey team held its annual Senior Day celebration last Thursday when it hosted Notre Dame, Grace Cooke had trouble believing how far she had come in her four years with the program.

Taking up the sport when she entered PHS, Cooke switched to goalie as a sophomore and emerged as one of the top keepers in the area.

“It has been a great experience; I started field hockey my freshman year, it was kind of late,” said Cooke.

“I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for everything and for everyone who supported me along the way. It was some hard work but it definitely paid off. I have had some great coaches who have helped me so much.” more

ANSWERING THE BELL: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Bella Lependorf displays her form in a match at the Mercer County Tournament in late September. Sophomore Lependorf’s three-set win at second singles gave PHS the decisive point in a 3-2 win over Marlboro in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals on October 7. PHS, which previously won the MCT team title, fell 4-1 to top-seeded East Brunswick in the sectional semis last Friday. Lependorf and the Tigers, now 12-1,  will look to complete an undefeated CVC season and earn the Colonial Division title as they host Nottingham on October 16 and Notre Dame on October 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High girls’ tennis team, surviving a Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinal clash against Marlboro last week came down to Bella Lependorf’s skills and pain threshold.

With 4th-seeded PHS locked in a 2-2 tie with fifth-seeded Marlboro in the October 7 clash, sophomore Lependorf jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third set of her match at second singles only to hurt her ankle at that point.

Undeterred, Lependorf gamely pressed on, pulling out the set and clinching the win for the Tigers.

“She got wrong-footed and her ankle rolled slightly; she really had the guts to fight through,” said PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert, noting that the match lasted three and a half hours. more

SO TOUGH: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Sophia Miranda, right, boots the ball in a game earlier this season. Junior defender Miranda’s work on the back line has helped PDS post an 11-2-1 record as it heads into postseason play. This week, the Panthers will start action in the Mercer County Tournament where they are seeded second and slated to face 15th-seeded WW/P-North in a first round contest on October 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School girls’ team soccer heads into the Mercer County Tournament, it experienced a sense of déjà vu when it surveyed this year’s bracket.

Having produced another superb campaign, PDS, now 11-2-1, is seeded second in the MCT and its road to another title game could go through such familiar foes as seventh-seeded Princeton High, third-seeded Pennington, and top-seeded Hopewell Valley if form holds.

“They always put Princeton on the same side of the bracket; it seems like that is the route every time we get there,” said Panther head coach Pat Trombetta, whose team faced PHS in the MCT semis in 2013, Pennington in the MCT semis in 2016 and 2018, HoVal in the county title game in 2013 and 2016. more