May 16, 2018

JACK OF ALL TRADES: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Jack Konopka controls the ball against Hightstown in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Thursday. Senior star Konopka contributed an assist and good work on face-offs to help the Panthers prevail 9-3 and win their third straight county crown. Earlier in the week, Konopka tallied three goals and two assists to help PDS pull away to a 14-4 win over Robbinsville in the MCT semifinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last spring, Nick Day starred as a face-off man extraordinaire for the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team.

With Day having graduated and now playing at Bowdoin, senior Jack Konopka stepped into the face-off role this year.

“For me, most of the year, I have been a scrappy guy who tries to create a 50/50 ground ball for our wings to win it,” said Konopka. more

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Members of the Princeton High boys’ track and field team celebrate last Saturday after they dominated the competition on the way to winning the Mercer County Championships. PHS won 10 of 18 events in the meet held at Steinert High and piled up 136.50 points with runner-up Trenton far behind with 57. In so doing, the Little Tigers achieved the “triple crown” of county titles as they have won the boys’ cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track crowns this school year. PHS will go after another title when it competes in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet on May 25-26.

By Bill Alden

Last May, the Princeton High boys’ track and field team was bitterly disappointed when it fell one point short of winning the Mercer County Championships.

“The moment we lost that meet by one point, the guys looked at each and said we are not letting this happen again,” said Ben Samara, the associate head coach of the PHS boys’ and girls’ teams. more

COMING THROUGH: Princeton High baseball player Tommy Reid takes a swing in recent action. Junior star Reid came through with some clutch hitting to help seventh-seeded PHS advance to the Mercer County Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2005. The Little Tigers fell 4-2 to third-seeded Nottingham last Monday in the semis to move to 13-8. PHS will look to produce another deep run as it competes in the upcoming state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High baseball team, getting to open the Mercer County Tournament with a home game proved to the catalyst for a memorable run.

Hosting 10th-seeded Hightstown in the first-round matchup on May 7, seventh-seeded PHS came through with a 4-0 win.  more

THIRD DEGREE: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Brooks Johnson marks a Hightstown attacker in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Thursday. Senior star and Gettysburg College-bound defender Johnson helped key a stifling performance as second-seeded PDS defeated top-seeded Hightstown 9-3 to earn its third straight county crown and end the spring with 10-5 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Brooks Johnson and his teammates on the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team know how to handle the high-stakes atmosphere of the Mercer County Tournament championship game.

Having won county crowns in 2016 and 2017 and advancing to the final in 2015, the second-seeded Panthers brought a sense of calm to the field when they faced top-seeded Highstown in this year’s title game last Thursday at WW/P-North. more

FIGHTING TO THE END: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Kate Bennett, center, draws a crowd as she goes to goal against Morristown-Beard in the state Prep B title game last Monday. PDS senior star and Dartmouth-bound Bennett tallied three goals and an assist, but it wasn’t enough as the third-seeded Panthers fell 10-9 to the fifth-seeded Crimson on a last second goal. PDS, which was seeking a fourth-straight Prep B crown, ended the spring with an 8-9 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last Monday was a date that had been circled on the calendar all spring for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team.

It was the state Prep B championship game and, having won three straight crowns, the program was shooting from day one of the season to achieve a four-peat. more

GOOD RUN: Hun School baseball Adam Wijaya runs to first base in recent action. Senior third baseman Wijaya starred as Hun advanced to the Mercer County Tournament semifinals for the first time in 11 years. The fifth-seeded Raiders topped 12th-seeded Pennington 8-5 in a first-round contest on May 7 and then upended fourth-seeded Steinert 5-2 last Wednesday. Hun’s county run ended when it fell 9-0 to top-seeded Hopewell Valley in the semis last Monday evening. The Raiders, now 13-6, will be going after a third consecutive state Prep A title this week. Top-seeded Hun will host fourth-seeded Peddie School in a first round game on May 16 with the double elimination tournament to wrap up this weekend at Peddie from May 19-20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having experienced a number of early exits in the Mercer County Tournament in recent years, the Hun School baseball team was determined to make a deep run in the tourney this spring.

Hosting 12th-seeded Pennington in the opening round last week, fifth-seeded Hun didn’t waste any time showing that it meant business, scoring a run in the first inning and five in the second on the way to an 8-5 victory. more

May 9, 2018

SAVING GRACE: Hun School girls’ lacrosse goalie Lauren Cunniff makes a save in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Cunniff made 11 saves in a losing cause as 10th-seeded Hun fell 6-1 at seventh-seeded Hightstown in the second round of the Mercer County Tournament. The Raiders, now 6-9, will wrap up their season by hosting WW/P-North on May 10 and playing at Morristown on May 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at seventh-seeded Hightstown last Thursday afternoon in the second round of the Mercer County Tournament, the 10th-seeded Hun School girls’ lacrosse team was on track for an upset in the early going.

The teams were tied 1-1 at halftime and Hun head coach Liz Cook was encouraged by how her team started. “I felt we played them really well in the first half,” said Cook, who got a goal from Lauren John at the 6:26 mark of the contest and saw her defense hold the Rams scoreless until 47 seconds before intermission. more

ASSISTING HAND: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Shaylah Marciano gathers in the ball during a recent game. Last Saturday, sophomore star Marciano tallied nine points on four goals and five assists as fourth-seeded PHS defeated fifth-seeded Princeton Day School 21-11 in the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Tournament. Marciano, who leads the state in assists with 60, passed the 100-assist mark in her career in the win over the Panthers. The Little Tigers, now 8-8, were slated to face top-seeded Lawrenceville in the MCT semis on May 8 with the victor advancing to the title game on May 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Shaylah Marciano, playing goalie in soccer and point guard in basketball has given her a better perspective on the field for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team.

“As a point guard in basketball, it is kind of my job to be able to see everybody and where everyone is going,” said sophomore midfielder Marciano. “In soccer, being able to see the whole field really opens up things.” more

COOKING UP A WINNER: Princeton High baseball player Paul Cooke takes a swing in a game earlier this season. PHS senior star Cooke had a double and an RBI as seventh-seeded PHS defeated 10th-seeded Hightstown 4-0 in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament. The Little Tigers, now 11-7, play at second-seeded Allentown in the MCT quarters on May 9 with the victor advancing to the semis on May 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Paul Cooke’s uniform was caked with dirt, reflecting his role in the middle of the action as the Princeton High baseball team celebrated its Senior Day with a walk-off win over visiting Lawrence last Wednesday.

Senior outfielder Cooke slammed an RBI single to help ignite a two-run rally in the bottom of the first inning and legged out an infield single in the bottom of the fifth. He ended the day by lofting a sacrifice fly to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Little Tigers a 4-3 triumph. more

ON TARGET: Hun School boys’ lacrosse player Devon Cowan celebrates after a goal last Monday as top-seeded Hun hosted third-seeded Lawrenceville in the state Prep A title game. Junior attackman Cowan scored three goals to help the Raiders prevail 9-6. Hun, now 9-2, will next be in action when it competes in the National Prep Championships from May 16-18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Devon Cowan’s left hand was partially covered by a cast, but that wasn’t about to slow him down as top-seeded Hun hosted third-seeded Lawrenceville in the state Prep A title game last Monday.

“I broke my hand a couple of games ago,” said junior attackman and co-captain Cowan, who had scored four goals when Hun fell 10-9 to Lawrenceville in a regular season meeting on April 7. more

GROWING THE GAME: Lefika Ragonste, right, coaches a junior player. Ragonste, a former Trinity College standout, recently started the New Jersey Squash Club in Lawrenceville, offering a number of playing options, both on a daily pay-to-play basis and for membership.

By Bill Alden

Lefika Ragonste has been into expanding the reach of squash since he was a grade schooler.

As a 10-year-old, he started playing squash in his native Botswana. By the time he was a teenager, he had won junior titles in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

After high school, he played in Canada and England. In 1998, he came to the U.S. to attend Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and join its powerhouse squash program. more

May 2, 2018

By Bill Alden

Lex Decker savored things as he competed in the Mercer County Tournament last week in his final season with the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team.

“It has been quite a career, quite a four years for me,” said Decker. “I love coming here to the these courts.”

Decker did well again at the Mercer County Park tennis complex, posting straight-set wins in the preliminary round matches at first singles on April 23 to advance to the semis on Thursday. more

By Bill Alden

In his first two seasons with the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team, Jack Ruddy soaked up some valuable lessons from star defender Chris Fake.

“I was fortunate enough to have Chris Fake with me; he was my leader,” said Ruddy of Fake, who is now starting as a freshman for the top-ranked Yale men’s lax team. more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Ben Drezner unloads the ball in recent action. Junior attacker Drezner and the Little Tigers, now 5-7, start play in the Mercer County Tournament this week where they are seeded fourth and slated to host a quarterfinal contest on May 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at undefeated Hightstown last Friday, the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team faced an uphill battle.

“We were a little strapped, we had some guys injured,” said PHS head coach Chip Casto, whose team brought a three-game winning streak into the contest. more

SECOND ACT: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jerry Gu smacks a backhand in action last week at the Mercer County Tournament. Junior Gu won the title at second singles to help PHS tie WW/P-North for second in the team standings behind champion WW/P-South. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Noah Lilienthal was back where he belonged as he competed for the Princeton High boys’ tennis team last week as the Mercer County Tournament.

After winning the MCT title at first singles as a freshman in 2015 and then taking second the next year, Lilienthal took a hiatus from the PHS team last spring due to other commitments. The skilled senior lefty returned to the team and playing in his final MCT, he advanced to the first singles final in the stadium court last Thursday at the Mercer County Park’s tennis complex. more

G-WHIZ: Hun School softball player Gigi Venizelos takes a swing in recent action. Sophomore shortstop Venizelos has helped Hun post five straight wins after a 1-4 start. Hun plays at the Hill School (Pa.) on May 2, hosts WW/P-North on may 3, plays at Hopewell Valley on May 5 and hosts Pingry on May 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

After putting together a 14-2 record on the way to the state Prep A title in 2017, the Hun School softball team struggled in the early going this spring.

Hun went 1-4 in its first five games, including losses to Lawrenceville, WW/P-South and Blair Academy, as it failed to display the sharp play that was a constant last spring. more

ON A MISSION: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Elon Tuckman heads upfield in a game earlier this spring. Last Monday, senior star Tuckman tallied a goal and an assist in a losing cause as second-seeded PDS fell 8-4 to third-seeded Lawrenceville in the state Prep A semis. The Panthers, now 7-5, will start competition in the Mercer County Tournament this week. PDS, which has won two straight MCT titles, is seeded second and will host a quarterfinal contest on May 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Elon Tuckman has hit some major milestones this spring in his senior season with the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team but he isn’t dwelling on personal stats.

While he is proud to have achieved both 100-goal and 200-point career marks in the 2018 campaign, Tuckman is focused more on collective goals for the Panthers. more

April 25, 2018

ON THE ATTACK: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Ali Hannah heads up the field in a game this spring. Last week, senior star attacker Hannah tallied seven goals and two assists to help Stuart defeat Rutgers Prep 12-5. The Tartans, who defeated Hamilton 13-4 last Monday with Hannah scoring six goals to improve to 3-4, play at Hightstown on April 25, and at Princeton Day School on April 28 before hosting Lawrence High on May 1. Stuart will also be starting play in the state Prep B tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ali Hannah was determined to keep things simple as she hit the field for the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team when it hosted Rutgers Prep last week. 

“I try to be aggressive all the time,” said senior attacker Hannah.

“We do personal and team goals before the game and my personal goal was to stay aggressive and really fight for those re-defending positions on attack.” more

HALL PASS: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Kyra Hall, center, battles through two foes in a game last spring. Last Thursday, senior attacker Hall tallied four goals, including the 100th of her career, as PDS topped Peddie 13-10. The Panthers, who fell 17-8 to Moses Brown to move to 3-5, play at Pingry on April 26, and hosts Stuart Country Day on April 28 before starting play in the state Prep B tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Kyra Hall, helping the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team defeat Peddie 13-10 last Thursday proved to be a landmark day in her final campaign with the program.

The senior attacker hit the 100-goal mark in her career and broke out of a slump in the process.

“Peddie was exciting. I had a rough start to the season trying to figure out my shot and getting back to it,” said Hall. more

WAY TO BE: Princeton High softball player Bianca Guidi makes a play in the infield during a game earlier this season. Senior shortstop Guidi has provided leadership and production for the Little Tigers this spring. PHS, which fell 20-0 to Robbinsville last Monday to drop to 1-8, plays at Hopewell Valley on April 25 and at WW/P-South on April 27 before hosting WW/P-S on April 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While Marissa Soprano acknowledges that the Princeton High softball team is taking its lumps early on this spring, she believes it is a necessary part of the growth process for a young squad.

“We have been struggling; we have a lot of girls who haven’t played at the varsity level before, so we are just trying to get them to improve,” said PHS head coach Soprano after the Little Tigers fell 21-0 to visiting Hightstown last Wednesday. more

BIG SHOT: Princeton High boys’ track star Paul Brennan competes in the shot put during a meet last season. This past Saturday, junior star Brennan came up big as PHS competed in the Mercer Relays last Saturday at WW/P-North. He helped PHS win the discus relay at the meet posting a best mark of 164’ 7 with teammate Ben Kioko producing a heave of 111’ 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the county meet and state competition on the horizon, the Princeton High boys’ track team served notice that it will be a title contender as it dominated the Mercer Relays last Saturday.

Showing its quality and depth, PHS won the unofficial team title 86-69 over Hamilton West in the meet held at WW/P-North. more

TOUGHING IT OUT: Hun School baseball player McGwire Tuffy takes a big swing in recent action. Last Thursday, junior shortstop and co-captain Tuffy went 3-for-3 with a double, triple, three runs scored, and an RBI as Hun defeated Lawrenceville 8-3. In upcoming action, the Raiders, who dropped a doubleheader to the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Saturday to fall to 6-4, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on April 25, host Blair on April 28, and then play Trenton Catholic that evening at Veterans Park in Hamilton, and then host Hill on April 30 and Peddie on May 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the leadoff hitter for the Hun School baseball team, McGwire Tuffy prides himself on being a catalyst for the Raiders.

“I love it,” said junior shortstop Tuffy, in reflecting on being at the top of the order. “I love getting on. I love stealing.” more

April 18, 2018

IN SERVICE: Princeton Day School boys’ tennis player Lex Decker fires a serve in a match last season. Senior star Decker has been a constant at first singles this spring for PDS as the Panthers have gotten off to a 3-1 start. In upcoming action, PDS has home matches against Hopewell Valley on April 18, Pennington on April 19, and Upper Canada College on April 21 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on April 23 at Mercer County Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It has been a bumpy ride so far this spring for the Princeton Day School boys tennis team as injury and various player absences have prevented it from putting its top lineup out on the court.

But reflecting the depth of talent in the program, the Panthers have still produced an encouraging 3-1 start with wins over Gill St. Bernard’s, Hun, and Peddie. more

ON FIRE: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Mariana Lopez-Ona eludes a defender in recent action. Last Monday, junior star Lopez-Ona tallied four goals and an assist to help PHS defeat Hightstown 15-7. The Little Tigers, now 4-5 after starting 0-4, host Hopewell Valley on April 20 before playing at Pingry on April 21 and WW/P-North on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mariana Lopez-Ona and her Princeton High girls’ lacrosse teammates knew they were in for a challenge as they hosted powerful Allentown last week.

But having already faced a gauntlet of formidable foes such as Hunterdon Central, Notre Dame, and Rumson-Fair Haven, PHS wasn’t fazed by taking on the Redbirds. more

By Bill Alden

When singles stars Noah Lilienthal and Jerry Gu decided to not play for the Princeton High boys’ tennis team last spring due to other commitments, it gave other players the chance to step up and gain some valuable experience.

PHS ended up going 14-5 in 2017, advancing to the North 2 Group 3 sectional quarterfinals as Kevin Yang starred at first singles, giving the squad some yeoman’s work in that spot. more