December 5, 2018

ROCK SOLID: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Rocco Salvato, right, goes after the puck in recent action. Junior defenseman Salvato has starred at both ends of the ice as PHS has gotten off to a 3-0 start. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers are slated to play Lawrence High on December 5, WW/P-South on December 7, and Monroe on December 11, with all three contests taking place at the Mercer County Park rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As a freshman in the 2016-17 season, Rocco Salvato quickly established himself as a key scoring threat at forward for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team.

Last winter, Salvato got switched to defense late in the season to shore up that unit for the playoff push, starring as PHS advanced to the Mercer County Tournament title game and the state Public B semis. more

COOL HAND LUKE: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Luke Antonacci heads up the ice in recent action. Last Monday, sophomore forward Antonacci had two goals and three assists to help PDS defeat Morristown-Beard 13-2. The Panthers, now 2-1, play at the Portledge School (N.Y.) on December 5 and at Delbarton on December 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Luke Antonacci was determined to help the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team get off to a good start as it hosted Gloucester Catholic last Thursday, looking to bounce back from an opening day loss.

“We just wanted put pucks on the net, get shots in goal,” said Antonacci, reflecting on the team’s mindset in the wake of a 2-1 loss to St. Joe’s Prep two days earlier in the first game of the 2018-19 campaign. “Everyone was desperate to score.” more

By Bill Alden

Liz Sharlow first got the itch to coach while playing for the Lehigh University women’s basketball team from 2012-2016.

“We had a camp each summer, usually at the end of June, and that is when I really started enjoying coaching the younger girls,” said Sharlow, a four-year performer and a senior captain for the Mountain Hawks.

Her desire to get into coaching was reinforced when she stayed at Lehigh to earn a masters degree in school counseling and worked as a grad assistant for the school’s Varsity Strength and Conditioning team. more

By Bill Alden

Coming off a rough 4-19 campaign last winter, the Hun School boys’ basketball team is eager to turn the page as it heads into the 2018-19 season.

“We have got a lot of new faces,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone, noting that his roster includes five players new to the school, two new to varsity completely, and one who played on both JV and varsity last year.

“This year, the energy has been good and the atmosphere has been good. We are talking a lot about building a positive culture. With the new faces, we are going to have to build that chemistry pretty quickly here.”

Last weekend, Hun showed some positive signs, defeating the St. James School (Md.) 73-43 on Friday before getting edged by the Westtown School (Pa.) 50-43 a day later to move to 1-2. more

BACK IN TOWN: Doug Davis running the show during his career with the Princeton University men’s basketball team. Davis, a former Hun School standout and all-time Princeton great, is returning to the area this winter to take the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball program. The Panthers started their season by defeating Pennington 65-59 on Friday in the opening round of the Solebury (Pa.) Shootout before falling 67-59 to the George School (Pa.) in the title game a day later. PDS hosts the Shipley School (Pa.) on December 6 before playing at the George School (Pa.) on December 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Doug Davis stands out as a leading light on the Princeton basketball scene in the last decade

After a stellar career for the Hun School boys’ basketball team, where he scored more than 1,000 points and helped the Raiders to the state Prep A title in 2007, Davis went on to Princeton University and joined its men’s basketball program.

Over his four years with the Tigers, Davis scored 1,550 points, the second most in program history at the time of his graduation in 2012, and famously hit the buzzer beater against Harvard in the Ivy League playoff as a junior that sent the Tigers to the NCAA tournament.

Now Davis is returning to the local hoops scene, taking the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team.

As Davis works with his new players, he will be drawing on his Princeton experience.

“I don’t think you can go through Princeton and play at Princeton and not incorporate that style of basketball of offense and defense into the way you teach the game,” said Davis, who was the head coach at the Berkshire School (Mass.) the last two years.

A big part of that approach centers on daily work ethic. “The guys have been in the gym; it is establishing that basketball culture,” said Davis.

“It was such a part of my development as a player, getting in the gym. If you are taking basketball seriously and you are trying to play at the next level, then you are in the gym working out. Most of our guys were in there; training and trying to get ready as best they can for the varsity season. It is really good.”

Last weekend, the Panthers got off to a good start, defeating rival Pennington 65-59 on Friday in the opening round of the Solebury (Pa.) Shootout before falling 67-59 to the George School (Pa.) in the title game a day later.

Davis is looking for senior star guard David “Diggy” Coit to take things to a higher level this winter.

“He is small but he has a lot of game to him,” said Davis. “He is gong to be huge for our team. We are really relying on his leadership this year at guard to be able to put people in position, when to score, when not to score, when to pass, when not to pass and being the pulse of our team.”

A pair of sophomores, Dameon Samuels and Freddie Young Jr., also bring a lot of game to the table in the backcourt.

“We will be relying on those two as well to be leaders in their own right and step into that role,” said Davis, who will also be using junior Jomar Meekins at guard.

“They are no longer freshmen, they shouldn’t be making the same mistakes that they made last year. I am going to coach them hard because I feel like they are the future of the program.”

Junior Jaylin Champion will be hard to stop in a swing role for the Panthers.

“I have him bouncing back and forth between guard and forward,” added Davis. “As he moves into that next level, Jaylin is going to have to be able to handle the ball or at least prove he can handle it up top. He is so very explosive.”

In the frontcourt, Davis will be looking for junior transfer Lucas Green and senior Jimmy O’Connor to handle things in the paint.

“Lucas Green is going be very important for us,” said Davis. “He is very versatile, he can shoot, he can put the ball on the floor and he also has the ability to post, which is important. He is about 6’4; he can do a lot in the league as far as facing up. He can play good defense in the post, he is going to be good for us. We have Jimmy O’Connor who is going to be playing in the middle as well.”

Davis believes that the Panthers can win a lot of games this winter if they play an intelligent brand of basketball.

“We have to cut down on making some of those mental mistakes, even though we do have a relatively young team,” said Davis, whose team hosts the Shipley School (Pa.) on December 6 before playing at the George School on December 8.

“I feel in this day and age where three-pointer is so important that these guys are chucking those threes really quickly. It is knowing when to use the time and knowing when to get a bucket. Just being smart is going to be key for us and making shots, of course.”

November 28, 2018

GETTING A LEG UP: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Wesley Leggett flies up to boot the ball in game this fall. Senior striker and UConn-bound Leggett led the area with 22 goals, helping PDS advance to the state Prep B final as it went 8-7-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski).

Charlotte Bednar was an unknown quantity as she toed the starting line for the Hun School cross country team at the Mercer County girls’ varsity meet in mid-October.

The petite blonde freshman had won some races in smaller prep meets for Hun but hadn’t competed against the runners from the county’s public school programs.

It didn’t take long for the runners from the bigger schools to notice Bednar as she shot to the front of the pack in the first half mile of the race at Washington Crossing Park. more

BLUE CHIPPER: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Chip Hamlett handles the puck last season. Senior defenseman Hamlett will be spearheading the PDS defensive unit this winter. The Panthers get their 2018-19 campaign underway this week by hosting St. Joe’s Prep on November 27, Gloucester Catholic on November 29, and Morristown-Beard on December 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team boasts some high-quality players, it is a little thin in numbers compared to past years.

“There is plenty of returning, experienced talent; I expect results, I expect us to play well and to do a lot of things we have done well over the years,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, who guided the Panthers to a 17-8 record last year and a spot in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) final. more

BIG MAC: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Ryan McCormick, left, goes after the puck in a game last season. Junior forward McCormick figures to be a key producer for PHS this winter. The Little Tigers begin their 2018-19 season this week with games against Hopewell Valley on November 27, Nottingham on November 28, and Robbinsville on November 30, with all three contests to be played at the Mercer County Park rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After making two straight runs to the state semifinals, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team is bringing high hopes into the winter.

“The team is excited; there are a lot of expectations,” said PHS head coach Tim Chase, who guided the Little Tigers to an 18-9-2 record and a spot in the Public B state semis last winter in his debut season at the helm of the program. “We are not going to fly under the radar.” more

FAST EDDIE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Ed Evaldi controls the puck in a game last winter. Junior defenseman Evaldi gives Hun skill and speed from the blue line. The Raiders open their 2018-19 season by hosting Bishop Eustace on November 28 and St. Joe’s (Metuchen) on November 30 before playing at Bergen Catholic on December 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Welcoming back a battle-tested squad, Ian McNally is feeling a comfort level with his Hun School boys’ hockey team as it prepares for the 2018-19 season.

“We are skilled and we have an older group than we have ever been,” said Hun head coach McNally, who led the Raiders to a 13-8-1 record last as the program won its fifth straight Mercer County Tournament title. more

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Hun School basketball player Jada Jones races upcourt in action last winter. Senior guard Jones provides production and leadership for Hun. The Raiders were schedule to start their 2018-19 campaign by hosting Germantown Friends (Pa.) on November 27 and Stuart Country Day on December 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last three seasons, the Villanova men’s basketball team has utilized deadly outside shooting and defensive intensity to help undersized Wildcat squads win two NCAA crowns.

As the Hun School girls’ basketball team heads into the 2018-19 season, Hun head coach Bill Holup views that formula as the blueprint of success for his program. more

IN CHARGE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Nia Melvin heads to the hoop in a game last winter. Sophomore star Melvin will be counted on to the trigger the Stuart offense this winter. The Tartans were slated to tip off their 2018-19 season by hosting Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on November 27 and then competing in the Peddie School Invitational from November 30-December 1 and playing at Hun on December 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Understandably, there is a positive vibe around the Stuart Country Day School basketball team as it prepares to start the 2018-19 campaign.

Coming off a memorable winter which saw Stuart roll to its first state Prep B title and with most of its starters returning and the arrival of some talented newcomers, the Tartans are in a very good place. more

November 21, 2018

CARRYING THE LOAD: Princeton High football player Jaylen Johnson fights to gain yardage in a game this fall. Senior running back, defensive lineman Johnson starred on both sides of the ball for PHS as it went 2-7 this fall. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bringing an 18-game losing steak into the 2018 season, the Princeton High football team was hungry to taste victory this fall.

In game four, PHS broke through, edging Cherry Hill East 21-14 on September 29 to break the 21-game skid. Two weeks later, the Little Tigers enjoyed a second victory as they rallied to edge West Windsor-Plainsboro 22-19 on October 12. more

By Bill Alden

Jackson McCarthy and Tucker Zullo have formed a productive partnership for the Princeton High boys’ cross country team over the last few years.

Last Saturday at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, the senior stars worked together to produce a fitting culmination to their state careers as McCarthy finished 24th in a time of 16:27 over the 5,000-meter course with Zullo right behind in 31st with a time of 16:30.

“We took turns going back and forth, back and forth,” said Zullo. “I really like to take it out strong the first mile and Jackson was just sitting on me the first mile. And then the second mile it was reversed and we just were able to feed off each other. It’s funny, we were talking to each other during the race and saying, ‘I’m here,’ or ‘I got you.’” more

KEEPING AT IT: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Atticus Lynch, right, goes after the ball in a game earlier this season. Senior midfielder Lynch was a stalwart for PHS this fall as it battled through injuries to go 8-6-3 and advance to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Wayne Sutcliffe knew that his Princeton High boys’ soccer team didn’t have much margin for this error this fall as it looked to maintain its status as a local powerhouse.

“Coming into the season, we knew we had a very young team,” said PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe. “In order for things to go well, we were going to have to stay relatively injury-free.” more

By Bill Alden

After taking its lumps early in the fall, the Princeton Day School boys’ cross country team saved its best for last.

Building on a positive performance at the Mercer County championship meet in mid-October that saw several runners post personal bests, PDS ended the season by placing a solid fifth in the team standings at the state Prep B meet at the Blair Academy on October 24 won by Newark Academy.

“That was a terrific way to end to season; we were looking at that kind of performance and hoping for that all year,” said PDS head coach John Woodside, whose team was led at the meet by sophomore Gunnar Clingman, the seventh place finisher in a time of 17:46 over the 5,000-meter course with junior Kevin Dougherty coming in 14th at 18:41. “There is no question that there were a lot of struggles early on.” more

JORDAN RULES: Hun School field hockey player Jordan DelOrefice, right, goes after the ball in a game this fall. Senior DelOrefice scored five goals this season to help Hun go 6-11 as it bounced back from a 2-9 start. It marked the last season at the helm of the program for longtime head coach Kathy Quirk. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Struggling to a 2-9 record by mid-October, the Hun School field hockey team could have thrown in the towel over the last few weeks of the season.

Instead, Hun kept pushing, winning four of its last six games to end the fall with a 6-11 record.

“We made tremendous improvement, both myself and my assistant coach (Christine Caberle) were very happy with the way that we had improved,” said Hun head coach Kathy Quirk, noting that one of the ream’s finest efforts down the stretch came when they battled hard in a 3-0 loss to Blair in the state Prep A semis game. “We just grew as a team, a lot of individuals grew.” more

November 14, 2018

By Bill Alden

Jackson McCarthy didn’t have his greatest day as the Princeton High boys’ cross country team competed in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet earlier this month.

Senior McCarthy placed 12th overall as the team’s third finisher, helping PHS take second in the team standings.

Last Saturday in the state Group 4 meet at Holmdel Park, McCarthy produced his best day of the season, finishing sixth overall, covering the 5,000-meter course in a time of 16:29 to lead the way for the Little Tigers. more

NET GAIN: Chris Hoeland hits a forehand during his career with the Princeton High boys’ tennis team. Hoeland, a 2005 PHS, grad won four Mercer County Tournament singles titles for the Little Tigers and helped the team win the state Group 3 title in 2002. Hoeland went on to the Washington University in St. Louis where helped the program win the 2008 NCAA Division III national title and earned All-American accolades in doubles. This Saturday, Hoeland is being inducted into the 13th class of honorees for the PHS Athletics Hall of Fame.

By Bill Alden

As a grade schooler growing up in Princeton, Chris Hoeland’s main athletic interests centered on baseball and basketball.

By the time he entered Princeton High in 2001, though, Hoeland had turned his focus to tennis.

“It was mainly basketball and baseball for a long time,” said Hoeland. more

November 7, 2018

DRIVE FOR FIVE: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer Brooke Smukler, left, goes after a ball in a game earlier this fall. Last Wednesday, senior forward Smukler, who had been sidelined earlier this fall with mono, ended her career with a bang, scoring two goals as top-seeded PDS defeated second-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy 4-2 in the state Prep B title game. It was the fifth straight Prep B title for the Panthers, who ended the fall at 14-4-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In mid-October, Brooke Smukler was diagnosed with mononucleosis and feared that she might be sidelined for the rest of her senior season on the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team.

At the time, doctors advised Smukler that she was likely to be out for around four weeks. But getting cleared after two weeks, Smukler got a chance to return to action for the postseason. more

KICKSTARTER: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Jules Romano controls the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, sophomore midfielder Romano scored a goal and had an assist in the first half to give top-seeded PDS a 2-0 halftime lead over second-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in the state Prep B final. The Panthers went on to prevail 4-2, winning their fifth straight Prep B crown. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Goals have been hard to come by when the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team battled Montclair Kimberley Academy in the last three state Prep B finals.

In 2015, the two rivals played to a 0-0 tie through regulation before Hannah Bunce blasted in a goal to give PDS a 1-0 overtime victory. more

IN THE CLEAR: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Lauren Rougas clears the ball up the field in recent action. Junior defender Rougas starred as PHS advanced to the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional quarterfinals where the eighth-seeded Little Tigers lost 4-0 at top-seeded Hunterdon Central last Friday. PHS finished the fall with a 9-7-2 record.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lauren Rougas and her fellow defenders on the Princeton High girls’ soccer team knew they faced a challenge when they played at high-powered Hunterdon Central in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional quarterfinals last Friday.

“Our defensive game plan was to just play as a unit and pass the ball around and keep possession on the offense,” said Rougas.”We wanted to keep our defensive stance and play as hard as we could.” more

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team dropped the first set of its Group 4 state tournament opening round match against visiting Cherokee, Natalia Drobnjak knew the season was on the line.

“In the second set we just tried to come out with a bit more fire, energy, and a sense of urgency,” said senior libero Drobnjak

The 16th-seeded Little Tigers fought hard but came up short, falling 2-0 (25-17, 25-16) to 17th-seeded Cherokee to end the fall with a 20-6 record. more

FINAL DRIVE: Hun School football player Josh Henderson heads upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, senior running back Henderson finished his Hun career in style, scoring two touchdowns as the Raiders defeated the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 48-20 in their season finale. Hun improved to 8-1 with the victory and clinched the outright Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Josh Henderson’s final appearance for the Hun School football team proved to be a fitting culmination to his stellar career.

With Hun hosting the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Sunday to end the 2018 campaign, senior running back and co-captain Henderson scored two touchdowns to help the Raiders roll to a 48-20 triumph as they improved to 8-1 and cliched the outright Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title in the process. more

October 31, 2018

ON HER GAME: Princeton High field hockey player Mariana Lopez-Ona, right, heads upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior star Lopez-Ona scored two goals to help top-seeded PHS defeat eighth-seeded Monroe 4-1 in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional quarterfinals.  The Little Tigers, now 15-1, were slated to host fifth-seeded Rancocas Valley in the sectional semis on October 30 with the victor advancing to the title game on November 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High field hockey team locked in a tense 1-1 battle against visiting Monroe in the second half of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional quarterfinals last Friday, PHS got a golden opportunity as it was awarded a penalty stroke.

Little Tiger senior star Mariana Lopez-Ona bent over the ball, fired it to the  goal and then put her head in her hands in dismay after the shot was stopped. more

FINAL PUSH: Princeton Day School field hockey Sasha Sindhwani dribbles the ball upfield in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior star Sindhwani scored in double overtime to help second-seeded PDS edge third-seeded Morristown Beard in the state Prep B semifinals. On Sunday, Sindhwani and the Panthers couldn’t repeat those heroics as they fell 2-0 at top-seeded Montclair Kimberly Academy in the Prep B title game. The defeat left the Panthers with a final record of 11-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After suffering a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Lawrenceville in the Mercer County Tournament championship game on October 20, the Princeton Day School field hockey team was seconds away from another agonizing playoff setback as it hosted Morristown-Beard in the state Prep B semis last Wednesday.

The second-seeded Panthers trailed the third-seeded Crimson in the waning moments of regulation before Panther junior star Caroline Haggerty scored with 11 seconds left to force overtime. PDS prevailed 2-1 in double overtime as senior standout Sasha Sindhwani notched the game winner. more