October 9, 2019

CATCHING FIRE: Hun School boys’ soccer player Amar Anand goes after the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Anand scored the winning goal as Hun edged the Blair Academy 2-1. The Raiders, who topped Northern Burlington 2-1 last Monday to improve to 4-4-2, host the Hill School (Pa.) on October 11 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Struggling to a 1-4 record by late September, it was looking like the Hun School boys’ soccer team might be heading to a forgettable season.

But having gone 3-0-2 in its last five outings, Hun has righted the ship and appears to be on the way to a memorable campaign.

While the team’s run started with two frustrating ties, a 1-1 draw with Episcopal Academy on September 26 and a 3-3 stalemate with George School (Pa.) five days later that saw it squander early leads, Hun head coach Pat Quirk believes his players learned some lessons from the draws.

“I was talking to one of my parents and he said ‘you know what, you have to learn how to not lose before you win,’” said Quirk. more

October 2, 2019

CROWNING MOMENT: Members of the Princeton High girls’ tennis team celebrate after they placed first of 18 schools at the Mercer County Tournament last Wednesday. PHS scored 25 points to win the crown with runner-up and three-time defending champion Hightstown coming in at 23. It was the first MCT team crown for PHS since 2014.

It was a long day of tennis for Sophia Kim and Lucia Marckioni as they competed in the final rounds at first doubles last Wednesday in the Mercer County Tournament.

The pair of Princeton High sophomores started the day by outlasting Hayden Masia and Hannah Van Dusen of Princeton Day School 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 in a semifinal match that took more than three hours to complete.

In the final, Kim and Marckioni won the first set against Morgan Koppel and Maeve McGowan of Hightstown but then dropped the second set and faced a decisive third set in the competition held at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. more

SECOND ACT: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Bella Lependorf hits a backhand in action last week at the Mercer County Tournament. Sophomore Lependorf took first at second singles to help PHS win the team title at the competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bella Lependorf knows what it’s like to win a title for the Princeton High girls’ tennis team at the Mercer County Tournament.

As a freshman last fall, she teamed with Jordan Johnson to take the first doubles crown at the MCT.

Having moved up to the second singles spot this year for PHS, Lependorf didn’t see herself repeating as a county champion at the competition held last week at the Mercer County Park tennis complex.

“When I first started this tournament, I didn’t think I would win,” said Lependorf. “My season started off a little rough; I had some tough matches.” more

ON POINT: Princeton High field hockey player Eleanor Wilkinson hits the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior star and tri-captain Wilkinson chipped in a goal and an assist to help PHS defeat Ewing 8-0. The Tigers, who defeated Hamilton West 2-0 last Friday to improve to 8-2, play at Hopewell Valley on October 3 and at Hightstown on October 5 before hosting Lawrence High in October 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a tough 2-0 loss to Allentown, Eleanor Wilkinson and her teammates on the Princeton High field hockey team were primed to bounce back as they hosted Ewing last Wednesday.

“That really motivated us, it was our second loss of the year,” said Wilkinson.

“It was a really good learning opportunity. We learned about playing against a more aggressive opponent, which we hadn’t really faced in the past. We have learned about playing on a new surface, adapting to our environment, and adapting with communication to our players.” more

CHILD’S PLAY: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Gillian Hauschild hits the ball in a 2018 match. Last Friday against WW/P-South, senior star and Colgate-bound Hauschild contributed 12 kills, four digs, and six service points but it wasn’t enough as the Pirates prevailed 2-1 (25-20, 18-25, 25-23). The Tigers, who dropped to 7-2 with the defeat, are slated to host Lawrenceville School on October 2 and then play at WW/P-North on October 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After dropping the first set 25-20 to visiting WW/P-S last Friday, the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team knew it had to pay more attention to detail.

“It was really just to focus on the basics and really go for it,” said PHS senior star Gillian Hauschild.  “I think we all just did a really good job of buckling down.”

The Tigers did a really good job as they won the second set 25-18 but then squandered a 22-18 lead in the decisive set as they fell 25-23.

“We had the momentum there, I think we just had a lapse in mindset and we really need to work harder on being stronger,” said Hauschild, reflecting on the defeat, which dropped the Tigers to 7-2. “We just need to focus on confidence, I think we felt a little hesitation there.” more

RISING UP: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Eyal Yakoby goes up for a header in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior star Yakoby contributed two assists to help PDS rally for a 3-2 win over Lawrenceville. The Panthers, who improved to 3-6 with the victory, host Hun on October 3, play at Pingry on October 5 and then host Gill St. Bernard’s on October 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Eyal Yakoby struggled to join the post-game celebration after the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team edged Lawenceville 3-2 last Saturday afternoon.

PDS senior star and co-captain Yakoby had ice packs taped to both of his calves as his legs gave out several times on the stifling afternoon, forcing him to hobble over to hug his teammates after the win.

“I got a lot of cramps in my legs which weren’t the most fun,” said Yakoby. more

IN FORM: Hun School girls’ tennis player Sophia Lin shows her form last week at the Mercer County Tournament. Junior Lin advanced to the quarterfinals at second singles to help Hun finish sixth of 18 teams at the competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Competing in the Mercer County Tournament last week, the Hun School girls’ tennis team came out on fire.

“We all won in the first round,” said first-year Hun head coach Dan Horowitz, whose team ended Monday’s preliminary rounds at fifth place of 18 schools in the team standings.

“That was definitely a nice start. There were a few close matches we lost in the next round. I wish I could have been everywhere on Monday and maybe I could have tweaked one or two things.”

The Hun second doubles team of freshmen of Sabrina Wang and Ellyana Perosi ended up having a nice run, advancing to the semifinals and finishing fourth overall after falling in the consolation match as the action wrapped up Wednesday at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. more

By Bill Alden

It looked like freshman Neha Khandkar might be in over her head as she played in the third singles final at the Mercer County Tournament last Wednesday.

Princeton Day School girls’ tennis star Khandkar fell 6-3 in the first set as she battled senior Nicole Samios of Princeton High but kept her head.

“Going into the second set, I realized that I was beating myself so I needed to stay more conservative and use more topspin,” said Khandkar.

“I had to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to come to the net, that is where I finish points best.”

Khandkar didn’t wait to seize momentum in the second set. “I needed that first game to give me a boost,” said Khandkar. “I got the first game; I was exhilarated and I had more energy.”

Maintaining that energy, Khandkar won the third set 6-1 to close out the match and earn the title. more

September 25, 2019

HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Kirin Kunukkasseril, right, battles for the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior midfielder and Gettysburg College-bound Kunukkasseril scored a goal to help PHS defeat Trenton 6-0. The Tigers, who defeated WW/P-North 3-0 last Friday to improve to 5-1-1, are playing at Ewing on September 26 before hosting Hamilton West on October 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High girls’ soccer team wasn’t pushed as it cruised to a 6-0 win over Trenton last Wednesday, Kirin Kunukkasseril saw the victory as a valuable effort despite the lopsided score.

“We were just learning, working off passes together, getting runs together for future games,” said PHS senior midfielder and co-captain Kunukkasseril. “We just need to get the basics down, this is a game where we could work on that.”

Kunukkasseril got something that she needed in the win when she tallied the second goal of the game. more

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High boys’ soccer team trailing WW/P-North 1-0 heading into the second half last Friday, defender James Novak got new marching orders.

“They wanted me to push higher and go forward up the flank,” said PHS junior Novak, recalling the halftime message from the Tiger coaching staff.

Novak executed those instructions with aplomb early in the second half, heading into the box, taking a feed from Ian Pompliano, and slotting it into the back of the net to knot the contest at 1-1.

“I just saw a bunch of space,” said Novak. “I was hoping that the ball would pop out, it did, and I got a goal.” more

AVIS TRYING HARD: Princeton High football player Stephen Avis heads upfield last Saturday as PHS hosted Pemberton High in its home opener. The Tigers were unable to get their offense going as Pemberton pulled away to a 53-0 win. PHS, now 0-2, plays at Hamilton West (1-1) on September 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming into this fall, Charlie Gallagher was looking for his Princeton High football team to be more competitive.

Hosting Pemberton in its home opener last Saturday, PHS hung tough in the early going, trailing only 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.

But the roof fell in on the Tigers over the next 12 minutes of action as the Hornets tallied 21 unanswered points and never looked back on the way to a 53-0 win.

PHS head coach Gallagher acknowledged that his squad failed to develop a rhythm against the Hornets.

“I didn’t like the way our offense started; our offense is really struggling,” said Gallagher, whose team dropped to 0-2 with the defeat. “Until we get some first downs, we are going to struggle.”

After a 49-8 opening night loss at Hightstown on September 13, Gallagher was looking for PHS to make some progress from the first game but he conceded that didn’t happen. more

LIFE OF RILEY: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer goalie Riley Felsher goes up for a save in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, senior star and NYU-bound Felsher made nine saves to help PDS defeat Pennington 3-1. The Panthers, who moved to 6-1 with a 6-3 loss at Blair Academy last Saturday, are slated to host Lawrenceville School on September 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Riley Felsher had a good feeling as the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team hosted powerhouse Pennington last Wednesday afternoon.

Even though PDS had lost four in row in the rivalry, including defeats last year in a regular season meeting and Mercer County Tournament semifinals, senior goalie Felsher and her teammates were ready to turn the tables on the Red Raiders.

“Knowing we have been close to beating them and how the competition has been in the last couple of years that we have seen them, we were confident,” said Felsher. more

ON THE BALL: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Molly Lagay controls the ball in recent action. Last week, junior star Lagay scored the winning goal as Stuart edged the George School (Pa.) 1-0 in overtime. The Tartans, who defeated Hamilton West 3-0 last Friday to improve to 4-1-1, are next in action when they play at Peddie on October 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Molly Lagay got herself in the right spot at the right time as the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team battled visiting George School (Pa.) in overtime last week.

With the teams knotted in a scoreless tie as the extra session began, Stuart junior star and co-captain Lagay headed to the corner of the goal and pounced on a rebound and blasted it home to give Stuart a 1-0 victory.

“On the first shot we did on the corner, I saw Kaitlyn [Magnani] hit it right and it was so close, I almost got it on the post,” recalled Lagay.

“I saw that Caroline [Mullen] was coming in and was heading toward that post. I sat there and got in that space where I thought it was going to go. It went right there and I hit it in.” more

KICKING IN: Hun School girls’ soccer player Hannah Cavanaugh, left, battles a foe for the ball in recent action. Hun, which moved to 2-3 with a 3-0 loss to Monroe last Saturday, hosts Friends Central (Pa.) on September 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jenn Barrett didn’t have to wait long to earn the first win of her tenure as the head coach of the Hun School girls’ soccer teams.

Hun started the fall with a bang, defeating Ewing 6-1 in its season opener on September 7 and followed that up with a 2-1 win over the George School (Pa.) three days later.

“We played really well in our first game, we got the kinks out in the first half and in the second half we just opened up and exploded,” said Barrett.

“Against George we came out a little flat; they had really improved since last year. That was a little more of a challenge in that game but we came through and worked really hard and worked well together. It was a good game.”

The Raiders produced another good game in a losing cause as it fell 2-0 to Princeton Day School on September 12. more

September 18, 2019

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Princeton High football player Matt Perello, center, races up the field last Friday night at Hightstown in the season opener. Senior receiver/defensive back Perello, who is also a star sprinter for the PHS track team, used his speed to provide a highlight for the Tigers, returning a kickoff for a touchdown in the first quarter during a 49-8 loss to the Rams. PHS hosts Pemberton on September 21. (Photo by Joseph Perello)

By Bill Alden

Matt Perello displayed flashes of brilliance for the Princeton High football team as a freshman in 2016, going long for a 40-yard touchdown reception against Pemberton in the season opener.

But sustaining a concussion that fall in a JV game, Perello opted not to play football after that and turned his attention to track, developing into a brilliant sprinter.

In the spring of 2018, Perello starred as the PHS boys’ track team placed first in the Mercer County championship meet, the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional, and the state Group 4 meet. He placed first in the 100 (11.07) and fourth in the 200 (22.60) at the county meet and took third in the 200 in the sectional meet and helped the 4×100 relay to victory, and then ended up third in the 200 at the group meet. more

By Bill Alden

Youth is being served this fall for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team.

With sophomore Robyn Karchere-Sun playing at first singles and a pair of freshmen, Amy Zhou and Neha Khandkar, competing at second and third singles, respectively, PDS boasts some young talent in key spots.

With PDS head coach Will Asch returning from a sabbatical last spring, he is stepping into a good situation.

“It is nice to be back and coaching the girls,” said Asch, whose team topped Stuart Country Day 5-0 last Monday to improve to 4-1. “It is nice weather, a nice season, and nice girls.” more

BALL CONTROL: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Nas Amer controls the ball in recent action. Last week, senior midfielder Amer scored two goals to help PDS defeat the George School (Pa.) 4-0. The Panthers, who moved to 2-2 with a 3-0 loss to Hillsborough last Thursday, host Germantown Academy (Pa.) on September 19 before playing at the Blair Academy ion September 21 and at Peddie on September 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With prolific scorer Wesley Leggett having graduated and now playing at the University of Connecticut, the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team will have to spread the wealth offensively this fall.

“We lost a big player in our striker Wesley so we have to make up for it somewhere, said PDS senior midfielder Nas Amer. “I think this year we are more rounded as a team, more balanced.”

Last week as PDS hosted George School (Pa.), Amer helped make up for the loss of Leggett, scoring two first half goals to help the Panthers jump out to a 3-0 halftime. more

IN THE ZONE: Hun School football star Ian Franzoni races up the field last Saturday as Hun defeated Canada Prep 50-8. Senior running back Franzoni rushed for 275 yards and three touchdowns on  nine carries in the victory as Hun improved to 2-0. The Raiders head south next weekend to play at Life Christian Academy (Va.) on September 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last three years, Ian Franzoni paid his dues for the Hun School football team as a back-up running back.

Playing behind Josh Henderson, Franzoni didn’t get a lot of carries but he was productive when he did get his chance, steadily increasing his workload.

With Henderson graduating and joining the University of North Carolina football program, senior Franzoni was primed to make the most of his final high school campaign.

“Last year Josh was here but when I got my carries, I felt like I did a lot of good running,” said Franzoni. “This year, I knew it was my time and I had to step up when I could.” more

September 11, 2019

GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT: Princeton High football head coach Charlie Gallagher encourages his players during a preseason practice. PHS, which went 2-7 last fall as it snapped a 21-game losing streak, kicks off its 2019 campaign by playing at Hightstown on September 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having snapped a 21-game losing streak last September and ending up with two wins on the fall, the Princeton High football team is bringing an upbeat mentality into the 2019 season.

“It is hard to compare preseasons to other preseasons, but this has been a really great preseason,” said PHS head coach Charlie Gallagher, whose team posted a 2-7 record in 2018.

“It is well organized. The kids are there to learn and to compete, which has been really great.” more

FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Nick Petruso controls the ball in a preseason training session. Last Thursday, junior striker Petruso scored a goal as PHS topped Nottingham 2-0 in the season opener for both teams. The Tigers, who dropped to 1-1 after falling 7-3 to Gill St. Bernard’s last Saturday, play at Robbinsville on September 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Nick Petruso was determined to get the season off on the right foot for the Princeton High boys’ soccer team.

As PHS hosted Nottingham in its season opener last Thursday, junior striker Petruso took off on several runs to the goal in the first half but couldn’t find the back of the net.

“In the beginning it was frustration,” said Petruso. “Towards the end of the first half, we started getting more chemistry going forward.” more

By Bill Alden

Over her first three years with the Princeton High field hockey team, Morgan Swanke played mainly in the midfield.

This fall, Swanke has been moved to forward and has quickly found a home in her new spot on the field.

“I was really excited to play for my senior year,” said Swanke. “I usually play midfield but since I have started on forward this year, it has been a lot of fun.”

Swanke got off to a sizzling start in the first week of her senior campaign, tallying four goals in a season-opening 8-0 win over Nottingham last Wednesday and then adding two more in a 3-0 victory at crosstown rival Princeton Day School last Friday.

In the win over PDS, Swanke got the Tigers on the board, scoring off of a penalty corner with 11:26 left in the first half. more

KEEPING UP WITH JONES: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Cailyn Jones boots the ball up the field in a 2018 game. Last Saturday, sophomore defender Jones tallied a goal and sparked the back line to help PDS defeat Princeton High 3-1. The Panthers, who improved to 3-0 with the win, hosts the Hun School on September 12 and then play at Steinert on September 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Cailyn Jones saw an opening in the first half for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team as it hosted crosstown rival Princeton High last Saturday afternoon.

With PDS taking a corner kick with 11 minutes into the contest, sophomore defender Jones made a beeline for the box.

“We have those far crosses into the 18 and I knew that spaces were going to be open,” said Jones.

“It was running through my head that we have had plays like that before where no one was there so I knew I had to be there and just get something on it.” more

By Bill Alden

Heather Farlow could have been disappointed after her Princeton Day School field hockey team lost 3-0 to crosstown rival Princeton High last Friday.

Instead, PDS head coach Farlow was all smiles as she assessed the effort she got from her young squad.

“We played the passing game that we wanted to play; we had possession,” said Farlow, whose team dropped to 1-1.

“I think we are only going to get better, A.B. [assistant coach Annabeth Donovan] and I are really excited about where we are. It is only September 6 and we lost five starters from last year.” more

CLEAR LEADER: Hun School boys’ soccer player Brian Spencer clears the ball in a game last season. Senior defender and four-year starter Spencer will be counted on to spearhead Hun’s back line this season. The Raiders, who fell 3-1 to Haddonfield last Saturday in their season opener, are scheduled to face Putnam Science Academy in the Main Line High School Jamboree at the United Sports Center on September 15 and host Pennington on September 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Fueled by an unselfish mentality, the Hun School boys’ soccer team produced a solid campaign last fall, going 9-10 and advancing to the state Prep A semifinals.

As Hun starts the 2019 season, Pat Quirk is hoping that attitude has become a staple of the program.

“I think what the kids returning from last year learned is that everybody has to be playing together,” said Hun head coach Quirk.

“The one thing we praised last year was that there wasn’t anybody with a big ego. They were OK with another kid scoring as long as the team was playing well together.” more

September 4, 2019

SAVING GRACE: Princeton High field hockey goalie Grace Cooke tracks the ball in a game last fall. Senior star and tri-captain Cooke has emerged as a leader of the PHS defensive unit. The Tigers, who went 15-2 last year and reached the semis of both the Mercer County Tournament and the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional, host Nottingham on September 4 to open their 2019 campaign. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Suffering some heavy graduation losses from a squad that went 15-2 last year, the Princeton High field hockey team will have a different look this fall.

“We lost nine seniors and have had some injuries during preseason; we have some juggling around to do,” said PHS head coach Heather Serverson, who guided the Tigers to the semis of both the Mercer County Tournament and the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional in 2018.

“As usual, I don’t get to pick my players, so every season is the same for me. I figure out what we have and where to put them.”

PHS does return some skilled offensive players in a trio of seniors Ria Sharma, Ellie Wilkinson, and Ava Greene, along with junior Shoshi Henderson.  more