January 29, 2020

GOLDEN GOAL: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Chris Cecila controls the puck last Thursday evening as PDS faced Lawrenceville at Hobey Baker Rink. Senior defenseman Cecila scored the winning goal as the Panthers prevailed 3-2 in overtime against the Big Red. PDS, who defeated Malvern Prep (Pa.) 3-2 last Monday to improve to 6-8-1, play at Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) on January 29 and host Seton Hall Prep on January 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Chris Cecila hadn’t scored a goal all season as he hit the ice for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team last Thursday evening when it hosted Lawrenceville at Hobey Baker Rink.

By the end of the night, senior defenseman Cecila was gliding on the ice for a curtain call demanded by the throng of PDS students on hand after he broke through with his first goal to give the Panthers a riveting 3-2 win in overtime against the Panthers.

For Cecila, getting the winning tally in the heated rivalry was a dream come true. “I could not have dreamt what happened here,” said Cecila.

“It was our last opportunity. I just wanted us to get the win for the fans because they are incredible.”

It took an incredible effort for the Panthers to overcome the powerful Big Red as they battled back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to ultimately force overtime in a frenzied atmosphere that saw the student sections from each school standing, cheering, and pounding on the glass throughout the contest. more

ALL OVER THE ICE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eddie Evaldi brings the puck up the ice last Wednesday as Hun hosted the Portledge School (N.Y.). Playing both defenseman and center, junior star Evaldi scored two goals in the game but it wasn’t enough as Portledge prevailed 5-3. The Raiders, who defeated Notre Dame 11-3 last Monday to improve to 6-8-2, host St. Joe’s Prep (Pa.) on January 29 and St. Augustine on January 31 before playing at Gloucester Catholic on February 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Eddie Evaldi’s long-sleeve compression T-shirt was sweat-soaked and he was short of breath standing in the lobby of Ice Land Skating Center after the Hun School boys’ hockey team hosted the Portledge School (N.Y.) last Wednesday.

The junior star had reason to be fatigued as he took shifts on both offense and defense and was all over the ice as Hun battled valiantly in falling 5-3 to Portledge.

The versatile Evaldi has been relishing his double duty. “My role is basically just do whatever the coach [Ian McNally] wants me to do; I am out there a lot,” said Evaldi.

“For the first part of the game I was centering the two lines and I was playing some shifts at defense. In the second part of the game I went back to the defense. It is like that every single game; I love it.” more

January 22, 2020

TRUE BLUE: Eric Robinson skates for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018 action. This winter, former Princeton University men’s hockey standout Robinson ’18 is working to secure a permanent spot on Columbus, having tallied five goals and four assists in 30 games so far this season. (Photo by John Russell, Courtesy of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Eric Robinson’s improvement is continuing in the NHL.

The 2018 Princeton University graduate put himself on scouts’ radar over his college career and now is trying to secure a permanent spot on one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets. more

TOUGH GUY: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Ethan Guy, center, battles for the ball in recent action. Last Friday, junior forward Guy scored 15 points to help PHS defeat Steinert 65-46. The Tigers, who dropped to 4-7 with a 63-57 loss to North Brunswick last Saturday, play at Nottingham on January 24 before hosting Montgomery on January 25 and Trenton on January 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Things got off to a rough start last week for Ethan Guy.

Princeton High boys’ basketball junior star Guy took a knock to the head as PHS hosted Princeton Day School on January 13 and had to leave the game in the second half, holding an ice pack to his left eye as the Tigers fell 57-43.

A day later as PHS faced WW/P-North, Guy wasn’t cleared to play and the Tigers ended up losing 43-37 to the Northern Knights.

Returning to the court last Friday evening against visiting Steinert, Guy wasted no time getting back into the swing of things, scoring 10 points in the first quarter as PHS jumped out to a 17-3 lead. more

TOUGH GUY: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Ethan Guy, center, battles for the ball in recent action. Last Friday, junior forward Guy scored 15 points to help PHS defeat Steinert 65-46. The Tigers, who dropped to 4-7 with a 63-57 loss to North Brunswick last Saturday, play at Nottingham on January 24 before hosting Montgomery on January 25 and Trenton on January 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Things got off to a rough start last week for Ethan Guy.

Princeton High boys’ basketball junior star Guy took a knock to the head as PHS hosted Princeton Day School on January 13 and had to leave the game in the second half, holding an ice pack to his left eye as the Tigers fell 57-43. more

FRESH START: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Catie Samaan controls the puck last Friday night as PHS hosted Newark East Side at Hobey Baker Rink. Freshman forward Samaan scored two goals in the game to help the Tigers post a 7-2 win and improve to 3-8. PHS hosts Immaculate Heart Academy on January 24 and Princeton Day School on January 28.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Catie Samaan took a break from hockey three years ago to focus her athletic efforts on soccer and field hockey but decided this winter that it was time to get back on the ice. more

DAN THE MAN: Hun School boys’ basketball player Daniel Vessey, right, covers a foe in recent action. Last week, sophomore guard Vessey exploded for 30 points to help Hun defeat Lawrenceville 85-58. The Raiders, who improved to 6-10 with a 57-48 win over Hackensack last Monday in the Public vs. Private School Showcase in Teaneck, play at Peddie on January 22, host the Blue Ridge School (Va.) on January 24, and then play at Marist High on January 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as Daniel Vessey went through his normal pregame shooting routine before the Hun School boys’ basketball team hosted Lawrenceville last week. more

DRIVING AHEAD: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kennedy Jardine heads to the hoop in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Jardine tallied 19 points and had six rebounds as Hun defeated Hopewell Valley 50-40. The Raiders, who defeated Nottingham 58-8 last Monday to post their fourth straight win and improve to 9-4, play at Peddie on January 22 and at Lawrenceville on January 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over her first two seasons with the Hun School girls’ basketball team, Kennedy Jardine proved to be a scoring threat from the perimeter with her long-range shooting prowess. more

RUF AND TUMBLE: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Kirsten Ruf heads to the basket in recent action. Last Thursday, freshman star Ruf scored 12 points in a losing cause as PDS fell 51-16 to visiting Pingry. The Panthers, now 1-12, play at Hamilton on January 22 and at the Solebury School (Pa.) on January 24 before hosting Peddie on January 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kirsten Ruf wasn’t about to stop hustling even though the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team trailed visiting Pingry 51-16 in the waning seconds last Thursday. more

January 15, 2020

BACK IN THE GAME: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers drives to the basket during her freshman season in 2017-18. Meyers missed all of last season because of an academic violation and her return this season wasdelayed by a knee injury. Last Saturday, sophomore guard Meyers contributed 14 points off the bench as Princeton defeated Penn 75-55 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The 25th-ranked Tigers, now 13-1 overall and 1-0 Ivy, are on exam break and return to action when they play at Dartmouth on January 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Abby Meyers isn’t back where she wants to be yet, but just being back at Princeton University and contributing again to the women’s basketball team is significant.

“It’s going to be a process,” said Meyers. “I’m not going to be the best I can be tomorrow or the week after. It’s a gradual process.”

The process took a big step forward last Saturday when the sophomore guard scored 14 points off the bench — 10 in the fourth quarter — to help the Tigers open Ivy League play with a 75-55 win at Penn. In a season-high 18 minutes, she shot 6-for-10, had four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and no turnovers.

“I haven’t reached my best yet,” said Meyers, a 6’0 native of Potomac, Md.

“I haven’t reached a good consistent feel when I play. That could be reading the defense, knowing what to do. I’m still getting there. In the Penn game, I had a role, and hopefully it’s going to grow as the coaches trust me more, the players trust me more.”

Meyers missed all of last season because of an academic violation, then her return to the court was delayed further after she reinjured a meniscus in her knee that had been partially torn a year ago while working out in her year away. more

FLYING HIGH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jaelin Llewellyn flies to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Friday evening at Jadwin Gym, sophomore guard Llewellyn contributed 14 points and four rebounds to help Princeton defeat Penn 63-58 and complete a season sweep of the Quakers. The Tigers, now 6-8 overall and 2-0 Ivy League, are on exam break and will resume action when they host Division III foe Rutgers-Camden on January 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mitch Henderson knows from hard experience that the heated rivalry between the Princeton University men’s basketball team and Penn involves a unique ferocity.

“I was a freshman at the Palestra and I got the taunting chant,” said Princeton head coach Henderson, a star guard for the Tigers in the late 1990s.

“I like playing Penn, we like playing Penn. They bring out the best in us and that is what rivals should be. I think that is the best thing about sports.”

Last Friday evening as Princeton hosted Penn at Jadwin Gym just six days after beating the Quakers 78-64 in the Ivy League opener for both teams, it was the visitors who brought it in the early going, jumping out to a 10-2 lead. more

TAKING HOLD: Princeton High wrestler Chloe Ayres, top, controls a foe in a match last year. Junior Ayres, who placed first at 105 pounds last winter in the first-ever NJSIAA girls’ championships, has emerged as a leader on the mat for the Tigers under new head coach Jess Monzo. PHS, which started 1-8 in dual match competition, has meets at Nottingham on January 15 and at Ewing on January 17 before hosting a quad meet on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Jess Monzo, coaching wrestling is a labor of love.

“There is always something that drives you and you want to give back and you want to do exactly what your coaches did for you,” said Monzo, who wrestled for Clifton High and Montclair State before getting into high school coaching with stints at Jefferson Township, David Brearley, Matawan, Freehold, and East Brunswick.

“You want to do that and more for the next crop of kids. Wrestling is in my blood, it is going to be in my blood until I can’t do it any more.”

This winter, Monzo, 39, has brought his passion for the sport to Princeton High where he has taken the helm of the wrestling program, succeeding longtime coach Rashone Johnson, now an assistant principal at the school. more

OH BROTHER: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Colm Trainor, right, goes after the puck last Monday as PHS defeated Jackson Memorial 5-3. Junior forward Trainor, the youngest of four Trainor brothers to play for the PHS program, had two assists in the win as the Tigers improved to 10-0-1. PHS faces Lakeland Regional on January 17 at the Ice Vault in Wayne and then plays Hunterdon Central on January 21 at the Flemington Ice Arena. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Colm Trainor is savoring his last chance to play with one of his brothers on the Princeton High boys’ hockey team.

The junior forward is the fourth Trainor to play for the program, having been preceded by older siblings Anthony ’17, Robby ’19, and current senior Aidan.

“I have always played with some sort of sibling, first Robby and now Aidan,” said Trainor. “Next year is going to be interesting, I am the last one.”

Last Wednesday against Nottingham, the Trainor connection resulted in a second period goal as PHS prevailed 5-0.

“Whenever Aidan is on the ice, we have the same playing style and we know where each other are going to be,” said Trainor. more

ON POINT: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Dameon Samuels drives to the basket against Princeton High last Monday. Junior guard Samuels scored 13 points to help PDS pull away to a 57-43 win over PHS. The Panthers, now 7-4, hosts Hopewell Valley on January 16 before playing at Doane Academy on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In his first two seasons with the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team, Dameon Samuels took a backseat as David “Diggy” Coit ran the team’s offense.

But with Coit having graduated, junior point guard Samuels is now triggering the PDS attack.

“I learned a lot from Diggy, handling the ball and knowing when to get to the basket and knowing when to pass the ball,” said Samuels.

“Now as a junior, it is my turn to run the offense. I have to keep up my scrappiness like I have always been.” more

FINAL ACT: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Charlotte Haggerty, left, goes after the puck in a recent game. Senior Haggerty starred as PDS swept Holton Arms (Md.) last weekend, scoring a goal as the Panthers won 2-1 on Saturday and then adding a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory on Sunday. PDS, now 6-3, hosts Morristown Beard on January 16, plays at Upland Country Day (Pa.) on January 17 and at Pingry on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Charlotte Haggerty has been giving new meaning this winter to the famous Shakespeare line from Hamlet, which proclaims “the play’s the thing.”

The Princeton Day School senior is excelling again on the stage in a school production and has made time to play for the Panther girls’ hockey team.

“I am in the musical so when I have rehearsals that always has to take priority over practice,” said Haggerty. “It is really tough balancing that. Yesterday I had rehearsal and then right after that I ran up to make hockey practice.”

In order to be sharp for the PDS hockey team, Haggerty doesn’t waste a moment on or off the ice.

“When I am here, I make the most of it,” said Haggerty. “I do a lot of off ice training, working on speed and stuff, just the details that nobody really sees.”

Last Saturday morning against visiting Holton Arms (Md.), Haggerty made the most of her time on the ice, tallying a goal as PDS pulled out a 2-1 win. more

STANDING TALL: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey goalie Tim Miller guards the crease in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, sophomore goalie Miller made 24 saves to help PDS edge Delbarton 2-1. PDS, which fell 1-0 to the Portledge School (N.Y.) last Monday to move 4-7-1, hosts Don Bosco on January 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Trailing powerful Delbarton 1-0 heading into the third period last Thursday, the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team was due for some breaks to go its way.

“We needed to find a way to score and get a lucky bounce,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, whose team had gone 0-5-1 in its last six games coming into Thursday with each of those games having been against boarding schools

“In seven straight games we have given up a goal on a shot where Timmy [Miller] is screened or it gets redirected. One of these days we have to score a goal like that for ourselves and put bodies in front of the net.”

After squandering a power play opportunity early in the third, PDS rebounded to get a goal from freshman Oliver Hall on an assist by sophomore Michael Sullo to tie the game at 1-1 with 3:17 left in regulation. more

IN CHARGE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Catherine Martin dribbles the ball in recent action. Junior guard/forward Martin has emerged as a leader for the Tartans, getting named as a team captain earlier this season. Last week Martin tallied 16 points to help Stuart defeat Pennington 70-24. The Tartans, who topped Hopewell Valley 63-21 last Saturday to improve to 9-6, face Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) on January 18 in the Elite Prep Nationals Yes to Success and then play at Princeton Day School on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Catherine Martin earned a battlefield promotion earlier this season for the Stuart Country Day School basketball team.

“My coaches named me captain, I love supporting my team,” said junior guard/forward Martin.

“This year, I am a leader on the team, I want to help out my teammates as much as I can. It is nice to have the chance to step up.”

Martin stepped up last week, scoring 16 points to help Stuart cruise to a 70-24 win over Pennington, snapping a losing streak in the rivalry. more

January 8, 2020

CHOKED UP: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ryan Schwieger fights through a choke hold on the way to the basket in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday at the Palestra in Philadelphia, junior guard Schwieger poured in a career-high 27 points to help Princeton defeat Penn 78-64 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 5-8 overall and 1-0 Ivy, have a rematch with the Quakers on January 10 at Jadwin Gym. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Ryan Schwieger had scored his only previous two career points against Penn for the Princeton University men’s basketball team, hitting a pair of free throws two years ago.

One year after sitting on the bench through a pair of Princeton victories last winter over their archrival, the versatile junior guard exploded for a new career-high of 27 points to lead the Tigers to a 78-64 win over Penn last Saturday in the Ivy League opener for both teams at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

“He likes to remind me he did not play one minute last year,” said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson. “You can see that we’ve missed him.”

Schwieger made 10-of-16 field goals, including a 3-pointer just before halftime to forge a 39-27 lead in a game in which the Tigers never trailed. He hit on 6-of-7 free throws as well and added three rebounds to a 40-35 rebounding edge for Princeton. more

IN A RUSH: Princeton University women’s hockey player Maggie Connors races up the ice in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore forward Connors tallied three goals and an assist to help No. 7 Princeton defeat Saint Anselm 10-0. The Tigers, now 13-4 overall, resume ECAC Hockey action this weekend by playing at Dartmouth on January 10 and at Harvard on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University women’s hockey team hosted Saint Anselm last Saturday afternoon, Maggie Connors turned the contest into her personal showcase.

Princeton sophomore forward Connors assisted on a goal by classmate Sarah Fillier 2:03 into the game and then scored three straight goals for a natural hat trick as the Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the end of the first period.

With two of her goals coming on assists by Fillier,  Connors credited their partnership with sparking her outburst.

“Playing with a player like Sarah Fillier makes it pretty easy, it is just being in the right spots at the right time,” said Connors, reflecting on her third career hat trick. more

KEEN INSIGHT: Princeton University men’s hockey player Luke Keenan, right, battles a foe in recent action. Last Saturday, junior forward Keenan contributed a goal and an assist as Princeton skated to a 3-3 tie with Harvard. The Tigers, now 2-11-4 overall and 0-7-3 ECAC Hockey, play at Clarkson on January 10 and at St. Lawrence on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Luke Keenan realized that he needed to step up this winter in his junior season for the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

“I have been given more responsibility this year, a lot of other guys have too,” said forward Keenan. “We lost a lot of scoring from last year.”

Last Saturday evening against visiting Harvard, Keenan handled that responsibility well, tallying an assist and a goal as Princeton overcame a 2-0 first period deficit in skating to a 3-3 tie with the Crimson.

“We did come out a little flat tonight; I think we turned it around quickly,” said Keenan, reflecting on the tie which moved Princeton to 2-11-4 overall and 0-7-3 ECAC Hockey. more

BIG MAN: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Birch Gorman brings the puck up the ice in a game last season. Last Sunday, junior defenseman Gorman scored a goal to help PDS skate to a 3-3 tie with the Hoosac School (N.Y.) in the consolation game of its Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational. The Panthers, now 3-5-1, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on January 8 before hosting Delbarton on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having gone 0-3 at the Barber Tournament in New England to end December and then falling 8-0 to the Albany Academy (N.Y.) on Saturday to open its Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational, the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team went back to basics as it faced the Hoosac School (N.Y.) in a consolation contest.

“Today we just focused on the simple things, just getting pucks deep and getting pucks on net,” said PDS junior defenseman Birch Gorman, reflecting on the Sunday matchup.

After Hoosac jumped out to a 1-0 lead with 6:15 left in the first period, PDS got a puck in the back of the net less than four minutes later as senior David Sherman converted a feed from sophomore Michael Sullo for a power play goal. more

By Bill Alden

Brynne Hennessy has leapt up the ranks for the Princeton High girls’ basketball program this winter.

After having played for the junior varsity squad last year as a sophomore, Hennessy was not only promoted to the varsity this season, she is serving as a tri-captain for the team.

“I love playing on varsity; everyday, I look forward to going to practice,” said Hennessy.

“I love all of the girls, it is so much fun being captain with Molly [Brown] and Ashley [Tumpowski]. We are really starting to get into the groove of working as a team; that is what we really need to do.”

Last Friday evening against visiting Ewing, PHS found its groove early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead.

“Coming back from two losses, we really wanted to win today,” said Hennessy. “Being up 7-0 was awesome.” more

ABBIE ROAD: Hun School girls’ swimmer Abbie Danko shows her form in a meet last year. Senior star Danko is leading the way for Hun as it looks to build on the success it experienced last winter when it won the program’s first-ever team title at the Mercer County Championships. Hun, which defeated the George School (Pa.) 89-78 on December 10 in its first meet of the season, returns to action on January 8 with a meet at the Blair Academy. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Flying under the radar, the Hun School girls’ swimming squad pulled off a major surprise last winter as it won the program’s first-ever team title at the Mercer County Championships.

Reflecting on the 2019-20 campaign, Hun head coach Joan Nuse realizes it will be tough to match that success.

“It was awesome last year; it is going to be a challenge to live up to that,” said Nuse, noting that a talented group of six swimmers scored all the points for Hun at the county meet. “We will do the best we can.”

Starting the season by defeating George School (Pa.) 89-78 on December 10, Hun showed that it can still be formidable.  more

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School boys’ swimming team opened the season by losing 88-76 to the George School (Pa.) last month, the program is maintaining its upward trend.

“It was a pretty close meet, they are continuing to improve,” said Hun head coach Joan Nuse reflecting on the December 10 competition.

“We have kids in the first meet of the year who were swimming times that were better than their time in the previous year. We have some freshmen who came in and made an impact right off the bat. That is great and really sets things up for the season.”

Nuse is looking for a great season from senior standout Josh Nguyen. “Josh came in the first meet and goes out and won both the 50 and the 100 free,” said Nuse.

“He bettered his time from his best time ever right off the bat and he is not a club swimmer. That is just him putting in the effort in practice. He is one of our captains and he has been doing a great job of helping out everyone. He is definitely a sprinter but he can do backstroke.” more

STEADY EDDIE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eddie Evaldi heads up ice in a recent game. Last week, senior star Evaldi helped Hun reach the semifinals of the Purple Puck National Capital Hockey Tournament outside of Washington, D.C. Hun, now 3-5-1, hosts Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) on January 8 and Seton Hall Prep on January 10 at the Ice Land Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Hun School boys’ hockey team, its trip to compete in the Purple Puck National Capital Hockey Tournament outside of Washington, D.C. has proven to be an annual highlight for the program.

Having won the Purple Puck competition in 2018, Hun was primed to defend its title as it headed down to D.C. in late December.

“That trip is always fun for us. People like it for different reasons,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally.

“If you are returning, you like it because you look forward to it. We have a lot of new guys this year so it was new again for them.”

While Hun failed to make it two straight crowns as it lost 5-3 to Loyola Academy (Ill.) in the semis on December 30, McNally believes his team will benefit from the experience. more