November 29, 2017

IN THE FAST LANE: Hun School boys’ basketball player Niels Lane puts up a shot in a game last season. Sophomore guard Lane figures to be a go-to player for the Raiders this winter. Hun tips off its 2017-18 campaign when it hosts the Haverford School (Pa.) on November 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School boys’ basketball team is welcoming back a solid core of returners, it still has room for growth.

“We are coming along,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone, who guided the Raiders to an 11-15 record last winter. “We have a lot returning but the guys are still young.” more

OPENING SALVO: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Justin Joyce controls the puck in a 2016-17 contest. Last Monday, senior forward Joyce contributed a goal and three assists to help PHS defeat Nottingham 11-1 in its season opener and first game under new head coach Tim Chase. The Little Tigers play the Hun School on December 1 at the Ice Land Skating Center before facing Lawrence on December 4 at the Mercer County Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tim Chase enjoyed a superb hockey career, starring at Brown University before joining the Montreal Canadiens organization in 1993 and making several stops in his stint as a pro.

After hanging up his skates during the 2005-06 season, Chase went into the financial sector as a trader. more

DOUBLE THREAT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Bella Alarie heads to the hoop in a game last season. Last Saturday, sophomore star Alarie tallied a game-high 21 points and had 11 rebounds to lead Princeton to a 63-57 win at Davidson. It marked Alarie’s third straight double-double. The Tigers, now 3-1 host Villanova on November 29 and Delaware on December 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Looking ahead to the season, Courtney Banghart believed that she had put together a challenging schedule that would force her Princeton University women’s basketball team to compete, and not just play.

Displaying competitive zeal, the Tigers have been up to the task, producing a 3-1 start, topping George Washington (72-52 on November 10) and Seton Hall (85-83 on November 16) and then falling to Georgia Tech (67-56 on November 19) before rebounding with a 63-57 win at Davidson last Saturday. more

END OF THE ROAD: Princeton University women’s soccer player Katie Pratt-Thompson boots the ball in NCAA tournament action. Last Saturday, senior star defender and co-captain Pratt-Thompson saw her college career come to an end as 13th-ranked Princeton fell 3-1 at fourth-ranked UCLA in the NCAA quarterfinals. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 16-3-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Throughout the fall, the players on the Princeton University women’s soccer team proved to be the ultimate road warriors, posting a 7-0 record in regular season away games and then winning two NCAA tournament games in Cary, N.C. on the way to the national quarterfinals. more

MUCH NEEDED: Princeton University men’s basketball player Sebastian Much dribbles into the paint in recent action. Last Sunday, freshman forward Much scored nine points off the bench to help Princeton defeat Fairleigh Dickinson 83-76 as the Tigers posted their second straight win. Princeton, now 2-3, hosts Lehigh on November 29 before playing at Miami on December 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although Sebastian Much spent most of the first half on the bench as the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Lafayette last Wednesday, he still had his head in the game.

“I was feeding off of Richmond [Aririguzoh] because he brought such an intensity to the game,” said freshman forward Much of his sophomore teammate. more

KUFF LINK: Princeton University men’s hockey player Ryan Kuffner races up ice in a 2016-17 game. Last Saturday, junior forward Kuffner tallied a goal and an assist to help Princeton defeat Bemidji State 4-1 and improve to 4-4-1 overall. In upcoming action, the Tigers host Dartmouth on December 1 and Harvard on December 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton University men’s hockey team fell behind Bemidji State 1-0 after just 17 seconds last Friday evening, Ryan Kuffner and his teammates weren’t concerned.

“We have a lot of guys coming back who can skate and move the puck,” said junior forward Kuffner, a 6’1, 195-pound native of Ottawa, Ontario. more

SHERMAN’S MARCH: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Eric Sherman controls the puck in a game last winter. Senior star defenseman and captain Sherman is primed to produce a big final campaign. PDS starts its 2017-18 season this week by hosting Seton Hall Prep on November 28, St. Joe’s Metuchen on November 30, and North Yarmouth Academy (Maine) on December 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although Scott Bertoli isn’t sure whether his Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team is going to be dominant this winter, he is certain that it will provide plenty of entertainment.

“Our speed is a tremendous asset and that has been really evident through the first three scrimmages and even just watching them practice,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, who guided the Panthers to a 13-11-2 record last winter as they won the state Prep title. more

ACTION JACKSON: Hun School boys’ hockey goalie Jackson Cole dives to make a save in a game last winter. Sophomore Cole will be looking to build on a solid debut season for the Raiders. Hun gets its 2017-18 campaign underway this week by playing at Holy Ghost Prep (Pa.) on November 29 before hosting Princeton High on December 1 and LaSalle College High (Pa.) on December 6 at the Ice Land Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Quality over quantity is going to be the theme for the Hun School boys’ hockey team this winter.

“We have got a barebones team, we will have a core of 13 varsity skaters, three lines of forwards, four defensemen, and a goalie,” said head coach Ian McNally, who guided Hun to an 8-16 record last season and its fourth straight Mercer County Tournament title. more

November 22, 2017

MO ON THE GO: Princeton High football player Moses Mahiri fights for yardage in a game this fall. Senior running back/linebacker Mahiri set a positive tone along with his classmates as PHS went 0-10 this fall. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After losing all nine of its regular season games, the Princeton High football team was primed to end the fall with a victory as it played at North Plainfield in an NJSIAA regional crossover game.

But in a microcosm of the 2017 campaign, PHS lost starting quarterback Ryan Benattar to injury early in the November 9 contest as it dug a big hole on the way to a 54-0 loss. more

SMART SET: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Rachel Cheng sets up a ball in a match this season. Senior star Cheng helped PHS post a 31-2 record this fall. The program, which was in its fifth season on the varsity level, earned its first-ever wins in state tournament play, advancing to the Group 4 quarterfinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Making history, the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team posted its first-ever wins in state tournament play as it advanced to the Group 4 quarterfinals.

But in a measure of how far the program has come in its five years on the varsity level, the players weren’t satisfied with that tourney run.

“It definitely feels good, it is exciting; we made it to the point of what the seeding would dictate, a fourth against a fifth, which was good,” said PHS head coach Patty Manhart, whose team fell 2-1 to Westfield in the state quarters on November 4 as the Blue Devils prevailed 25-16, 15-25, 25-17. more

By Bill Alden

Competing in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC) last Saturday at Holmdel Park, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team took another step in solidifying itself as one of the elite programs in the state.

After placing first at the MOC in 2016, PHS finished a strong fourth in this year’s race, just seven points out of third as it had a score of 118 with Hopewell Valley coming in at 111 to make the top three.

“Obviously we will always talk about the fact that we won the MOC last year but now we have been on the podium two years in a row,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk, reflecting on the competition which was won by Christian Brothers Academy. more

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High boys’ soccer team faced Washington Township in the state Group 4 semifinals last week, Atticus Lynch found himself in the right place at the right time while goalie Patrick Jacobs came up with some timely saves.

That combination proved decisive as junior reserve midfielder Lynch tallied a second half goal and senior goalie Jacobs’ heroics in net helped PHS prevail 1-0 in the November 14 contest played at Rowan University.

In reflecting on his goal which came with 27:34 left in regulation, Lynch seized the opportunity. more

FIGHTING TO THE END: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Quentin Pompliano, right, battles for the ball in state tournament action. Last Sunday, senior star Pompliano and PHS saw their magical postseason run end with a 3-1 loss to Kearny in the state Group 4 championship game. The Little Tigers finished the fall with a 17-6-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton High boys’ soccer team fell behind powerhouse Kearny High 2-0 late in the second half last Sunday in the state Group 4 championship game at Kean University, it could have thrown in the towel.

Instead, PHS threw players forward, putting pressure on the Kardinals. With 2:14 remaining in regulation, the Little Tigers broke through as senior star midfielder Drew Beamer found the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game. more

MAX VALUE: Princeton University men’s hockey player Max Veronneau goes after the puck in recent action. Last Friday, junior forward Veronneau tallied two goals and an assist to help Princeton defeat Yale 5-4. The Tigers, who lost 3-0 to Brown a day later to move to 3-3-1 overall and 2-3-1 ECAC Hockey, host Bemidji State for a two-game set this week on November 22 and 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University men’s hockey team was outskated and outworked by Yale in the first period last Friday, Max Veronneau singlehandedly kept the Tigers in the game.

Junior forward Veronneau tallied a goal and assist as the teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after the first period even though the Bulldogs built a 16-6 edge in shots. more

CANNY MOVE: Princeton University men’s basketball player Devin Cannady heads up court last Wednesday in Princeton’s home opener against Brigham Young University. Junior guard Cannady scored a team-high 19 points in a losing cause as the Tigers fell 65-56. On Saturday, Cannady scored 22 points as Princeton lost 71-58 at St. Joseph’s. The Tigers, now 0-3, host Lafayette on November 22 before playing at Fairleigh Dickinson on November 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Emotions were running high at Jadwin Gym when the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Brigham Young University in its home opener last Wednesday evening.

With 7:06 left in the second half, Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson got ejected from the contest after letting the refs have a piece of his mind. Tiger junior guard Devin Cannady headed over to the home stands and waved his arms, exhorting the fans to raise the volume in support of the Tigers. more

GIVING HER ALL: Princeton University women’s soccer player Abby Givens boots the ball in Princeton’s 4-0 win over Monmouth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament earlier this month. Last Sunday, sophomore forward Givens scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Princeton upset North Carolina 2-1 in the NCAA Round of 16. The Tigers, now 16-2-1, play at UCLA, 18-2-2, on November 25 in the NCAA quarters. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In early September, the Princeton University women’s soccer team traveled to North Carolina and turned heads as it posted wins over two Atlantic Coast Conference foes, N.C. State and Wake Forest.

Last weekend, 13th-ranked Princeton headed back to Tobacco Road for NCAA tournament action and came through again, edging N.C. State on penalty kicks after the teams tied at 1-1 through regulation and two overtimes on Friday in a second-round matchup and then toppled storied and second-ranked North Carolina, the holder of 21 NCAA crowns, in a 2-1 overtime thriller two days later. more

SLIPPING AWAY: Princeton University receiver Stephen Carlson, right, tangles with two defenders in recent action as he tries to catch up with a pass. Last Saturday, junior star Carlson made 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause as Princeton fell 54-44 at Dartmouth in its season finale. The loss left the Tigers at 5-5 overall and 2-5 Ivy League. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at Dartmouth last Saturday in its season finale. the Princeton University football team’s offense ended things with a bang.

The Tigers rolled up 495 yards of total offense and 27 first downs on the way to tallying 44 points. more

November 17, 2017

SPEEDY TIGER: Princeton University football player Tiger Bech tries to elude tacklers from Yale in action last Saturday. Sophomore receiver Bech enjoyed a career day in a losing cause as Princeton fell 35-31 to the Bulldogs. He made six catches for a career-high 175 yards and a touchdown and also piled up a total of 158 yards in kickoff and punt returns. The Tigers, now 5-4 overall and 2-4 Ivy League, conclude their season by playing at Dartmouth (7-2 overall, 4-2 Ivy) on November 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace had plenty of reason to be angry after his Princeton University football team fell 35-31 to visiting Yale last Saturday.

The defeat marked the fourth time this season that Princeton had suffered a loss in Ivy League play with a chance to win in its final possession. The setback before a crowd of 11, 229 at Powers Field also officially knocked the Tigers, now 5-4 overall and 2-4 Ivy, out of contention for their second straight Ivy title while Yale (8-1 overall, 5-1 Ivy) clinched at least a share of the crown. more

November 15, 2017

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High girls’ cross country team, competing at the Group 4 state championship meet last Saturday was a valuable learning experience for the young squad.

“We had a little bit of an uneven day for us; I would have like to have seen us be a little bit more aggressive early on,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk, whose lineup for the race at Holmdel Park included three freshmen and one sophomore. more

DOUBLE PLAY: Fraser Graham displays the form in hockey and golf that helped him make history for Princeton High in both sports. Graham, a 2011 PHS grad who went on to play college golf at the University of Delaware, is being inducted into the Princeton High Athletics Hall of Fame on November 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Fraser Graham entered Princeton High in 2007 focusing on hockey but he ended up making history on the golf course as well as the ice.

Graham enjoyed a superb hockey career, scoring a total of 176 points and helping the Little Tigers win the Mercer County Tournament as a senior in the 2010-11 season. He saved his best for last on the ice, tallying 68 points on 27 goals and 41 assists in his final campaign. more

CAROLINA BLUES: Princeton University field hockey player Elise Wong heads up the field in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Wong scored a goal to help Princeton defeat Virginia 3-2 in overtime in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. A day later, the Tigers’ season came to an end as they fell 3-2 to North Carolina in the NCAA quarters. The Tigers, who entered the tournament ranked 14th nationally, finished with a final record of 12-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals last Sunday, the Princeton University field hockey battled to the last second and beyond. more

CHILLING EFFECT: Princeton University women’s soccer player Mimi Asom, right, goes up for a header last Friday night as the Tigers hosted Monmouth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Braving the Arctic blast that hit the area, junior forward Asom heated things up with two goals and an assist to help Princeton prevail 4-0. The Tigers, now 15-2 overall, face North Carolina State (15-5-1) in a second round contest on November 17 in Cary, N.C. It marks a rematch of a regular season game on September 2 which saw the Tigers defeat the Wolfpack 2-0. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Mimi Asom, a native of Dallas, Texas, the arctic weather that chilled the area last Friday as the Princeton University women’s soccer team hosted Monmouth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament was a shock to the system. more

GOLDEN GOAL: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Drew Beamer controls the ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior star Beamer scored the winning goal as third-seeded PHS defeated top-seeded Hunterdon Central 1-0 in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final. As a result, PHS, now 16-5-1, will face Washington Township (21-2-1) in the Group 4 state semis on November 14 with the victor advancing to the title game on November 19 at Kean University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High boys’ soccer team, the experience gained from five losses over the season proved to be a blessing in disguise as it faced a gauntlet of tough foes on the way to the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title.

“My team had the opportunity to play some high level competition this year and has been on the wrong end of it at times,” said PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe. more

BATTLE-TESTED: Princeton University water polo head coach Luis Nicolao instructs his men’s squad during a game earlier this season. Former Naval Academy water polo star Nicolao, who served a tour of duty in the Gulf War, recently achieved another milestone in his 19-season tenure guiding both the Tiger men’s and women’s programs as he hit the 400-win mark on the men’s side. He has compiled a 442-149 record in women’s play and is currently at 401-162 for the men. The men’s squad, currently 21-5, will be looking to earn a fifth NCAA berth under Nicolao as it competes in the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) tournament in Cambridge, Mass. from November 17-19 where it is seeded first. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Luis Nicolao’s office on the deck of DeNunzio Pool at Princeton University exudes a coziness, with framed family portraits of his wife and two daughters sitting on shelves surrounded by an extensive collection of sports bobbleheads and other knick-knacks. more

GROUP LEADER: Princeton High boys’ cross country runner Will Hare heads to the finish line on the way to taking first in the Boys’ Varsity race at the Mercer County Championships in late October. Last Saturday, senior star and Penn-bound Hare took another title, placing first at the state Group 4 meet in Holmdel Park. Hare’s performance helped PHS take second in the team standings and qualify for the Meet of Champions on November 18 at Holmdel. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In 2016, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team cruised to the title in the Group 4 state championship meet, easily outpointing runner-up Cherokee.

Last Saturday, PHS dropped to second at this year’s Group 4 meet as Kingsway raced to the title but head coach Jim Smirk had no qualms with the effort he got from his runners. more