October 28, 2020

DREAM JOB: Blake Dietrick puts up a shot in a 2015 game during her senior season with the Princeton University women’s basketball team. Signing with the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA, point guard Dietrick emerged as a key reserve for the squad as it played in a pandemic-shortened 22-game season that was held in a bubble in Bradenton, Fla. She had career highs with 5.9 points per game and 3.4 assists per game. Showing her outside shooting prowess, Dietrick finished eighth in the league in three-point shooting at 44.8 percent from beyond the arc, setting a franchise record for three-point shooting percentage. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Blake Dietrick has few chances to attend the Princeton University women’s basketball games.

The former Tiger point guard made one last year, and it may have launched a breakout year in the WNBA.

Dietrick flew to Boston on her break from Lointek Gernika Bizkaia in Spain and went directly to see Princeton play at Harvard. She texted Nicki Collen, the head coach of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, on the way to the game and when she arrived Collen was already there to scout Princeton senior Bella Alarie among others.

“It almost felt like a sign,” said Dietrick, a 2015 Princeton graduate who ended her Tiger career fourth in three-pointers made (210), fourth in three-point shooting percentage (.395), fourth in assists (346), and 12th in scoring (1,233 points).

“I sent that message and the next minute she’s there, and we’re talking and hanging out and catching up. She’s an incredible person as well. I wanted to hear about her family and her girls play lacrosse and about things that matter to me. It all really aligned perfectly.”

While Dietrick didn’t try to oversell herself, she did make it known that she wanted to return to Atlanta, where she played sparingly for Collen in 2018. When the WNBA had to adjust its plans for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Atlanta lost two of its guards Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes, the Dream reached out to bring in Dietrick.

“Seattle did offer me a spot at training camp,” said Dietrick. “I turned it down because I didn’t think there was a place on their roster.”

Signing with Atlanta, the 5’10 Dietrick went on to enjoy her finest of four seasons in the WNBA. In their pandemic shortened 22-game season, she played more minutes than ever – triple her highest previous average, even started four games, and she finished eighth in the league in three-point shooting at 44.8 percent from beyond the arc, setting a franchise record for three-point shooting percentage. She had career highs with 5.9 points per game and 3.4 assists per game. Dietrick explained that the improvements came with the new chances. more

LEADING FROM THE BACK: Princeton High field hockey player Grace Rebak, right, fights for the ball in a game earlier this fall. Junior star defender and co-captain Rebak has helped PHS produce a 7-0 start. The Tigers host Hightstown on October 29 before playing at Lawrence High on November 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Grace Rebak moved to the middle of the defense for the Princeton High field hockey team last fall and has now assumed a central role for the squad.

“I played left back my freshman year and then I started playing center back my sophomore year,” said PHS junior star and co-captain Rebak.

“Now junior year, I am just having a voice back there along with my goalie [Frankie deFaria]. We are talking really well this year and we are communicating really well.”

Last week, PHS talked the talk and walked the walk, edging Allentown 1-0 in a tense encounter on October 20.

“They are our rival so we get really pumped for this game every year,” said Rebak.

“Our team is coming out really strong this year. Last year we lost to them so we just wanted to come back and fight against them. It was definitely a tough battle today. Our defensive line was getting a lot of action; we actually haven’t had a lot of action in these past few games.”

Rebak got into the action at the offensive end, making several forays into the circle. more

BORN TO RUN: Princeton High boys’ cross country runner Jacob Bornstein displays his form in a recent race. Senior star Bornstein is setting the pace for PHS this fall as runner and a leader. The Tigers are next in action when they compete on October 30 at the Reed/Byrne Farm in Ewing. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Jacob Bornstein’s high school career began as the fifth finisher on the Princeton High School boys’ cross country squad that won the 2017 New Jersey freshman state championship race at Thompson Park.

It is ending with the PHS senior at the top of the Tigers varsity lineup, assuming a leadership role, competing among the best in the county and sectional, and trying to leave a legacy after four years of growth.

“We all worked really hard together that year as freshmen,” said Bornstein.

“We were very fortunate to win the title. I’ve just been putting in the same effort each year. Things have been going really well for me. Unfortunately with some of my other teammates from my freshman crew, they haven’t been doing so well with their health because some of them have injuries. It happens. I haven’t been injured recently – some minor knee issues earlier this summer. I’m doing what I’ve always done and running as best that I can.”

Over the years, Bornstein has made steady progress. He jumped from fifth on the freshman team to fifth on the varsity as a sophomore after the team graduated some key runners, becoming a dependable runner who emerged over the season.

“We nicknamed him ‘Wubby’ and it was an idea that no matter how bad it got, he would be there,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk. “That’s where it started and all of a sudden he started doing things like winning races and we were saying, where did that come from? You’re supposed to be the security blanket and you’re setting the tone. Last year, coming out of cross country and going into winter, that’s when we really started to see him evolve.” more

IN SYNC: Hayden Masia, left, and Hannah Van Dusen encourage each other during a recent match at first doubles for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team. The pair of seniors, who won the state Prep B title at first doubles in 2019, have helped PDS produce an 8-0 start this fall in their final campaign. The Panthers play at Pennington on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Familiarity is breeding success for Hayden Masia and Hannah Van Dusen as they play their final season at first doubles for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team.

Having won the state Prep B title at first doubles in 2019, the pair has helped PDS produce an 8-0 start this fall in their senior campaign.

Last Friday, Masia and Van Dusen displayed their cohesiveness, posting a 6-2, 6-2 win over Amelie Halgan and Gia Villegas of Pennington as the Panthers prevailed 4-1.

“Throughout the season, one of our main focuses has been making sure our points are structured to our advantage,” said Masia, noting that the pair also played a few matches together as freshmen.

“For example, Hannah is really really good at putting balls away at the net and I am more of a baseliner. So especially on my serve, it is a good set up. We have been working on that throughout the season. I think it really showed today that you set up the point in such a way that you know Hannah can finish the point and be done with it. It works well as a pair better than individually.”

Van Dusen enjoys closing the deal on volleys. “We try to finish points at the net,” said Van Dusen. more

GETTING AFTER IT: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Catherine Martin, right, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior star and co-captain Martin scored three goals to power Stuart to a 4-1 win over Princeton Day School. The Tartans, who fell 1-0 to South Hunterdon last Saturday to move 4-1-1, are next in action when they host Bordentown on November 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Catherine Martin and her teammates on the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team brought a special sense of urgency as they hosted Princeton Day School last Wednesday.

Having not defeated PDS in years and seeing their 2019 season end with a 1-0 loss to the Panthers in the state Prep B semifinals, the Tartans were primed to turn the tables on their neighbors across the Great Road.

“It has been so long since we beat them, it has been about seven years,” said senior forward and co-captain Martin.

“I remember four years ago when we just scored our first goal on them. We have improved so much. We were ready, we brought it all.”

Martin set the tone, scoring two goals in the first quarter as the Tartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

“I was so determined, I knew we had to score,” said Martin. “It did feel good. It is like a runner’s high; the game is good, everyone is playing well.”

Stuart kept playing well, pulling away to a 4-1 victory over the Panthers.

“There was great energy the whole game,” said Martin. “I remember one time in the second half where we were getting a little messy. We came together and started controlling the game again with our possession.”

Martin achieved a hat trick, slotting the ball into the goal with 8:52 left in the third quarter, moments after tumbling to the turf on a collision in the circle.

“I was a little bit woozy, I hit my head,” recalled Martin. “The ball was next to me so I shot it.”

Keeping their heads, the Stuart players used their possession game to hold off PDS in the fourth quarter and break their losing streak to the Panthers. more

GROWING THE GAME: Keith Stewart, left, presides over a youth event at the Springdale Golf Club. Stewart, the head golf professional at Springdale since 2009, recently won the NJPGA’s Bill Strausbaugh Award, which recognizes a golf pro who displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership through a commitment to mentoring and making significant impacts on the careers of PGA professionals. Stewart is known around the club as the “Director of Fun.” (Photo provided by Keith Stewart)

By Bill Alden

Before taking over as the head golf professional at the Springdale Golf Club in 2009, Keith Stewart was steeped in the traditions of the game with broad experience in managing prestigious venues.

Upon arriving in Princeton, Stewart’s resume included stops at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, Mass., Brae Burn Country Club in Newton, Mass., Isleworth Country Club in Windermere, Fla., and the Warwick Country Club in Warwick, R.I.

But it was a stint working part-time at Walt Disney World in Orlando that had a major impact on his approach as he took the helm at Springdale.

“I needed money to make ends meet when I was working at Isleworth so I moonlighted by working at Disney World and I had to go through all of their training,” said Stewart.

“It is so brilliant in how you handle things. They have no members, they have to make everyone come back. Mine will come back, they have paid for the year. We have always tried to have a mindset here that we want to treat people such that we know that they are not guaranteed to come back. We will get to know them and treat their families the best we can.”

Treating people well over the last 11 years has led Stewart to earn a number of honors, including four NJPGA Section Awards and being named the NJPGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2019.

Earlier this year, Stewart added another accolade, getting chosen as the winner of the NJPGA’s Bill Strausbaugh Award, which honors a golf pro who displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership through a commitment to mentoring and making significant impacts on the careers of PGA professionals. more

October 21, 2020

MISSING THE GAME: Princeton University football head coach Bob Surace shows his game face during the 2018 campaign. With the Ivy League having canceled the 2020 fall sports season due to COVID-19 concerns, Surace is dealing without having football for the first time in his memory. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace struggled to keep his emotions in check this July as he spoke virtually to members of the Princeton University football program in the wake of the Ivy League announcing it was canceling the 2020 fall sports season due to COVID-19 concerns.

“When we found out that we weren’t playing, I got on a call with the parents, players, and coaches and I started breaking up, I was in tears,” said Princeton head coach Surace ’90, who is in his 11th season at the helm of the program.

“My dad was a coach. I haven’t had a fall without football since I can literally remember. I have been on a sideline with my dad. I have been a player. I have been a coach. You are talking almost 50 years.”

In dealing with the crazy year that is 2020, Surace has developed a daily routine to keep him on track.

“I try to keep a really strict schedule,” said Surace. “I think it takes time to figure that out but literally, starting in May or so, I got into that routine. We are only allowed eight hours in the office during the week but almost everything I am doing, I can do from home.” more

IYER LEVEL PLAY: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Shaila Iyer hits a backhand in a recent match. Freshman Iyer has starred at first singles, helping PHS produce a 10-0 start. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Shaila Iyer is ahead of schedule when it comes to her role on the Princeton High girls’ tennis team.

Ascending to the first singles spot in the PHS lineup this fall as a freshman, Iyer has even surprised herself.

“I didn’t even think I would be on varsity this year, let alone be No. 1,” said Iyer.

“For me and my mom, when we started tennis, our goal was to get to varsity as a junior.”

Last Saturday against visiting Hightstown, Iyer showed how she can be a force at the varsity level, posting a 6-3, 6-0 win over Diana Kalajdzic to help the Tigers defeat the Rams 5-0 in a battle of teams that brought 8-0 records into the match.

“They beat us for the past four years and last year was the first time we won,” said Iyer. “We are really excited.” more

LATE SALVO: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kelly Beal kicks the ball up the field in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Beal scored the game-winning goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation as PDS edged Bishop Eustace 3-2. The Panthers, who defeated Moorestown Friends 3-0 last Monday in improving to 4-1, host Montgomery on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kelly Beal struggled to get herself free around goal as the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team hosted Bishop Eustace last Thursday.

For much of the contest, speedy PDS senior forward Beal got stymied on runs from the flank.

“It was kind of difficult to get me the ball this game but it is just how it happened,” said Beal.

It came as no surprise to Beal and her teammates that they got a difficult game as they faced Bishop Eustace.

“Coming into the game we knew that they were going to be tough competitors,” said Beal.

“Maybe that rattled us a little bit coming in because this whole season matters so much to us because we never know when it is going to end.”

PDS jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by junior Ali Surace with 33:39 left in the first half but the Crusaders answered back with a tally four minutes later to knot the game at 1-1. The Panthers went ahead 2-1 on a goal by freshman Adriana Salzano late in the first half.

Just after halftime, Bishop Eustace found the back of the net to make to 2-2, putting the Panthers on their heels. But in the waning moments of the contest the Panthers started to find a rhythm. more

BACK IN THE FLOW: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis controls the ball last Wednesday against Notre Dame. Junior star Lis tallied two goals to help PHS rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to pull out a 4-3 win overtime. Returning to action from missing all of 2019 due to a knee injury, Lis tallied eight goals in the first four games of the season. PHS, which fell 3-0 to Hopewell Valley last Saturday to move to 3-1-1, plays at Allentown on October 21 before hosting Nottingham on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During the 2019 season, Sophia Lis’ role on the Princeton High girls’ soccer squad was confined to cheering on her teammates and occasionally serving as a ball girl while she was recovering from a knee injury.

Returning to action this fall, junior forward Lis has assumed a starring role, emerging as the go-to finisher for PHS.

Last Thursday, Lis displayed her scoring touch against Notre Dame, tallying two goals to help the Tigers rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to pull out a 4-3 win in overtime.

Lis is thrilled to be contributing again for PHS. “It is such a great feeling; I rehabbed all of last year during the season and I was ready this summer for my season and unfortunately due to corona we didn’t have the games,” said Lis, who tallied eight goals in the first four games of the season for the Tigers.

“So this is me getting back into games and getting my stamina back. I was nervous coming back. It is always that thing are you as good as you were before. I think I am finally getting back into my groove and feeling the same way.” more

TOUGH TO BEAR: Ian Franzoni sprints upfield in 2019 action during his senior season with the Hun School football team. Star running back Franzoni rushed for 1,178 yards and 12 touchdowns and made 12 receptions for 322 yards and four touchdowns in his final campaign for the Raiders. He committed to attend Brown University and play for its football program. With COVID-19 concerns leading the Ivy League to cancel its fall sports schedule, Franzoni is waiting to make his debut for the Bears. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Under normal circumstances, Ian Franzoni would have been looking forward to enjoying a homecoming last Saturday as the Brown University football team had been slated to play at Princeton.

But with COVID-19 concerns leading the Ivy League to cancel its 2020 fall sports schedule, former Hun School star running back and Brown freshman football commit Franzoni never left home in Robbinsville.

While Franzoni may have to wait a while to play for Brown, deciding to attend the school and join its football program didn’t take long.

“The schools that I were big on were the service academies; I had cousins who played at Navy so I was big on them,” said Franzoni, noting that Brown freshmen are currently scheduled to arrive on campus in January. more

October 14, 2020

GOING PRO: Jose Morales goes in for a layup against Columbia on March 6 in his senior season for the Princeton University men’s basketball team. Point guard Morales, a former Hun School standout who scored 261 points in his career with Princeton, is heading to play in the Spanish pro league for Agrupacion Deportiva (AD) Cantbasket 04 in Santander, Cantabria. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Jose Morales won’t be needing more leg room on his flight to Spain this month.

Few fellow passengers would guess that the 5’9, 170-pound Princeton University graduate is heading there to start his professional basketball career, but he is following his heart.

“That’s one thing I’ve wanted to do basically my whole life,” said Morales, a former Hun School standout who scored 261 points in his career with the Princeton men’s hoops program.

“You grow up and everybody has a dream, everybody has certain jobs they want. For me, it was always being a pro basketball player. So to finally be able to do that was super exciting.”

Last month, Morales signed a deal with Agrupacion Deportiva (AD) Cantbasket 04. The team plays out of Santander, Cantabria, in Spain. They play in the Liga Espanola de Baloncesto Aficionado (EBA), which is scheduled to begin in October and runs through May.  more

COMEBACK KIDS: Princeton High quarterback Jaxon Petrone (No. 8) relays the play in the huddle last Saturday as PHS hosted Bishop Eustace. The Tigers rallied from a 10-0 fourth quarter deficit to pull out a dramatic 18-17 win in overtime, snapping a 12-game losing streak. PHS, now 1-1, plays at Pitman on October 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After playing for the Princeton High football program as a freshman in 2017, Richie Valme took a two-year hiatus from the sport.

Coming into this fall, Valme decide it was time to get back on the gridiron. “I came back because I wanted to help us win,” said Valme.

Last Saturday, running back/linebacker Valme did just that, playing a key role as PHS rallied from a 10-0 fourth quarter deficit against visiting Bishop Eustace to pull out a dramatic 18-17 win in overtime, snapping a 12-game losing streak. Valme rushed for 122 yards on 17 carries, including a 43-yard touchdown jaunt in the fourth quarter and a three-yard run for the game-winning two-point conversion in OT as the Tigers improved to 1-1.

Although PHS had absorbed a 42-6 loss to Robbinsville in the season opener on October 2, Valme and his teammates were confident they could get on the winning track.

“We know that we are getting better,” said Valme. “We know that the Friday game was not going to determine the game today.”

Even though Tigers trailed 10-0 with less than nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, they were not fazed.

“We remembered that we did so much hard work so we are not going to give up now,” said Valme.

Valme got things going for PHS, breaking loose for a dazzling 43-yard TD run, zig-zagging through and past the Bishop Eustace defense as PHS narrowed the gap to 10-7 with 8:17 left in regulation. more

SIX SHOOTER: Princeton High field hockey player Olivia Weir, right, heads upfield in recent action. Last Thursday, junior star forward Weir tallied six goals to help PHS defeat Robbinsville 7-1. The Tigers, who improved to 3-0 with the win, play at Hopewell Valley on October 15 before hosting Allentown on October 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Olivia Weir sharpened her field hockey skills by competing against boys in her native South Africa.

“I started playing when I was 10 in South Africa and I moved here two and half years ago,” said Weir, a junior forward on the Princeton High field hockey team.

“In South Africa, boys can play which is really different. The game is a little bit slower here because in South Africa we play on astroturf, so that is definitely a change.”

Last Thursday, Weir came out at full speed against Robbinsville, tallying six goals to help PHS post a 7-1 win over the Ravens and improve to 3-0.

In reflecting on her outburst, Weir credited her teammates with setting her up.

“We are doing an amazing job finding each other in the circle,” said Weir, reflecting on her outburst which PHS head coach Heather Serverson believes is a single-game school record.

“We just know where everyone is. I was just in the right spot.”

Even Weir was taken aback by the fact that she might have achieved a school record. more

BELLWETHER: Princeton High boys’ soccer goalie Jared Bell leaps to make a stop against Steinert last Wednesday. Senior star Bell made three saves in the contest to help PHS defeat the Spartans 3-0. The Tigers, who dropped to 2-1 with a 3-2 loss to Robbinsville last Saturday, play at Notre Dame on October 14 and at Hopewell Valley on October 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jared Bell found himself under fire as the Princeton High boys’ soccer team hosted Steinert last Wednesday.

The PHS senior goalie held the fort as the Spartans generated a number of scoring opportunities and had the Tiger defense on its heels for much of the first half.

But utilizing the bonds he has developed with his defense, Bell helped PHS thwart Steinert and kept the Spartans scoreless as the Tigers clung to a 1-0 lead at halftime on a goal by senior star Nick Petruso.

“We really managed to pull through with communication,” said Bell.

“Almost every kid on our defense I think of as a leader. They are always talking, they are setting a good example.”

In the second half, PHS played some very good soccer, tacking on goals by Richard Wegmann and Andrew DeLuca in pulling away to a 3-0 triumph even as it lost Petruso to a leg injury just after halftime.

“After Nick went out, then we really know we had to step up and that mentality really set in,” said Bell, who ended up with three saves in the victory.

As a battle-tested senior, Bell has stepped up to make his voice heard on the field.

“From my sophomore year to now, I have definitely developed as a communicator on this team,” said Bell, who posted 12 shutouts in 2019 during his junior campaign. more

HEADY PLAY: Hun School girls’ soccer player Chloe Hill heads the ball in a game last season. Senior defender Hill is helping to spearhead the Hun back line this fall. The Raiders, 0-2, are next in action when they host Pennington on October 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Hun School girls’ soccer team has a 2020 schedule that is limited to five games due to COVID-19 concerns, Jenn Barrett is seeing plenty of intensity from her players.

“The girls like to have the goal and they like to have something to work towards; we are definitely practicing as though we have a full season,” said Hun head coach Barrett, who guided the Raiders to a 4-11 record last fall in her debut season at the helm of the program.

“We really have the mindset that our goal is to achieve competitive greatness. We are trying to shift the culture to almost look forward to the really hard games because that is what is going to make you better. True athletes want to play the best teams.”

Hun boasts some good athletes at forward in junior Olivia D’Aulerio and sophomore Oluwatooni Olaleye.

“We are really young this year, we have a lot of good, young talent which is amazing,” said Barrett, whose team fell 6-1 to Princeton Day School last Saturday to move to 0-2 and is next in action when it hosts Pennington on October 24. more

IMPOSING HIS WILL: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Will Sedgley controls the ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior defender/midfielder Sedgley tallied a goal to help PDS defeat Hun School 2-1 in overtime. The Panthers, now 1-2-1, are slated to host Pennington on October 17 and then play at Moorestown Friends on October 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Will Sedgley skinned both of his knees but that didn’t stop him from stepping up as the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team hosted the Hun School last Friday.

With the local rivals knotted in a scoreless tie in the second half, Sedgley battled to tally the first goal of the contest, blasting a shot off of Hun goalie Alex Donahue and then slotting the rebound into the back of the net with 19:43 remaining in regulation.

“My goal came from pressing the guy who had the ball; I had the run to the line and I tried to pull it back but no one was there,” said Sedgley.

“I was a little upset about that, I used it to drive me on. I should have scored on the first shot but I got the rebound. It was the first goal for me in a while. I have to score more. I was playing center back in the first half. I wanted to get more attacking so I moved to the midfield.”

The game went into overtime as Hun got a goal by Hector Suriel with 2:05 remaining in the half to force the extra session. PDS, though, pulled out the win as senior defender Aidan McChesney scored on a header with 3:55 left in the first overtime to give the Panthers a 2-1 victory.

Heading into overtime, Sedgley and his teammates were determined to come through. more

October 7, 2020

ON PACE: Eric Robinson, left, battles a foe in action for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL. Former Princeton University men’s hockey star Robinson ’18 tallied seven goals and five assists on 50 regular season games and then added a goal in postseason play as the Blue Jackets topped the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 3-2 in a best-of-five Qualifying Round Series and then lost 4-1 to eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in an Eastern Conference First Round Series. (Photo provided courtesy of Columbus Blue Jackets)

By Justin Feil

Eric Robinson has gone back to training as he prepares for his third full season of NHL action.

The 2018 Princeton University graduate enters the next few months build-up to training camp with a bigger sense of confidence following an encouraging, albeit unusual, 2019-20 campaign.

“It’s so big in sports and hockey,” said Robinson. “You can feel and it and see it when you’re not confident and you’re playing tight and you’re thinking when you get the puck rather than just playing and reacting. It’s everything. Relaxing a bit and realizing I have a few games under my belt and I belong and can relax and just play. It’s huge for your game. That’s the biggest takeaway going into next year that I can be a little more relaxed and focus on just playing.”

Robinson signed a two-year deal in 2018 with the Columbus Blue Jackets at the close of his senior season with Princeton. He played a game in the 2017-18 season weeks after the end of his college career, then appeared in 13 games in 2018-19 before playing 50 games this season plus his first playoffs.

“It’s something you dream of – first to play in the NHL, and then growing up watching hockey and playing hockey, you know how intense the NHL playoffs are,” said Robinson, a 6’2, 201-pound native of Bellmawr, N.J.

“It was really cool to be a part of it. We wanted to go further and that’s the goal for the future and years to come, to go further and keep experiencing more. It’s a different intensity and every mistake can be costly and every play, you have to be dialed in at a different level.”

Robinson’s speed stands out when he plays, and the Blue Jackets see it as a valuable tool that will only get more dangerous as his shooting and puck-handling develop. He scored his first career playoff goal in the third period of Game 3 in a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in their Eastern Conference First Round Series. After winning their best-of-five Qualifying Round series over Toronto in five games, Columbus ended up falling 4-1 to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Lightning in the best-of-seven series, the team that they knocked out with a first-round upset a year ago. more

SCORING TOUCH: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Jules Romano advances the ball last Thursday as PDS hosted Monroe High in its season opener. Senior midfielder Romano scored a goal as the Panthers fell 3-2 to Monroe. PDS, which defeated Hillsborough 2-0 last Saturday as Romano and classmate Kelly Beal both scored, plays at the Hun School on October 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jules Romano managed a smile despite the fact that her Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team had just lost 3-2 to visiting Monroe last Thursday in its season opener.

“I think it was just good for the team to get out there,” said PDS senior midfielder Romano, reflecting on getting the 2020 campaign underway in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had to go a five-week preseason, usually it is only about two-three weeks so it was just keeping our composure and making sure that we stay focused. It was good for the seniors to get out there in our first home game. It didn’t really matter about the result. Honestly, we were just glad to be out there again.”

PDS displayed composure, falling behind 1-0 early in the first half and then battling back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in the second half before ultimately succumbing. more

ACTION JAXON: Princeton High quarterback Jaxon Petrone gets ready for a hand off last Friday night as PHS played at Robbinsville in the season opener for both teams. Making his debut as starting QB, Petrone threw a fourth quarter touchdown pass to provide a highlight as the Tigers fell 42-6. PHS hosts Bishop Eustace on October 10 in its home opener. (Photo by Dennis Symons)

By Bill Alden

Jaxon Petrone had reason to be particularly grateful to take the field for the Princeton High football team as it played at Robbinsville last Friday evening in the season opener for both teams.

Having been sidelined all last fall due to injury and with COVID-19 putting the 2020 season in doubt for months, junior quarterback Petrone was thrilled to finally be leading the PHS offense.

“It is a great feeling to be out there, I didn’t know if we were going to be out there or not with the COVID,” said Petrone.

“Coach [Charlie Gallagher] said relish the moment, value it, and just be happy to be out there.”

Facing a tough Robbinsville team coming off a 9-1 season, Petrone and his teammates experienced some tough moments as the Ravens jumped out to a 35-0 lead at halftime on the way to a 42-6 win. more

STICK FIGHT: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Lily Harlan, left, battles Hun School’s Kayla Hampton for the ball in action last Saturday. Sophomore forward Harlan tallied a goal and an assist to help Stuart prevail 3-0 in the season opener for both teams. On Monday, Harlan chipped in a goal and an assist as Stuart tied Pennington 2-2. The Tartans are slated to play at Bordentown on October 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the start of the 2020 season was delayed due to concerns over COVID-19, Lily Harlan didn’t waste any time making an impact in her sophomore season for the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team.

With Stuart hosting Hun School last Saturday in the season opener for both teams, star forward Harlan deftly flicked a pass to Morgan John on the post which she banged into the cage to give the Tartans a 1-0 lead just 2:41 into the contest.

For Harlan, getting the assist wasn’t nearly as exciting as just getting out on the field for a game.

“It means so much because honestly I didn’t even think we would get to play again,” said Harlan.

“I thought we would just maybe have practice so it is great getting to play with my team. Everyone is so nice, our coaches are amazing. All of my teammates cheer each other on. It is one of the most encouraging teams you could meet.”

Looking to build on that early tally, Stuart dominated possession over the rest of the first half but had nothing to show for it as the score remained 1-0 at halftime. more

OPEN FIELD RUNNING: Hun School football player Ben Romano races to the end zone last Saturday as Hun defeated the Kiski School (Pa.) 68-0 in its season opener. Junior captain Romano scored two touchdowns in the win, one as a receiver and one after lining up at quarterback. The Raiders are slated to host Paramus Catholic on October 10. (Photo provided courtesy of The Hun School of Princeton)

By Justin Feil

Ben Romano has added leadership this year to the versatility that he brought last year for the Hun School football team.

The junior captain scored two touchdowns – one as a receiver and one after lining up at quarterback – as the Raiders rolled to a 68-0 win over Kiski in their season opener Saturday at Hun.

“I think we played pretty well,” said Romano, who also plays in the Hun defensive backfield.

“We were excited to get out for our first game. We had quarantine and the build-up for that, and our season started later than most private schools because of the rules. We have a lot of new faces and we were excited to get out there. We just tried to get a win and that happened.”

Hun jumped out to a 40-0 lead in the first quarter to start the season with a bang. The Raiders looked fully reloaded in their first game after graduating a significant senior class a year ago. Hun didn’t get a look at this year’s group until preseason began September 14, and it didn’t have a scrimmage to get a sense of how the team would play.

“We knew we had some good players, but we had kids that hadn’t played together,” said Hun head coach Todd Smith.

“It was a lot of new faces whereas last year’s team was a lot of returners and this year’s team is just a lot of new faces that hadn’t played together. We weren’t sure how they were going to gel. Sometimes you need that scrimmage to help get things going. Since we didn’t have that, we were looking forward to seeing how things would come out.”

The offense came out quickly while the defense was dominant right from the outset. The defense’s stinginess set up the offense for multiple scoring opportunities. more

AIMING HIGH: Hun School field hockey player Aimee Millington, left, looks to clear the ball last Saturday against Stuart Country Day in the season opener for both teams. Senior defender Millington helped anchor a scrappy back line as Hun fell 3-0 to Stuart. The Raiders return to action when they play at the Pennington School on October 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School field hockey team didn’t get its usual on-field preseason training this year, it still became a tighter group.

Dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, the squad connected over the summer via numerous Zoom meetings.

“It was a great time to really get to know each other and build a culture,” said Hun head coach Tracey Arndt.

“As sad as it was with all of the struggle, it is working through that and letting everybody know that we are all struggling and it is OK to ask for help. We spent a pretty good amount of time together this summer. While we missed a preseason of training, I think we grew in our care for each other. It made us a little stronger and a little more united.”

Finally getting the OK from the school for a 2020 season, Hun started preseason practices on September 14 and brought a grateful spirit to the field.

“Now that we get this opportunity, we are being present and intentional with every practice,” said Arndt.  more

September 30, 2020

STRAIGHT ARROW: Tom Schreiber prepares to unload the ball in action for the Archers Lacrosse Club of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). Former Princeton University men’s lacrosse star midfielder Schreiber ’14 helped the Archers LC reach the semis of the PLL Championship series this summer. Tallying 16 points on 12 goals and four assists in the competition, Schreiber was named as Gait Brothers Award as the league’s top midfielder. He also contributes to the PLL off the field, working as an analyst for the league. (Photo provided courtesy of the PLL)

By Bill Alden

Tom Schreiber has made a big impact on and off the field in helping the fledgling Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) get off the ground.

As the PLL started in 2019 with 14-week tour-based schedule taking place in 12 major-market cities, former Princeton University star midfielder Schreiber ’14 started working as an analyst for the league, focusing on player relations. On the field, Schreiber sparked the offense for the Archers Lacrosse Club squad, tallying 39 points on 15 one-point goals, a pair of two-point goals, and 20 assists.

This summer, Schreiber and the PLL thrived through the COVID-19 pandemic as the league conducted its season in a bubble, holding in a PLL Championship Series in Herriman, Utah, from July 25-August 9.

“We were there for three weeks, which is a long time,” said Schreiber, a 5’11, 205-pound native of East Meadow, N.Y.

“On the back of a pandemic where you are really not socializing with anyone and for us, part of the pre-travel process for COVID was that you had to self-quarantine for 14 days. I know that everybody took that pretty seriously so we were just starving for some social interaction. It was actually fun.”

The Archers LC players had fun out in Utah, reconnecting with each other and welcoming some fresh faces to the squad. more

READY TO POUNCE: Princeton High football player Dylan Angelucci patrols the field in a 2019 game. Senior Angelucci should be seeing action at safety and wide receiver this fall for PHS. The Tigers open their 2020 campaign by playing at Robbinsville on October 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High football team couldn’t do any contact drills during its first week of practice due to COVID-19 restrictions, it still made good progress.

“We went an entire week essentially without any equipment, the kids were so excited to be out there and the coaches were excited that I don’t think we paid it too much mind,” said PHS head coach Charlie Gallagher.

“We had a lot of learning to do. I am harking back on the fact that football is definitely an intricate, complicated game. There are a lot of moving parts and there is a lot of teaching that needs to take place. We didn’t get to do any of that teaching in the summer time. That week was actually pretty invaluable.”

Despite COVID-19 concerns and coming off a 0-8 season, PHS boasts good numbers this year with a roster of more than 40 players. more