November 2, 2016

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ALL IN: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Jack Amaral controls the ball in 2015 action. Last Sunday, senior defender Amaral helped the second-seeded Panthers edge fifth-seeded Newark Academy 1-0 in the state Prep B championship game. PDS, which last won the Prep B tourney in 2010, ended the fall with a 12-5-3 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Jack Amaral and the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team brought a sense of urgency to the field as they hosted Morristown-Beard in the state Prep B semifinals last Wednesday. more

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LEAP OF FAITH: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer goalie Grace Barbara leaps to make a save against Montclair Kimberly Academy last Sunday in the state Prep B title game. Junior star Barbara made five saves as the teams played to a 0-0 tie in a contest shortened by a thunderstorms that rumbled through the area, leaving the foes as co-champions. PDS, which has now won three straight Prep B titles, ended the fall at 17-1-4.

It was the third straight state Prep B championship game for Princeton Day School girls’ soccer star goalie Grace Barbara and she knew that visiting Montclair Kimberley Academy would put her under fire.  more

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DOWN PAT: Hun School quarterback Patrick Holly prepares to throw a pass in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday at Peddie, junior star Holly shook off a second quarter injury to hit on 9-of-16 passes for 143 yards, helping Hun rally from a 14-0 third quarter deficit to pull out a 23-14 win. The victory improved Hun to 7-0 and extended its winning streak to 21. The Raiders wrap up the season by hosting Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on November 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Patrick Holly got off to a rough start for the Hun School football team as it played at Peddie last Saturday in a Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) showdown. more

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FINAL PUSH: Stuart Country Day field hockey player Catherine Biava pushes the ball up the field last Sunday against Princeton Day School in the state Prep B championship game. Junior Biava and the seventh-seeded Tartans battled valiantly in falling 2-0 to top-seeded PDS in the title game. Stuart finished the season with a final record of 5-11-2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In early September, the Stuart Country Day field hockey team opened the season with a disappointing 7-0 loss at Princeton Day School. more

October 28, 2016

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DEFENSIVE FORCE: Princeton University football player Kurt Holuba heads upfield in recent action. Last Saturday, junior defensive end Holuba recorded a career-best 10 tackles and three sacks in a losing cause as Princeton fell 23-20 in overtime to visiting Harvard. Holuba was later named the Ivy Defensive Player of the Week for his performance The Tigers, now 4-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League, play at Cornell (3-3 overall, 1-2 Ivy) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With the Princeton University football team trailing Harvard 14-0 at halftime last Saturday in a clash of Ivy League unbeatens, it got a spark from an unlikely source. more

October 26, 2016

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SUPER SAVER: Princeton University men’s hockey goalie Colton Phinney makes a save in action last year on his way to producing a program single-season record 1,058 stops and earning second-team All-Ivy League honors. The Tigers will be depending on Phinney to stand tall again between the pipes this season as they look to improve on the 5-23-3 record they posted last season. Princeton opens its 2016-17 campaign by playing at Michigan State on October 28 and facing the U.S. Under-18 team in an exhibition game a day later in Plymouth, Mich. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In his first two years guiding the Princeton University men’s hockey team, Ron Fogarty has preached patience as he has built the foundation to get the program back on the winning track. more

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OPENING SALVO: Princeton University women’s hockey player Molly Contini controls the puck along the boards in a game last season. Last weekend, senior forward and assistant captain Contini starred as the seventh-ranked Tigers opened the season by topping Providence College 4-2 and 7-3 in a two-game set. Contini scored two goals in the opener and then added a goal and two assists a day later. Princeton, now 2-0, plays at Brown (2-0) on October 28 and at Yale (2-0) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

After enduring weeks of grueling preseason training, the Princeton University women’s hockey team was primed for the regular season as it played a two-game set at Providence College to open its 2016-17 campaign. more

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YOUNG SINGER: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Samantha Singer hits a backhand in a recent match. Last Thursday, freshman Singer battled valiantly in a 6-3, 6-0 defeat to Kruti Navin of Ridge at first singles as PHS fell 4-1 to the Red Devils in the state Group 4 semifinals. The defeat left the Little Tigers with a final record of 17-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Even though Maggie Herring’s career with the Princeton High girls’ tennis team ended in defeat as she and partner Nicole Samios fell in straight sets at first doubles to Ridge in the state Group 4 semis last Thursday, she wasn’t hanging her head.  more

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SEEING RED: Princeton High field hockey star Georgia McLean heads up the field last Thursday as fourth-seeded PHS faced eighth-seeded Lawrenceville in the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament. Senior midfielder McLean and the Little Tigers fell behind 3-0 midway through the first half and couldn’t dig out of that hole as they lost 6-0  to the Big Red, the eventual county champion. The Little Tigers, who moved to 13-3-1 with the loss, will host Freehold on October 27 and play at Pennington on October 29 before starting action in the state tournament. PHS is seeded second in the North 2, Group 4 sectional and is slated to host a second-round contest on October 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Georgia McLean liked the way things were going early on as the fourth-seeded Princeton High field hockey team battled eighth-seeded Lawrenceville last Thursday evening in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. more

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STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School field hockey player Kiely French, left, marks a foe from Allentown last Thursday as the teams met in the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament. Senior defender and captain French helped the second-seeded Panthers pull out a 3-2 win in overtime against the third-seeded and defending champion Redbirds. PDS fell 3-0 to eighth-seeded Lawrenceville School in the MCT title game on Saturday. The Panthers, now 14-4, will be competing in the state Prep B tourney where they are seeded first and host fourth-seeded Pennington in the semifinals on October 27 with the winner advancing to the title game on October 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Kiely French couldn’t stop smiling after the Princeton Day School field hockey team rallied to edge Allentown 3-2 in overtime last Thursday evening in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. more

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OVERJOYED: Princeton Day School field hockey player Sasha Sindhwani enjoys the moment after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime as second-seeded PDS edged third-seeded and defending champion Allentown 3-2 in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Thursday. The Panthers went on to fall 3-0 to eighth-seeded Lawrenceville 3-0 in the MCT title game two nights later. PDS, now 14-4, will be competing in the state Prep B tourney where it is seeded first and hosts fourth-seeded Pennington in the semifinals on October 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

On October 1, the Princeton Day School field hockey team battled Lawrenceville tooth and nail before falling 1-0.

Last Saturday, exactly three weeks later, the rivals met in the Mercer County Tournament championship game and it appeared that another tense contest was in the offing. more

David Cedeno and his teammates on the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team were on a mission as they hosted Golda Och in the opening round of the state Prep B tournament last Thursday.

“We were definitely excited because it is tournament time and all the momentum was coming into this game,” said senior midfielder Cedeno.

“What we want to do is to go out and completely out-work, out-score, out-possess the competition, and be the better team in every situation.” more

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CHARGING AHEAD: Hun School football player Tucker Strycharz heads up field in recent action. Last Saturday, post-graduate Strycharz scored a touchdown and made an interception to help Hun defeat Lawrenceville School 46-13. The Raiders, now 6-0 and riding a 19-game winning streak, play at Peddie School (5-1) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Tucker Strycharz knows all about night games, having played high school football in Virginia where Friday night lights is the norm. more

October 19, 2016

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BEARING DOWN: Princeton University football stars Dorian Williams, left and Kurt Holuba get ready for a play in 2015 action. Last Saturday against visiting Brown, senior safety Williams and junior tackle Holuba keyed a big defensive effort in a 31-7 win over the Bears as they both made interceptions. The Tigers, who improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 Ivy League with the victory, host three-time defending Ivy champion Harvard (4-1 overall, 2-0 Ivy) in a crucial league showdown on October 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For Dorian Williams and the rest of the defensive unit on the Princeton University football team, a disappointing 42-28 defeat to Lehigh in late September proved to be a wake-up call. more

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YOUNG GUN: Princeton University women’s hockey player Karlie Lund controls the puck in a game last season. Princeton will be looking for sophomore forward Lund, the 2015-16 ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, to be an offensive force again this winter. The Tigers start their 2016-17 campaign by playing a two-game set at Providence on October 22-23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Before the puck has even dropped for the 2016-17 season, the Princeton University women’s hockey team is turning heads. more

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MAC ATTACK: Princeton University field hockey player Ryan McCarthy goes after the ball last Saturday against visiting Brown. Junior star McCarthy tallied a goal and an assist in the game as 11th-ranked Princeton defeated the Bears 5-1. A day later, McCarthy scored two goals as the Tigers rolled to an 8-0 win over Towson. Princeton, now 9-5 overall and 4-0 Ivy League, is next in action when it hosts Harvard (8-4 overall, 4-0 Ivy) in a game that will be pivotal in the race for the league title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

It didn’t take long for the 11th-ranked Princeton University field hockey team to set the tone as it hosted Brown last Saturday in a critical Ivy League contest.

Just 1:21 into the game, Princeton senior star Cat Caro tallied off a penalty corner as the Tigers jumped into a 1-0 lead. After a second Caro goal, junior standout Ryan McCarthy assisted on a goal by Rachel Park and then found the back of the cage herself for a goal as the Tigers built a 4-0 halftime lead.

“We had a lot of energy, we were composed and we took control of the game,” said McCarthy in assessing Princeton’s first half performance. “We just had possession the whole time and were passing really well.”

Good passing helped McCarthy get on the score sheet. “It was a perfect pass from Carlotta (von Gierke); she saw me coming out and I circled around and saw Rachel in the right spot and she was there to put it in,” said McCarthy, a 5’4 native of Madison, N.J.

“My goal was another pass from Lotty, I just took it in, saw the net and shot it in.”

In the second half, Brown got one in to make it 4-1 but the Tigers responded with another tally by Caro to put the finishing touch on a 5-1 victory.

“We kind of lost our tempo and we took time out, regrouped and went back in and dominated the last 10 minutes,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy looks to keep the tempo up for the Princeton attack. “I am a forward so we run a lot; you build off of everybody’s energy,” said McCarthy.

“It starts from the defense to the midfield and then forward. I think it is a whole team effort that brings the energy.”

Having tallied seven goals and four assists in 2015, McCarthy has brought up her production, contributing 11 goals and four assists so far this season.

“The team has been giving me perfect balls, perfect passes, they are always in the right spot,” said McCarthy, who scored two goals in an 8-0 win over Towson last Sunday as the Tigers improved to 9-5 overall.

With Princeton in a good spot as it heads into the final weeks of the season, McCarthy credits the coaching staff with instilling cohesion on the field.

“The team has come together really well this year,” said McCarthy. “The new coaches (head coach Carla Tagliente and assistant Dina Rizzo) are a big part of that. They have really led the charge and got us going where we need to go this year.”

Princeton head coach Tagliente certainly liked the way her squad charged out of the gate in the win over Brown.

“Everything was real sharp, the defense was sharp and basic skills were clean,” said Tagliente.

“Everything was really clicking; it helps when you get a couple on the board. With this team, they are so athletic and when they can defend well and they do those simple things well, it really lends to what we can do on attack.”

Although the Tigers went through a brief lull in the second half when Brown scored to make it a 4-1 game, Princeton came on strong in the waning moments of the contest.

“We were defending on the back foot instead of the front foot, that is what is going to happen, you are going to get dinged,” said Tagliente, whose team improved to 4-0 in Ivy League play with the win over the Bears.

“We had a timeout and we talked a little about using the last 15 minutes and trying to get ready. I think we were just coasting at half a little bit but post-timeout, we had a lot of attack. I would like to see more drop but the goal was nice.”

It has been nice for Tagliente to see the production she is getting from senior star and co-captain Caro, who produced another hat trick in the win over Towson.

“I thought she had a good start; she has done that in a few games,” said Tagliente.

“She got on the board twice early and for her that is key. I think her confidence just rises from there. It is good to see her get three. She has earned it and deserved it. I think overall it was a great performance.”

McCarthy has been giving Princeton some great intensity. “Ryan just does all of the intangibles that you can’t really quantify,” said Tagliente.

“She plays with so much heart; she is a good player on top of it. She sees when the tempo and the energy isn’t there and she tries to change it and I think you saw that. In the last 15 minutes, probably 80 percent of the circle passes were traced to a pass from her or a defensive play from her.”

Princeton will be bringing plenty of energy to the field as it hosts Harvard (8-4 overall, 4-0 Ivy) on October 22 in a game that could decide the league title.

“The message we have been sending is clear, the gap isn’t closing, we are extending that gap and that is going to continue to be the focus,” said Tagliente, whose team has outscored its Ivy foes 18-1 in its first four league contests.

“I think the competitive level of these guys in practice and their demeanor has been great. Every Ivy game means so much and these guys have done a nice job to mentally stay in the moment and just play their game. They have done a great job of doing what we ask them to do and to trust in this process.”

McCarthy, for her part, is confident that the Tigers will keep in the moment as they battle the Crimson.

“We have been dominating most of the Ivy games,” said McCarthy. “It is just us and Harvard who are left undefeated so that is going to be a big game. It is just play our game; we know if we play our game then we can take control of the game and win.”

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PAYNE KILLER: Princeton University men’s water polo player Matt Payne gets ready to fire the ball in recent action. Sophomore star Payne is leading the 9th-ranked Tigers with 40 goals and 37 assists as they have gotten off to a 13-7 start. Princeton is next in action on October 29 when it plays at Iona and St. Francis. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Over its first 20 games, the Princeton University men’s water polo team has shown flashes of brilliance interspersed with some untimely offensive lulls. more

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SERVING UP A WINNER: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Elise Gerdes blasts a serve in a match earlier this season. Last Monday, senior star Gerdes rallied for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Stephanie Ji of WW/P-S at second singles to help PHS edge the Pirates 3-2 in the Group 4 Central Jersey sectional final. The Little Tigers, now 15-2, advanced to the state Group 4 semifinals on October 20 at Mercer County Park against the winner of the Ridge-J.P Stevens North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Elise Gerdes knew that she got a break as the top-seeded Princeton High girls’ tennis team hosted fourth-seeded Montgomery in the Group 4 Central Jersey sectional semifinals last Friday. more

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SETTING THE PACE: Princeton High girls’ cross country star Chloe Taylor shows her form in a 2015 race. This fall, junior star Taylor has been at the front of the pack for PHS, which recently placed second of 23 teams in the Varsity C race in the prestigious Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park. PHS has its sights set on contending for the title at the upcoming Mercer County Championships on October 28 at Thompson Park in Jamesburg. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For the Princeton High girls’ cross country team, competing in the prestigious Shore Coaches Invitational was a chance to make a statement. more

It was the annual Friday night lights homecoming game for the Princeton High football team and there was an electric atmosphere as the program hosted WW/P-S.

There was a throng filling the stands on the crisp autumn evening, led by a spirited PHS student section and a rocking jazz band.

Little Tiger sophomore running back Carson Giles got caught up in the buzz. more

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ON A ROLL: Princeton High boys’ soccer goalie Patrick Jacobs rolls the ball up the field in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, junior Jacobs made eight saves as PHS edged Trenton 1-0 in a key Colonial Valley Conference showdown. The Little Tigers, now 14-1, are starting play in the Mercer County Tournament this week where they are seeded second and host a first round contest on October 20 against the victor of the MCT play-in game between Hightstown and Nottingham. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Over the years, a long line of top flight goalies has helped form the foundation of the highly successful Princeton High boys’ soccer program. more

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ABBY ROAD: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Abby Atkeson controls the ball in recent action. Senior midfielder and team captain Atkeson’s gritty play and leadership has helped PDS get off to a 13-0-1 start. The Panthers will be getting underway in the Mercer County Tournament this week where they are seeded third and host No. 14 Hun in a first round contest on October 19. Two-time defending champion PDS is seeded first in the state Prep B tourney and will host a semifinal contest in that competition on October 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The players were hopping up and down on the field right before kickoff as the undefeated Princeton Day school girls’ soccer team played at undefeated Pennington. more

October 12, 2016

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LOVE STORY: Princeton University quarterback John Lovett carries the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Lovett rushed for three touchdowns and threw another to help Princeton defeat Georgetown 31-17. Lovett, who passed for 13 yards, rushed for 44, and made one reception for 17 yards, was later named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for his heroics. The Tigers, now 3-1 overall and 1-0 Ivy, host Brown (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) on October 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Playing at Georgetown last Saturday, the Princeton University football team had to weather a couple of storms. more

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BROWN OUT: Princeton University men’s soccer player Bryan Windsor goes after the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior midfielder Windsor and Princeton fell 1-0 to Brown, despite outshooting the Bears 21-10. The Tigers, who moved to 5-4-1 overall and 0-1-1 Ivy League with the defeat, play at Columbia on October 15 and at Georgetown on October 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As it started the October portion of its schedule, the Princeton University men’s soccer team displayed a flair for overcoming deficits. more

Last fall, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team was disappointed to just miss out on the country crown as it finished second, a mere three points behind champion Robbinsville.

With its top runners returning this season, the frustration from that near miss has been a key motivating factor for the squad.

“Missing counties by a couple of points has changed the focus a little bit,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk, the longtime coach of the Little Tiger girls’ program who is now guiding the boys as well. more