April 3, 2019

By Bill Alden

After pulling out a dramatic 14-13 win over No. 9 Denver University to start the week, the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team picked up where it left off as it hosted Brown last Saturday afternoon.

Princeton jumped out to a 4-0 lead as Alexander Vardaro, Emmet Cordrey, Philip Robertson, and Michael Sowers all found the back of the net in the first 10 minutes of the contest.

But things went downhill from there for the Tigers in the critical Ivy League clash. The Bears outscored Princeton 6-1 over the rest of the half to forge ahead 6-5 at intermission.

Brown extended its lead to 8-6 early in the third quarter before senior attacker Cordrey scored two straight goals to make it 8-8. The Bears responded with a 6-1 run to pull away to a 14-10 win. more

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: Bill Tierney stalks the sidelines last week as he guided his Denver University men’s lacrosse team against Princeton. It marked the return of the legendary former Tiger head coach for his first game at Class of 1952 Stadium since he left the Tiger program in 2009 after 22 seasons and six NCAA titles. Princeton, though, made it a tough homecoming for Tierney, pulling out a 14-13 win over the ninth-ranked Pioneers. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bill Tierney didn’t get the chance to hone in on his Denver University men’s lacrosse team as it went through its pregame paces before its contest at Princeton last week.

With legendary former Princeton head coach Tierney returning on March 26 for his first game at Class of 1952 Stadium since he left the program in 2009 after guiding the Tigers to six NCAA titles in 22 seasons, the warmup turned into an extended meet and greet session.

Wearing a crimson and white Denver ball cap and Oakley sunglasses, the silver haired Tierney, 66, grinned broadly as he chatted with former colleagues on the field, shook hands with old friends, and responded to well wishes shouted from supporters in the stands. more

OPENING SALVO: Princeton High baseball player Tommy Reid follows thorough on a swing in a game last spring. Senior outfielder Reid helped PHS give new head coach Dominic Capuano a memorable debut as the Tigers routed Trenton 17-2 in its season opener last Monday.  Reid went 2-for-4 with four runs scored and two RBIs in the win. In upcoming action, PHS hosts Piscataway on April 3, plays at Steinert on April 5 and Hightstown on April 6, and then hosts Notre Dame on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Dominic Capuano, coaching is a family business.

“My dad coached in baseball for 30 years in the American  Legion league and my uncle still coaches,” said Capuano.

“I started coaching when was still in school, playing summer ball.”

After graduating from The College of New Jersey in 2012, Capuano took a job as a physical education teacher at Johnson Park Elementary and then moved to Princeton High. Once at PHS, Capuano plunged into coaching, serving as an assistant for field hockey, girls’ hockey, and baseball. more

PARK AVENUE: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Alex Park heads to goal in recent action. Last Thursday, senior attacker and Williams College-bound Park tallied four points on two goals and to assists at PHS edged WW/P-South 7-5 in its season opener. The Tigers, who moved to 1-2 with a 17-3 loss to Princeton Day School last Monday, will look to get back on the winning track as they host North Hunterdon on April 4 and Scotch Plains-Fanwood on April 6 before playing at Hopewell Valley on April 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team coming off disappointing 5-12 campaign in 2018, Alex Park and his fellow veterans on the squad were determined to bring about an attitude adjustment around the program this spring.

“There is a lot of hunger and we just focused on being positive,” said senior attackman and tri-captain Park.

“We are creating a new culture here and it has really taken root. We are all being positive, we are all getting up for each other. We can see it already that it is working.” more

CRAVING SUCCESS: Hun School boys’ lacrosse goalie Gabe Craven guards the cage last Thursday as Hun hosted Princeton Day School in its season opener. Junior star Craven made 11 saves to help Hun prevail 13-5. The Raiders, who improved to 2-0 with a 16-2 win at Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Saturday, host Lawrenceville on April 6 and then play at Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gabe Craven was looking to fit in last year as he joined the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team and took over the starting goalie role.

“As a younger player last year, I was learning it all, being new to the program,” said Craven.

Craven learned those lessons well, helping Hun win the state Prep A title, making 15 saves as Hun defeated Lawrenceville 9-6 in the championship game.

This spring, Craven has assumed a take charge attitude. “I think I have done a better job of being a leader on the field,” said Craven, who has committed to attend the Naval Academy and play for its men’s lax program. “If we are not loud and playing hard, I have got to help pick them up.” more

ON THE BALL: Hun School girls’ lacrosse player Lauren Johns  brings the ball  upfield in a game last season. Hun will looking for senior star midfielder Johns to have a big final campaign. The Raiders, who have gotten off to a 1-2 start, hosts Lawrenceville on April 3 and Stuart Country Day on April 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rachel Hickey is emphasizing a pair of cardinal principles as she takes the helm of the Hun School girls’ lacrosse program.

“I ask for two things every single day – I ask them to give 100 percent in their effort and their attitude because those are two things that each of us can control,”said Hickey, who is succeeding Liz Cook as the head coach of the Raiders.

Those lessons were reinforced for Hickey as she competed for the Rutgers University women’s lacrosse team from 2010-13.

“Playing at the Division I level, you are pushing every single day; you are going against athletes just as competitive and skilled as you are,” said Hickey.

“Having to show up every single day and compete and knowing that if you don’t give your best every day, you are not only giving less to yourself but giving less to you team. At the Division I level, it is all year.” more

STARTING WITH A BANG: Hun School softball player Abby Zucatti takes a cut in a game last spring. Junior outfielder Zucatti starred as Hun got its 2019 season started with a bang by sweeping Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 16-0 and 19-4 in a doubleheader last Saturday. The Raiders will look to keep on the winning track as they host Lawrenceville on April 4 and Penn Charter (Pa.) on April 6 before playing at Doane Academy on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Many coaches believe that defense wins championships and the Hun School softball team is testing that theory this spring.

“Our defense has been very solid,” said Hun head coach Kathy Quirk, whose team went on its annual spring training trip to Florida in mid-March

“The hitting has been starting to come around. We have some new, young kids so it is a little bit of a challenge but that is what is all about.”

One of those young kids, freshman Lexi Murdock, will be handling the pitching duties for the Raiders along with senior Erin Harrigan.

“For a freshman, she throws very hard. She has a little bit of a control problem but is working hard everyday on it,” said Quirk. more

By Bill Alden

Joe Moore knew what he was getting into when he made his debut as the head coach of the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team for its season opener at the Hun School last Thursday.

“It was pretty much what was I was expecting – high tempo, high speed, and a high level of lacrosse,” said Moore.

Hun took control of the tempo early on, jumping off to a 3-0 lead and while PDS pushed back, pulling to within 4-2 midway through the second quarter on a goal by Cal Caputo, it never got closer than that on the way to a 13-5 loss.

“We knew Hun was going to try to get out to an early start on us and they did,” said Moore. “Unfortunately we couldn’t rally back.” more

NYCE AND SMOOTH: Princeton Day School baseball star Matt Nyce fires a pitch in a 2018 game. Senior standout Nyce figures to provide production with his arm and bat this spring for the Panthers. PDS, which opened its 2019 campaign by losing 10-4 to Pennington last Monday, plays at Monroe on April 3 before hosting Lawrenceville on April 4 and St. Joe’s Metuchen on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton Day School baseball team doesn’t feature a dominant mound ace or a powerful slugger, it does boast a versatile group of seniors who can do just about anything on the diamond.

“I don’t think we have a guy this year who can change things with one swing or maybe go out on the mound and shut people down, but we have five seniors and they all have plenty of experience,” said PDS head coach Brian Dudeck, referring to his Class of 2019 which includes Matt Nyce, Brendan Bucceri, Tommy Sarsfield, Kevin Flahive, and Vin Gasparro.

“It is just a question of them putting everything together and getting out on the field and executing all of the stuff we have been practicing.”

Dudeck is looking for two of those seniors, Nyce and Bucceri, to lead the Panther pitching staff. more

March 27, 2019

CATFIGHT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Sydney Jordan heads to the hoop in a game this season. Last Saturday, senior guard/forward Jordan scored a career-best 17 points but it wasn’t enough as 11th-seeded Princeton fell 82-77 to sixth-seeded Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Raleigh, N.C. The defeat to the Wildcats left the Tigers with a final record of 22-10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Courtney Banghart wasn’t surprised that her Princeton University women’s basketball team fought to the finish in the NCAA tournament opener.

The Tigers have been fighters from the very beginning of a season that started with myriad challenges, and they were battling to the end of an 82-77 loss to Kentucky in the first-round of the NCAA tournament in Raleigh, N.C. last Saturday.

“This year that we’ve had, that game kind of categorizes our season with the resilience that we showed,” said Banghart. “The competitive leadership of our seniors was on full display. The talent of Bella (Alarie) was on full display. And the grittiness of Carlie (Littlefield) was on full display.” more

CENTURY CLUB: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Elizabeth George looks to unload the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior attacker George tallied six points on two goals and four assists, including the 100th goal of her career, but it wasn’t enough as Princeton lost 12-11 to Brown. The 16th-ranked Tigers, now 5-2 overall and 1-1 Ivy League,  play at No. 2 Maryland (10-0) on March 27 and at Villanova (5-5) on April 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Elizabeth George came into last Saturday needing two goals to hit the contrary mark in her career with the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team.

As Princeton hosted Brown, George scored 7:36 into the contest to hit 99 and then 1:40 later notched her 100th as the Tigers jumped out to an 8-2 lead.

“We started out hot which was good, we saw a lot of looks there,” said George.

Minutes later, Princeton stretched its advantage to 9-2 as George assisted on a tally by Kyla Sears but that ended up being the high water mark for the Tigers. Brown proceeded to score 10 unanswered goals over the rest of the first half and into the second and held off a late Princeton rally to pull out a 12-11 victory. more

By Bill Alden

Coming off a 19-10 loss to Penn and hosting defending national champion Yale last Saturday, the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team looked like it might be getting routed again as it fell behind the Bulldogs 3-1 in the second quarter.

But showing pluck, Princeton reeled off four unanswered goals to pull ahead 5-3 at halftime.

“We sunk into our game plan at that point,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “They got a couple of good ones and once we got possession of the ball, we had an opportunity to capitalize and the guys hit some shots.”

In the second half, the Tigers led 7-6 midway through the third quarter but saw the game slip away as Yale, ranked No. 1 in the USILA Coaches Poll, reeled off five unanswered goals on the way to a 15-10 victory before a crowd on 1,843 at Class of ‘52 Stadium. more

ALEC THE GREAT: Princeton High senior wrestling star Alec Bobchin, top, battles a foe in a bout this season. Bobchin produced a memorable final campaign, placing fourth in the NJSIAA Championships at 138 pounds, winning his second straight Region crown, and fourth consecutive Mercer County Tournament title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Alec Bobchin didn’t achieve the ultimate goal of winning a state championship in his senior season for the Princeton High wrestling team.

But what he did accomplish this winter marks him as one of the greatest, if not greatest, wrestlers to ever hit the mat for PHS.

Competing at 138 pounds, Bobchin won his fourth straight Mercer County Tournament title, won his second straight Region title, getting named as the Most Outstanding Wrester at the competition, and then culminated his season by heading to Atlantic City and taking fourth the NJSIAA Championships.

“I definitely felt like I could have wrestled and placed higher than I was seeded,” said Bobchin in reflecting ion his performance at the state tournament. more

UP TO SPEED: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Mariana Lopez-Ona races to goal in a 2018 game. Senior star and Michigan-bound Lopez-Ona’s intensity all over the field is a key asset for PHS. The Tigers open up their 2019 season by hosting WW/P-South on March 27.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Meg Reilly caught the coaching bug as a teenager.

The 2010 Princeton High alumna started working with grade schoolers in the PGLax program in high school and then coached with Tri-State club in the summers while attending Muhlenberg College.

“I definitely fell in love with coaching early on,” said Reilly. “I played at Tri-State for Sue Montegary; she was my big coaching idol. She got me into it and continuing to want to pursue it.” more

BIG THREAT: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Gwen Allen heads upfield in a game last season. PDS will be looking for senior star and Amherst College-bound Allen to provide plenty of offense in her final campaign. The Panthers start the 2019 season by playing at the Hill School (Pa.) on March 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Saying goodbye to a core of seniors that helped the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team win three state Prep B titles in the last four years, the program is going to have a new look this spring.

While PDS head coach Jill Thomas acknowledges that team is undergoing a transition, she is seeing a lot of positives so far from a group that features a mix of veteran leaders and promising freshmen.

“You graduate nine and you have got to rebuild a little but things are going well, ” said Thomas, whose squad includes five freshmen and two transfers and worked on getting in synch with its annual preseason trip to Florida earlier this month. more

CO-STARRING: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Coby Auslander eludes a foe in action last spring. Senior standout and Christopher Newport University-bound Auslander brings skill and competitive fire for a PDS program that has won three straight Mercer County Tournament titles. The Panthers start the 2019 season by playing at Hun on March 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During his days at WW/P-North High, Joe Moore enjoyed a transformative experience as he competed for the True North club lacrosse program.

“I look back my high school days and somebody that was huge influence for me on and off the field was Chris Sanderson,” said Moore, referring to the founder of True North who was a Canadian national team goalie and a star at Virginia who lost a valiant battle with brain cancer, dying in 2012 at age 38. “I think about him everyday and the impact he had on me.”

This spring, Moore will be looking to have a similar impact on some local high school players as he takes the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse program after serving as an assistant in 2018 to Rich D’Andrea, who stepped down after last season. more

TOUGH GUY: Hun School baseball player McGwire Tuffy takes a big swing in action last spring. Senior shortstop and team captain Tuffy figures to be a key catalyst for Hun this spring. The Raiders, who have won three consecutive state Prep A titles, host Lawrenceville in their season opener on March 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tom Monfiletto is dealing with a problem this spring that would be the envy of many coaches.

In assessing his Hun School baseball team, head coach Monfiletto notes that he has an abundance of talent at his disposal across the diamond.

“We have a lot of kids, it is going to be really difficult for us,” said Monfiletto, who has guided the Raiders to the state Prep A title in his first two seasons at the helm of the program with the team also winning the crown in 2016, the final campaign of legendary head coach Bill McQuade.

“We have 12 or more guys who we want to see contribute in games.” more

By Bill Alden

While the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team is stocked with players heading to such Division I college programs as North Carolina, Johns Hopkins, the Naval Academy, Yale, Marquette and Hobart, M.V. Whitlow doesn’t view talent as the group’s defining quality.

“As a coach, I am personally proud of our culture and the young men that are on our team,” said Hun head coach Whitlow, who is heading into his seventh season at the helm of the program. “They are good citizens and good student athletes of character.”

The Raiders feature a very good one-two punch at attack in UNC-bound junior Trevor Deubner and senior Devon Cowan, who is headed to Marquette. more

March 20, 2019

ENCORE PERFORMANCE: Members of the Princeton University women’s basketball team celebrate during their 68-47 win over Cornell last Saturday in the semifinals of the Ivy League postseason tournament. A day later, the Tigers topped Penn 65-54 in the championship game to win their second straight Ivy tourney. The Tigers, now 22-9, will now compete in the NCAA tournament where they were selected as a No. 11 seed in the Greensboro Region, facing 6th-seeded Kentucky on March 23 in Raleigh, N.C. in a first-round contest. (Photo by Noel Valero)

By Bill Alden

Gabrielle Rush couldn’t find a shooting rhythm in her final regular season weekend for the Princeton University women’s basketball team.

The sharpshooting senior guard went a combined 4-of-25 from the floor, including 1-of-15 from the three-point line, as Princeton topped Brown 88-68 and Yale 80-68 on March 8-9 to clinch a share of the Ivy League title and the top seed for the league’s postseason tournament.

Last weekend, though, Rush was on target as Princeton rolled to the title at the Ivy tournament at Yale. Rush went 4-of-5 for the floor and scored 12 points as the Tigers topped Cornell 68-47 in the semis on Saturday and then made 6-of-11 shots and totaled 18 points as Princeton defeated Penn 65-54 a day later in the final, earning its second straight Ivy tourney title. more

ROAD TO GLORY: Princeton University wrestler Patrick Glory, left, battles a foe earlier this season in a bout at 125 pounds. Freshman Glory, who won the EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) title at 125 earlier this month, will be going after a national title this weekend as he takes part in the NCAA Championships this weekend in Pittsburgh, Pa. He will be joined at the competition by Tiger teammates Patrick Brucki (197), Matthew Kolodzik (149), Quincy Monday (157), Travis Stefanik (174), and Kevin Parker (184). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Patrick Glory takes pride in standing atop the podium at the EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) Championships on March 9 in Binghamton, N.Y.

But what the Princeton University freshman really wants is to be standing at the top of another one when the NCAA Championships conclude this Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“It’s something I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” said Glory, a native of Randolph, N.J.

“It’s something I’ve been dreaming of. When you’re in third or fourth grade, you think, ‘Imagine how cool it would be to wrestle at the NCAA championships, imagine how cool it would be to win a national title.’ I’ve dreamed about me standing on the podium and winning the national title and jumping into my coach’s arms and talking to my family afterward. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since I was 8-9 years old. And now it’s here.” more

GOAL ORIENTED: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Fillier chases down the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, freshman star forward Filler scored both goals for Princeton as it fell 5-2 to second-seeded Minnesota in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Tigers ended the winter with a record of 20-8-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s hockey team played at Minnesota in the 2016 NCAA quarterfinals, the Tigers got on the scoreboard first but then yielded six unanswered goals on the way to a 6-2 loss.

Last Saturday, when Princeton headed to Minnesota for a rematch in the 2019 NCAA quarters, it took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by freshman star Sarah Fillier.

This time, the game turned into a nail-biter rather than a rout. After Minnesota forged ahead 2-1 in the second period, Princeton knotted the game at 2-2 on another tally by Fillion. more

PRO QUALITY: Princeton University men’s hockey player Ryan Kuffner heads up the ice in recent action. Senior star Kuffner ended his college career by tallying two goals and two assists in Princeton’s 6-5 triple overtime loss to Brown on March 9 as the Tigers were swept in best-of-three ECAC Hockey first round playoff series. Last week, Kuffner, Princeton’s all-time leading goal scorer with 75, signed a two-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Classmate and star forward Max Veronneau entered into a two-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators and made his NHL debut on March 14 in Ottawa’s 2-0 win over St. Louis. Last Saturday, Veronneau tallied his first NHL point, picking up an assist as the Senators defeated Toronto 6-2. A third senior, defenseman Josh Teves, inked a one-year entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having played a key role in the resurgence of the Princeton University men’s hockey program which saw the Tigers win the ECAC Hockey tournament last winter, the team’s seniors weren’t about to go down without a fight as they faced playoff elimination earlier this month.

Playing at Brown in the best-of-three ECACH first round series, Princeton lost the first game 3-0 on March 8 and trailed 5-2 with 4:37 left in regulation a day later.

But with senior stars Max Veronneau, Ryan Kuffner, Josh Teves and Alex Riche hitting the ice together, the Tigers produced a dramatic comeback, scoring three goals in 3:48 to knot the game at 5-5 and force overtime. more

MAKING IT HAPPEN: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Victoria Zammit goes after the puck in a game this winter. Junior star defenseman and assistant captain Zammit produced a superb campaign, spearheading the Tiger defense and leading the team in scoring with 33 points on 26 goals and seven assists. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Christian Herzog emphasized development this winter as he guided his Princeton High girls’ hockey team.

“I knew in terms of talent, I was going to deal with a difficult year in terms of the wins,” said PHS head coach Herzog.

“I was looking for individual players to shine when given their moment.”

While the Tigers went 3-13, with all three wins coming against the Lawrenceville ‘B’ team, Herzog saw progress. more

DOWN PAT: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Julie Patterson controls the puck in a game this season. Senior star forward and team captain Patterson led PDS in scoring with 37 points on 25 goals and 12 assists, helping the Panthers post a 12-12 final record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Things didn’t look very promising for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team is it headed into winter break in December.

PDS brought a 2-6 record into the holidays, hampered by a string of injuries to key players.

With the goal of a winning season appearing out of reach, the Panthers went back to basics.

“We just tried each week to work on little things that we wanted get better at and using the games as guides to how did we do with those things,” said PDS head coach Lorna Cook. more

ABBIE ROAD: Hun School swimmer Abbie Danko heads to victory in the 200 individual medley at the Mercer County Championships in late January. Junior star Danko helped the Hun girls’ squad enjoy a breakthrough season as it took first at the county meet for the program’s first-ever team title at the competition and then excelled at state Prep meet, the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Invitational and the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Boasting a core of six standouts, the Hun School girls’ swimming team put the program on the map this year.

Showing their talent and versatility, Hun’s hardy crew of junior Marie-Eve Hebert, sophomore Becca Della Rocca,  junior Abbie Danko, senior Izzy Peel, junior Grace Davis, and freshman Hannah Davis cruised to the team title at the Mercer County Championships, earning the school’s first-ever county swimming crown.

Building on that effort, the Raiders went on to excel at the state Prep meet, the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Invitational, and the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships.

Noting that the program didn’t have enough swimmers in the past to field separate boys’ and girls’ teams, Hun head coach Joan Nuse was proud of what her female crew accomplished.  more