December 12, 2018

JAY TRAIN: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jaylen Johnson heads to the hoop in a game last winter. PHS will he relying on senior forward Johnson to provide inside scoring this winter. The Little Tigers tip off their 2018-19 campaign by playing at Hopewell Valley on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a disappointing 4-21 campaign last winter, the Princeton High boys’ basketball team is hungry to get back on the winning track.

“Everyone has come in a little more focused; they are ready,” said PHS Head Coach Pat Noone.

“They want to get back to where we were two years ago (12-14 record) and not last year. It has been high energy. We have some returning guys playing well and the young guys are enjoying it.” more

ON POINT: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Shaylah Marciano gets ready to unload the ball in a game last season. Junior point guard Marciano figures to be a catalyst for the PHS offense this winter. The Little Tigers open their 2018-19 campaign by hosting Hopewell Valley on December 14.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last winter, the Princeton High girls’ basketball team made big progress in its first campaign under the guidance of Dave Kosa.

PHS posted a 14-14 record in 2017-18, a marked improvement on the 6-20 mark posted in the previous season, and earned its first win in the state tournament since the mid-1990s when it defeated South Brunswick in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional. more

FAIR PLAY: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Laila Fair, middle, goes up for a shot last week against Hun. Sophomore transfer Fair contributed 10 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks as Stuart rolled to a 62-33 win the December 4 contest. The Tartans, now 2-1, host Princeton Day School on December 12 before playing in the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) Tip-Off Tournament from December 14-15 and then hosting Montgomery on December 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Laila Fair struggled through a lost season in 2017-18 as a knee injury prevented her from taking the court in her freshman campaign with the Middlesex High girls’ basketball team.

Turning the page, Fair transferred to Stuart Country Day School and has found a home with its hoops program. more

LEADING THE WAY: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Julie Patterson controls the puck in game last year. Last Wednesday, senior forward and captain Patterson scored two goals to help PDS defeat Pingry 5-1. The Panthers, who fell 3-0 to Portledge School (N.Y.) last Monday to move to 2-2, head to Maryland this weekend to play the Holton-Arms School (Md.) on December 14 and 15 and Georgetown Visitation Prep (D.C.) on December 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having been a star for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey since joining the program as a freshman in 2015, Julie Patterson relishes being a resource for her younger teammates.

“I like showing them what to do on and off the ice, being a good leader and helping them grow,” said senior star and team captain Patterson. more

FULL NELSON: Hun School boys’ hockey player Brian Nelson, right, battles for the puck in recent action. Senior forward and team captain Nelson has been triggering the offense this season for Hun as it has gotten off to a 3-2 start. In upcoming action, the Raiders were slated to host Lawrenceville on December 11 and Princeton Day School on December 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Brian Nelson soaked in some valuable lessons over his first three seasons with the Hun School boys’ hockey program.

Looking up to such stars and team leaders as Blake Brown, Tanner Preston, and Kyle Mandleur, Nelson was ready to follow in their footsteps when he was named captain for the 2018-19 season. more

December 5, 2018

FILLING IT UP: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Fillier heads up the ice in recent action. Freshman forward Fillier came up big last weekend, chipping in three assists as Princeton edged Quinnipiac 3-2 in Friday and then scoring two goals a day later as the Tigers topped the Bobcats 4-1 in the finale of a two-game set between the rivals. Fillier was later named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week. The 6th-ranked Tigers, now 7-2-3 overall and 6-0-2 ECAC Hockey, play at Rensselaer on December 7 and at Union on December 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sarah Fillier had to skip four games this November during her freshman campaign with the Princeton University women’s hockey team but she had a pretty good excuse.

The star forward was competing for Team Canada for the 4 Nations Cup from November 6-10 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as the only collegiate freshman on the squad. more

JACKED UP: Princeton University men’s hockey player Jackson Cressey controls the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior forward Cressey scored two goals, but it wasn’t enough as Princeton fell 6-3 to Quinnipiac to suffer its fifth straight defeat. The Tigers, now 3-6-1 overall and 3-3-1 ECAC Hockey, will look to get back on the winning track when they host Arizona State for a two-game set on December 7 and 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having been on the road for the last two weeks and losing all four games, Jackson Cressey and his teammates on the Princeton University men’s hockey team were happy to be back at the friendly confines of Hobey Baker Rink.

Hosting Quinnipiac last Saturday evening, Princeton jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period as junior forward Cressey took A feed from senior defenseman Josh Teves and found the back of the net. more

YES WAY, JOSE: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jose Morales displays his defensive intensity in a game last winter. Junior guard Morales, a former Hun School standout, provided a spark for Princeton as it defeated George Washington 73-52 last Saturday. Morales contributed 13 points, four rebounds, and three steals as the Tigers posted their third straight win and improved to 4-2. Princeton hosts Saint Joseph’s on December 5 before facing St. John’s on December 9  in the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jose Morales logged just 149 minutes in 28 appearances off the bench in his first two winters on the Princeton University men’s basketball team.

Over the last four games this season, junior guard Morales, a former Hun School standout, has played 120 minutes, emerging as a spark of the Tigers with his scrappy play and fearless drives to the hoop. more

AIR JORDAN: Princeton University women’s basketball player Sydney Jordan goes up for a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, senior forward and co-captain Jordan matched her career-high with 14 points to help Princeton rally to a 65-57 win over Davidson and snap a seven-game losing streak. The Tigers, now 2-7, host Quinnipiac on December 8 before playing at Monmouth on December 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sydney Jordan knows that she needs to be more aggressive offensively for the Princeton University women’s basketball team as it currently has three top players sidelined due to injury.

“Coach [Courtney Banghart] is looking for me to help out in the scoring,” said senior forward and co-captain Jordan.

“We need points because we have had a lot of injuries. It is finding more people to help on offense; I have been trying to help out with that.”

Last Sunday against visiting Davidson, Jordan was a big help for Princeton, scoring two key buckets in the last four minutes of the game and matching her career high with 14 points as the Tigers rallied to a 65-57 victory.

“A lot of our roles have been different than what we thought it would be when we got here at the beginning of the year,” said Jordan, a 6’0 native of Manassas, Va. who is averaging 7.7 points a game this season after scoring 5.0 points a game last winter.

“Everyone has been stepping up a lot, trying to work harder and bring each other along and bring energy. That is something we can all do.”

Stepping up down the stretch on Sunday to get the win and snapping a seven-game losing streak was a confidence builder for the Tigers, now 2-7.

“We have had some close games early in the season and we haven’t been able pull it out,” said Jordan.

“We came in this one knowing that we needed to win. We were all fired up to get a win at home to start off December the right way.”

Jordan credited sophomore guard Carlie Littlefield with getting the Tigers fired up as they ended the game with a 21-8 run over the last five minutes to wipe out a 49-44 deficit against the Wildcats.

“It was a lot from our point guard Carlie Littlefield, just telling us, ‘hey guys we need this one’ and getting on us, bringing some energy on the court,” said Jordan more

ROCK SOLID: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Rocco Salvato, right, goes after the puck in recent action. Junior defenseman Salvato has starred at both ends of the ice as PHS has gotten off to a 3-0 start. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers are slated to play Lawrence High on December 5, WW/P-South on December 7, and Monroe on December 11, with all three contests taking place at the Mercer County Park rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As a freshman in the 2016-17 season, Rocco Salvato quickly established himself as a key scoring threat at forward for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team.

Last winter, Salvato got switched to defense late in the season to shore up that unit for the playoff push, starring as PHS advanced to the Mercer County Tournament title game and the state Public B semis. more

COOL HAND LUKE: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Luke Antonacci heads up the ice in recent action. Last Monday, sophomore forward Antonacci had two goals and three assists to help PDS defeat Morristown-Beard 13-2. The Panthers, now 2-1, play at the Portledge School (N.Y.) on December 5 and at Delbarton on December 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Luke Antonacci was determined to help the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team get off to a good start as it hosted Gloucester Catholic last Thursday, looking to bounce back from an opening day loss.

“We just wanted put pucks on the net, get shots in goal,” said Antonacci, reflecting on the team’s mindset in the wake of a 2-1 loss to St. Joe’s Prep two days earlier in the first game of the 2018-19 campaign. “Everyone was desperate to score.” more

By Bill Alden

Liz Sharlow first got the itch to coach while playing for the Lehigh University women’s basketball team from 2012-2016.

“We had a camp each summer, usually at the end of June, and that is when I really started enjoying coaching the younger girls,” said Sharlow, a four-year performer and a senior captain for the Mountain Hawks.

Her desire to get into coaching was reinforced when she stayed at Lehigh to earn a masters degree in school counseling and worked as a grad assistant for the school’s Varsity Strength and Conditioning team. more

By Bill Alden

Coming off a rough 4-19 campaign last winter, the Hun School boys’ basketball team is eager to turn the page as it heads into the 2018-19 season.

“We have got a lot of new faces,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone, noting that his roster includes five players new to the school, two new to varsity completely, and one who played on both JV and varsity last year.

“This year, the energy has been good and the atmosphere has been good. We are talking a lot about building a positive culture. With the new faces, we are going to have to build that chemistry pretty quickly here.”

Last weekend, Hun showed some positive signs, defeating the St. James School (Md.) 73-43 on Friday before getting edged by the Westtown School (Pa.) 50-43 a day later to move to 1-2. more

BACK IN TOWN: Doug Davis running the show during his career with the Princeton University men’s basketball team. Davis, a former Hun School standout and all-time Princeton great, is returning to the area this winter to take the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball program. The Panthers started their season by defeating Pennington 65-59 on Friday in the opening round of the Solebury (Pa.) Shootout before falling 67-59 to the George School (Pa.) in the title game a day later. PDS hosts the Shipley School (Pa.) on December 6 before playing at the George School (Pa.) on December 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Doug Davis stands out as a leading light on the Princeton basketball scene in the last decade

After a stellar career for the Hun School boys’ basketball team, where he scored more than 1,000 points and helped the Raiders to the state Prep A title in 2007, Davis went on to Princeton University and joined its men’s basketball program.

Over his four years with the Tigers, Davis scored 1,550 points, the second most in program history at the time of his graduation in 2012, and famously hit the buzzer beater against Harvard in the Ivy League playoff as a junior that sent the Tigers to the NCAA tournament.

Now Davis is returning to the local hoops scene, taking the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team.

As Davis works with his new players, he will be drawing on his Princeton experience.

“I don’t think you can go through Princeton and play at Princeton and not incorporate that style of basketball of offense and defense into the way you teach the game,” said Davis, who was the head coach at the Berkshire School (Mass.) the last two years.

A big part of that approach centers on daily work ethic. “The guys have been in the gym; it is establishing that basketball culture,” said Davis.

“It was such a part of my development as a player, getting in the gym. If you are taking basketball seriously and you are trying to play at the next level, then you are in the gym working out. Most of our guys were in there; training and trying to get ready as best they can for the varsity season. It is really good.”

Last weekend, the Panthers got off to a good start, defeating rival Pennington 65-59 on Friday in the opening round of the Solebury (Pa.) Shootout before falling 67-59 to the George School (Pa.) in the title game a day later.

Davis is looking for senior star guard David “Diggy” Coit to take things to a higher level this winter.

“He is small but he has a lot of game to him,” said Davis. “He is gong to be huge for our team. We are really relying on his leadership this year at guard to be able to put people in position, when to score, when not to score, when to pass, when not to pass and being the pulse of our team.”

A pair of sophomores, Dameon Samuels and Freddie Young Jr., also bring a lot of game to the table in the backcourt.

“We will be relying on those two as well to be leaders in their own right and step into that role,” said Davis, who will also be using junior Jomar Meekins at guard.

“They are no longer freshmen, they shouldn’t be making the same mistakes that they made last year. I am going to coach them hard because I feel like they are the future of the program.”

Junior Jaylin Champion will be hard to stop in a swing role for the Panthers.

“I have him bouncing back and forth between guard and forward,” added Davis. “As he moves into that next level, Jaylin is going to have to be able to handle the ball or at least prove he can handle it up top. He is so very explosive.”

In the frontcourt, Davis will be looking for junior transfer Lucas Green and senior Jimmy O’Connor to handle things in the paint.

“Lucas Green is going be very important for us,” said Davis. “He is very versatile, he can shoot, he can put the ball on the floor and he also has the ability to post, which is important. He is about 6’4; he can do a lot in the league as far as facing up. He can play good defense in the post, he is going to be good for us. We have Jimmy O’Connor who is going to be playing in the middle as well.”

Davis believes that the Panthers can win a lot of games this winter if they play an intelligent brand of basketball.

“We have to cut down on making some of those mental mistakes, even though we do have a relatively young team,” said Davis, whose team hosts the Shipley School (Pa.) on December 6 before playing at the George School on December 8.

“I feel in this day and age where three-pointer is so important that these guys are chucking those threes really quickly. It is knowing when to use the time and knowing when to get a bucket. Just being smart is going to be key for us and making shots, of course.”

November 28, 2018

PAINFUL ENDING: Princeton University men’s water polo player Matt Payne fires the ball in recent action. Last Saturday senior star Payne tallied four goals and two assists but it wasn’t enough as 12th-ranked Princeton fell 14-13 in overtime to No. 16 George Washington in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 19-11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Matt Payne will have surgery on one shoulder on December 15 and surgery six weeks later to fix the other one.

Torn labrums caused the Princeton University men’s water polo senior star’s shoulders to repeatedly come out of socket. They ached plenty over the final weeks of the team’s 2018 campaign, but he wasn’t about to miss his last year.

“For me, it was my last season of a 17-year playing career,” said Payne, a 6’2 native of Laguna Beach, Calif.

“I just grew so close to these guys over the last couple years, and the freshmen this year have been the closest I’ve been to a first-year class the whole time I’ve been here, so it really inspired me.” more

CAN DO: Princeton University men’s basketball player Devin Cannady dribbles upcourt in a game last season. On Saturday, senior guard Cannady scored 21 points to help Princeton overcome a 12-point second half deficit to edge Monmouth 60-57. Cannady, who scored the last eight points of the game for the Tigers, was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week. Princeton, now 2-2, plays at Maine on November 28 before hosting George Washington on December 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After being sidelined for the first two games of the season due to a hamstring injury, Devin Cannady didn’t miss a beat as he took the court for the Princeton University men’s basketball team last Wednesday against visiting Fairleigh Dickinson.

“I always do a pretty good job of staying in shape, so it was good to just get back out there and let my legs be free,” said senior guard Cannady. more

GETTING A LEG UP: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Wesley Leggett flies up to boot the ball in game this fall. Senior striker and UConn-bound Leggett led the area with 22 goals, helping PDS advance to the state Prep B final as it went 8-7-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski).

Charlotte Bednar was an unknown quantity as she toed the starting line for the Hun School cross country team at the Mercer County girls’ varsity meet in mid-October.

The petite blonde freshman had won some races in smaller prep meets for Hun but hadn’t competed against the runners from the county’s public school programs.

It didn’t take long for the runners from the bigger schools to notice Bednar as she shot to the front of the pack in the first half mile of the race at Washington Crossing Park. more

BLUE CHIPPER: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Chip Hamlett handles the puck last season. Senior defenseman Hamlett will be spearheading the PDS defensive unit this winter. The Panthers get their 2018-19 campaign underway this week by hosting St. Joe’s Prep on November 27, Gloucester Catholic on November 29, and Morristown-Beard on December 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team boasts some high-quality players, it is a little thin in numbers compared to past years.

“There is plenty of returning, experienced talent; I expect results, I expect us to play well and to do a lot of things we have done well over the years,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, who guided the Panthers to a 17-8 record last year and a spot in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) final. more

BIG MAC: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Ryan McCormick, left, goes after the puck in a game last season. Junior forward McCormick figures to be a key producer for PHS this winter. The Little Tigers begin their 2018-19 season this week with games against Hopewell Valley on November 27, Nottingham on November 28, and Robbinsville on November 30, with all three contests to be played at the Mercer County Park rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After making two straight runs to the state semifinals, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team is bringing high hopes into the winter.

“The team is excited; there are a lot of expectations,” said PHS head coach Tim Chase, who guided the Little Tigers to an 18-9-2 record and a spot in the Public B state semis last winter in his debut season at the helm of the program. “We are not going to fly under the radar.” more

FAST EDDIE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Ed Evaldi controls the puck in a game last winter. Junior defenseman Evaldi gives Hun skill and speed from the blue line. The Raiders open their 2018-19 season by hosting Bishop Eustace on November 28 and St. Joe’s (Metuchen) on November 30 before playing at Bergen Catholic on December 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Welcoming back a battle-tested squad, Ian McNally is feeling a comfort level with his Hun School boys’ hockey team as it prepares for the 2018-19 season.

“We are skilled and we have an older group than we have ever been,” said Hun head coach McNally, who led the Raiders to a 13-8-1 record last as the program won its fifth straight Mercer County Tournament title. more

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Hun School basketball player Jada Jones races upcourt in action last winter. Senior guard Jones provides production and leadership for Hun. The Raiders were schedule to start their 2018-19 campaign by hosting Germantown Friends (Pa.) on November 27 and Stuart Country Day on December 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last three seasons, the Villanova men’s basketball team has utilized deadly outside shooting and defensive intensity to help undersized Wildcat squads win two NCAA crowns.

As the Hun School girls’ basketball team heads into the 2018-19 season, Hun head coach Bill Holup views that formula as the blueprint of success for his program. more

IN CHARGE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Nia Melvin heads to the hoop in a game last winter. Sophomore star Melvin will be counted on to the trigger the Stuart offense this winter. The Tartans were slated to tip off their 2018-19 season by hosting Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on November 27 and then competing in the Peddie School Invitational from November 30-December 1 and playing at Hun on December 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Understandably, there is a positive vibe around the Stuart Country Day School basketball team as it prepares to start the 2018-19 campaign.

Coming off a memorable winter which saw Stuart roll to its first state Prep B title and with most of its starters returning and the arrival of some talented newcomers, the Tartans are in a very good place. more

November 21, 2018

HEADING INTO HISTORY: Princeton University football player Jesper Horsted races past Penn defenders last Saturday. Senior star wide receiver Horsted made eight catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns to help Princeton defeat the Quakers 42-14 and put the finishing touches on a perfect season for the Tigers. Princeton ended the fall at 10-0 overall and 7-0 Ivy League. It marked the program’s first undefeated season since the 1964 team went 9-0 and its first outright Ivy title since 1995. Horsted, for his part, passed Kevin Guthrie to grab the Princeton record for career receptions, ending his career with 196 catches and 2,703 receiving yards, the second most in program history. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With no Princeton University football team having posted an undefeated season since 1964 when the Tigers went 9-0, this year’s squad set its sights set on perfection.

“Before the season we got together and talked about our goals for the year were and that was the biggest stated one that we were all working toward,” said Princeton senior receiver Jesper Horsted. “The way to be the best we could be was to go 10-0.” more

OVER AND OUT: Princeton University field hockey player Elise Wong tracks a ball in a game this season. Senior defender Wong starred in a losing cause as third-seeded Princeton fell 1-0 in overtime to second-seeded Maryland in the NCAA semifinals. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 15-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hosting Maryland in mid-September, the Princeton University field hockey team couldn’t hold the fort as the high-powered Terps rallied from a 4-1 deficit to pull out a 5-4 win in overtime.

When the foes met against last Friday in the NCAA semifinals in Louisville, Ky., Tiger senior defender Elise Wong was confident that Princeton could contain the Terps. more

ROUGH FINISH: Princeton University men’s soccer player Benji Issroff heads the ball up the field in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, junior defender Issroff helped the Princeton defense stymie Michigan in the first round of the NCAA tournament as the teams tied at 1-1 through 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. The game went to penalty kicks and the Wolverines ended up prevailing 11-10 in a shootout that went 14 rounds, nine past the typical five. The heartbreaking loss left the Tigers with a final record of 10-5-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The Princeton University men’s soccer team didn’t play like an underdog at host Michigan in the NCAA tournament last Thursday.

The Tigers players took exception to an online preview by Top Draw Soccer that said Princeton needed “to keep this low-scoring, sit deep, and look for chances on the counter attack or set pieces,” in order to compete. more