January 23, 2013
PIONEER SPIRIT: Megan Ofner controls the puck in action last winter for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team. After enjoying a stellar career at PDS, Ofner is making strides at the next level in her freshman season for the Division I women’s hockey program at Sacred Heart. Ofner has picked up two assists in her 20 appearances so far this winter for the Pioneers.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

PIONEER SPIRIT: Megan Ofner controls the puck in action last winter for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team. After enjoying a stellar career at PDS, Ofner is making strides at the next level in her freshman season for the Division I women’s hockey program at Sacred Heart. Ofner has picked up two assists in her 20 appearances so far this winter for the Pioneers. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Megan Ofner was constantly on the go during her years with the PDS girls’ hockey team.

Ofner emerged as a pivotal player from the moment she hit the ice for PDS as a freshman in 2008, ending up her Panther career with 124 points, including 32 points in her senior season on 19 goals and 13 assists.

At the same time, Ofner was playing travel hockey for such high-powered programs as the New Jersey Rockets in northern Jersey and the Quakers in West Chester, Pa.

Ofner still made time to distinguish herself in the classroom and serve as one the school’s Athletic Association Co-Heads.

During the summers, Ofner’s schedule was just as hectic as she played in camps and took part in college showcases such as the RinkSport program.

For Ofner, her frenetic activity was directed at a single goal. “I started thinking about playing hockey in college when I was accepted at PDS,” said Ofner.

“Playing Division I was the dream. In women’s hockey, there is no professional league. D-I is the highest level you can achieve.”

After looking at a variety of college programs, Ofner achieved that aim as she found a home with the D-I women’s hockey program at Sacred Heart.

The realization that Ofner accomplished her dream hit home as she stood on the ice before Sacred Heart’s season opener against RIT this past October.

“The first game was one of the most amazing days,” recalled Ofner. “I was one of the few freshmen to dress for the game. It was great to hear the national anthem and hear the names of players announced over the loudspeaker. I am so grateful and thankful to have this opportunity.”

Ofner acknowledged that she had to go through some ups and downs to get to the opener.

“We started off-ice with the coach on the second week of school,” said Ofner.

“The first day of practice on the ice was intimidating, as it would be for anybody. I saw that I could keep up with the seniors and the other upperclassmen. I was learning so much from them and I felt like I belong.”

Going through that learning curve has involved some adjustment physically. “The speed and size is the biggest difference between college and high school,” explained the 5’8 Ofner.

“In high school, I was an 18-year-old playing against 14- and 15-year-olds. Here, I am 18-year-old playing against 22-year-olds.”

While Ofner played forward for PDS, she is playing defenseman for the Pioneers.

“I played defense all the way through in travel,” said Ofner, who has tallied two assists in 20 appearances so far this season for the Pioneers. “I will play anywhere the team needs me.”

Sacred Heart head coach Tom O’Malley likes the way Ofner has fulfilled the team’s needs on the blue line.

“We were loaded with forwards and we are graduating two impact players on May,” said O’Malley.

“We thought we would get Megan accustomed to playing defense. We thought it would be a way for her to move up the ladder and become an impact player. Megan is doing a nice job; she has been thrown into the fire on occasion and she has stepped up.”

O’Malley attributes Ofner’s smooth transition to her diligence. “She is one of the hardest workers on the team, hands down,” asserted O’Malley.

“She comes in hard and works everyday in practice. She takes it seriously; she wants to become the best hockey player she can be. She will approach me in practice and say ‘coach, what can I do to get better.’”

In addition, Ofner has been a good fit with the team and on campus, prompting O’Malley to suggest that she join the school’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), an organization which serves to bridge communication between student-athletes and administration.

“On the ice, in the bus, and at team meals, the kids gravitate to her,” added O’Malley.

“Because of who Megan is, I asked her if she wanted to get involved in the SAAC. She strikes me as a mature person and I wanted her to get involved on the ground floor. She is a genuine person, she is not fake. She works hard in school and is doing really well academically.”

Ofner, for her part, has already developed deep bonds with her teammates.

“In a way, we are forced to be friends but it is great,” said Ofner. “We all have the same goals and the love for the game.”

With the Pioneers having posted a 4-3-1 record in January to improve to 11-11-2 overall, Ofner’s goal is to help the team build on its promising start to 2013.

“After holiday break, things have been clicking,” asserted Ofner. “We know each other’s skills better and we are complementing each other better on the ice. I have great hopes for the team. I want to do what I can to help the team do well and get more wins.”

EAGLE EYE: Matt Kuhlik shows his intensity in a team photo for the Emory University men’s swimming program. Kuhlik, a former Princeton High standout who helped the Little Tigers to an undefeated season and its first state title during his senior campaign in 2011-12, is making an impact for the Eagles in his freshman season. He placed second in his first 200 freestyle race of his college career and last weekend he helped Emory to a win in the 200 free relay last weekend as the Eagles topped the Savannah College of Art and Design. (Photo Courtesy of Emory University Athletics)

EAGLE EYE: Matt Kuhlik shows his intensity in a team photo for the Emory University men’s swimming program. Kuhlik, a former Princeton High standout who helped the Little Tigers to an undefeated season and its first state title during his senior campaign in 2011-12, is making an impact for the Eagles in his freshman season. He placed second in his first 200 freestyle race of his college career and last weekend he helped Emory to a win in the 200 free relay last weekend as the Eagles topped the Savannah College of Art and Design.
(Photo Courtesy of Emory University Athletics)

Matt Kuhlik didn’t see himself heading south as he considered which college swimming program to join.

“I was looking at small schools in the north like Amherst, Williams, and Dartmouth,” said Kuhlik, a sprint star for the Princeton High boys’ swim team who helped the Little Tigers to an undefeated season and its first state title during his senior campaign in 2011-12.

“I was also looking at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins and I thought I was going to one of them.”

But then Kuhlik took a trip to Atlanta and Emory University that changed the course of his swimming career.

“I didn’t want to visit Emory but my mom dragged me down there,” recalled Kuhlik.

“I talked to the coach and I really liked him. I went down on a recruiting trip and I really liked the team. I committed before I left.”

It looks like Kuhlik made the right choice as he has fit in well with the squad, quickly establishing himself as a valuable sprinter for the Eagles.

Kuhlik didn’t waste any time showing his prowess, taking second in the 200 freestyle in the season-opening meet against North Carolina-Wilmington.

“It was parents’ weekend and there was a lot of people there,” said Kuhlik, who clocked a time of 1:43.87 in finishing second by 0.12 of a second.

“I had a really good race and I just got touched out at the end. The team atmosphere in college helps you go faster, there is a lot of support.”

Kuhlik likes the support he has gotten from his teammates in adjusting to college swimming.

“Every class bonds,” said Kuhlik, noting that he has grown close to his fellow freshmen. “We also hang out with the older guys and they show us the ropes.”

While Kuhlik believes that swimming for PHS and the Princeton Piranhas club program prepared him well for the next level, he has dealt with a different training emphasis in college.

“It is not as much yardage as we did in club training but there is more weight lifting,” said Kuhlik.

“We lift weights in the morning and we do heavy lifting. With the Piranhas, the weight lifting was more maintaining strength. We were also running circuits in the fall. We have nine practices a week so it takes about 20 hours. We did a lot of yardage in club, around 8,000 yards a session. Sometimes we approach 8,000 yards here but there are other workouts that are around 6,000 or 5,000. I was used to being one of the fastest kids; now I am last in the lane sometimes. I think the new training helps, things are more specialized.”

Kuhlik is looking to put that training to good use at the University Athletic Association (UAA) championship meet next month at the University of Chicago.

“We have the conference meet coming up at the end of February and everyone is going for times there,” said Kuhlik, who swam the anchor leg to help Emory to a win in the 200 free relay last weekend as the Eagles topped Savannah College of Art and Design 146-105.

“It would be amazing to make nationals but the time cutoffs are really tough. I am going to try to make it on a relay but I would have to be one of the four fastest swimmers.”

For Kuhlik, the sprint events bring out the best in him. “I think I am really competitive,” said Kuhlik. “In the sprint races, you go all out and try to beat the person next to you. In the longer distance races, you swim in a group and try to pull away.”

With the experience Kuhlik has picked up this winter, he is ready to pull away from the competition over the long haul.

“Now that I understand the training, I am going to come back in good shape,” said Kuhlik. “I am going to do more running and lift weights in addition to swimming.”

CHEEKY MOVE: Cheeky Herr heads up the ice in recent action for the Trinity College women’s hockey team. Herr, a Princeton native who played her high school hockey at at Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.), has emerged as a key performer for Trinity in her freshman season. Herr has scored nine points on five goals and four assists in 15 games for the 7-4-4 Bantams.

CHEEKY MOVE: Cheeky Herr heads up the ice in recent action for the Trinity College women’s hockey team. Herr, a Princeton native who played her high school hockey at at Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.), has emerged as a key performer for Trinity in her freshman season. Herr has scored nine points on five goals and four assists in 15 games for the 7-4-4 Bantams.

Cheeky Herr had some growing up to do when she arrived at Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.) in the fall of 2008.

“It was definitely hard to be at boarding school,” said Herr, a Princeton native and ice hockey player who had starred in U-14 competition at the USA Hockey Development camp before heading off to school in New England.

“People don’t realize what it is like when you go away from home and you don’t have your mom and dad on you to do your homework. There is nobody to tell you what to do. If I wanted to be successful, I realized that maybe I couldn’t go to the commons to hang out and that I had to go to the library. I had a great group of teachers who helped me grow as a student and a person.”

Herr had to grow on the ice as well. “It definitely made it so I played against much tougher competition,” said Herr.

“In the class above me, all but one player went D-1 (Division I). It made me have to work harder in games and practice. The pace is so much different, it is so much faster. You have to be a faster skater, think faster, and be a faster shooter. I had to get up to speed with everybody else.”

Herr’s hard work paid dividends, and by her senior year she was one of Choate’s top players, leading the team in points, goals, and assists last winter.

Having made the grade at Choate, Herr was ready to move up to the college level, choosing to join the Trinity College women’s hockey program.

For her, making that decision marked the end of an arduous journey. “I saw a PU-Colgate women’s hockey game when I was six and I decided that I wanted to do that,” said Herr, whose older sister, Sarah, was a hockey star at Lawrenceville and went on to enjoy a superb career for the Williams College women’s program.

“It is a long process. Starting in seventh grade, I started going to camps and getting myself out there. It helped that I had an older sister who went on to play college hockey. The coaches knew the Herr name and that was a big help.”

Noting that her choice ultimately came down to D-I Colgate and D-III Trinity, she felt she would have more of an opportunity to shine at the latter.

“I love hockey more than I love breathing and I have only four more years to play so I wanted to go where I can play,” asserted Herr.

She also felt a comfort level off the ice at Trinity. “It seemed like an excellent group of people and a good fit,” said Herr, noting that family friend and former Trinity field hockey and ice hockey star Payson Sword helped make her official visit go smoothly.

“I was very happy on my visit there. I went by the broken leg test — if you broke your leg the first day you were there and you could never play hockey again, would you still want to be there. I knew I would be thrilled to be there.”

The 5’3 Herr came up big in her college debut, picking up an assist in the first minute of the season opener against Connecticut College in mid-November to make for a thrilling memory.

“I was standing on the goal line and I turned to one of the other freshmen and said how did we get there,” recalled Herr, who is playing center for the Bantams.

“I have been skating since I was three and I first put on hockey gear when I was three-and-a half. I have spent my entire life to get to this moment. It was incredible to get an assist in the game. The next day I was in the starting lineup and it was great to hear my name announced over the loudspeaker.”

Drawing on her Choate experience, Herr is adjusting to the busy life that comes with being a college hockey player.

“The biggest thing is the amount of time you put into it,” explained Herr. “There are team lifts, team meetings, game films, and chalk talk. There are all those things you do together as a team and then you have to balance that with your homework. It comes down to time management and doing the things you need to do to be a better hockey player and still get good grades. We are student athletes and the schoolwork comes first.”

Herr’s first goal was special as it helped the Bantams top Amherst College 4-2 in early December.

“At first I didn’t know it went in; I got a pass at the blue line and I got a shoot off, using the d-man as a screen,” said Herr.

“I came flying in for rebound and put it on net. I didn’t know it went in until I skated past and saw it lying there in the net. The best part was that my dad was there to see it. I stood there and really yelled like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. I clinched my fists, I was elated. We really came together as a team in that game; we were passing well and communicating on the ice. Everyone got to touch the puck and everyone got a shot.”

With the Bantams having gone 4-0-1 in their last five games to improve to 7-4-4 overall and 2-3-3 in New England Small College Athletic Association (NESCAC) play, Trinity appears to be coming together at the right time.

“We are a young team,” said Herr, noting that the Trinity roster includes eight freshmen and four sophomores.

“We have new lines that have to be created; we have to get used to each other.”

As Herr gets used to college hockey, she is looking to make a greater impact for the Bantams.

“I want to continue to up my scoring and assists,” said Herr, who recently had a hat trick against the University of New England and scored the winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Salve Regina on January 15 and now has nine points on five goals and four assists.

“I want to have more assists than goals. I need to get my shot off faster. I need to communicate better with my linemates. People don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings. It is how you say it and what you say. I am a center and I need to work on talking to my wings.”

Off the ice, Herr has thrown herself into her academic work. “I am taking classes that I am interested in; if you love what you are learning, it is easy to work hard,” said Herr. “I learned a hard lesson at Choate; I learned what hard work is.”

Based on the progress she has made in her freshman year at Trinity, it is clear that Herr took those lessons to heart.

YU BET: Princeton High boys’ swimming star Colburn Yu heads to victory in a 100 breaststroke race earlier this season. Last week, junior Yu posted wins in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast to help PHS top Notre Dame 110-60 and remain undefeated. The Little Tigers, now 11-0, wrap up regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24 before competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High.

YU BET: Princeton High boys’ swimming star Colburn Yu heads to victory in a 100 breaststroke race earlier this season. Last week, junior Yu posted wins in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast to help PHS top Notre Dame 110-60 and remain undefeated. The Little Tigers, now 11-0, wrap up regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24 before competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High.

It was a clash of titans when the undefeated Princeton High boys’ swim team hosted once-beaten Notre Dame last week with both squads having been ranked in the top 20 in the state most of the season.

But PHS junior star Colburn Yu didn’t feel he was in top form for the regular season showdown.

“I also do club swimming with X-Cel; we did a lot of dry land yesterday and I was really sore,” said Yu, who was bothered by some shoulder pain.

“Going into the meet I told coach [Greg] Hand that I am really sore, I don’t know if I can swim my fastest.”

Yu knew that PHS was primed for some very fast swimming as it faced the Fighting Irish.

“We looked at this as more of a power point meet,” said Yu. “Of course, we wanted to get first but I think the most important thing was getting our fastest times and being able to rank higher in the state meets.”

Yu’s come-from-behind victory in the 200 individual medley which saw him nip Notre Dame’s Max Cummings by 0.18 of a second had to rank as one of the highlights of the meet as the Little Tigers prevailed 110-60.

“I did realize in the fly and backstroke that I wasn’t swimming my fastest; in the breaststroke and freestyle I picked it up,” recalled Yu, whose valiant rally drew roars from the crowd jamming the John Witherspoon pool.

“I think I was a little behind him in the beginning of the freestyle and then I was watching the crowd. I actually thought I lost at first but then I saw the board and I was first by a couple of milliseconds. I was really happy.”

Yu also posted a win in the 100 breaststroke, leading a PHS 1-2-3 sweep of the event with Daniel Andronov taking second and Alex Bank placing third.

Other individual winners for PHS in the meet included junior Peter Kalibat in the 200 and 500 freestyle races, junior Will Stange in the 100 butterfly and 100 back together with junior Matt Purdy in the 50 free.

While Yu’s victory in the 100 breast wasn’t as dramatic as his IM race, he was still happy with the effort.

“The 100 breaststroke is my best stroke and coach Hand always uses me for it in these really fast meets,” said Yu. “I think I did decently. It was the second time this season that I got a 1:01. When it matters, I will be able to deliver.”

Following in the footsteps of last year’s senior stars who led PHS to an undefeated season and a state Public B state title, Yu and his classmates are excited to deliver this winter.

“I know that Will Stange, Peter Kalibat, Matt Purdy, and I have scored the most points on our team and I think it is good for our team,” added Yu.

“It also shows the non-club swimmers that we can step it up and also that they can as well.”

PHS head coach Hand liked the way his swimmers kept stepping up against Notre Dame even when victory was assured.

“We put in our strongest lineup that we could for power points,” said Hand. “It was good to see the guys keep pushing even when things looked good on the scoreboard. I am happy with where we are at; they gave it a strong effort to the end.”

Hand was happy with how Yu battled through his pain. “I wanted him looked at to make sure he was OK and it was just soreness,” said Hand.

“Given that he was cleared, he just ran with it. The 200 IM was a great race. When you get a race where it is close like that, the whole crowd watches. It was a real boost for us and the idea that we are going to swim fast. That was the approach; they raced for everything. In the last 25 yards, Colburn was courageous; he dug deep and sustained that against a guy next to him who was doing the same thing.”

PHS sustained that effort throughout the meet. “It was fun for the guys who race a lot to swim some fast races in a short time period,” added Hand, whose team wraps up regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24 before competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High. “The whole center lane crew was feeling their way.”

Yu, for his part, is having a lot of fun in his third season with the PHS program.

“As a junior, I think obviously my times are a little faster because I have been training a lot harder,” said Yu.

“Also I think because it is my third year on the high school team. I feel a greater bond with the kids here. At a club meet with nobody cheering and just a coach yelling at you, it doesn’t do anything. But to see all of your friends cheering, it definitely does help.”

BREAKING FREE: Princeton High girls’ swimming star Madeleine Deardorff displays her freestyle form in a recent race. Last week, precocious freshman Deardorff won both the 200 individual medley and the 500 free to help PHS to a 125-45 win over Notre Dame. The Little Tigers, now 10-0, wrap up regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24 before competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

BREAKING FREE: Princeton High girls’ swimming star Madeleine Deardorff displays her freestyle form in a recent race. Last week, precocious freshman Deardorff won both the 200 individual medley and the 500 free to help PHS to a 125-45 win over Notre Dame. The Little Tigers, now 10-0, wrap up regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24 before competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For much of the winter, the Princeton High girls’ swim team has been flying under the radar as attention has been focused on its male counterparts and their quest for a second straight state championship.

But last week, the Little Tiger girls stole some of the limelight as they routed Notre Dame 125-45 to remain undefeated and serve notice that they are title contenders as well.

While PHS head coach Greg Hand knew that his team had an edge over Notre Dame, he is happy with how his girls swimmers have continually risen to the occasion this season.

“I wasn’t real surprised, Notre Dame on the girls’ side is rebuilding and they are in the second year of that process,” said Hand.

“I like the way we competed in the meets we expected to be the toughest, against South (WW/P-S), North (WW/P-N), and Robbinsville. There is some real quality out there.”

The quartet of senior Marisa Giglio, freshman Brianna Romaine, and the Deardorff sisters, senior Serena and freshman Madeleine, displayed their quality against the Fighting Irish as they each won two events in the meet.

Giglio finished first in the 200 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke while sprint star Romaine won the 100 free and the 100 backstroke. Serena Deardorff was the winner of the 50 free and the 100 butterfly while younger sister Madeleine took first in the 200 individual medley and the 500 free.

As the season has unfolded, the Little Tigers seem to be getting better and better.

“I am pleased to see that we have depth on our side that we weren’t sure we had,” said Hand. “We have improved in all of our lanes and the spirit seems good.”

It has helped spirits to go undefeated. “Running the table in our league has been a lot of fun,” said Hand.

“The less experienced kids are getting better and the more experienced kids are helping to build the excitement and are moving forward themselves.”

With the big four, there is a lot of excitement surrounding PHS’s chances in the upcoming county meet.

“No doubt, it is good to have front-line swimmers like the Deardorffs, Giglio, and Romaine,” said Hand, whose team defeated Hightstown 119-51 last Thursday to improve to 10-0 and will end regular season action with a meet at Hamilton on January 24.

“From what I have seen, each of them, no matter what events they swim, are going against two or three kids out there who have times just as fast. The counties is going to be a real toss-up. There is enough talent in the counties that the points will be distributed differently than they are in the dual meets. It is going to be really interesting.”

For Hand, concentrating on getting the most out of his talent will be his main concern leading into the county meet which runs from January 31-February 2 at Lawrence High.

“The kids are going to have to train through it,” said Hand. “We don’t have enough time for two tapers. The kids will keep working hard. It is going to be fun to see.”

In recent years, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team has displayed a penchant for peaking as the season heads into January and February.

Going 0-2-1 in its last week of action in 2012, PHS didn’t look like it was primed for one of its patented stretch runs that has seen the program make the last three championship games of the Mercer County Tournament.

But the Little Tigers have come alive in the New Year, posting wins over WW/P-S, Hopewell Valley, and Wall to get 2013 started with a bang.

PHS head coach Tim Campbell believes his team is headed in the right direction.

“We are healthy and back to full strength so we have crossed the first obstacle,” said Campbell, whose squad improved to 6-4-1 with a 5-1 win over Wall last Friday at Baker Rink.

“With the postseasons this group of guys has had the last three years, they understand what it takes. They know we are not going to win every game. When you get to this point, you need to learn from your mistakes and learn what it takes to be successful. They are putting those lessons to use. I would rather go through some bumps and bruises in the beginning in order to be playing our best at the end.”

The return of senior star Matt DiTosto from a hand injury puts the Little Tigers in a stronger position.

“Obviously, Matt brings another skill set,” said Campbell of DiTosto, who tallied a goal and an assist in the win over Wall with Connor McCormick scoring two goals.

“It brings a confidence, every player knows that we are at full strength. He is a playmaker, not just a goal scorer. The past is the past, he missed a few weeks. I told him he can still mold his senior year and make it into what he wants it to be.”

REID AND REACT: Princeton High boys’ hockey player John Reid skates up the ice in recent action. Sophomore forward Reid’s strong play of late has helped the Little Tigers start 2013 with three straight wins. PHS, now 6-4-1, faces Nottingham on January 25 at Mercer County Park before playing Cranford High on January 28 at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

REID AND REACT: Princeton High boys’ hockey player John Reid skates up the ice in recent action. Sophomore forward Reid’s strong play of late has helped the Little Tigers start 2013 with three straight wins. PHS, now 6-4-1, faces Nottingham on January 25 at Mercer County Park before playing Cranford High on January 28 at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The Little Tigers gained confidence from their win over HoVal on January 14 which saw them score three unanswered goals in the third period to pull away to victory in a game that was knotted 3-3 after two periods.

“They did what they needed to do,” said Campbell, who got two goals apiece from DiTosto and Jack Andres in the win over the Bulldogs with Spencer Reynolds and John Reid chipping in one goal apiece.

“I can tell them until I am blue in the face but they have to do it. Going into the third period tied, we have seen times where we got lit up for five goals and other times when we have gone out and won the period. It is a confidence builder because the next time we are in that situation, they know we can do it.”

Building on the HoVal win, PHS produced one of its best efforts at both ends of the ice in the victory over Wall.

“This past Friday was one of the best games we have played in the last two years,” asserted Campbell, whose team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and was ahead 5-0 heading into the third period. “Going into the third period, that was a five-goal game. We took care of business, you learn what it takes to win.”

Campbell pointed to forward John Reid as an example of a player who is learning quickly. “John Reid has played well this past week,” added Campbell.

“He is only a sophomore and he is doing things that he hasn’t done before. He is not only scoring but doing things that don’t show up on the scoresheet. Against HoVal, we got a shorthanded goal and John made the goal through his hard work even though he didn’t get the credit. The last two games are the best games he has played for us.”

In Campbell’s view, his squad needs to produce that kind of work ethic on a consistent basis.

“We need to play small ball and do the little things like winning shifts, winning periods, and playing well in two-minute chunks” said Campbell, whose team faces Nottingham on January 25 at Mercer County Park before playing Cranford High on January 28 at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth.

“It will help for things like seeding in the county and state tournaments. The focus right now is on the county tournament because one thing builds off the other. The league is balanced; nobody can take anything for granted. Doing well in the county tournament has given us momentum in the states.”

GOLDEN MOMENT: Princeton High basketball player Elliott Golden chases down a loose ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior guard Golden scored 11 points in a losing cause as PHS lost 67-48 at WW/P-S to fall to 5-6. The Little Tigers will look to get back on the winning track as they play at Lawrence on January 24 before hosting Nottingham on January 26, and Notre Dame on January 29.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

GOLDEN MOMENT: Princeton High basketball player Elliott Golden chases down a loose ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior guard Golden scored 11 points in a losing cause as PHS lost 67-48 at WW/P-S to fall to 5-6. The Little Tigers will look to get back on the winning track as they play at Lawrence on January 24 before hosting Nottingham on January 26, and Notre Dame on January 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In producing a 5-2 start this season, the Princeton High boys’ basketball team employed a winning formula of balanced scoring and stifling defense.

A case in point came last week with the Little Tigers’ 68-42 defeat to visiting Ewing on January 15.

PHS came out flat and trailed the Blue Devils 37-17 at halftime. “It is hard to dig out of a hole against a team that pressures you and has good players and obviously has a good history,” said PHS first-year head coach Mark Shelley, reflecting on his team’s first half performance against Ewing.

“We have been holding people under 50 points or so and they had 37 at the half and that is just not good. It is not like Ewing doesn’t have good players but is was such a bad half defensively. We weren’t rotating well. We tried zone, we tried man, we tried trap and then finally we went to some other players in the second half.”

In the third quarter, the Little Tigers did make a rally, drawing to within 49-35 as senior star Lior Levy caught fire.

“We talked about getting inside,” recalled Shelley. “Obviously Lior really came to play in the second half. We said that if we don’t give up a lot of easy baskets, we can get back in this. Inside my head, the goal was to get it by 10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They hit a 3 and a 2 at the end of the quarter to get it back to 19.”

In addition to some defensive lapses, the Little Tigers lacked their customary scoring balance, as Levy was the only player in double figures.

“Lior had 19 and the rest of the starters had eight,” noted Shelley, whose team fell 67-48 at WW/P-S last Friday to drop to 5-6.

“I said at the beginning of the year that is not what we want. I have heard them say it in interviews too; in the games we have won handily, we have had four starters in double figures. The other four starters didn’t even have double figures between them tonight. We can’t do that.”

In Shelley’s view, his squad’s slump is part of the ebb and flow that comes with a campaign which stretches from December to March.

“I told them basketball is a game of runs and the season is really about runs,” said Shelley, whose team plays at Lawrence on January 24 before hosting Nottingham on January 26 and Notre Dame on January 29.

“Part of it is that we are in a particularly difficult part of the schedule and part of it was we were on the road for a while.”

With nearly two months left in the season, PHS has time to right itself for a playoff run.

“We felt that we learned from the Hopewell game (a 67-62 overtime loss on December 14) and I think we can learn from this,” said Shelley.

“We don’t want them to get too down. We had a great start to the season and we still have a lot of the season left. We can still earn some home games in the county and the state tournament.”

TRENDING UP: Hun School boys’ basketball star Fergus Duke flies to the hoop for a lay-up in recent action. Last Saturday, senior guard Duke scored a team-high 19 points as Hun topped Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 74-62 to win its fifth game in a row and improve to 12-3. The Raiders host East Brunswick on January 26 and Life Center Academy on January 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

TRENDING UP: Hun School boys’ basketball star Fergus Duke flies to the hoop for a lay-up in recent action. Last Saturday, senior guard Duke scored a team-high 19 points as Hun topped Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 74-62 to win its fifth game in a row and improve to 12-3. The Raiders host East Brunswick on January 26 and Life Center Academy on January 29.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Playing at rival Peddie earlier this month, the Hun School boys’ basketball team hit a bump in the road as it fell 62-55 to the Falcons.

But it turns out that the setback got Hun headed in the right direction as the Raiders have reeled off five straight wins since that January 5 contest.

“I think the guys were a little frustrated about the way they played,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone, reflecting on the Peddie defeat. “We refocused a little after that and we have been playing well since then.”

Hun showed its focus when it pulled out a 42-38 victory at Hill School (Pa.) a week after the Peddie game.

“We fell behind by eight in the first half,” said Stone, recalling the Hill contest which saw Josh McGilvray score a game-high 15 points for the Raiders with Michael Bourke hitting a pair of free throws in the last minute of the game to seal the win. “We didn’t shoot the ball that well but we gritted it out.”

Last Thursday, Hun did just about everything well as it routed frequent nemesis Blair 63-32.

“We certainly shot the ball well but our defense set the tone in that game,” said Stone, whose team had three players in double figures led by Fergus Duke with 16 points.

“I think we played very well, we didn’t play a perfect game. We still have room to improve but it was a nice win.”

Two days later, Hun took care of business as it topped Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 74-62 with Duke scoring 19 and Hashim Moore adding 18 and Bourke chipping in 12.

“I was a little bit worried,” said Stone. “With all the emotions that we had in the Blair game, there was a chance of a letdown in the next game. I thought the kids responded well. Mercersburg is much improved over the last couple of years. We had moments where the offense played well.”

Stone has seen improvement at both ends of the floor during his team’s recent surge.

“We have been playing better defensively,” said Stone, whose club improved to 12-3 with the win over Mercersburg. “We are getting more comfortable with each other and more comfortable with our defense.”

In Stone’s view, senior guard Duke deserves credit for helping the team develop a comfort level.

“He certainly can shoot but he has been a leader as well,” said Stone. “He has shown some terrific leadership for us. When he is not shooting well, he defends well. He is doing different things that make him a winner.”

The Raiders have been doing the things that can lead to titles. “On some of the best teams I have had here, we had four guys in double figures and any one of five guys could be the leading scorer,” said Stone.

“I think we have had five different guys lead us in scoring and in the win over PDS (a 64-53 victory on January 15), we almost had six guys in double figures.”

Stone is looking forward to leading his group down the homestretch of the season.

“I sensed early on that we had the pieces to win and have a good chemistry,” said Stone, whose team hosts East Brunswick on January 26 and Life Center Academy on January 29.

“We have a long way to go. I am happy with where we are. It is a fun group to coach. The guys listen and they want to get better.”

January 16, 2013
SHOOTING STAR: Princeton University men’s basketball player T.J. Bray lofts a jump shot in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Bray scored a career-high 23 points to help Princeton top Penn 65-53 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Bray was later named the Ivy Player of the Week for his performance which included 6-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Princeton, now 7-7 overall and 1-0 Ivy, is currently on hiatus for exams and is next in action when it hosts The College of New Jersey on January 27.(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

SHOOTING STAR: Princeton University men’s basketball player T.J. Bray lofts a jump shot in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Bray scored a career-high 23 points to help Princeton top Penn 65-53 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Bray was later named the Ivy Player of the Week for his performance which included 6-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Princeton, now 7-7 overall and 1-0 Ivy, is currently on hiatus for exams and is next in action when it hosts The College of New Jersey on January 27. (Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

Penn-Princeton is one of the most storied rivalries in men’s college basketball but the Tigers have taken the drama out of the series in recent years.

Coming into last Saturday’s Ivy League opener against the Quakers, the Tigers had won six of the last seven meetings between the ancient rivals.

With a Jadwin Gym throng of 3,577 on hand, Princeton wasted little time taking the mystery out of the latest installment of the matchup, jumping out to an 11-4 lead and building a 31-22 advantage by halftime. The Tigers started the second half with an 11-0 run and never looked back on the way to a 65-53 win, improving to 7-7 overall and 1-0 in Ivy play.

Princeton senior star Ian Hummer said the Tigers’ upper hand in the series can be attributed, in large part, to intense preparation.

“I think that it just boils down to a good scout,” said Hummer, who tallied 13 points with six rebounds and five assists on the evening.

“We take a few days to go over the offense and how we are going to guard. I think any little trick that they throw at us, we are ready for it. We have got to give it up for our coaches and for our scout team just giving us a good look every day. It was tough guarding the offense at practice and it was even  tougher with the way they move and the players we had to guard.”

For Hummer, helping the Tigers go 4-0 against the Quakers at Jadwin Gym over his career is something to savor.

“Just knowing how hard the Ivy League is every year and how well each team knows each one, I would say so,” said Hummer, when asked to reflect on Princeton’s recent home court dominance in the series.

“I think Penn is very well-coached; they have great players every year. [Zack] Rosen was a handful over the last couple of years. [Miles] Cartwright is a handful himself. I think it is just that they are a very good team every year. I think coming home gives us a spark and we are able to play pretty well against them every year.”

The Tigers got a big spark last Saturday from junior guard T.J. Bray, who poured in a career-high 23 points, including 6-of-11 shooting from three-point range.

“It was just one of those day where shots were falling down,” said Bray, who was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance.

“They were coming in the flow of the offense which was big. Ian had a couple of nice passes to me and I was able to step in and shoot.”

Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson enjoyed Bray’s big offensive effort.

“I thought he was just terrific tonight,” said Henderson in assessing Bray’s career night.

“Making shots is so important for the success of any good team. T.J. didn’t play all summer; he wasn’t available in the fall [due to a knee injury]. I think you are seeing a little bit more of what he is like now. He is having an opportunity to be on that leg playing competitively. Buffalo [the season opener] was the first time he suited up for us. He just seemed to be in on a lot of big plays. He is the brains of the operation now and often the brawn.”

The Tigers benefitted from the way they operated at the beginning of each half. “For us, it was so important to get off to a good start,” said Henderson.

“I was happy with that, especially the first half. I thought they were sharing the ball nicely because Penn was changing a lot of things defensively and I thought we adjusted nicely.”

One thing that hasn’t changed this season is Princeton’s proficiency from three-point range.

“I think with Mack [Darrow], T.J., Ian was 1 for 1, and Will [Barrett] has been shooting the ball so nicely; they are skilled guys,” said Henderson, reflecting on a game which saw Princeton going 11-of-22 on its three-point attempts.

“I don’t put any limitations on these guys. I think, given the time and score,  if they feel confident, I want them to shoot it.”

With Princeton winning four of its last five games before going on exam break, Henderson has gained confidence in his starting lineup with includes freshman Hans Brase and sophomore Denton Koon in addition to Hummer, Bray, and Barrett.

“I think we are settled in, this is what we are going to be doing,” said Henderson, whose team is next in action when it hosts The College of New Jersey on January 27.

Hummer, for his part, did something a little different on Saturday, going with a modified Mohawk hair style.

“I was growing my hair out and I hadn’t gotten a haircut in a while,” said a grinning Hummer.

“Before I shave it all off I was thinking let’s try something new. I am getting mixed reviews. I had one guy telling me off TV that I looked like an idiot. Daniel Edwards [Tiger teammate] said he loved it so I am going to keep it for a little while.”

Princeton, though, is earning rave reviews from its supporters for its recent run of success against Penn.

TITLE DEFENSE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Michelle Miller displays her defensive form in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, freshman guard Miller scored eight points in her Ivy League debut as three-time league champion Princeton started its title defense with a 77-47 win over Penn. The Tigers, now 10-5 overall and 1-0 Ivy, are on hiatus for exams and will be back in action when they play at Cornell on February 1.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

TITLE DEFENSE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Michelle Miller displays her defensive form in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, freshman guard Miller scored eight points in her Ivy League debut as three-time league champion Princeton started its title defense with a 77-47 win over Penn. The Tigers, now 10-5 overall and 1-0 Ivy, are on hiatus for exams and will be back in action when they play at Cornell on February 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

While the Princeton University women’s basketball team hit some bumps in the road as it prepared for Ivy League play, the Tigers quickly got into cruise control as they hosted Penn last Saturday in the league opener.

Princeton raced out to a 13-0 lead and built a 29-6 advantage with 8:40 left in the first half. The Tigers never looked back on the way to a 77-47 win over the Quakers at Jadwin Gym as they improved to 10-5 overall and 1-0 Ivy.

Even though it was her first Ivy League game, freshman guard Michelle Miller had a pretty good idea of the stakes involved as the rivals met.

“We were all definitely very excited,” said Miller, a native of Pasadena, Calif.

“We had a tough non-conference schedule. We thought that would prepare us well. We are all very excited to try to defend the Ivy League title and we know that we have to earn that on the court. We are eager to keep doing that. Our first five did a great job tonight with their defensive intensity and really establishing the tone for the rest of the game.”

Although the Tigers have gone 41-1 in Ivy play in winning three straight league crowns, they know they can’t let their intensity wane.

“We know that the winner of the Ivy League gets the NCAA tournament bid and that is obviously our goal,” said Miller.

“We want to just stay focused on each game and not on overlooking any opponent. We have to make sure we know the personnel and that we execute our game plan well.”

The 5’10 Miller executed well in the victory over Penn, scoring eight points with three rebounds off the bench in 14 minutes of action.

“I am starting to feel more comfortable with my role,” said Miller. “It really helps knowing that the team’s upperclassmen have trust in me to pass me the ball and let me shoot.”

Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart trusts in Miller and her offensive ability.

“Michelle Miller didn’t come on the scene with such a dynamic presentation like Niveen Rasheed,” said Banghart.

“We knew how good she was; that kid was offered everywhere. She scored almost 4,000 points in high school. She is an offensive stud and as she continues to gain confidence, I think you’ll see that.”

Banghart liked what she saw from senior center Megan Bowen, who scored a team-high 14 points and chipped in five rebounds and a blocked shot.

“She was great on both ends, I think she was 7-for-10 which is great from the field,” said Banghart. “She is mobile and she is communicating well on the low block defensively.”

The team’s collective defensive intensity made the difference in the win over Penn.

“I thought the first five were key to start both halves,” asserted Banghart. “It is what you expect from a veteran group and what you would expect from people that are committed to our scout and the game plan. The way they came out in both halves was the key to the game.”

Banghart acknowledged that her team was hungry to get off to a big Ivy start.

“Our kids are juiced to play anybody; I was juiced because it was a chance to see these kids compete and I don’t get to do that again until February,” said Banghart, whose team is on a hiatus for exams and is not back in action until it plays at Cornell on February 1.

“The first Ivy game we kind of wanted to make a statement, more to ourselves, that our preseason schedule was worth it and that grind and that challenge got us better for right now. This is what matters. The NCAA bid is in the Ivy League’s hands and we are one step closer.”

Over the exam break, Banghart believes the team can take steps to be even sharper.

“I haven’t had to coach effort one day here at Princeton; they get up for every game and they will be up for practice,” said Banghart, noting the team will go against a scrimmage squad comprised of Princeton baseball, football, and men’s lacrosse players several times in the next few weeks to keep its competitive juices flowing.

“They are just really proud of their craft and I am happy to try to help them get better and I think they are getting better. We can practice during exams; it is good for you to get a workout in. I tell them that is always more fun than the library.”

Miller, for her part, is having fun as she works her way into the Tiger rotation.

“I just to try to come in and look for my shot as a three-point shooter,” said Miller. “I try to hold my own defensively and contribute offensively and have there not be any letdown when I come in the game.”

STICK UP: Princeton University men’s hockey player Tyler Maugeri, right, takes on a foe in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore Maugeri scored a goal in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-2 to Union. A day later, Maugeri and the Tigers came through with a 4-1 win over Rensselaer in improving to 6-8-4 overall and 5-4-3 in ECAC Hockey action. Princeton is currently on an exam hiatus and is next in action when it hosts Sacred Heart on January 27.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

STICK UP: Princeton University men’s hockey player Tyler Maugeri, right, takes on a foe in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore Maugeri scored a goal in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-2 to Union. A day later, Maugeri and the Tigers came through with a 4-1 win over Rensselaer in improving to 6-8-4 overall and 5-4-3 in ECAC Hockey action. Princeton is currently on an exam hiatus and is next in action when it hosts Sacred Heart on January 27.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Starting last weekend off with a bang, the Princeton University men’s hockey team scored on a Will MacDonald goal 25 seconds into their game against visiting Union last Friday.

But getting whistled for a slew of penalties, the Tigers quickly dug a 3-1 hole against the No. 16 Dutchmen.

While Princeton head coach Bob Prier enjoyed MacDonald’s goal, he wasn’t happy with the rest of the period.

“We didn’t start off the game well at all,” said Prier. “We just got a nice opportunity and capitalized on it. It was nice to see Willie Mac score. We had a lot of penalties. That is a good team; they had the puck a lot so we took a lot of penalties. They capitalized on their 5-on-3. We lost probably 80 percent of the stick battles in the first half of the game on our own rink and that is just something that is unacceptable.”

Princeton sophomore forward Tyler Maugeri acknowledged that the Tigers were on their heels as they took four penalties in the first period and found themselves on the wrong end of 5-on-3 situations twice in the first 20 minutes.

“We have a top penalty kill; I don’t want to say it wore us down but it definitely took some momentum out,” said Maugeri. “We definitely don’t want to be hemmed in our zone like that for that period of time.”

With under eight minutes left in the second period Maugeri got loose in the offensive zone and scored to make it a 3-2 game.

“I jumped on the ice and Michael Zajac was driving hard to the net and he kicked it out to me,” recalled Maugeri, who now has seven goals on the season, second-best on the Tigers. “I put a shot on net and it went through the goalie. He didn’t see it.”

While the game ended in a 3-2 win for Union, the Tigers pressed hard to the final whistle.

“The last 12 minutes, that is how we want to play,” asserted Maugeri. ”We were winning stick battles. We were winning all the little battles, stuff that we didn’t do in the first 48 minutes of the game.”

Against Rensselaer the next day, Princeton battled from the outset, taking a 2-0 lead in the first period. “I thought when we came out we had a pretty strong first period,” said Prier. “We needed that start.”

The Tigers sputtered a bit after that as the Engineers notched a power play goal in the second period to make it a 2-1 game going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.

“Certainly the rest of the game didn’t go as well as we had hoped,” said Prier.

“RPI was plying pretty desperate. They got a lot of opportunities in the second period on their power play. I thought we played well in the 5-on-5, we bottled them up and played smart.”

The Tigers did convert two empty net goals in the last 1:05 of the game to earn a 4-1 triumph.

“Those things are important, those goals were the result of some really hard work by those guys,” said Prier, who got a goal and three assists from junior star Andrew Calof with Mike Ambrosia, Tom Kroshus, and Andrew Ammon also finding the back of the net.

While the Tigers were disappointed to not achieve their second straight weekend sweep, Prier did like the way his stars stepped up.

“You look at the weekend,“ said Prier, whose team is 3-1 in its last four games and is now 6-8-4 overall and 5-4-3 in ECAC Hockey action.

“Calof was good, Michael Sdao had a good weekend, the goaltending was good [Sean Bonar had a career-high 42 saves against Union and Mike Condon recorded 24 saves in the win on Saturday.] The high profile players did well. When your team is not playing its best, it is important that the best players come through.”

With Princeton on an exam hiatus until a home game on January 27 against Sacred Heart, Prier is looking for his players to fine-tune things.

“We are going to have three or four high tempo practices, feeling good with the puck and working on fundamentals,” said Prier. “We can’t not get together for this long a period.”

In Prier’s view, the Tigers need to be more fundamentally sound all over the rink.

“No matter where you are on the ice, you are important,” said Prier. “You need to be engaged and working hard. We are hard working at the point of execution; we battle hard for the puck and we finish hits. Working hard away from the puck is extremely important, we need to skate hard in open space.”

In recent action, Princeton has displayed an ability to finish off foes. “They are understanding how to win and what it takes,” asserted Prier.

“We have won in a variety of ways which gives them more confidence. We are trying to build off of that.”

Currently sitting second in the ECACH standings behind front-running Quinnipiac, the Tigers are in good position to earn the top-four spot that would ensure them a bye into the league quarterfinals.

“We are pretty optimistic about the finish,” said Prier. “We know what it is that we have to do to get better. We are in a spot where we can control our destiny. We could get one of those top four spots which is worth two wins.”

ACTION FIGURE: Princeton University women’s hockey player Gabie Figueroa controls the puck in a game earlier this season. Last weekend, junior defenseman Figueroa and the Tigers fought an uphill battle as they fell 3-0 at No. 2 Harvard on Friday and then lost 6-2 at Dartmouth a day later. The Tigers, now 6-12-2 overall and 2-10-2 in ECAC Hockey play, are currently on hiatus due to exams and not in action until a game at Penn State on January 29.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

ACTION FIGURE: Princeton University women’s hockey player Gabie Figueroa controls the puck in a game earlier this season. Last weekend, junior defenseman Figueroa and the Tigers fought an uphill battle as they fell 3-0 at No. 2 Harvard on Friday and then lost 6-2 at Dartmouth a day later. The Tigers, now 6-12-2 overall and 2-10-2 in ECAC Hockey play, are currently on hiatus due to exams and not in action until a game at Penn State on January 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As the Princeton University women’s hockey team headed to New England last weekend to face Harvard and Dartmouth, Jeff Kampersal was still basking in the glow of guiding the U.S. squad to a silver medal in the U-18 World Championships in Finland.

“We had a great staff and a great team,” said Princeton head coach Kampersal, whose U.S. team fell 2-1 to Canada in the gold medal game with Tiger freshman goalie Kimberly Newell starring for the victors. “The kids came together real quickly. We had a great run the whole time.”

While Princeton didn’t have a great time last weekend as it fell 3-0 at No. 2 Harvard on Friday and then lost 6-2 at Dartmouth a day later, Kampersal did see some good things from his Tiger team.

“The kids played with a lot of heart against Harvard,” said Kampersal.

“Harvard is a great team with great players; their skill and depth was too much for us. We played great in the first period against Dartmouth. It was one of the better first periods I have seen in a while. We took a couple of penalties in the second period and their power play is loaded. We fell behind 4-2 and we had to take too many chances.”

Kampersal tipped his hat to his crew of blue liners who have been forced to take extra shifts due to injury issues.

“The four defensemen, Gabie [Figueroa], Rosie [Alleva], [Ali] Pankowski and [Brianne] Mahoney, are really battling,” said Kampersal, whose team moved to 6-12-2 overall and 2-10-2 in ECAC Hockey play after its losses last weekend. “They may not be perfect but they always battle. They have been under duress.”

With Princeton currently on hiatus due to exams and not in action again until it plays at Penn State on January 29, the Tigers will get the chance to lick their wounds.

“This break probably comes at a decent time for us; we need to regroup and get ready for the stretch run,” said Kampersal.

“We need to stay consistent and get healthy. We have had most of our practices with one goalie and we have kids who aren’t practicing during the week and are just playing on the weekends.”

When the Tigers do return to the ice, they need to bottle some of the spirit that characterized their play against Harvard and Dartmouth.

“We need them to display the heart they had this weekend,” said Kampersal “They need to stick with the plan and not stray from what we are trying to do. They can’t get too emotional.”

Currently sitting in seventh place in the ECACH standings with only the top eight making the playoffs, Princeton needs some production to go with its heart.

“We have eight games to go in the league,” noted Kampersal. “We have five that are with teams that are close to us. We can control our own destiny. We need to get any points that we can.”

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Mary Sutton dribbles the ball in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore guard Sutton scored a career-high 19 points to help PHS edge Steinert 56-53. It was the second win in three games for the Little Tigers in 2013, who started the season at 0-4. PHS will look to keep on the winning track when it plays at WW/P-S on January 18 and at WW/P-N on January 22.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Mary Sutton dribbles the ball in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore guard Sutton scored a career-high 19 points to help PHS edge Steinert 56-53. It was the second win in three games for the Little Tigers in 2013, who started the season at 0-4. PHS will look to keep on the winning track when it plays at WW/P-S on January 18 and at WW/P-N on January 22.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With the Princeton High girls’ basketball team winning just one game in the 2012 calendar year, Mary Sutton and her teammates were ready to turn the page.

“We certainly thought if we all worked together and if all of the components came together on the court, we could definitely come up with a victory,” said sophomore guard Sutton, reflecting on the mindset of the team which started the 2012-13 season with a 0-4 record.

“We knew that we could win if we believed in ourselves and worked hard everyday in practice.”

That belief proved justified as the Little Tigers topped Robbinsville 59-39 on January 5 to break into the win column this winter.

“We talked a lot in that game, there was a lot of communication,” said Sutton, who tallied nine points in the victory.

“Everyone played their part, post players, guards, forwards, on the offensive end and the defensive end. To me, it was the best we have ever played as a team.”

Coming into last Friday’s game against visiting Steinert, PHS was looking to build on the Robbinsville triumph.

“Before the game. one of my teammates wrote ‘we can do it’ on the board in the locker room,” said Sutton. “We were all like we can do it if we work hard as a team.”

With Sutton scoring a career-high 19 points and junior forward Liz Jacobs producing a career-best 24, PHS pulled out a 56-53 win over the Spartans.

Sutton took pride in the way the Little Tigers played down the stretch as they held off a Steinert rally.

“The third quarter we came out a little bit choppy,”
said Sutton. “But then something clicked in our heads and we just started picking up the intensity.”

Noting that she had never scored 19 points in any game in her life in high school, travel, or recreation league hoops, Sutton lost herself in the moment during her offensive outburst.

“I don’t even remember scoring at all,” said Sutton, who drained four three-pointers as part of her barrage.

“I just had to do what my team needed me to do, either by making a three-pointer or a stop on defense.”

PHS certainly made things hard on Steinert with the inside-out combination of Jacobs and Sutton.

“Liz’s presence in the post always is helpful when the other team has big girls,” noted Sutton.

“Steinert didn’t have many big girls, they were more of a guard-oriented team. She was able to dominate in the post and get 24 points.”

While Sutton may not be a dominant player yet, she is feeling a comfort level as a sophomore.

“I am certainly more confident in myself and more confident in my teammates too,” said Sutton.

“I like the role of being the point guard and leading my team. I know that last year was a rough year for us; it was a growing year. We have the components of a good team and we just need to put it all together.”

In Sutton’s view, PHS could grow into something special this winter. “After these two wins, all the momentum is going our way,” said Sutton, who will look to help keep the Little Tigers on the winning track as they play at WW/P-S on January 18 and at WW/P-N on January 22.

“All we have to do is to keep working together as a team. If everyone does their part, I think we can be a challenger in the county tournament.”

BORDER WAR: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey star Sean Timmons battles a Lawrenceville player in the crease in last year’s game between the two rivals which ended in a 2-2 tie. Junior forward Timmons and the Panthers will be looking to upend the Big Red when the teams meet on January 16 at Lawrenceville. PDS brings a 12-1 record into the contest.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

BORDER WAR: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey star Sean Timmons battles a Lawrenceville player in the crease in last year’s game between the two rivals which ended in a 2-2 tie. Junior forward Timmons and the Panthers will be looking to upend the Big Red when the teams meet on January 16 at Lawrenceville. PDS brings a 12-1 record into the contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Sean Timmons was determined to set the tone as the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team hosted the Hill School (Pa.) last Wednesday.

“I felt pretty good going out on the ice and confident in my linemates out there,” said junior forward Timmons.

“We definitely wanted to come out strong and get into the offensive zone and get some shots on net and just get it going. We knew we were the better team and if we played the way we could and worked hard, we knew we could come out with the result we wanted.”

Timmons certainly had it going early, assisting on a goal by Conrad Denise some 6:30 into the contest and then finding the back of the net himself on a blast with 3:03 remaining in the first period as the Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

“Conrad made a nice play going to the net on the first goal,” recalled Timmons. “On my goal, Taran [Auslander] made a nice breakout pass; I thought I missed at first.”

PDS didn’t miss many opportunities the rest of the game as it pulled away to a 5-0 triumph.

“We just kept it going and we didn’t let up,” said Timmons, who picked up a second assist in the game on a second period tally by Rob Colton.

“We just rolled three lines and kept it going. We kept playing the way we could to get the result.”

The team’s positive chemistry has helped PDS get on a roll this winter. “We definitely are a very close-knit group; we are almost like a brotherhood in the locker room,” said Timmons.

“We get along very well. I have never played on team like this where we all get along so well. It just makes it so much easier on the ice.”

Timmons is giving the team more on the ice in his third campaign with the Panthers.

“I try to generate some offense and get the puck in deep,” said Timmons, who tallied another assist as PDS topped Pennsylvania power LaSalle 2-1 in overtime last Friday to improve to 12-1.

“I try to produce and help the team any way I can. I am definitely bigger and stronger, I tried to work on my speed over the off season and I have probably gained a little knowledge over my years.”

PDS head coach Scott Bertoli likes the production he is getting from Timmons.

“I think a lot changed with him when we went up to New England,” said Bertoli, referring to the team’s third-place showing at the Barber Tournament in Massachusetts in mid-December.

“We had some guys banged up and I think he just bought into being physical and getting his nose in there. He had a great weekend up there and his play has carried over. He always shows up on the scoresheet. He is a year removed from that shoulder injury. I have noticed a significant difference in his game this year.”

Bertoli was not surprised to see his squad get off to a great start against Hill.

“We have been fortunate enough this year that I don’t really have to worry about the way these guys are going to start,” said Bertoli.

“They get themselves ready for the game; they have a whole warmup routine that they go through. We typically have gotten off to good starts. We have an older group, an experienced group that has won a lot of hockey games and we feel pretty good about ourselves. It is just nice to play well and to get a win today. We played well enough to deserve that today.”

The Panthers got another nice effort from senior star goalie Connor Walker, who made 16 saves in notching the shutout.

“We have had sizable leads and margins in most of our wins so Connor hasn’t been pushed and the attention and focus hasn’t been on him,” said Bertoli.

“I am sitting on the bench knowing that he just made a save on a breakaway in the second period when it is only 3-0. That turns things around because if that goes in it’s a 3-1 game and some momentum is lost. He is confident; I think he does a good job of keeping himself involved in the game. I have noticed that he plays the puck more this season, maybe that is a way for him to stay involved in the game.”

Bertoli’s team will get pushed as it plays at Lawrenceville on January 16 before hosting Hun on January 18 and Morristown High on January 21.

“As a coach or as an athlete you want to play the best,” asserted Bertoli, a former Princeton University hockey star who enjoyed a superb pro career with the Trenton Titans.

“If you want to be the best, you have to play the best and beat the best. I think we have set ourselves up this year for that.”

Timmons, for his part, believes the Panthers are up for that challenge. “This is definitely the thick of our schedule, we have been looking forward to it since last summer,” said Timmons.

“This is what we play for. We are really ready for this. I think we are going to do well.”

HAT TRICK HERO: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Mary Travers controls the puck last Wednesday against Pingry. Junior forward Travers scored three goals in the game as PDS overcame an early 3-0 deficit to pull out a 4-3 victory over the Big Blue. The Panthers, now 6-3, host Princeton High on January 16 before playing at Rye Country Day School (N.Y.) on January 18.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

HAT TRICK HERO: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Mary Travers controls the puck last Wednesday against Pingry. Junior forward Travers scored three goals in the game as PDS overcame an early 3-0 deficit to pull out a 4-3 victory over the Big Blue. The Panthers, now 6-3, host Princeton High on January 16 before playing at Rye Country Day School (N.Y.) on January 18.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Even though the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team trailed Pingry 3-0 after one period last Wednesday, Mary Travers didn’t think that PDS was out of the game by any means.

“We had a good team bonding before the game and we were all just in a really positive mood to come back,” said PDS junior forward Travers.

“At least for me, it wasn’t really a doubt. Sometimes, you get down on yourself but we didn’t.”

It didn’t take long for the Panthers to get a lift as Colby Triolo scored 1:22 into the second period to cut the Pingry lead to 3-1.

“That was awesome because Colby normally plays defense so pulling her up was a spur of the moment move,” said Travers.

“On our first shift out, her getting that goal just gave us so much confidence and energy. We were really jazzed and pumped up by that.”

Travers provided the Panthers with plenty of energy after that, taking over the game as she scored the last three goals of the contest to spark PDS to a dramatic 4-3 victory.

Her scoring outburst started with a beautiful rush up the ice and top shelf blast with 2:11 left in the second period.

“One of Lorna’s [PDS head coach Lorna Cook] big things is going wide and I have been having a lot of trouble with that,” said Travers.

“I am finally starting to incorporate that. When I finally got a goal by doing what she has been saying to do, it was even more satisfying.”

Hitting the ice for the third period, Travers felt that PDS had the momentum.

“I think we definitely had more energy than they did,” asserted Travers. “They had one really strong girl but we just united together and had a broader base to work from and to build from. Coming off a really strong second period, we were just that much more ready.”

Some five minutes into the third period, Travers showed she was ready to keep scoring, knotting the game at 3-3 when she redirected a slap shot from defenseman Robin Linzmayer into the net.

“I was in the right place at the right time, it was a great shot by Robin,” recalled Travers. “I was surprised; I felt it and it was like ‘what, that just went in.’”

Then with under two minutes remaining in regulation, Travers got loose on a breakaway and cashed in on her chance.

“Everyone is a little nervous going in one against the goalie but we had tested the goalie out enough by then to know strengths and weaknesses,” said Travers. “I just tried to go wide and it hit off and went in. It was really exciting.”

PDS head coach Cook was excited to see Travers come through. “Mary has been getting a lot better at picking her head up and trying to hit corners,” said Cook.

“We have been working a lot with everybody on taking the puck wide and stop trying to make fancy plays to the middle. She has really responded to that.”

In Cook’s view, Triolo’s tally changed the tone of the contest. “She has been playing defense for us,” said Cook of Triolo.

“We needed to do something to change things up. We moved her up to forward to see what she could do offensively. She ended up getting her first PDS goal so I think that was part of it too. It was big weight lifted for her. Everybody felt that.”

Cook is looking for everybody to pitch in offensively. “Scoring was a question mark going into the season and they have really proved that it isn’t a problem,” said Cook, whose team did run into a roadblock as it fell 6-0 to powerful Morristown-Beard on Friday to drop to 6-3.

“They can put the puck in the net and you saw how excited they were at the end of the game.”

Travers is proving herself after missing most of last season with an ankle injury.

“It has been really nice because this time last season I was out which was so frustrating,” said Travers, who will look to help PDS get back on the winning track as it hosts Princeton High on January 16 before playing at Rye Country Day School (N.Y.) on January 18.

“It was so hard to see my team going into the second half of the season. I am just so happy I can be part of it this year even more and contribute as much as I can.”

CAPTAIN CLUTCH: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eric Szeker speeds up the ice in recent action. The senior defenseman and team captain has displayed a knack this season for scoring clutch goals. Last week, Szeker was at it again, scoring in the last minute of regulation to lift Hun into a 3-3 tie against Haverford (Pa.). The Raiders, who improved to 7-2-3 with a 10-0 win over Academy of New Church (Pa.) last weekend, host St Joseph’s (Metuchen) on January 16 before playing at Princeton Day School on January 18.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

CAPTAIN CLUTCH: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eric Szeker speeds up the ice in recent action. The senior defenseman and team captain has displayed a knack this season for scoring clutch goals. Last week, Szeker was at it again, scoring in the last minute of regulation to lift Hun into a 3-3 tie against Haverford (Pa.). The Raiders, who improved to 7-2-3 with a 10-0 win over Academy of New Church (Pa.) last weekend, host St Joseph’s (Metuchen) on January 16 before playing at Princeton Day School on January 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Having been named as the captain of the Hun School boys’ hockey team, senior defenseman Eric Szeker knows he has to keep a cool head in the heat of battle.

“On the ice, I can’t run my mouth, I can’t take dumb penalties,” said Szeker. “I have got to work hard; I have to lead by example. I can’t take shifts off. I have a good group of guys in there that I like to play with a lot so they help me out a lot too with this.”

Szeker has exerted his leadership this winter in another meaningful way, displaying a knack for scoring last minute goals.

In the Pa Scholastic Hockey Showcase, he scored with 12 seconds left to give the Raiders a 3-2 win over Chartiers Valley (Pa.) on December 29.

Last week against visiting Haverford School (Pa.), Szeker was at it again, finding the back of the net with 59.5 seconds left in the third period to lift Hun into a 3-3 tie.

“I was a little frustrated so I got out and followed the play,” said Szeker, recalling the tally.

“J.C. Moritz got hit and I kind of just picked up the puck and my first instinct was to just shoot it and I looked down and it went in.”

The Raiders faced an uphill battle against Haverford since starting goalie Devin Cheifetz was sidelined due to injury and junior Natty Bayona was seeing his first varsity action.

“We had to play a different game style; we played more desperate,” said Szeker.

“Our goalie played really well today. It was a good team effort. In the d-zone we have to be a little more intense with the puck, we can’t give away too many scoring opportunities. Everyone played well today and everyone adjusted well.”

Szeker, for his part, is better prepared to play well as a senior. “I am a little bigger and I am a little taller and a little faster,” said Szeker. “I got stronger over the summer.”

Hun head coach Ian McNally likes the strong clutch play he is getting from Szeker.

“That is his third last-minute goal of the year; we just called him Captain Clutch in the room there,” said McNally of Szeker, who scored two goals and had three assists as Hun topped Academy of New Church (Pa.) 10-0 last weekend to improve to 7-2-3.

“He wasn’t an offensive player last year, he was heavily relied on as a defenseman. On the score sheet this year, he is surely leading our defensemen in scoring and he is in the top couple in our team in points. It has been a well-found new plus for him this year.”

A major plus for Hun against Haverford was Bayona’s effort in his varsity debut. “Natty Bayona, the kid who played in net, has never played hockey before this year, certainly not goalie,” said McNally.

“He’s played a couple of JV games and he has practiced all year. Basically he put up his hand at the start of the year because we had only one goalie and he said I’ll try it so I was worried. I’ll tell you what, he did more than enough for us to win the game. We just gave him the game puck.”

While Hun did fail to cash in on some good scoring chances against Haverford, McNally is pleased with the team’s aggressiveness.

“That is one thing we have in spades,” said McNally, referring to his team’s spirit.

“If we don’t have a pure goal scorer, we have a relentless pressure and guys who are willing to do that. We have certainly trailed at many points this year so it is not like we haven’t been in close games. We have been scoring last minute tying goals but we don’t want to be in that situation.”

When Hun does get in a tight situation, its players certainly don’t get rattled.

“There are a couple of guys on the bench who are leading that mentality in terms of just being vocal and then going and showing it,” said McNally, whose team hosts St Joseph’s (Metuchen) on January 16 before playing at Princeton Day School on January 18. “They say ‘we have been here before, come on guys it’s coming.’”

In Szeker’s view, that kind of mentality stems from the team’s positive chemistry and motivation stemming from its loss in the Independence Hockey League (IHL) title game last winter.

“The feeling in the locker room is good,” said Szeker. “We only lost two seniors from last year so it is the same feeling in the locker room. We have a lot to get back from last year, losing the championship.”

January 9, 2013
GOOD MOMENT: Princeton University men’s hockey player Jeremy Goodwin celebrates last Saturday after scoring the game-winning goal as Princeton edged No. 8 Dartmouth 2-1 before a record crowd of 2,711 at Baker Rink. The win improved Princeton to 5-7-4 overall and 4-3-3 in the ECAC Hockey standings, good for second place behind front-running Quinnipiac. The Tigers will look to keep on the winning track when they host No. 16 Union on January 11 and Rensselaer on January 12.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

GOOD MOMENT: Princeton University men’s hockey player Jeremy Goodwin celebrates last Saturday after scoring the game-winning goal as Princeton edged No. 8 Dartmouth 2-1 before a record crowd of 2,711 at Baker Rink. The win improved Princeton to 5-7-4 overall and 4-3-3 in the ECAC Hockey standings, good for second place behind front-running Quinnipiac. The Tigers will look to keep on the winning track when they host No. 16 Union on January 11 and Rensselaer on January 12.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Coming into last Saturday’s game against visiting Dartmouth, Jeremy Goodwin hadn’t scored a goal for the Princeton University men’s hockey team since tallying against Sacred Heart on January 25, 2011.

The junior defenseman picked a good time to find the back of the net again, scoring the game-winning goal as Princeton edged the eighth-ranked Big Green 2-1 before a record crowd of 2,711 at Baker Rink.

For Goodwin, the goal was the reward for some hard work. “I got the puck on the boards there and I just kept my feet moving,” recalled the 6’5, 230-pound Goodwin, a native of Hamilton, Ontario.

“I blew past the defenseman and brought it out front and got a couple of rebounds and I got lucky to get the second or third rebound and get it in. It has been a while.”

For Princeton, which topped Harvard 3-2 in overtime on Friday, it has been a while since it had such a good weekend. The Tigers ended 2012 by going 0-4-3 in their last seven games of the year.

“We really wanted the sweep here,” said Goodwin, reflecting on the win which improved Princeton to 5-7-4 overall and 4-3-3 in the ECAC Hockey standings, good for second place behind front-running Quinnipiac.

“This was a big opportunity for us to take out one of the top teams in the league and all we had to do was play our game and that’s how we win games.”

In the early going on Saturday, it looked like Princeton might be heading to a weekend split as it fell behind Dartmouth 1-0, getting outshot 11-3 in the first period.

“We had a bit of a slow start but halfway through the period I think we started moving our feet again and getting pucks deep and that is what we are all about, getting in there and playing our game down low,” said Goodwin.

“Dartmouth has trouble down low as defensemen and we took advantage of that in the second and third period.”

The Princeton defense, on the other hand, had no trouble containing the Big Green over the final two periods.

“We stressed all week staying on the defensive side of our checks and that’s what led to our success,” explained Goodwin.

“They didn’t really get anything in the slot or any good chances. They had a lot of outside shots and that’s what we were trying to do.”

The duo of Goodwin and senior star Michael Sdao, a 6’4, 220-pound bruiser who scored Princeton’s other goal in the win over Dartmouth, has helped keep Tiger foes out of the slot.

“I think we are probably the biggest defensive pairing in the league,” said Goodwin.

“We try to keep our game simple and we feed off each other. We are really good at moving the puck defense to defense and moving the puck up the ice.”

Goodwin put in some extra work before the season to help him move better on the ice.

“I worked really hard over the summer to improve my speed and footwork and that has really made me feel more comfortable skating instead of just moving around,” said Goodwin.

Princeton head coach Bob Prier was proud of the way Goodwin worked to get his big goal.

“That was really good to see, Jeremy has been playing pretty well here the last few games,” said Prier.

“He has earned it. He is a big guy in a big body and he has to continue to play that way. He is 6’5, 230 pounds and he has some silky smooth hands. There is nothing wrong with him taking it down the boards and taking it to the net. It is something he can do more frequently.”

Prier is pleased to see the pairing of Goodwin and Sdao take things to Princeton’s foes.

“I think it was playing with a ton of emotion and passion but not to the point of desperation where the guys started to think that they had to sway from their own responsibilities. I think that’s what really has gotten us in trouble as of late.”

Senior goalie Mike Condon kept Princeton out of trouble on Saturday, making 34 saves in the contest, including several in a last-minute Dartmouth flurry.

“Mike Condon had a great game but if you look at the shot chart and where the shots came from, he made some big saves but there was not anything, second or third opportunities right down the gut of the ice,” said Prier. “He was the MVP of the game, no doubt.”

It was a great day for the program as it celebrated the 90th anniversary of its first game in the Baker Rink.

“It is certainly a testament to our guys, the way that they carry themselves and treat people within the community and on campus,” said Prier, reflecting on the record crowd that packed the venerable arena.

“People really root for them. They go out of their way to be involved with local schools, they go out of their way to always put a smile on and have fun with things at Skate with the Tigers. I think that people think they are class acts and they come out and support them.”

Princeton will be looking to give its fans more to cheer about this weekend as it hosts No. 16 Union on January 11 and Rensselaer on January 12.

“Momentum is the key factor; every single game in this league is such a difficult game and it is a game of momentum.” said Prier.

“I think they understand that now with winning and progressing and continuing to win games. They understand that in the context of the game too, with the subtle turnover, the poor penalty. They understand the consequences and they understand how to get momentum too.”

Goodwin, for his part, is confident that Princeton can build on the momentum from the weekend sweep.

“For sure, it is nice to be at home again with the supporting crowd,” said Goodwin.

“We have a nice home weekend next week and we are going to feed off the momentum we got this weekend and have a good week in practice and hopefully get another couple of wins next weekend.”

GETTING THE POINT: Princeton University basketball player Blake Dietrick looks for an opening in recent action. On December 31, sophomore point guard Dietrick contributed five points,seven rebounds, a career-high five steals, and three assists to help Princeton top visiting Drexel 74-59. The Tigers, who improved to 8-5 with the victory, were slated to host Navy on January 8 before opening Ivy League play by hosting Penn on January 12.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

GETTING THE POINT: Princeton University basketball player Blake Dietrick looks for an opening in recent action. On December 31, sophomore point guard Dietrick contributed five points,seven rebounds, a career-high five steals, and three assists to help Princeton top visiting Drexel 74-59. The Tigers, who improved to 8-5 with the victory, were slated to host Navy on January 8 before opening Ivy League play by hosting Penn on January 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Blake Dietrick was a one-dimensional player last winter in her freshman season on the Princeton University women’s basketball team, focusing mainly on providing some production from the perimeter.

But with senior point guard Lauren Polansky having been slowed recently by a nagging foot injury, Dietrick has diversified her portfolio.

“I think last year I was primarily a three-point shooter; that was the role that was expected of me on the team,” said the 5’10 Dietrick, a native of Wellesley, Mass.

“This year, I have taken more of a point guard role, so I am getting my teammates involved and getting other people shots, doing things like that.”

In a 74-59 win over Drexel last week, Dietrick displayed her versatility, scoring five points with seven rebounds, a career-high five steals, and three assists in 31 minutes of action.

“I am trying to do more than just score points,” said Dietrick, who is averaging 6.7 points a game overall this season and 9.4 over the team’s last five contests.

“I am stepping into some very big shoes to fill with LP [Polansky] down. I am trying to step up as much as I can because she is really, really good defensively.”

With Dietrick having started four games in a row for the 8-5 Tigers, she is starting to feel more comfortable in that role.

“We mix up the teams in practice so I am playing with everybody,” said Dietrick, who has 30 assists on the season.

“I feel like the more confident I become, the more people trust me. At first, I felt like I was faking it a little bit, trying to be as confident as possible. I feel like I am getting a lot more confident, playing to my strengths in the offense.”

Dietrick acknowledges that she is a stronger athlete due to playing lacrosse in high school. She graduated as the all-time leading scorer at Wellesley High, male or female, with 436 points and twice earned All American honors.

“My dad played lacrosse in college and he thinks lacrosse is basketball with sticks,” said Dietrick.

“I think the cutting and the defense is definitely very similar. I am actually playing lacrosse this year for Princeton. I didn’t play last year so I am really excited to get back into it. I have been playing wall ball but I am focused on basketball right now obviously and when lacrosse comes, it comes. I am really excited to be back to both.”

Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart is excited by the progress she is seeing in Dietrick.

“For Blake, last year when she didn’t shoot well, she didn’t play well,” said Banghart.

“I think now she realizes she is a more versatile player than that. She’s been really important to our continued progress. She is more confident; you need game minutes. She is surrounded by people who believe in her and she has also gotten better. She doesn’t take a play off. She is better off the dribble, she is better settling into our offense, she is better against pressure. She is also a year better than she was last season.”

The Tigers got better and better as the game went on against Drexel, going from an early 15-12 lead to a 35-21 halftime advantage.

“I didn’t think we played as well today as we could have but we are still better than we were two weeks ago,” said Banghart.

“If they can keep doing that, we will be pretty good by February. We are just going to keep our eyes on the prize and that is still progress. We are not going to worry about any one opponent yet. Right now it is getting better, it is getting healthy, it is individuals getting better.”

Senior star Niveen Rasheed certainly gave Drexel plenty to worry about, scoring a game-high 20 points in the victory with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

“Niveen was fantastic; she changes the game,” said Banghart of Rasheed, who was later named the Ivy League Co-Player of the Week along with Harvard’s Christine Clark.

“The way she rebounds, the way she defends, the way she pushes the pace, the way she is playing within rhythm offensively. She played fantastic and it does get lost in the shuffle because she is so selfless. She doesn’t care about her own numbers, she is more active on the bench than she is on the floor. I thought she played one of her better games, which is good. It is a new offense for her too.”

With Princeton starting Ivy League play by hosting Penn on January 12, Banghart believes her team is well positioned as it goes after its fourth straight league title.

“I like this group a lot,” asserted Banghart. “If you look at last year’s statistics compared to this year’s. we are scoring more this year and we are turning the ball over less. We have more assists so we are sharing the ball well. We have a lot of those key contributors who aren’t playing, whether it is via injury or graduation. So we have had people step up who are doing it for the first time. We are adding a lot of people at once into our lineup so given their lack of experience and given our new offense, I couldn’t be happier. They have a chance to be special.”

Dietrick, for her part, is ready to keep stepping up when the Tigers get into league action.

“I am just trying to be as aggressive as I can because that is the way LP plays and the team feeds off of that, especially from the point guard position,” said Dietrick.

“So I think if I can be able to do that, I can get the team really more into an aggressive mindset and that will help us down the road, especially in the Ivy League where I think we are a little more athletic than our opponents.”

girl's 100 free

BREAKTHROUGH EXPERIENCE: Princeton High girls’ swim star Serena Deardorff heads to victory in the 100 freestyle last Thursday against WW/P-S. Senior Deardorff also won the 50 free and helped the 200 medley relay to victory as the Little Tigers topped the Pirates 94-76 to post their first win over WW/P-S this century. In upcoming action, PHS hosts WW/P-N on January 10 and Notre Dame on January 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Since the Princeton High girls’ swimming team hadn’t defeated WW/P-S this century before the meet between the rivals last Thursday, Serena Deardorff and her PHS teammates weren’t dwelling on recent history.

“We have never beaten them but instead of coming into the meet planning on winning, I think the upperclassmen focused on just getting the underclassmen psyched to do their best,” said senior star Deardorff. “We wanted them to do their best times in the pool and just have fun with it.”

The Little Tigers ended up having a lot of fun as they posted a 94-76 win over the visiting Pirates at John Witherspoon pool to end their losing streak in the series and improve to 7-0 on the season.

Deardorff made a major contribution to the breakthrough victory, swimming the anchor leg on the winning 200 medley relay and then taking first in both the 50 and 100 freestyle races. Other individual victors for PHS included senior Marisa Giglio in the 100 breaststroke and Deardorff’s younger sister, freshman Madeleine, in the 200 individual medley.

For Deardorff, coming through in the 200 medley relay to start the meet helped set the tone for the contest.

“I feel like coming out strong was definitely a goal for our team because it got everyone pumped,” said Deardorff.  “It was just really exciting, the energy on the deck was incredible.”

It has been exciting for Deardorff to show the ropes to her younger sister. “I love having her on the team; I feel like I and the other seniors have to be good role models for the underclassmen,” said a smiling Deardorff, whose older bother, Peter, was a star for the PHS boys’ team and is now swimming for the Bowdoin College men’s squad.

“I like having my sister on the deck, I can get her psyched for her races. It is just fun to have her on my club and my high school team.”

Having been a star for the Little Tigers since joining the team as a freshman, Deardorff is psyched for her final campaign with the program.

“I am not really focusing on my times, I am just trying to have fun with the season and keep up where I am at,” said Deardorff, who is heading to Amherst College where she will be competing for the women’s swim team.

“It is definitely fun having a good final high school season and having fun with your teammates. I think that we are more unified than we have been in the past. We are really cohesive this year which really makes the atmosphere on the deck a lot better.”

PHS head coach Greg Hand saw the victory in the 200 medley relay as a spark for what followed.

“What I like the most is certainly getting the one and then having the B relay coming in third,” said Hand.

“That is a great way to start any meet. I really liked the team attitude today. I thought the kids did a terrific job of not worrying about themselves and just supporting their teammates.”

Hand likes the way the Deardorff sisters are supporting each other. “It just looks like they are having a terrific time having the opportunity to be on the same team for at least a year,” said Hand.

“I remember my own children way back also had what I think is a unique experience to be able to compete with a sibling, not against a sibling.”

The Deardorffs are certainly competing well for the Little Tigers. “Serena swam very well for us today,” said Hand.

“It is not about PRs, it is can you swim every race well on dual meet day even in the middle of regular tough training which makes you tired and she did that. Freshmen deserve the security of not being asked to do anything more than just cheering for their teammates and swim the best race they can. Maddie has a terrific role model in her older sister.”

While Hand didn’t want to dwell on the significance of breaking the losing streak against WW/P-S, he acknowledged that the win is a good sign for his squad.

“I see it more just in terms of this season; what are our relative strengths and our relative weaknesses,” said Hand, whose team hosts WW/P-N on January 10 and Notre Dame on January 15.

“The more you get into the season, the more you pay attention to who is slightly faster than somebody else. There was just a lot of learning going on today because the great thing about our rivalry is that we always come to swim fast on that day. We always know that the other team is going to be classy and they are going to come to race. I think it is a terrific athletic environment when we race South.”

Deardorff, for her part, believes that win over WW/P-S demonstrates that PHS can do some terrific things this winter.

“This definitely got the girls’ team psyched for what is to come,” asserted Deardorff.

“Now we know we can go really far and hopefully to states and just see how things go. We are not going to go into any meets focused on winning.”

boy's 200 free

BAT SPEED: Princeton High boys swimming star Peter Kalibat powers his way to a win in the 200 freestyle last Thursday in PHS’ 117-53 victory over WW/P-S. Kalibat also posted a victory in the 500 free to help the Little Tigers improve to 7-0. PHS is next in action when it hosts WW/P-N on January 10 and Notre Dame on January 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Last winter, a group of six seniors helped drive the Princeton High boys’ swim team to an undefeated season and the program’s first-ever state championship.

As the 2012-13 season heads into its second month, a Fab Four of juniors Matt Purdy, Peter Kalibat, Will Stange, and Colburn Yu has PHS on track for another big campaign.

The quartet helped the Little Tigers cruise past WW/P-S 117-53 last Thursday at the John Witherspoon pool as PHS improved to 7-0 and won its 31st straight Colonial Valley Conference dual meet.

Kalibat won the 200 and 500 freestyle races while Stange placed first in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. Purdy prevailed in the 50 free and took third in the 100 free while Yu won the 100 breaststroke and placed second in the 200 individual medley.

PHS head coach Greg Hand credited Purdy with setting a positive tone for the Little Tigers.

“Matt has great kinesthetics and he works on his stroke everyday,” said Hand of Purdy, who swam the anchor leg in the 200 medley relay that opened the meet with a solid win.

“He has got a great work ethic not just in terms of his ability to work even when he is exhausted. He pays attention to what he is doing throughout the workout.”

The pair of Kalibat and Stange always seems to be going full speed. “Those guys are great because we may not have needed swims as fast as they swam today but regardless they are always going to give a quality effort,” asserted Hand, who also got a win from senior Daniel Andronov in the 100 free.

Yu is working to fine-tune his technique to bring even more quality to the Little Tigers.

“Colburn is a really an exceptional breaststroker; he has been working hard on training,” said Hand.

“I am not sure I know what his second best event is. He has done really well for us in the IM. To refine his backstroke and his fly, which he needs to do to be a faster IMer, requires a lot of work and a lot of patience. It is a big challenge. We will be relying on him and sometimes Pete Kalibat to be pretty fast in that event.”

In Hand’s view, the squad has the right mindset to deal with the challenges ahead.

“I am pleased with how the boys’ team is coming along just as the team that we had last year had developed over a substantial amount of time,” said Hand, whose team hosts WW/P-N on January 10 and Notre Dame on January 15.

“This team, with a bunch of veterans but also with many new swimmers, and without a bunch of kids who helped shaped the identity of last year’s team, is growing in a good direction. Today was the first one where it is the beginning of a string of meets where we have to really perform well in a dual meet environment. I really liked what I saw in terms of the enthusiasm, in terms of everybody being fully into it.”

sports5

ON A TEAR: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Peter ­Mahotiere heads to the hoop in recent action. Last Saturday, junior forward Mahotiere scored 10 points to help PHS top Robbinsville 64-45 and improve to 4-2. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers play at Steinert on January 11 and at Princeton Day School on January 12 before hosting Ewing on January 15.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

While many high school basketball teams play in holiday tournaments to stay sharp, Mark Shelley took a different approach with his Princeton High boys’ hoops squad as it got ready to start 2013 by playing at Trenton High last Thursday.

“There were a few kids who were disappointed that we weren’t playing in a Christmas tournament,” said PHS first-year head coach Shelley.

“I told them I have been doing this for a while and that if we work hard in practice that will help us for Trenton. We did a lot of scrimmaging. We worked a lot on fundamentals, like being strong with the ball, defending with your feet, keeping the ball low when you are dribbling. We also worked a lot on our motion offense, we knew we couldn’t run as many sets against Trenton because they get in the passing lanes. We also worked on three-point shooting drills.”

That hard work paid dividends as PHS edged previously undefeated Trenton 60-57, winning on a last-second three-pointer by senior guard Ellis Bloom and earning their first victory over the Tornadoes since the 1993-1994 season.

For much of the night, it looked like the Little Tigers were going to continue their drought against Trenton as they fell behind by eight points in the third quarter and trailed by five or six points for much of the fourth quarter.

PHS, though, refused to wilt under the pressure being applied by the Tornadoes.

“We really battled and showed a lot of character,” asserted Shelley. “After HoVal, a game we should have won and the loss to Morristown where we could have won, it was good to see the boys come through. I told them if we could keep it close, they might tighten up and we would have a chance.”

It was a heads up play by senior point guard Scott Bechler that gave PHS a chance to win the game when it was tied at 57-57 in the waning seconds.

“Scott forced a shot and it got blocked, he scooped the ball up and underhanded it to Ellis in the corner,” recalled Shelley.

“Ellis shot it right in front of our bench and the ball hung in the air and then fell through. The guys mobbed him.”

For Shelley, the buzzer beater left him with a special memory. “I have coached for a very long time and have never had an ending like that,” said Shelley, who coached for a decade in South Carolina before joining the PHS program last year as an assistant and then getting elevated to head coach this fall.

“I had a game where someone hit a 25-footer to force overtime and we went on to win. That was the most dramatic ending for me.”

Shelley is hoping that coming through in such dramatic fashion will help the Little Tigers down the road.

“Last year, we lost a lot of close games so I hope confidence will build for them,” said Shelley, who got 16 points and 12 rebounds from senior star Lior Levy on the win over the Tornadoes with Bloom and Peter Mahotiere scoring 13 points apiece and Bechler chipping in eight points and 10 assists.

“When we play teams where we have more talent, we can handle them and when we play teams that are talented, we can play with them. I told the boys that every game on our schedule is winnable.”

On Saturday, PHS took care of business as it topped Robbinsville 64-45 to improve to 4-2.

“We were ahead 6-5 and then went on an 11-0 run,” said Shelley, whose team built a 30-14 halftime lead and never looked back.

“I was pleased with the way we jumped on them. It wasn’t the prettiest basketball but you are not always going to get that. Before the Robbinsville game, I said to them is it going to be 3-3 or 4-2, there is a whole different feel to 4-2. I was pleased with the focus.”

In the win over the Ravens, PHS displayed the scoring balance that is becoming its trademark as junior Cal O’Meara led the way with 16 points with Levy scoring 12, Bloom adding 11, and Mahotiere contributing 10.

“I always preach balance,” asserted Shelley. “My last two girls’ teams in South Carolina went 21-5 and all the starters were between 7 and 12 points a game. I really try to handle things psychologically, helping the players buy into the team.”

With PHS playing at Steinert on January 11 and at Princeton Day School on January 12 before hosting Ewing on January 15, the Little Tigers will need to practice what Shelley is preaching to keep on the winning track.

“I don’t do a lot of scheming for other teams,” said Shelley. “It is more important to have the fundamentals down. We had some secondary breaks in transition on Saturday that were beautiful where all five players touched the ball. The ball movement was good, all you ask for is to generate good shots. The guys really like the match-up zone, it is good to have people believe in what we are doing.”

sports6

STEPPING AHEAD: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball star Langston Glaude dribbles past an opponent in recent action. Last Friday, junior guard Glaude scored 12 points in a losing cause as PDS fell 51-50 to Abington Friends (Pa.). The Panthers, now 7-3, host Hamilton High on January 9 and Princeton High on January 12 before playing at Hun on January 15.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Langston Glaude ended 2012 on a high note for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team, hitting a last-second jumper as the Panthers topped Roman Catholic (Pa.) to win the PrimeTime Shootout’s Flight 1 title.

Last Friday, Glaude looked to start 2013 with similar heroics, draining a three-pointer as PDS forged ahead of Abington Friends (Pa.) 48-47 with two minutes in regulation.

The junior guard acknowledged that he is developing a comfort level with clutch situations.

“When the clock gets down, I want the ball in my hand,” said Glaude. “Another thing I want for the team to know is that if things go wrong, they can always look to me and I am going to try to either take the shot or hit somebody else to score. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll do it, no matter what.”

The Panthers, though, couldn’t get it done down the stretch as they ended up losing 51-50 to Abington
Friends to drop to 7-3.

For the proud PDS squad, which advanced to the state Prep B title game last winter, the setback was unsettling.

“I thought we were going to pull it out; we are an experienced team and we have been through situations like this,” said Glaude, who had 12 points in the loss with senior teammate Davon Reed tallying 22 to lead the Panthers.

“We practice situations like this all the time. We play in games like this all the time where it is close. We just made some bad decisions as a team. We wanted it; I am not going to say they wanted it more.”

Glaude acknowledged that the Panthers didn’t look like they wanted it more in the first half, trailing 29-17 at intermission.

“We came out casual, feeling good about a big win,” said Glaude, referring to the victory over Roman Catholic. “We just came out slow, that was pretty much it.”

Some of the Panther players slammed the wall as they headed to their locker room for the break.

“The halftime message was to get hungry,” recalled Glaude. “We looked at each other and said this isn’t us, this isn’t our team. We have got to fight back. We are fighters.”

In the second half, PDS didn’t waste any time fighting back, outscoring Abington Friends 20-15 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to seven entering the final eight minutes of play.

“Defensively, I felt like we played really well,” said Glaude. “Defense is our foundation. When we get it started on defense, that’s when the offense comes. I think the third quarter showed that.”

The defeat showed PDS that it can’t afford to let up its intensity. “With every experience, we can always get better,” said Glaude.

“With this experience, I think we have got to come out hungry every game. Today we came out a little casual but if we come every game the same way we started the second half, we can beat anybody in this region.”

Glaude, for his part, is looking to establish himself as one of the top players in the region.

“My confidence is definitely building tremendously,” said Glaude. “Working all summer boosted the swag in my game. I did a lot of camps and individual workouts on my own.”

In Glaude’s view, the Panthers have plenty of reason to be confident going forward.

“Once we are focused, once we are going at it, we have got that fire in us and it is hard to stop us,” said Glaude, who will look to get the Panthers back on the winning track when they host Hamilton High on January 9 and Princeton High on January 12 before playing at Hun on January 15. “We feel like we can play like we did in the PrimeTime Shootout any day.”

sports7

MAKING PROGRESS: Hun School girls’ basketball player Erica Dwyer races past a defender in a recent game. Last Saturday, sophomore guard Dwyer scored 11 points to help Hun post a 60-34 win over King Low Heywood School (Conn.) as the Raiders improved to 5-3. In upcoming action, Hun plays at Rutgers Prep on January 10 and at the Hill School (Pa.) on January 12.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Erica Dwyer and her teammates on the Hun School girls’ basketball team were determined to start 2013 with a bang after losing three of their last four games heading into the holiday break.

With sophomore guard Dwyer hitting two three-pointers in the first quarter as Hun hosted King Low Heywood School (Conn.) last Saturday, the Raiders did just that, jumping out to a 17-5 lead.

“That’s what we were going for, a new year and a new way of playing,” said Dwyer, reflecting on the team’s hot start. “We had a rough end to the year so we are just trying to pick it up again.”

The Raiders ended up pulling away to a 60-34 victory as they improved to 5-3.

“It was definitely a good game,” said Dwyer, who scored 11 points in the victory. “We played as a team, which picked us up and helped us a lot.”

Junior star forward Johnnah Johnson certainly picked up Hun, pouring in 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

“We look inside and if it is not working we pull it out,” said Dwyer. “We knew that they were a small team and Johnnah was a big threat in this game.

Dwyer is looking to be a more complete player for the Raiders, focusing on triggering the Hun offense in addition to providing perimeter production.

“Because I am a sophomore and I started varsity last year, I feel like it is my position to get the team going,” said Dwyer, who also plays soccer and lacrosse for the Raiders.

“Shooting threes and ballhandling are definitely my strengths and that’s what I work on at home and out of school.”

Hun head coach Bill Holup believes Dwyer is making a stronger contribution this winter.

“When Erica is open, she will look for her shot but she is becoming more of a complete player,” said Holup.

“She is looking to pass the ball to open players. Last year, it was a transition as a freshman. Last year, she looked more to shoot because we had other people to handle the ball with Jackie Mullen and Ashley Ravelli. This year, we have a couple of girls who help each other at the point. When you play point, it should always be, in my opinion, pass first, shot second. The girls are continuing to learn that.”

For Hun, passing the ball to Johnson on Saturday helped spark the victory. “We wanted to establish getting the ball inside,” said Holup, who got eight points from senior Carey Million in the win with Janelle Mullen chipping in seven and Anajha Burnett contributing five.

“She didn’t need to do any pump fakes or anything because she had the height advantage. We wanted her to continue to work on taking it strong to the basket. A lot of time when teams are a little undersized they are much more physical trying to make up for lack of height. She was able to take it just as strong against them and did a good job of keeping the ball up high and finding some open teammates as well.”

Holup viewed the win as a strong start to the 2013 portion of the schedule. “I think we had a lull in the second quarter in terms of how we played together,” said Holup, whose team plays at Rutgers Prep on January 10 and at the Hill School (Pa.) on January 12.

“But certainly the way we started and the second half, we were smarter and very unselfish. It is still a learning process with one senior and a couple of new additions. They are still learning and complementing each other and figuring out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We are doing our best to make ourselves more of a complete team.”

Dwyer, for her part, believes Hun can develop into a strong team. “I think we are going to go far,” said Dwyer.

“We have two freshmen and they got a ton of playing time in this game. Erica Brown has been hurt and she came in and had two points right away which was awesome.”

January 2, 2013
sports6

NEW THREAT: Hun School boys’ basketball player Jake ­Newman heads upcourt in recent action. On December 19, senior star Newman scored a game-high 17 points to help Hun edge Trenton Catholic Academy 55-48 in overtime. The Raiders, now 7-2, start 2013 action by playing at Peddie on January 5.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For the Hun School boys’ basketball team, pulling out a 55-48 overtime win against Trenton Catholic Academy in its last action before the holiday break exemplified both its strengths and weaknesses.

Utilizing its height, the Raiders controlled the paint in scoring the first 10 points of the December 19 contest and jumping out to a 26-16 halftime lead. Hun, though, let its focus waver and found itself trailing late in regulation. Making some clutch plays in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, the Raiders forced overtime. In the extra session, Hun broke things open on the way to the win which gave it a 7-2 record.

Hun head coach Jon Stone acknowledged that his team’s performance amounted to a mixed bag.

“We came out pretty strong,” said Stone. “We floundered a little bit; we let them get back into the game. We struggled like we have at times. We stepped up in overtime; we took control early and it was never in doubt.”

In Stone’s view, the biggest positive to come out of the game was his team’s depth.

“Late in the game, we made some big plays to get it into overtime,” said Stone, who got 17 points from Jake Newman with Fergus Duke chipping in 13 and Josh McGilvray adding 10. “Different guys stepped up which is the sign of a good team. We have had good balance.”

Senior star Newman has been stepping up recently for the Raiders. “I think Jake is starting to get more confidence; with new guys it takes time,” said Stone.

“He is shooting the ball well. He went 7-of-7 from the line in the TCA game, and he hit two big free throws when we were down by two late in regulation.”

Hun has been getting some big plays from McGilvray and Duke. “Josh has the ability to do a lot of different stuff,” asserted Stone.

“He can score, we got the ball in to him against TCA and we probably should have done it more. Fergus has been pretty consistent. He can shoot the ball well but that is not all he does. He has been a good leader on the court.”

Princeton-bound senior guard Hashim Moore has also exerted leadership through some unselfish play.

“Moore loves to pass and he is a very good passer,” added Stone. “He has the ability to impact the game when he is not scoring which is impressive. If we are going to go far this year, we are going to need him to score more.”

Stone knows his team will need to play a more solid brand of basketball, especially with star forward Grant Mackay currently sidelined due to injury.

“With Mackay out, we are going to have to work with our rotations,” said Stone.

“Some guys are going to play who haven’t been in as much so far, so hopefully that will make us a stronger team. We need to continue to work on being more consistent and playing a full 32 minutes. We can’t have lulls defensively or offensively.”

With Hun starting 2013 by playing at Peddie on January 5, Stone believes his team has what it takes to get stronger and stronger as the season goes on.

“I think our guys have the maturity and ability to come back and regroup after the break,” said Stone.

“I like the way this team is coming together, it is a fun team to coach. The fun part is that we have yet to peak, for sure. There is room for improvement and I think we will. I am excited to get back.”

sports5

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Hannah Levy dribbles the ball in recent action. Last Thursday, Levy scored four points in a losing cause as the Panthers fell 50-20 to Northern Burlington in the first round of its PDS Girls’ Basketball Holiday Invitational. The Panthers dropped to 4-3 with the defeat and were slated to play Pinelands Regional in the consolation contest of the Invitational before hosting Lawrenceville on January 8.

Hosting Northern Burlington last Thursday in the opening round of its Holiday Invitational, the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team jumped out to a 4-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.

The visitors, though, reeled off 16 unanswered points to seize control of the contest.

PDS head coach Mika Ryan didn’t like how her players responded to the Greyhound run as they ended up trailing 34-10 by halftime.

“We started turning the ball over and making bad decisions,” said Ryan. “Once we got down, we didn’t fight back.”

In the second half, the Panthers showed a little more fight, getting outscored by only 16-10 on the way to a 50-20 setback.

“I saw a little better response; I was happy with a couple of our freshmen who came in and showed us, hey, I want to play,” said Ryan, whose team dropped to 4-3 with the defeat.

“Devika Kumar played well. She gives us some athleticism. She is basically a new player to the game. Morgan Van Liew surprises me every day at how she is coming along so I am happy with that.”

Overall, Ryan was not happy with most of what she saw from her team against Northern Burlington.

“Our decision-making was poor, our passing was poor,” said Ryan, who got six points from senior Lauren Johnson in the loss with senior Hannah Levy, junior Emily Goldman, and Van Liew each chipping in four points apiece.

“You can’t beat many teams playing the way we played. You certainly can’t compete with a quality team like this.”

In Ryan’s view, her team needs to start putting in more quality work in practice. “I hope that they start to believe me now because I told them what they saw from the bench tonight is what I have been seeing in practice the last three weeks,” said Ryan.

“We don’t compete in practice and we can’t expect to come out there and just turn it on and play in a game.”

With PDS slated to play Pinelands Regional in the consolation contest of the Invitational before hosting Lawrenceville on January 8 in its first action of 2013, Ryan is hoping that the sting of the Northern Burlington loss will drive her team to start turning it on.

“I don’t know how many we are going to have to lose but maybe one day they will say enough, we can’t take this any more,” added Ryan. “Hopefully it will be a wake-up call but I don’t know, time will tell.”