November 24, 2021

TITLE RUN: Princeton University quarterback Cole Smith runs past a Yale defender. Last Saturday, senior star and co-captain Smith passed for 214 yards and ran for 69 yards to help Princeton defeat Penn 34-14 and clinch a share of the Ivy League title. The Tigers went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy to tie Dartmouth (9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy) for the crown. It marked the fourth league title in eight seasons for the program. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As evening descended on Philadelphia last Saturday, the Princeton University football team held an impromptu party in one corner of venerable Franklin Field.

After thumping Penn 34-14 to earn a share of the Ivy League title, Princeton players, coaches, family and friends mobbed each other on the turf with the revelry including bear hugs, countless cell phone photos, cigar smoke wafting into the air, and dumping buckets of water on Tiger head coach Bob Surace.

The Tigers ended up 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy to tie Dartmouth (9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy) for the crown after having last season canceled by the league due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. It marked the fourth league title in eight seasons for the program, which came into the game ranked 20th nationally in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

Princeton senior quarterback and co-captain Cole Smith, who passed for 214 yards and rushed for 69 and a touchdown in the win over the Quakers, savored the moment of triumph as the celebration went on around him.  more

NEAR MISS: Princeton University women’s soccer player Aria Nagai dribbles the ball upfield in a 2-0 win over Vermont in the first round of the NCAA tournament on November 12. Last Friday, sophomore midfielder Nagai picked up an assist in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-2 to TCU in overtime in the second round of the NCAA tourney. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 15-3-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Rutgers University played host to two major landmark moments in the Princeton University women’s soccer season in 2021. Both visits showed just how good the Tigers were this year.

Back on September 5 in just the fifth game of the season, the Tigers rallied for a 4-3 overtime win over a Rutgers team then ranked ninth in the country. On the heels of a 1-1 tie with then-No. 8 ranked Georgetown, it set expectations high for the remainder of the year.

Princeton did not disappoint over the course of a memorable season that ended at 15-3-1 overall after a 3-2 double overtime loss to fourth-seeded Texas Christian University (TCU) on Friday at Rutgers. The Tigers were less than two minutes away from extending a season that had included a second-place finish in the Ivy League, a home NCAA tournament game that they won, and the third-most wins in a season in program history on the heels of a full year away from competition.

“I absolutely adore the group, I love the group,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll.

“That’s what makes losing so difficult because I wanted to keep the season going. As I said to them Thursday in training, I want to keep it going because I don’t like the idea of not having a tomorrow with you guys, that’s all it comes down to.” more

RESERVE STRENGTH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ryan Langborg guards a foe in game earlier this season. Last Wednesday night, junior guard Langborg scored a career-high 14 points off the bench to help Princeton defeat Marist 80-61. On Sunday, he chipped in eight points as the Tigers edged Oregon State 81-80 in improving to 4-1. In upcoming action, Princeton plays at Monmouth on November 24 before hosting Fairleigh Dickinson on November 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ryan Langborg came off the bench in the early going for the Princeton University men’s basketball team as it hosted Marist last Wednesday and didn’t waste any time making an impact.

Entering the contest with 15:56 left in the first half, junior guard Langborg drained a three-pointer 58 seconds later. That bucket was a harbinger of things to come as Langborg ended up tallying a career-high 14 points to help Princeton pull away to an 80-61 victory.

“We had a good game plan, we were trying to get the ball inside,” said Langborg.

“If we get the ball inside to Keeshawn [Kellman], Mason [Hooks] and Tosan [Evbuomwan] and they make something happen and they crash on those guys, we move and we knew we would be open and get good shots. We like getting the ball inside and getting it back out and swinging it around for a good three. They fell tonight so I just kept taking them.”

In reflecting on his performance, Langborg credited defense with leading to offense. more

OH BOY: Princeton University men’s soccer player Kevin O’Toole dribbles past a foe in recent action. Senior star O’Toole, who was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year this season as he helped Princeton go 7-0 in league play, saw his brilliant career come to an end as the Tigers fell 1-0 at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament last Thursday. Princeton ended the fall with an overall record of 12-6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In late September, the Princeton University men’s soccer team lost a hard-fought 1-0 battle to St. John’s.

Last Thursday, Princeton got a rematch at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Tigers were primed to turn the tables on the Red Storm.

“The last couple of games were really hard to grind out results; we had stretches during those games where I thought we played well but I think the guys were so determined to win the league and get through the league unbeaten,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow, whose team came into the NCAA game at 12-5 overall and 7-0 Ivy and riding an 8-game winning streak.

“At times it was more about competing than it was about putting the best soccer out there. At times we were able to do both. We had stretches down the stretch where I thought we were really connected, defending as group, moving the ball well and creating chances. I think there was a lot of confidence going into the tournament.”

Barlow knew it wouldn’t be easy to overcome St. John’s. “They are just so hard to score on, they concede so few goals,” said Barlow.

“They are big, they are athletic. It is a tough matchup. We didn’t create many chances in the first game against them and I don’t think they did either. It was a pretty competitive game with neither team able to generate many chances.”

The NCAA contest turned out to be competitive but with same result as the Red Storm won 1-0, finding the back of the net at the 43rd minute and holding off the Tigers from there. more

ON BOARD: Princeton University men’s hockey player Finn Evans (No. 16) battles a St. Lawrence player for the puck along the boards last Friday at Hobey Baker Rink. Senior forward Evans tallied a goal and an assist in a losing cause as Princeton fell 6-4 to the Saints. The Tigers, who lost 8-3 to Clarkson last Saturday to move to 3-3-1 overall and 2-2 ECAC Hockey, host a two-game set against RIT on November 26 and 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although their 2020-21 season was canceled by the Ivy League due to COVID-19 concerns, Finn Evans and his teammates on the Princeton University men’s hockey team still made progress.

“We were just skating at local rinks around New Jersey and working out,” said senior forward Evans, who was enrolled in school and living in the Princeton area with some of his teammates last school year.

“We were brought back in the spring and we were able to skate and work out. That was good, the freshmen were here. It brought us closer together as a group. I think it shows this year. We are all really tight, everyone is contributing.”

That group effort had been reflected in scoring balance across the team’s lines.

“It is nice this year, in previous years it has been a top-heavy contribution,” said Evans.

“The great thing about our lineup this year is that you look throughout the lineup and it is evenly spread right through. I think the theme of our team is that it doesn’t matter who scores. It is all just working hard and playing the game.”

Last Friday against visiting St. Lawrence, Evans contributed an assist and a goal as Princeton overcame an early 2-0 deficit  to build a 4-2 lead over the Saints with 14:38 left in the second period.

Evans set up the first goal, feeding Nick Seitz who banged home the pass. more

November 17, 2021

G-FORCE: Princeton University women’s soccer player Tatum Gee, right, controls the ball last Friday night as the Tigers hosted Vermont in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Senior Gee scored both goals in the contest as Princeton prevailed 2-0. The Tigers, now 15-2-1, will face eighth-seeded TCU (18-2-2) at Rutgers on November 19 in a second round contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Tatum Gee is trying to extend her time with the Princeton University women’s soccer team as long as possible.

The senior captain scored the only two goals in the Tigers women’s soccer team’s 2-0 win over Vermont in an NCAA tournament first round contest last Friday night at Class of 1952 Stadium.

“I think that was the perfect way to end it on this field,” said forward Gee, a native of Long Beach, Calif. “I couldn’t have asked for more than that. I have only good memories on this field now.”

Gee scored both goals in the first 20 minutes and Princeton Day School product Grace Barbara made three saves including a huge one early in the second half as Princeton improved to 15-2-1. Princeton advances to face eighth-seeded TCU, an 8-0 winner of Prairie View A&M, on November 19 at Rutgers, which is the bracket’s No. 1 seed.

“I’ve seen every top team in the country because I like to see how we match up in general in case we get there,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll, whose team would face the victor of the Rutgers-Saint Louis matchup on November 21 in a Sweet 16 matchup if it can defeat the Horned Frogs.

“TCU is exceptional. Very, very good; very athletic, very well coached. I know Eric (Bell, TCU head coach) just from his time at Florida State. They’re a great team.” more

PULLING AWAY: Princeton University football player John Volker races upfield last Saturday as the Tigers defeated Yale 35-20. Freshman running back Volker rushed for 29 yards and caught a 64-yard touchdown pass in the win as Princeton improved to 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy League. The Tigers are tied for first in the league standings with Dartmouth, also 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy, with one game left in the season. Princeton plays at Penn (3-6 overall, 1-5 Ivy) on November 20 in its season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a disappointing 31-7 defeat at Dartmouth, its first setback of the fall, the Princeton University football team was chomping at the bit to get back on the field as its hosted Yale last Saturday with first place in the Ivy League on the line.

But Princeton had to wait a little longer as a line of thunderstorms swept through the area delaying the Senior Day ceremony and kickoff by 90 minutes.

“It was a very emotional day for sure with the lightning delay, it was very unusual,” said Princeton senior receiver Dylan Classi.

Emotions were high for Princeton as it looked to bounce back from the defeat to the Big Green.

“It was a tough loss but everything we want is still in front of us and that was the mentality throughout the week,” said Classi.

“We knew we were playing for a championship. Practice was where it started. We had a great week of practice, we were able to come out today and execute.”

The Tigers went out and executed very well, pulling away to a 35-20 win over the Bulldogs before a crowd of 7,686 at Princeton Stadium to improve to 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy. Princeton is tied for first place in the league standings with Dartmouth, also 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy, with one game left in the season. more

WRIGHT DIRECTION: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ethan Wright dribbles up court last week in Princeton’s season opener against visiting Rutgers-Camden. Senior guard and co-captain Wright scored seven points as the Tigers prevailed 94-28 over the Division III Scarlet Raptors. Over the weekend, Wright starred as Princeton advanced to the final of the inaugural Asheville Championship, topping South Carolina 66-62 in the semis and then falling 87-80 in double overtime to Minnesota in the championship game. In the loss to Minnesota on Sunday, Wright recorded a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Princeton hosts Marist on November 17 before playing at Oregon State on November 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ethan Wright didn’t waste any time getting back into the flow for the Princeton University men’s basketball team as it hosted Rutgers-Camden to open its season.

As Princeton hit the court on November 9 for the first time since March 2020 after that season was halted due to the pandemic and the 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, senior guard and tri-captain Wright scored the first seven points of the contest.

“We have been waiting a long time to be back,” said Wright.

“It felt great to be back with the guys and playing against somebody else in uniform with fans. I haven’t done that in over 600 days. Last time I did that, I was a sophomore. A lot has changed since then. It was incredible to be back in Jadwin.”

Wright’s early outburst set the tone as Princeton went on to rout the Division III Scarlet Raptors 94-28.

“Coach (Mitch Henderson) was emphasizing getting off to a hot start so we could play a bunch of guys,” said Wright.

“I thought we executed really well early on and got some quick baskets. We like to run a lot so that was a quick start for us.”

Princeton executed well despite the long hiatus from game action. more

DOUBLING HER FUN: Princeton University women’s basketball player Julia Cunningham dribbles the ball last Sunday against visiting Boston University. Junior guard Cunningham posted her first career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Tigers prevail 69-40 in its first game at Jadwin Gym since February 2020. The win improved Princeton to 3-0 and extended its winning streak to 25 stretching back to the 2019-20 campaign. The Tigers play at Rhode Island on November 20 and at Temple on November 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team having its 2020-21 season canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, Julia Cunningham took a gap year and turned her attention to self-improvement.

“With the year off, you are not playing games and there is not that kind of strain on your body, you get to focus on some of things you wouldn’t normally get to focus on — getting in shape, getting stronger, lifting together,” said Princeton junior guard Cunningham, a 5’11 native of Watchung, N.J., who lived with two of her teammates in the Princeton area during the 2020-21 school year.

“I think it was really important. We spent a lot of time in the gym, getting shots up, getting reps.”

Last Sunday as Princeton hosted Boston University for its first game at Jadwin Gym since February 29, 2020, Cunningham displayed the fruits of that labor, contributing 20 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double to help Princeton pull away to a 69-40 win over the Terriers.

The win improved the Tigers to 3-0 and extended their winning streak to 25 stretching back to the 2019-20 campaign.

“I think for me it is the defense into offense,” said Cunningham, reflecting on her progress.

“We really get our momentum from the defensive end and coming down offensively we are just very confident. We rep it out in practice here on our home court. We get a lot of shots up on these baskets, it is just being confident with the ball in my hands.” more

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University men’s hockey team playing its first game at Hobey Baker Rink in more than 20 months last Saturday evening, the Tigers gave the fans on hand their money’s worth.

Hosting Long Island University, Princeton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Liam Gorman and Ian Murphy only to see the Sharks tally four unanswered goals in the second period to go up 4-2. Princeton responded with goals by David Ma and Corey Andonovski in the third to force overtime. Neither team scored in overtime and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.

Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty was thrilled to see his players hit the ice at Baker Rink for the first time since losing 2-0 to Brown on February 29, 2020.

“To be back home after 623 days was great,” said Fogarty.

“There was great excitement from the players. They had a major jump in the first part of the game, we played really well throughout.” more

November 10, 2021

RETURN TRIP: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers looks to unload the ball in a 2018 game. Senior guard Meyers is poised to have a big final campaign for the Tigers. Having not played since March, 2020, Princeton returns to action when it plays at Villanova on November 10 and will have its home opener on November 14 when it hosts Boston University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

While most of the Princeton University women’s basketball team took a gap year in 2020-21, Abby Meyers was enrolled and on campus last spring.

The Tigers only had four other players there, two of whom were Carlie Littlefield and McKenna Haire, who were polishing up their games to play as graduate students this year at North Carolina and Hawaii, respectively.

Often there were more coaches than players on the floor, but Meyers valued the time with Princeton head coach Carla Berube and her staff, who were still relatively new after coming in 2019.

“It was an interesting dynamic,” said Meyers, a 6’0 senior guard from Potomac, Md. who averaged 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds a game in the 2019-20 campaign.

“It made me personally appreciate the game more and appreciate being a part of a close-knit community at Princeton because despite not having a season, the faculty there, they were very excited for what was to come next year and now that we’re finally here, the excitement is brewing. It was a great intimate environment and we were able to focus on skills and getting better.”

The small group worked through the one-year anniversary of their 2019-20 season that the COVID-19 pandemic ended after they had compiled a 26-1 record and the Ivy League regular season championship. The 2020-21 season was also canceled by the Ivies due to ongoing safety concerns. Now almost 20 months after they last played, Meyers and the Tigers open their 2021-22 campaign at Villanova on November 10. more

BREAKING THE ICE: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Paul brings the puck up the ice last Friday night against RPI. Freshman forward Paul scored the first two goals of her college career to help Princeton prevail 4-1. The Tigers, who defeated Union 4-2 a day later to improve to 4-0 overall and 4-0 ECAC Hockey, will now play a home-and-home set against Quinnipiac this weekend. The Tigers host the Bobcats on November 12 and then play them in Hamden, Conn., on November 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sarah Paul was aiming to make her debut at the Hobey Baker Rink last Friday evening for the Princeton University women’s hockey team a night to remember.

“It was definitely something that our team collectively has been looking forward to, some of us for 600 days, others since we committed in high school, whenever that was,” said freshman forward Paul,  a 5’8 native of West Kelowna, British Columbia.

“It was just a lot of excitement and definitely a good feeling to be here.”

Just under six minutes into the game, Paul got a very good feeling, tallying her first career goal for the Tigers.

“I tried to pass it through the stick of that defender who was on me,” recalled a smiling Paul, clutching the puck with which she scored the milestone tally.

“It didn’t work out so I made the next best play and I ended up getting a good chance and got lucky and back of the net. It feels good, it is a bit of a relief to get that first one out of the way and move forward.” more

TOUGH HIT: Princeton University football player Carson Bobo gets tackled in a game earlier this season. Last Friday night, senior tight end Bobo had one catch for 10 yards as Princeton fell 31-7 at Dartmouth. The Tigers, now 7-1 overall and 4-1 Ivy League, host Yale (5-3 overall, 4-1 Ivy) on November 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University football team girded last week for its clash at Dartmouth, a number of players got ill with the flu.

Early in the contest last Friday night at Hanover, N.H., Princeton was hit with a sickening sight as Tiger senior star running back Collin Eaddy suffered a serious leg injury and was carted off the field in what turned out to be the last play of his stellar college career.

Reeling from that loss and dealing with a Dartmouth squad on a roll, Princeton found itself in a 17-0 hole.

“It was a challenge from a standpoint, there are no excuses, said Princeton head coach Bob Surace. “Dartmouth was great.”

The Tigers battled back, making it a 17-7 game late in the second quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by John Volker to culminate a 13-play scoring march.

Surace believed his team had some momentum at that point. “We have been down to Monmouth (overcoming a 21-6 deficit to win 31-28 on October 9),” said Surace.

“We have been up on teams. We have had to hold leads, we have had every scenario. You are confident in your players, I thought we settled in. We go down and score and we have a two-minute drive and we didn’t make the field goal into halftime.” more

November 3, 2021

BACK ON COURT: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jaelin Llewellyn looks to make a move in a 2020 game. Senior guard and tri-captain Llewellyn will be expected to lead the Tigers as they return to action after their 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to ongoing COVID concerns. Princeton tips off its season by hosting Rutgers-Camden on November 9. The Tigers will then head to the Asheville Championship where they will face South Carolina on November 12 in the opening round. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University men’s basketball team last took the court on March 7, 2020 to wrap up regular season play, it was excited about its prospects in the upcoming Ivy League tournament.

But Princeton never got to compete in the Ivy tourney for a shot at making the NCAA tournament as the 2019-20 season was halted at that point due to the pandemic. Months later, its 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to ongoing COVID concerns.

So as his Tigers get ready to tip off its 2021-22 season by hosting Rutgers-Camden on November 9, Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson is excited just to get back in the court.

“It is so great, it is humbling; I am so appreciative of the opportunity,” said Henderson, who guided the Tigers to a 14-13 overall record and a 9-5  Ivy mark in 2019-20.  more

CHARLES IN CHARGE: Princeton University men’s soccer player Alex Charles clears the ball in recent action. Senior defender and co-captain Charles helped shore up the back line and picked up an assist as Princeton defeated Cornell 2-1 last Saturday in a clash of the two teams atop the Ivy League standings. The Tigers, now 10-5 overall and 5-0 Ivy, play at Penn on November 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Alex Charles knew that he had to be on his toes as the Princeton University men’s soccer team hosted Cornell last Saturday in a clash of the two teams atop the Ivy League standings.

“We had it circled on the calendar for a while; we knew going into the season that Cornell was going to be a fantastic team,” said Princeton senior defender and co-captain Charles who had helped the Tigers to a 9-5 overall and 4-0 Ivy start coming into Saturday with Cornell bringing a 10-2-1 overall and 3-1 Ivy record to the contest.

“Obviously they have a great record and have gotten some great results. Our mentality going into it was to make this our championship game. If we win this one, we just have to focus on the last two.”

On Saturday, the Tigers were focused on containing a high-powered Cornell attack which had scored 36 goals in its first 13 games.

“Their No. 14 (Emeka Eneli) up top is a great player, he has a really good hold up and they look to play it into his feet and lay it off and get runs through,” said Charles. more

NO JOKING AROUND: Princeton University football player Matthew Jester enjoys the moment in a game earlier this season. Last Friday night, junior linebacker Jester had three tackles and a forced fumble to help lead the defensive effort as Princeton defeated Cornell 34-16. The Tigers, now 7-0 overall and 4-0 Ivy League, play at Dartmouth (6-1 overall, 3-1 Ivy) on November 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at Cornell last Friday night, the Princeton University football team could have found itself in a trap game.

It was a short week and a long trip for Princeton and it was greeted by some rough weather as a chilly rain pelted Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y.,

With a clash at once-beaten Dartmouth looming, the undefeated Tigers could have taken a one-win Cornell squad lightly.

Instead, 15th-ranked Princeton kept its focus, jumping out to a 21-0 lead and helping off a feisty Big Red squad for 34-16 win as it improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 Ivy. It marked the third straight season that the Tigers have started 7-0, the first time the program has done that since 1901, 1902, and 1903.

“We talked about it early in the week, we always prepare for things,” said Princeton head coach Bob Surace.

“We knew there was a chance for bad weather so with our game plans and whatever you are going to wear on the field, you prepare for it. But is the same for both teams.”

In addition to being prepared, Princeton showed character in dealing with the adverse condition and overcoming an upset-minded foe.

“Every week we have shown it, whether it is Monmouth and we throw a pick-six on a bad call by me and come back and score,” said Surace, referring to a 31-28 win over the Hawks on October 9. more

October 27, 2021

EXTRA SPECIAL: Princeton University football players Jeremiah Tyler, left, and Cole Aubrey celebrate after sacking Harvard quarterback Jake Smith last Saturday. Senior linebacker Tyler led the defensive charge with 12 tackles as Princeton outlasted visiting Harvard in a clash of undefeated teams, winning 18-16 in five overtimes. In the win over the Crimson, Tyler had 12 tackles, 10 solo, leading all tacklers. He also picked up two pass break ups and 1.5 tackles for loss. The Tigers, now 6-0 overall and 3-0 Ivy League, play at Cornell (1-5 overall, 0-3 Ivy) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton University football team outlasted Harvard 18-16 in a five-overtime thriller last Saturday, Jeremiah Tyler invoked a higher power.

“First of all I just want to thank God. He is good, he is good,” said Princeton senior star linebacker and co-captain Tyler.

The showdown of undefeated rivals before a throng of 10,033 at Princeton Stadium under gray skies turned into football marathon that tested the spirit of players and fans alike.

Over 60 minutes of regulation, the foes engaged in a rugged, take-no-prisoners defensive battle that saw them knotted in a 13-13 stalemate, requiring overtime to decide the matter.

The extra session turned into a roller coaster of emotions. The teams traded field goals in the first two possessions. Princeton, ranked No. 17 nationally, was poised to win when a Jeffery Sexton field goal was blocked. The overtime then went into alternating two-point conversion attempts and 16th-ranked Harvard appeared to secure the win when it converted after the Tigers had failed on their first two point attempt.

The Crimson players streamed on the field to celebrate, but the score was negated after an official review concluded that Princeton head coach Bob Surace had called timeout prior to the snap. With another chance, Harvard again appeared to score, but an offensive pass interference call wiped that out and Princeton held on the next try. more

FIRING AWAY: Princeton University field hockey player Gabby Andretta fires the ball upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior defender Andretta spearheaded a strong performance in a lost cause as 14th-ranked Princeton fell 2-1 to 12th-ranked Harvard in a game decided on penalty strokes after the teams tied 1-1 through 60 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. The Tigers, who moved to 8-6 overall and 4-1 Ivy League, play at Brown on October 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Knotted in a 1-1 tie at Harvard in an Ivy League showdown last Saturday, the Princeton University field hockey team made adjustments in the fourth quarter and threw everything it could into overtime.

But the 14th-ranked Tigers could not score a game-winner before ultimately falling 2-1 to the 12th-ranked Crimson on penalty strokes.

Harvard converted its first three strokes while Princeton’s first three strokes were all stopped.

“We’re not particularly strong at them,” said Tiger head coach Carla Tagliente.

“It’s not like we haven’t trained them. We have, but what I’ve seen out of us at practice, we haven’t shown that we’re really good. I wasn’t really confident going into it. We were pushing everything we could going into overtime to try to get the result before that happened.”

It is the first time in six years under Tagliente that a game has gone to a shootout following two scoreless overtimes. Princeton’s loss in a battle of Ivy League unbeatens makes the postseason a long shot. Princeton saw its five-game winning streak snapped as Harvard improved to 13-1 overall and 5-0 in the Ivies while the Tigers slipped to 8-6 overall, 4-1 in Ivy play. more

SHARPSHOOTER: Princeton University women’s hockey player Maggie Connors fires a shot in a 2019 game. Junior forward Connors figures to be the go-to-goal scorer for Princeton as it gets back in action after its 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The Tigers will head north to start the season, playing at Yale on October 29 and at Brown on October 30.   (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s hockey team was last in action in March 2020, it rode a high-powered offense for its first ECAC Hockey championship and was poised for a big run in the NCAA tournament.

Princeton averaged 3.7 goals a game that winter and set a program record for wins as it went 26-6-1, only to see the season abruptly halted due to the pandemic. Subsequently, the 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

With the Tigers returning to the ice this weekend with games at Yale (2-0) on October 29 and at Brown (0-1-1) on October 30, it will bringing a gritty mindset.

“It is a very different team and we have to have a different personality; we are going to have a little bit of a different style of play,” said Princeton head coach Cara Morey. more

ON POINT: Princeton University men’s hockey player Christian O’Neill heads up the ice in a 2019 game. Senior forward and alternate captain O’Neill is looking for a big final season with the Tigers. Princeton, which had its 2020-21 season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, returns to action by playing at Army West Point in its season opener on October 30.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s hockey team has hit the ice to get back in action after the 2020-21 season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, Ron Fogarty is seeing a heightened intensity from his players.

“The enthusiasm and the appreciation is evident with our guys, just how they are at the rink and how the practices are,” said Princeton head coach Fogarty, who guided the Tigers to a 6-20-5 record in 2019-20 and a sweep of Dartmouth in a best-of-the ECAC Hockey opening round playoff series before the season was halted due to the pandemic. “They are full of emotion. It has been great.”

With Princeton playing at Army West Point (1-5-1) in its season opener on October 30, the Tiger players will be looking to translate that emotion into success on the ice.

“Everyone is working so hard because they understand this is one of the biggest years,” said Fogarty.

“You have an opportunity to step in and play a different role or gain a scoring role or goaltending or defense.”

With senior defenseman Matthew Thom (three goals and six assists in 2019-20) serving as team captain and senior forwards Luke Keenan  (seven goals, 11 assists) and Christian O’Neill (five goals, five assists) assuming the alternate captain roles, Fogarty likes how the team is coming together.

“We have 10 seniors, it is a big group; Thom, Keenan, and McNeill have done a tremendous job of bringing two classes together to be part of the team,” said Fogarty. more

October 20, 2021

AIR SHOW: Princeton University football quarterback Cole Smith fires a pass in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior Smith passed a career-high 476 yards and four touchdowns as Princeton defeated Brown 56-42. Smith was later named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. The No. 17 Tigers, now 5-0 overall and 2-0 Ivy, host No. 16 Harvard (5-0 overall, 2-0 Ivy) on October 23.

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton University football team overcame Brown 56-42 last Saturday, Bob Surace tipped his hat to Bear quarterback E.J. Perry.

“We have gone against some really good offensive players in my 12 years and even the four years that I played; E.J. is the best opponent I have gone against in this league at quarterback,” said Princeton head coach Surace of Perry, who passed for 331 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 82 yards in a losing cause.

“He had a great game. I told him after the game, it is not just his performance, it is the leadership, and the competitiveness.”

Fortunately for Surace, his quarterback, senior Cole Smith, produced a career performance in guiding the Tigers to victory, hitting on 25 of 27 passes for a career-high 476 yards and four TDs to help Princeton improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 Ivy League. He was later named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week.

“It was just like with them; it was a really, really good job by our coaches scheme-wise and then a great job by the players executing,” said Surace of Smith, whose passing yards total in the game was the second most in Princeton history behind the 501 piled up by Bob Holly against Yale in 1981.

“Cole did the same thing, there were some real small windows on some of those throws and the receivers did a great job getting them. I was doing the proud dad thing because my son A.J. was 14 for 16 [for Notre Dame High] and he only played a half. I said to him I was hoping you would be near A.J.’s stats but you put him to shame.”

In the early stages of the contest, it looked like the proud Princeton defense, that had given up only seven points in the first three games, was going to contain Perry as the Tigers led 14-0 going into the second quarter. more

TO THE HILT: Princeton University women’s soccer player Lexi Hiltunen, left, battles a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday evening, sophomore Hiltunen scored the game winning goal in double overtime as Princeton edged Columbia 1-0. The Tigers, who improved to 10-2-1 overall and 3-1 Ivy League with the win, play at Harvard (9-1-1 overall, 3-1 Ivy) on October 23. (Photo by Greg Carroccio, provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Justin Feil

Lexi Hiltunen’s chip shot in double overtime last Saturday against Columbia kept the Princeton University women’s soccer team in the Ivy League championship hunt.

It also earned the Princeton sophomore forward a spot at the bottom of a dogpile of her teammates following the dramatic 1-0 win over the Lions on Saturday night at a wet and cold Class of 1952 Stadium.

“The pain of the dogpile was taken away by the fact that I was warmed up,” said Hiltunen. “It was a little comforting.”

Hiltunen makes it no secret she does not like the cold. While other teammates got in their first semester on campus last spring, she remained in West Palm Beach, Fla., and took classes online in part because of the warmer weather at home. She has already broken out a winter coat to get around campus.

A steady rain made the cold more miserable Saturday and made controlling the ball on the slick field difficult for all. Hiltunen was glad to end the game when she took a long pass over the top from freshman Lily Bryant and sent it over the charging goalie for the lone goal of the game. more

RISING TO THE OCCASION: Princeton University men’s soccer player Kevin O’Toole goes after the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior star O’Toole scored two goals to help Princeton defeat Columbia 3-0. O’Toole, the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year in 2018, has three goals and three assists in three Ivy contests this fall. The Tigers, who improved to 6-5 overall and 3-0 Ivy with the win, return to league action when they play at Harvard (4-4-3 overall, 0-2-1 Ivy) on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kevin O’Toole has demonstrated a knack for rising to the occasion for the Princeton University men’s soccer team in the heat of Ivy League competition.

The senior forward had tallied a goal and two assists in Princeton’s first two Ivy contests this season as the Tigers defeated Dartmouth 3-2 and Brown 3-1.

Last Saturday against visiting Columbia, O’Toole took things to a higher level, scoring two goals to help Princeton pull away to a 3-0 win over the Lions as it improved to 6-5 overall and 3-0 Ivy.

O’Toole and his teammates brought a sense of urgency into the clash with the Lions.

“We know every game is incredibly hard in the Ivy League, you can’t take any game for granted,” said O’Toole, a 5’10, 165-pound native of Montclair, and the Ivy Offensive Player of the Year in 2018. more

DIGGING IN: Members of the DiGregorio family, from left, Aaron, Nadia, Derek, Steve, and Zack, share a laugh with legendary coaches, from left, John Thompson III, Jason Garrett, and Pete Carril at a 2015 event at Conte’s Pizza to raise money to fight ataxia-telangiectasia, known as A-T. Beloved football coach Steve DiGregorio, known as “Digger” to his players and many friends, passed away last week at age 60 after a valiant battle with cancer, sparking sadness and fond memories from the countless people he touched on and off the gridiron. (Photo by John Dowers)

By Bill Alden

Be kind. Fight for justice, especially for those who can’t fight for themselves. Whatever you are doing, do it to the best of your ability. Do the right thing every day.

Those were the core principles that guided Steve DiGregorio and are just some of his qualities that family and friends are reflecting on in the wake of DiGregorio’s death on October 12 at age 60 after a valiant fight against cancer.

DiGregorio, known to all as “Digger,” was a big-hearted, good-natured, and tough-minded football coach whose influence was felt by a number of programs.

He served 13 years as an assistant coach for the Princeton University football team, several years as an assistant at Princeton High, and was a star player and later award-winning head coach for his alma mater, Nutley High.

DiGregorio also had coaching stints at Hobart College, Allegheny College, and Paramus Catholic. Before starting his coaching career, DiGregorio starred for Muhlenberg College and has been inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

His influence extended far beyond the gridiron as he helped create the “Derek’s Dreams” charity after his middle son, Derek, was diagnosed with a rare neuro-muscular disease, ataxia-telangiectasia, or A-T. The cause of fighting for a cure to that disease hit at the heart of his existence as it involved his beloved family, wife Nadia, and their sons, Zack, 26, Derek, 24, and Aaron, 22.  more

October 13, 2021

ROARING BACK: Princeton University football player Jacob Birmelin dives into the end zone in recent action. Last Saturday at Monmouth, senior star receiver Birmelin made nine catches for 109 yards to help Princeton rally from a 21-6 third quarter deficit to pull out a 31-28 victory over the Hawks. The Tigers, now 4-0, play at Brown (1-3) on October 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The Princeton University football team’s hopes for an undefeated 2021 season nearly blew away last Saturday in the gusts swirling around Monmouth’s Kessler Stadium.

Bringing a 3-0 record into the clash with 25th-ranked Hawks, the No. 24 Tigers found themselves trailing Monmouth 14-6 at halftime on a day which saw 20 mph winds blowing across the field all game long.

“You obviously want to get off to a better start and you want to do better,” said Princeton head coach Bob Surace.

“You believe in your guys, you just keep playing. You make some adjustments and hope you can get back in it. We had a really good end of the half drive to cut it 14-6, it made it a one score game.”

Monmouth kept playing well in the third quarter, starting the half with a 16-play, 66-yard scoring march that culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Juwon Farri as the Hawks increased their lead to 21-6. more