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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

BACK IN THE FRAY: Princeton High junior attacker David Giancola fires a shot on his way to a three-goal performance in PHS' 15-1 win over Lawrence last Friday. Giancola, who missed half of last season with a stress fracture in his lower back, fired in four goals last Monday to help the Little Tigers crush Ewing 19-1.
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With Giancola Back in the Fray, PHS Boys' Lax Posts 2-0 Start

By Bill Alden

After crushing Lawrence 15-1 last Friday in their season opener, the Princeton High boys' lacrosse team celebrated by gathering around their bench and devouring a cake.

For PHS junior attacker David Giancola, just being in the starting lineup for the opener was icing on his cake. Last spring, Giancola missed the final half of the season after suffering a stress fracture in his lower back.

In the wake of the win Friday, the determined Giancola was all smiles as he reflected on firing in three goals and getting an assist in his return to the action. "I wanted to come out this year and make up for what I lost last year," asserted Giancola, whose play up front helped sophomore star Tyler Moni tally four goals. "I appreciate this win so much. It is good for this program."

Giancola acknowledged that he wasn't alone in suffering last spring as PHS stumbled to a 5-12 mark in 2004. "We had a down year," said Giancola. "My freshman year we were 13-5 and we won the Bianchi Divison. We moved up to the Pitt Division and we struggled a bit last year."

Giancola and the Little Tigers responded to last year's frustration by bonding together. "What we did in the offseason really brought us together on the field," added Giancola, who said he spent months in physical therapy in recovering from his back injury.

"We played winter lacrosse in the Peddie league and we had a great season there. I think we lost only one game. We hit the weightroom hard together. We just had a trip to Florida and we had six or seven games down there and that really brought us together as a team. Our captains, the two Mikes (Vieten and Moseley), are doing a great job. It reflects on the field, we kept it classy today."

PHS head coach Peter Stanton sensed a special unity as he surveyed his team from the sideline. "You can tell we are a really close group," said Stanton whose team improved to 2-0 by routing Ewing 19-1 last Monday with Moni scoring five goals and Giancola adding four. "Guys were really pulling for each other, really supporting each other. This group definitely wants to improve, to get better."

In Stanton's view, that resolve is the direct result of last year's disappointing season. "Last year we lost some tough games, we had some bad breaks and tough circumstances," said Stanton. "Sometimes things just don't go your way. These guys are very determined to take care of all the things under their control. They do a good job of that."

Stanton appreciates how Giancola is doing his job. "David is doing the little things," said Stanton. "He's getting ground balls, he's moving the ball real quickly. We kind of forget that he hasn't had a full season starting with the varsity."

While the Little Tigers attack showed some rust in the opener, Stanton saw some good things. "We got a couple of nice goals, the kind we were looking for," explained Stanton, whose club hosts powerful Peddie on April 6 before playing at Hopewell Valley on April 9 and at Hun on April 11. "We wanted to get more assisted goals but we still had some good individual efforts. Right now we're just having a lot of fun."

Giancola, for his part, thought it was a good afternoon all around. "The goal for today was to play our game," asserted Giancola. "We played our game and we scored some goals. We got a lot of our second string players in which is good because they work so hard. Coach Stanton and Coach [Jason] Carter are keeping the game fun for us and that's really important on the field."

Nobody at PHS, though, is having any more fun on the field this spring than Giancola.

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