April 5, 2017

PHS Boys’ Lax Edged by Scotch Plains-Fanwood, But Shows Fire That Bodes Well for Rest of Spring

FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Eamonn McDonald heads to goal in a game last season. Last Saturday against Scotch Plains-Fanwood, senior star McDonald scored three goals but it wasn’t enough as PHS fell 6-5. The Little Tigers, now 2-1, play at WW/P-S on April 5 before hosting Notre Dame on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

A year ago, the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team pulled out a dramatic 10-9 win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the North Group 3 state tournament quarterfinals.

Last Saturday, the foes met in a regular season clash and the result was another thriller.

Although PHS came out on the short end this time in a 6-5 defeat as it dropped to 2-1, Little Tiger head coach Chip Casto saw a slew of positives coming out of the contest.

“We got better today, they got better today; we want to win but we want to get better,” said Casto.

“It is all good, it is positive. If you can have a good loss, this is it. We learned, we were in a tight game, we competed well; you can’t ask for more.”

PHS displayed its competitive fire, rallying from a 5-2 third quarter deficit to pull even at 5-5 with 6:32 left in regulation.

“These guys have decided to come up with some terms about toughness and scrappiness,” said Casto.

“We yell those out and they start manifesting that attitude and it showed as we came back.”

At the defensive end, the Little Tigers played with some attitude.

“We weren’t sliding too early,” said Casto. “When we don’t slide, they have to work harder. We have two rock solid goalies (Godefroy and Peck), one is a righty, one is a lefty.”

In Casto’s view, the team’s senior class is setting the tone in terms of work ethic.

“It is a senior laden team; we have a great group,” said Casto, whose corps of seniors includes Tooker Callaway, Mark Duarte, Luke Duarte, Leo Godefroy, Sawyer Peck, Johnny Lopez-Ona, Eamonn McDonald, Justin Marciano, Owen Smith, Andrew Pletcher,  Jake White, and Wyatt Zetterberg.

“They are a core of the team this year; they are very excited to be with each other.”

Senior attackmen McDonald and White helped key the PHS offense as McDonald tallied three goals and White added one.

“Eamonn is a finisher, you saw that today,” said Casto. “Jake is sturdy; he is in the right spot, he catches it and he shoots it. Our mantra has always been basic and simple and Jake is the epitome of that, he just does the job he is told.”

The Little Tigers have some new faces in the lineup who have been doing a good job in the early going.

“We have three younger guys getting substantial time, Alex Park, Evan Filion, and Dylan Westervelt, they are figuring it out,” said Casto, who got a goal from Westervelt in the loss on Saturday.

“Come May, they are going to be more veteran players and we are going to be a tougher team.”

Casto, for his part, is confident that PHS will get tougher and tougher to beat as the spring unfolds.

“We want to win the division, the conference, the county, and the group and this game helped us take a step towards that,” said Casto, whose team plays at WW/P-S on April 5 before hosting Notre Dame on April 8.

“For 22 years, coach Stanton (former PHS head coach and current assistant Peter Stanton) had teams playing well in May and we were pretty tough last May so we are hoping this carries on.