April 3, 2024

Powered by the 1-2 Scoring Punch of Kenah, Beatty, PHS Boys’ Lax Aiming to Make the Most of 2024 

KEN-DO: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Patrick Kenah eludes a defender in a game last season. Senior star attacker and Lafayette College commit Kenah, who tallied a team-high 111 points on 68 goals and 43 assists in 2023, will be counted on to spearhead the Tiger attack again this year. PHS was slated to start its season on April 2 by hosting WW/P-North and then play at Hopewell Valley on April 5 and at Manasquan on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team, the recent spring break turned into a training camp for the squad.

“We just finished two-a-days the last four days, we have been going back to basics, doing rides, clearing, and defense,” said PHS head coach Chip Casto, who is returning to the program after taking a sabbatical year in Spain. “Then we had a  couple of good nights out in the community having dinner. We got to go out, trying to do a little team building. We were with each other a lot.”

The Tigers will be building around senior star and Lafayette College commit Patrick Kenah, who tallied a team-high 111 points on 68 goals and 43 assists in 2023.

“Everybody looks to Patrick, he is pretty fired up to make this the best of his four years,” said Casto, whose team is coming off a 9-8 season and was slated to start the 2024 campaign on April 2 by hosting WW/P-North and then play at Hopewell Valley on April 5 and at Manasquan on April 8. “Several times Will Doran ’22 and Will Erickson ’22 were mentioned last night at Conte’s as people stood up and talked about the upcoming season. They were all of the older guys that remember playing under them and they want to emulate their leadership. Now team-wise they want to make sure that we do better.”

The PHS offense will be powered by the one-two punch of Kenah and junior midfielder Brendan Beatty (41 goals, 51 assists in 2023).

“Patrick looks great, he is so focused on his diet and in the weight room, wanting to get better,” said Casto. “We have asked him to get a little more vocal, he is taking to that. He has not always done that, he is coming around to that. Brendan is an outstanding leader. He is our premier midfielder. He is committed to UVM as a junior, he loves that lifestyle.”

The high-scoring pair have developed a connection on the field over the years.

“They are always looking for each other,” said Casto. “We have to almost remind them that there are other guys on the field. They have been trying to distribute the ball and get others to shoot. It has been great to watch that.”

The Tigers boast a pair of sharp shooters on attack in junior Braden Barlag (28 goals, 8 assists) and sophomore Alex Famiglietti (16 goals, 4 assists).

“Braden has expanded his game,” said Casto. “He is really good around the crease which is always good to have. Famiglietti has emerged in preseason as a solid finisher. He is in the Braden mold but a little different. He is bigger, comes at different angles and really bangs the defensemen which is good.”

Across the midfield, junior Jason Singer (27 goals, 13 assists), senior Graham Baird (3 goals, 3 assists), sophomore Declan Hughes (1 goal), junior Matt Thompson (6 goals, 2 assists), and senior Robbie Sifon (3 goals) bring a lot of game.

“Jason is emerging as a really good midfield dodger, we are going to count on him to generate some offense from the midfield,” said Casto. “Graham is coming back, he is our d-middie but we may also ask him to score and be a two-way player. Declan has emerged and might get time in the midfield. Matt is playing well. The biggest surprise has been Robbie, he is probably going to be our premier d-mid. He has come with energy and leadership, He is really harping on his senior year which is always great.”

The pair of Baird (61-of-90 face-offs) and sophomore Carmine Carusone (17-of-46) will bring energy to the face-off X.

“Graham will do some face-offs but also Carmine,” said Casto. “He is scrappy, he is a wrestler. He can get after people at the face-off X for sure.”

Casto is looking for two seniors, James Reynolds and Anthony Famiglietti, to get after people on the back line.

“James and Anthony are the foundation of the defense,” said Casto, noting that junior Jack Crotty should also be a key performer for the Tiger defensive unit. “We do need them to get better, we need them to play well to win big games. We can’t can give up a lot of goals.”

At goalie, junior Corbin Kasziba and senior Kian Bragg will be  seeing time in the cage.

“Kasziba has been injured so we needed somebody to practice with,” said Casto. “We had a senior attackman, Kian, who has hopped into the goal and had been a surprise. He has done pretty well so we are excited about him. We want that to be a competition because it will help both of them.”

In Casto’s view, PHS will be able to compete with anyone if its defense can hold the fort.

“It is consistency, the offense is pretty potent; I think they averaged 13 goals a game last year but they gave up a lot,” said Casto. “The core of everything is to play good defense. That is our focus. We need to limit the other team’s scoring. We have been working on one-on-one defense, team defense, riding, and any sort of defense.”