May 8, 2024

HOT HAND: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Coulter Mackesy, left, looks to elude a defender in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, junior attacker Mackesy tallied three goals and four assists to help second-seeded Princeton defeat fourth-seeded Penn 18-11 in the final of the Ivy League Tournament in Ithaca, N.Y. The Tigers, now 11-4 and riding a four-game winning streak, will head to the NCAA tournament where they will play at seventh-seeded Maryland in a first round contest on May 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team got upset 13-12 in mid-April by a mediocre Brown squad, its hopes for any postseason play were put on life support.

“The big thing about the Brown loss is that it put our season at risk, we were at the risk of not even making the Ivy tournament,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “I think that was the most challenging part of it.”

The Tigers proved to be up to the challenge, ending the regular season with a 15-10 win over Penn on April 20 and a 15-8 victory at Yale a week later to earn a spot in the four-team Ivy League Tournament.

“I think to gain that sense of urgency a little earlier, now we are comfortable playing with it,” said Madalon. “We just understand the expectations, we have been in playoff mode for a while.”

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TOUGHING IT OUT: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Sarah Henderson, left, unloads the ball in a game last season. Last Thursday, Henderson, who has bounced back from serious injuries over the years, came up big on her Senior Day, tallying one goal and four assists to help PHS defeat Robbinsville 11-7. Last Monday, Henderson scored a goal as sixth-seeded PHS fell 13-8 to third-seeded Notre Dame in the quarterfinal round of the Mercer County Tournament. The Tigers, now 10-6, host Hun School on May 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Sarah Henderson, making it to her Senior Day for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team last Thursday proved to be a bit of an ordeal.

During her high school career, Henderson has dealt with serious injuries, suffering a torn ACL and undergoing major foot surgery along the way.

“It is definitely a challenge, me and my teammate Sylvie [LeBouef] have gone through really similar things,” said star attacker Henderson. “We really help support each other. We both play low attack and we talk through it. Like when our knee is hurting or we are having the same struggles with our brace, having to tape it. We are able to talk to each other and that is a really great connection to have because we understand the struggle of it.”

Going through injury struggles has required Henderson to modify her game.

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RECORD PACE: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Tessa Caputo races upfield in game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, Caputo tallied five goals and four assists as PDS fell 16-15 to Notre Dame. On Monday, Caputo scored seven goals with two assists as fourth-seeded PDS fell 14-11 to fifth-seeded Hun in the quarterfinal round of the Mercer County Tournament. Fairfield University commit Caputo recently broke the program record of 232 career goals and now has 242. The Panthers, now 11-4, are next in action when they play in the Prep B state tournament where they are seeded second and are slated to host third-seeded Morristown-Beard in a semifinal contest on May 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tessa Caputo has been piling up the milestones this spring in her final season for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team.

Star attacker and Fairfield University commit Caputo recently broke the program record of 232 goals and now has 242. She also holds the Panther mark in points with 386 as she closes in on joining the 400 club.

While Caputo is proud of those achievements, she is not dwelling on stats.

“It is definitely something fun to look at but at the end of the day, it is not something that I am focused on going into games,” said Caputo. “My mom is all over it, she loves it.”

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By Bill Alden

Charlie Batista tapped the left side of his chest as he was greeted by his Hun School baseball teammates by the dugout after striking out the side in the sixth inning to cap a stellar mound effort against the Hill School (Pa.) last Friday.

Showing heart, senior Batista dug deep in his final inning of work.

“I was thinking coming into that sixth inning, I was getting up there, the most I pitched before this game was like 78,” said Batista. “I got up to 91 pitches. I felt good all the way through. That was a nice way to end.”

Batista produced a nice effort overall, yielding just one hit with eight strikeouts and three walks as Hun prevailed 3-0.

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ON THE BALL: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Allison Lee, right, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Lee tallied seven goals and two assists as Stuart fell 14-12 to South Brunswick. The Tartans, who lost 14-5 Hopewell Valley in the Mercer County Invitational last Monday to move to 3-9, host Delaware Valley on May 9 and then play at Princeton Day School on May 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though time was running out on the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team as it trailed South Brunswick by three goals in the waning moments last Saturday, Allison Lee wasn’t about to give up.

Stuart junior star Lee darted into the crease area and fired a shot into the back of the cage with 26.9 second left in the game to tally the final goal of the day as the Tartans fell 14-12.

While Lee was disappointed by the result on a day when Stuart jumped out to a 4-2 lead heading into the second quarter, she exemplified the way the Tartans battled to the final horn.

“We got into a really good rhythm at first, we were really focused and into it,” said Lee, who ended up with seven goals and two assists in the defeat.

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May 1, 2024

WELCOME TO JERSEY: New Princeton University men’s hockey head coach Ben Syer, left, is all smiles at his introductory press conference last Friday morning as Princeton Director of Athletics John Mack presented him with a personalized Tiger jersey. Syer comes to Princeton after serving the last 25 years as an assistant coach at Quinnipiac and Cornell. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Over the last quarter century, Ben Syer has helped torment the Princeton University men’s hockey program as an assistant coach for heated rivals Quinnipiac and Cornell.

Now Syer will be bringing his winning approach south as he was named last week as the 18th head coach of Tiger men’s hockey, succeeding Ron Fogarty who was let go in mid-March.

After scheming to beat Princeton for the last 25 years, Syer is thrilled to now be running the show at Hobey Baker Rink. more

TOP SPEED: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity 8 churns through the water in a race this spring. The Tiger top boat, which is ranked No. 1 nationally, won the Carnegie Cup last Saturday as it defeated No. 5 Yale and No. 14 Cornell on the Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca, N.Y. The Tigers covered the 2,000-meter route in a course record time of 5:26.6, breaking the mark set by Syracuse last year at 5:33. Princeton hosts Brown on May 4 on Lake Carnegie in the race for the Content Cup. (Photo by Ed Hewitt – Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a 2023 campaign that saw his Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity 8 take third at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta and with three All-Americans returning from that boat, Greg Hughes was cautiously optimistic heading into this spring.

“Last year was a big step forward for us, I think it gave us confidence that we have something positive in motion,” said Princeton men’s heavyweight head coach Hughes, whose All-American trio includes Theo Bell, Marcus Chute, and Nick Taylor. “Any year where you are returning a big chunk of the previous year’s varsity, I think it is important to recognize last year was last year. It is absolutely a new season and you are starting from scratch but I think having some good experience together under pressure is definitely an advantage.” more

NOT FOR THE MEEK: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Andrew McMeekin, left, goes after a face-off in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore McMeekin won 20-of-26 face-offs and scooped up 17 ground balls to help Princeton defeat Yale 15-8 and clinch a spot in the Ivy League Tournament. He was later named the Ivy Defensive Player of the Week. Second-seeded Princeton will have a rematch with third-seeded Yale in one semifinal on May 3 in Ithaca, N.Y. The victor will advance to the final on May 5 to face the winner of the other semi clash between top-seeded Cornell and fourth-seeded Penn. The champion will earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Matt Madalon vowed that his Princeton University men’s lacrosse team would put its nose to the grindstone as it prepared to play at Yale last Saturday, knowing that a win would clinch a spot in the Ivy League Tournament.

“We have an opportunity to solidify that,” said Princeton head coach Madalon, whose squad also faced the possibility of getting get shut out of the four-team tourney if it lost to Yale and Brown beat Harvard. “We are going to put all of our effort into these next five days of practice.” more

NO BACKING DOWN: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Melvin Huang hits a backhand last week at the Mercer County Tournament. Senior star Huang won the title at second singles as PHS finished second in the team standings at the event. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

True to form, Princeton High boys’ tennis player Melvin Huang did it the hard way as he took a grueling route to winning the second singles title at the Mercer County Tournament last Thursday.
In the morning, senior star and top-seeded Huang outlasted Shritan Gopu of WW/P-South in a semifinal contest decided by a 7-point match tiebreak as he won 5-7, 7-6, [7-3].

“I wasn’t focused on the final, I was just focusing on every point,” said Huang, known for his relentless work ethic and propensity for grinding out wins. “I tried flattening the ball out a little more, making him take lower. He starts cramping up so that also helped. As I started gathering momentum, I tried to focus on finishing the match. I was getting satisfied getting to 5-all and then getting to a tiebreak.” more

LIGHTING IT UP: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Patrick Kenah runs past a foe in recent action. Last Saturday night, senior star Kenah tallied five goals and six assists to help PHS defeat Notre Dame 21-11 under the lights at Mercer County Community College. The Tigers, who improved to 7-4 with the win, play at Summit on May 4 and at Hightstown on May 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With Saturday night lights shining as the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team faced Notre Dame last weekend at Mercer County Community College, Patrick Kenah and his teammates wanted to put on a show.

“So many people put so much time and work into getting us this venue under the lights,” said PHS senior star attacker Kenah.  more

HITTING MILESTONES: Hun School softball player Lexi Kobryn smacks the ball in a game last season. Senior star and Villanova commit Kobryn recently hit the 500-strikeout and 100-hit marks in her career. She is the first player in program history to have both 500 strikeouts and 100 hits. She is the only Raider with 500 strikeouts and just the second to have 100 hits in addition to Lauren McQuade. Last Wednesday in a 15-0 win over the Hill School (Pa.), Kobryn added to her totals as she had seven strikeouts in a four-inning one-hitter and contributed two hits. Hun, which swept a doubleheader against Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) last Saturday, winning 8-0 and 16-0 to improve to 11-1, plays at Pingry on May 2 and at the Blair Academy on May 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In the last couple of weeks, Lexi Kobryn has cemented her status as one of the greatest players in the proud history of the Hun School softball program.

On April 18 in a 5-0 win over Hightstown, senior righty fireballer Kobryn recorded her 500th career strikeout, the first Hun pitcher to reach that milestone. more

FINAL PUSH: Hun School girls’ lacrosse player Ava Olender heads to goal in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star and Tufts University commit Olender tallied four goals and an assist to help Hun defeat the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 18-9. The Raiders, who topped Hightstown 12-9 last Monday to improve to 7-4, play at Blair Academy in the Prep A state quarterfinals on May 1 and then host Hopewell Valley on May 4. (Photo by Steven Wojtowicz)

By Bill Alden

Ava Olender is bringing a carefree approach this spring into her final campaign for the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team.

“I am just letting go this season, I know it is my last one so I am just here to have fun and have the best time,” said senior star Olender. “I want to lift all of my other teammates up and leave a positive impact on the program as a whole on my way out.” more

ATTACK MODE: Hun School boys’ lacrosse Brett Stelmach races past a Princeton Day School defender last Thursday. Junior attacker Stelmach tallied three goals and two assists to help Hun defeat PDS 16-3. The Raiders, who edged Gill St. Bernard’s 9-8 in overtime last Saturday to improve to 6-4, host Perkiomen School (Pa.) on May 4 and then play at Christian Brothers Academy on May 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Starting last week with a lopsided 18-7 loss to powerhouse Lawrenceville, the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team could have been discouraged.

But Hun junior attacker Brett Stelmach believes that the April 23 setback could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Raiders. more

April 24, 2024

BARN BURNER: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Tommy Barnds heads to goal in recent action. Last Saturday, senior midfielder Barnds tallied two goals and one assist to help Princeton defeat Penn. The Tigers, now 8-4 overall and 3-2 Ivy League, play at Yale on April 27 in their regular season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Tommy Barnds left the Class of 1952 Stadium last Saturday evening after his final regular season game on the field for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team, he got a special embrace.

Princeton head coach Matt Madalon walked over to Barnds and gave him a bear hug, telling the senior midfielder how proud he was of him.

Patiently working his way into the lineup over the years, Barnds contributed two goals and an assist to help Princeton defeat Penn 15-10 before a standing room only throng of 2,766 as the Tigers improved to 8-4 overall and 3-2 Ivy League and stayed alive in their pursuit of a spot in the the upcoming Ivy postseason tournament.

Coming off a disappointing 13-12 loss at Brown a week earlier, Barnds and his teammates were determined to get back on the winning track. more

AMAZING GRACE: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Grace Tauckus races upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior attacker Tauckus scored four goals to help Princeton defeat Dartmouth 17-11. The Tigers, now 9-5 overall and 5-1 Ivy League, play at Harvard on April 27 to wrap up regular season play before it heads into the Ivy postseason tournament. (Photo by Steven Wojtowicz)

By Bill Alden

After playing through rain in each of its home games this spring, the sun was shining on the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team last Saturday afternoon as it hosted Dartmouth and held its annual Senior Day celebration.

Enjoying the finally pleasant weather, senior attacker Grace Tauckus was ready to shine in her last home game.

“It was our last day on ’52, it was obviously an emotional one for all of us,” said Tauckus. “This team is incredibly special this year, everybody is incredibly close. It makes days like this a little bittersweet. I wanted to make the most of it today.” more

ALEX THE GREAT: Princeton High baseball player Alex Winters takes a cut in recent action. Last Thursday, senior center fielder Winters went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs to help PHS defeat the Princeton Day School 10-0. The Tigers, who fell 15-9 to Allentown last Monday to move to 4-5, host Hopewell Valley on April 26, play at Colts Neck on April 27, hosts Franklin on April 29 and plays at Lawrence on April 30. (Photo by Steven Wojtowicz)

By Bill Alden

Alex Winters lived up to his role as the catalyst for the Princeton High baseball team with aplomb as it hosted Princeton Day School last Thursday.

Senior center fielder and leadoff hitter Winters started the bottom of the first inning by stroking a single and stealing a base to ignite a two-run rally.

“That is always the goal, getting a good start especially with the top of our lineup,” said Winters. more

MAD GOOD: Princeton High softball player Maddie Castillo takes a swing in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior Castillo went 3-for-4 with a run in a losing cause as PHS got edged 8-7 by Hopewell Valley. The Tigers, who lost 11-1 to Allentown last Monday to move to 2-5, play at Florence on April 25 before hosting Lawrence High on April 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Maddie Castillo may seem to be a little old to be playing with dolls but she was all smiles as she clutched a Barbie after the Princeton High softball team hosted Hopewell Valley last Friday.

PHS senior third baseman Castillo received the doll after going 3-for-4 with a run in a losing cause as PHS got edged 8-7 by HoVal in a back-and-forth contest.

“Teams give out a game ball for the MVP, this is like our game ball, it is Barbie,” said Castillo.

“Natalie [Hester] got it last game and now next game I will get to give it to the next person.” more

FAMILY BUSINESS: Princeton High track standouts Devin Levy, right, and his sister, Naomi, display their javelin form. Last weekend, the Levy siblings excelled as PHS competed in the Mercer County Relays. Devin, a junior, had the second-best throw of any competitor and combined with sophomore Simon Obregon to take second place in the boys division. Naomi, a sophomore, had the top throw in the girls division as she threw 82’10, a personal best for her.

By Justin Feil

Devin Levy and his sister Naomi Levy borrowed javelins last spring for the chance to continue to practice in the offseason.

The extra work and dedication is paying off for the Princeton High siblings this year.

Devin, a junior, had the second-best throw of any competitor and combined with sophomore Simon Obregon to take second place in the boys division at the Mercer County Relays last Saturday at Lawrenceville School.  more

RUF AND TUMBLE: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Shelby Ruf, middle, races between two foes in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior midfielder Ruf tallied three goals and three assists to help PDS defeat the Peddie School 21-11. On Monday, the Panthers topped Somerville 17-10 as Ruf contributed one goal and two assists. PDS, now 7-2, plays at WW/P-North on April 24, hosts Delaware Valley on April 26, and then plays at WW/P-South on April 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last spring, Shelby Ruf helped shore up the defensive unit for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team with her height and athleticism.

Getting moved up to the midfield this season for PDS, junior star Ruf is utilizing those qualities and her defensive acumen to make an impact for the Panther offense.

“It was definitely a change, I know how the defense works,” said Ruf, who plays goalie for the school’s New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A state champion girls’ soccer team in the fall and is a forward on the basketball squad in the winter. “Just taking that into the attack really helps. I love it, it is so much fun.” more

IRON MIKE: Hun School baseball player Mike Olender heads to first base in a 2023 game. Last Saturday, senior outfielder Olender scored a run and had one RBI to help Hun defeat the Blair Academy 12-0. The Raiders, now 8-2, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on April 24 before hosting the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) for a doubleheader in April 27 and then hosting Poly Prep (N.Y.) on April 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was a smooth ride for the Hun School baseball team in the first two weeks of the season as it posted six straight wins to start its 2024 campaign.

But Hun hit some bumps last week as it fell 10-3 to Gloucester Catholic on April 14 and then lost 13-0 to Perkiomen School (Pa.) two days later.

In reflecting on the defeat to Perkiomen, Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto acknowledged that his squad needed to step up against high-level teams. more

April 17, 2024

OPEN INVITATION: The Princeton University women’s open varsity 8 churns through the water in recent action. Last weekend, Princeton’s top boat went 2-0 at the Ivy Invite on Lake Carnegie. On Friday, the Tigers topped Harvard and Cornell in the race for the Class of 1975 Cup and then topped Rutgers and USC a day later. In upcoming action, No. 3 Princeton heads to New Haven, Conn. on Saturday to face No. 5 Yale in the race for the Eisenberg Cup. (Photo by Ed Hewitt – Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Lori Dauphiny was drained after her Princeton University women’s open rowing program hosted the Ivy Invite last weekend on Lake Carnegie.

The Tigers welcomed crews from Penn, Brown, USC, Rutgers, Dartmouth, Columbia, Harvard, and Cornell, sharing the water with the Princeton University men’s heavyweight and lightweight rowers who were also hosting regattas.

“We were really excited about it, I was pleased to be able to host; there were so many crews,” said Princeton open head coach Dauphiny, who credited boathouse administrator Tom Heebink with playing a key role in coordinating the logistics of the event. “The men were racing the Childs Cup and the lightweight men, the Platt Cup. It was a lot of fun because there was a ton of energy around the boathouse with all of the crews racing and with so many visiting crews. It was a big regatta. It pooped me out, I was exhausted by the end.” more

COMING THROUGH: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Brendan Beatty heads upfield in a game last spring. Junior midfielder and Vermont commit Beatty scored two goals and added an assist as PHS stifled Allentown 6-4 last Thursday. The Tigers, who topped Lawrence High 16-5 on Saturday to improve to 4-1, play at WW/P-South in April 18, host Pennsbury High (Pa.) on April 20, and play at Cherokee on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As James Reynolds and the defensive unit for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team girded for their clash against Allentown last Thursday, they did their homework.

“It started two days before the game; the defensive players all gathered and we watched film,” said senior defender Reynolds. “We spent about two hours just going second by second on every one of their plays and players, running down their dominant hands. The preparation was the key to their entire game. It was all in the prep. It was all knowing who their guys were, calling out and knowing what to do.”

The Tigers had plenty of motivation as the Redbirds have been a thorn in their sides recently. more

FIRST TAKE: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Garrett Mathewson blasts a serve in a 2023 match. Sophomore Mathewson has moved up to first singles this spring and has helped PHS get off to a 4-0 start. In upcoming action, the Tigers are slated to host Allentown on April 18 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on April 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The Princeton High boys’ tennis team didn’t waste any time this spring making a statement.

Opening its season with a clash against perennial powerhouse and nemesis WW/P-South on April 5, PHS posted a 5-0 victory, winning four of the five matches in straight sets.

“We had a really great start to the season, it is always difficult to open up with one of your toughest rivals,” said PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert, whose team ended its 2023 season by falling 3-2 to the Pirates in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 final to end the season with a 14-2 record. “We were supposed to see them on opening day on April 1 and then we got rained out so it was still our opening match, but it was Friday rather than Monday. There were some close ones. There were tiebreaks in a couple of them and both doubles matches were close.” more

By Bill Alden

With a drastically revamped lineup, it is going to be a season of opportunity for the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team.

“We graduated four seniors from last year and Heyang [Li] has gone to focus on his training,” said PDS head coach Michael Augsberger, whose first singles star Li won his flight at the Mercer County Tournament last year as a sophomore. “He is training in Florida and he is training here. We miss him. It is a chance for the other guys to step up.”

At first singles, Jaylen Peng is stepping up, moving into that spot after playing doubles in 2023. more

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Hun School softball player Jamie Staub delivers a pitch in a 2023 game. Last week, senior Staub fired a no-hitter in a 15-0 win over Peddie in a game that ended after four innings due to the run rule. Hun, which topped Lawrence Hugh 4-0 last Saturday to improve to 5-0, hosts Hightstown on April 18, the Blair Academy on April 20, and Villa Joseph Marie (Pa.) on April 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jamie Staub was pumped up to get her first pitching start this spring for the Hun School softball team as it hosted the Peddie School last week.

“It is really exciting, we have such a deep pitching staff,” said Staub. “It is so great having three solid pitchers on the team. Whenever I get my chance, I have lots of fun.”

It turned out to be a very fun day for Staub as she fired a no-hitter with five strikeouts and two walks in a 15-0 win over the Falcons in the April 9 game that ended after four innings due to the run rule. more