May 18, 2022

More than 500 demonstrators gathered at Hinds Plaza in the rain on Saturday morning to rally for abortion rights in the face of the possibility that the Supreme Court may soon overturn Roe v. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion almost 50 years ago. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With COVID case numbers rising again in Princeton and throughout the state, mask mandates have returned for Princeton Public Schools (PPS), as well as a number of other schools, in following New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) guidance. It’s another troubling development in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve entered new territory recently that will test us all,” said Princeton Board of Health Chair Dr. George DiFerdinando in an email on Monday. He went on to describe the current situation that has left many confused. “We’re at a moment of broad risk of infection and yet reduced incidence of severe illness,” he continued, “This situation can be confusing because during much of the pandemic, even after vaccination, infections and severe illnesses have tracked together. That’s no longer the case, at least for now.”

Noting that reported case numbers are increasing locally and throughout the country, he added, “Hospitalized and ICU-hospitalized patients are way down, which says that the severity of the pandemic is down, even if the number of infections may not be.”

The Princeton Health Department on May 16 reported 107 new cases in the previous seven days, 200 in the previous 14 days. May 9 totals were 108 for the previous seven days, 168 for the previous 14 days. Princeton recorded its highest totals in early January this year, with 287 cases reported in a single week, 568 in a two-week period.

The latest NJDOH COVID-19 activity level map shows five out of six regions in the state, including Mercer County in the Central West region, are at “high” risk for COVID-19 activity.

An email sent out last Friday to all PPS families, students, and staff, announced that, because of an increase in COVID-19 cases, starting on Monday, May 16, “the district will return to universal masking for all indoor activities and classes. Masks will also be required on PPS buses.” more

By Anne Levin

Attorneys for Rider University and the Westminster Foundation presented oral arguments Monday related to two lawsuits that were dismissed two years ago, and then appealed.

Designed to keep Rider from moving Westminster Choir College from its longtime home in Princeton to Rider’s Lawrenceville campus — which it did in 2020 — and selling the valuable, 22-acre Princeton site, the lawsuits were combined into a single hearing and heard in Trenton before Superior Court Appellate Judges Allison E. Accurso, Lisa Rose, and Catherine I. Enright.

If the judges agree with the Foundation’s appeal, the next step would be to go to trial. “If that happens, I feel very strongly we will win,” said attorney Bruce Afran, who represents the Foundation, a coalition of students, alumni, and faculty. The Foundation’s goal is to return Westminster to the Princeton campus, some of which remains in use for classes and concerts.

Rider and Westminster merged in 1991. The terms of the merger dictated that Rider maintain Westminster’s Princeton campus and programs. Citing financial woes, Rider announced in 2016 that it was seeking a buyer for Westminster that would keep the school in Princeton. When a $40 million deal to sell the choir college to a for-profit company based in China fell through, Rider opted to move the school to its Lawrenceville campus.

The original lawsuits brought by two groups — one of faculty, alumni, and donors; the other of students — were dismissed two years ago by Judge Robert Lougy of the Superior Court Chancery Division. In that case, Rider argued that the students did not have the right to use the courts to protect the school. Only Rider is permitted to make decisions regarding Westminster, the university claimed. more

By Donald Gilpin

The pouring rain did not deter them or dampen their enthusiasm as more than 500 demonstrators gathered at Hinds Plaza in downtown Princeton on Saturday, May 14, to support abortion rights and protest in response to a leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states.

One of more than 380 demonstrations taking place throughout the country, Saturday’s “Bans Off Our Bodies Day of Action” rally in Princeton, organized by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey (PPAFNJ), featured more than a dozen speakers — politicians, community leaders, activists, reproductive health providers — and drew abortion rights supporters from across the state.

Emphasizing how access to reproductive health care can impact lives, the speakers called on legislators to take action to protect and expand access to abortion care.

The block of Witherspoon Street alongside Hinds Plaza was closed to traffic for the duration of the event, as demonstrators spilled out into the street. Many carried homemade signs bearing a variety of messages such as: “Abortion is health care,” “Abortion is a human right,” “Protect American women’s rights,” “This is government-sponsored misogyny,” “Vote as if your rights depended on it,” and, even more creatively, ”Our wombs have more regulations than your guns,” and “Keep politics out of my uterus.”

Members of the crowd were eager to voice their concerns. “If you can’t control your reproduction — if you can’t control your body, you can’t control your life, and that’s the most basic thing,” said Jackie Syrop from Lawrenceville. “It’s all about controlling women. I’m tired of seeing this. I was around in ’71 and ’72 when people were talking about this. I thought maybe it was over then.” more

A COLORFUL NUISANCE: The spotted lanternfly is back in Princeton for a fourth summer. It appears as a small black insect in its early stages of growth, but by midsummer the adult lanternflies will be flying around in full color, leaving their sticky black excretions on tree trunks, cars, patios, and walkways. Tree experts recommend that residents remove the lanternfly’s host tree, the ailanthus or tree of heaven.

By Donald Gilpin

“They have hatched!” The text message from the Princeton municipal arborist arrived at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. “Just saw them today.” Beginning as a harmless-looking little black insect or nymph, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) will grow into the colorful flying adult insect that drops from trees, lands everywhere, and excretes a sticky black substance onto patios, sidewalks, cars, and trees.

“You’ll see the nymphs, the little black insect,” said Princeton Municipal Arborist Taylor Sapudar. “Then they’ll develop into the second phase, a little red crawler, but we won’t be seeing the adults — the ones that are flying around and landing on you — until midsummer.”

He continued, “So far it does not appear to be an insect that will cause major hardwood damage to the tree. A lot of residents are under the impression that it’s going to act similarly to the emerald ash borer, which completely kills the ash tree, but the spotted lanternfly is more of a cosmetic or ornamental nuisance.”

Sapudar described what many Princeton residents can expect two or three months from now. “They may be on trees overhanging your driveway or your patio,” he said. “When they feed they’re going to excrete that black sticky substance that has the potential to get onto your car or elsewhere.”

He went on to outline a strategy of destroying the spotted lanternfly’s preferred habitat, the tree of heaven or ailanthus tree. He noted, however, “if they’re on an ornamental tree like a maple or birch, to remove the tree is not recommended at all.” more

DANCING IN A “DREAM”: Caia Howcroft, a student at New York’s School of American Ballet, practices in her family’s Princeton home for upcoming performances of George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the New York City Ballet.

By Anne Levin

As the official academy of New York City Ballet, the School of American Ballet (SAB) provides all of the children who appear with the company at Lincoln Center in ballets featuring roles for youngsters. One of those ballets is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be performed at Lincoln Center’s Koch Theatre May 21-29.

Among the children in the cast is 10-year-old Caia Howcroft, a fifth grader at Littlebrook School. She lives with her family in Princeton and takes classes at the ballet school in New York four times a week — six, if you count rehearsals.

“I’m kind of like a little bug,” Caia described her role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was choreographed by George Balanchine in 1967. “It’s really fun, and I like doing it. The steps in it are ones I knew, but the people teaching me really wanted to get down to the details and perfect it, and of course, have us dance all together. In class we kind of only practice what we’re doing ourselves, but in rehearsal you have to be all together — in sync.” more

By Anne Levin 

On Saturday, May 14, more than 40 area residents and members of the LHT Saturday Morning Walking Club took part in the official unveiling of “History Along the LHT,” an interpretive signage program developed for the Lawrence Hopewell Trail. 

“The Lawrence Hopewell Trail passes through many locations that reflect centuries of the rich history of this corner of Mercer County,” said former Lawrence Township historian and current LHT board member Dennis P. Waters at the event. He led a walk to three new signs along the LHT: the Brearley Oak, a tree between 255 and 410 years old; Lewisville Road, Lawrence Township’s oldest African American community; and Princeton Pike, one of New Jersey’s oldest toll roads. 

“From ancient trees to colonial thoroughfares to abandoned grist mills to remnants of the trolley era, local history sprouts from the trail at every turn,” Waters said. “With this project, we bring this history to life through interpretive signs at 31 locations that are significant in local history along the LHT’s 22 miles.” 

While no one knows for sure the age of the Brearley Oak, estimates for the eastern black oak range from 255 to 410 years old. The trunk’s circumference is 258 inches, and it stands 110 feet high with a crown of 148 feet, as measured in 2019. The tree is named for the Brearley family, which settled in the area in 1690, according to information from the LHT. Bristol Myers Squibb now owns the land and tends to the tree with the help of professional arborists. more

By Stuart Mitchner

According to the first Princeton Companion (Princeton University Press, 1978), Woodrow Wilson “had a larger hand in the development of Princeton into a great university than any other man in the twentieth century. He left a vision of an institution dedicated both to things of the mind and the nation’s service, promoted a spirit of religious tolerance, and held up ideals of integrity and achievement that still inspire the Princeton community.”

In the words of The New Princeton Companion (Princeton University Press, 2022), “While many of Wilson’s accomplishments and ideas have had lasting beneficial impact, he was a divisive figure both during and after his Princeton presidency and his record of racist views and actions has deeply tarnished his legacy.” The trustees’ 2020 report concluded that the continued use of Wilson’s name on the University’s school of public affairs “impeded the school’s and the University’s capacity to pursue their missions.”

The Fountain’s Story

The Wilson article in Robert Durkee’s New Princeton Companion also mentions the 39-foot sculpture Double Sights, installed in the fall of 2019 on the plaza in front of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, formerly named for Wilson. Walter Hood’s sculpture is composed of “a slanted white column resting on a straight black column, both columns etched with quotes from Wilson,” along with quotes from contemporaries “who were critical of his views and policies, particularly as they related to race and gender.” The structure’s stated purpose is to educate the campus community “about both the positive and negative dimensions of Wilson’s legacy.” more

“GROUP!”: Performances are underway for “Group!” Directed by Maria Patrice Amon, the musical runs through May 22 at Passage Theatre. Above, from left: Jessica (Liz Barnett) facilitates a court-ordered anti-addiction group therapy program, but her methods (such as passing around a soccer ball on which she tapes impractical ideas) scarcely help the participants, including Sandra (Nicole Stacie), Ceci (Tamara Rodriguez), and Everly (Deja Fields). (Photo by Jeff Stewart)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre is presenting the world premiere of Group! By turns poignant and wry, the new musical portrays six women who meet at group therapy session to battle addiction.

Five of the women attend the program because of a court order. The sixth, Jessica, is the well-meaning but ill-equipped facilitator who moderates the sessions. Although Jessica appears to have little in common with the women she is trying to help, all of them are expected to succeed by a system that hinders their ability to do so.

Group! tells an original story set in present-day Trenton. The book is by Julia B. Rosenblatt; the dialogue segues seamlessly into Eloise Govedare’s lyrics. Composer Aleksandra M. Weil draws on a variety of musical styles, but uses an energetic pop rock sound to anchor the score.

Upon entering the theater we immediately see scenic designer Kayla Arrell’s set. Most of the action takes place in a room with (artfully) drab walls and uncomfortable-looking plastic chairs. A door marked “exit” is prominent, letting us wonder whether these women will successfully exit the therapy program. The walls are decorated with posters on which are written platitudes such as “change,” and “believe and succeed.”

Above the therapy room are three windows representing apartments. Moments that use that upper level — in which we see the participants’ lives away from the sessions — have some particularly effective and dramatic lighting by Alex Mannix. more

SAUCY COMEDY: The 1942 Noel Coward classic “Present Laughter” comes to Kelsey Theatre May 27-June 5.

Kelsey Theatre continues its 2022 season with MTM Players’ production of Noël Coward’s popular comedy Present Laughter weekends from May 27 through June 5. Kelsey Theatre is located on the Mercer County Community College campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor.

First produced in 1942 with Noël Coward in the leading role, the three-act play is a semi-autobiographical comedy that follows a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. The show’s unexpected twists include seductions, suspicions, adulteries, and blackmail.

Performances are Friday and Saturday, May 27 and 28 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, June 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults; $18 for children, students, and senior citizens. Visit Kelseytheatre.org.

BACK ON TRACK: The Diderot String Quartet is among the ensembles returning to Richardson Auditorium this summer for Princeton University Chamber Concerts.

After two years of streaming concerts due to the pandemic, Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts’ 55th Season of free chamber music concerts will be in Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus again summer.

The season begins Thursday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. with the Argus Quartet, playing music by Joseph Boulogne, known as the “Black Mozart,” and new music by Donald Crockett and Jessica Meyer. On Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m., the Diderot String Quartet plays works by Bach and Mendelssohn on historic instruments for a program, “Legacy of the Fugue.” more

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University has announced two artists as Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence for the 2021-2022 academic year: Dianne McIntyre and Cameron McKinney.

McIntyre and McKinney have spent time this past semester at the Lewis Center engaging with the larger Princeton community and working directly with students while also developing new work with access to the Center’s studios and other resources. They joined earlier named 2021-22 Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence Kyle Marshall and Larissa Velez-Jackson.

Launched in 2017, the Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence Program fosters the Program in Dance’s connections with the dance field. It provides selected professional choreographers with resources and a rich environment to develop their work and offers opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage with diverse creative practices. The artists share their work and processes with the Princeton community through workshops, conversations, residencies, open rehearsals, and performances.

Dianne McIntyre
(Photo by Larry Coleman)

McIntyre is regarded as an artistic pioneer with an impressive choreographic career spanning five decades in dance, theater, television and film. The recipient of a 2020 Doris Duke United States Artists Fellowship, the 2019 Dance/U.S.A. Honor, a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, as well as a 2007 John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, McIntyre’s individualistic movement style reflects her affinity for cultural histories, personal narratives and the boldness, nuances, discipline and freedom in music and poetic text.  more

GETTING EXTRA INSIGHT: Artists of the Princeton Festival are shown in a previous roundtable discussion. The topic on June 2 is the upcoming opera “Albert Herring.”

Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) Princeton Festival Guild presents its annual Artists’ Round Table on Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library’s Community Room. The Guild invites anyone curious about what goes into putting on an opera to this roundtable discussion centered on Benjamin Britten’s only comic opera, Albert Herring.

Moderated by Guild member and Princeton Symphony Orchestra Trustee Marcia Bossart, panelists will discuss the upcoming production of Britten’s opera, preparing for a role, and the joys and challenges of being in the opera business. more

COLOR ME BLUE: As part of their current tour, the Blue Man Group comes to the State Theatre New Jersey May 24-26. (Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)

The Blue Man Group appears at State Theatre New Brunswick for three performances on Tuesday-Thursday, May 24-26 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $40-$98. 

More than 50 million people around the world have experienced the Blue Man Group. The New Brunswick engagement is part of a new North American tour. The group is known for signature drumming, colorful moments of creativity, and quirky comedy. The men are still blue, but the rest is all new, with pulsing, original music; custom-made instruments; and surprise audience interaction.

Since debuting at New York’s Astor Place Theatre in 1991, the live show has expanded to additional domestic residencies in Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas, an international residency in Berlin, and multiple North American and World tours.

The State Theatre New Jersey is at 15 Livingston Avenue. Visit STNJ.org for tickets.

HOMEBASED TALENT: Fiona Tyndall and Friends performs on June 5 at 4 p.m. as part of Princeton Public Library’s Listen Local series.

The Listen Local series of concerts on Hinds Plaza continues on June 5 when Fiona Tyndall and Friends performs from 4-5:15 p.m. In the event of rain, the performance will be moved to the Community Room.

The concert, “From Clare to Here,” features Tyndall, a vocalist and recording artist; and Ben Stein, an actor and musician; who will be joined by guest artists in a performance of traditional Celtic songs and some popular cover songs from both sides of the Atlantic. more

ART AT SMALL WORLD: Artist and barista Beatrice Weisner-Chianese is shown with some of her works on exhibit at the 254 Nassau Street location through June 7.

Small World Coffee is featuring the art of two of its employees through June 7.

Barista Beatrice Weisner-Chianese is exhibiting at the 254 Nassau Street location and works by former barista and current social media manager Jacqui Alexander are on view at the 14 Witherspoon Street location.

Wiesner-Chianese is a self-taught artist using photography, painting, and paper quilling as her mediums. Her art is inspired by the world around her as she attempts to capture a variety of colors, textures, and abnormal perspectives. more

“REMEMBER THE 4TH”: This holiday banner from the 1860s is on display along with a wealth of historical and contemporary photos, educational and archival videos, interactive multimedia, and historical objects during the “Voices And Votes: Democracy In America” traveling exhibit at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. The exhibit runs through June 20. (Courtesy of the National Museum of American History)

In partnership with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH), Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is hosting “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution, in the Gallery at MCCC through June 20. The Gallery is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road on the second floor of the Communication building.

The exhibit is presented free to the public and is appropriate for all age groups. More about the exhibit and special programs can be found at mccc.edu/voicesvotes.

Gallery hours for the exhibit are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Closed on May 28 for Memorial Day weekend.) Dates of note include open hours on MCCC’s Commencement Day, May 20; Future Voters Day on June 4; and A Tribute to John Watson on June 17.

Among other partners in the MCCC project are the New Jersey League of Women Voters and the Citizens Campaign through the Trenton Civic Trustees.  more

“THIRD THURSDAYS”: The monthly photography presentation and artist talk series at Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney Campus Gallery in Trenton will take place on May 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This month features works by Aaron Turner and Wendel White. The public is invited in person or via Zoom. Reservations are required at JKCGallery.online.

“Third Thursdays,” the free monthly photography presentation and artist talk series at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus Gallery (JKCG) at 137 North Broad Street in Trenton, will take place May 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event, curated by Heather Palecek and Habiyb Shu’Aib, will feature work by Aaron Turner and Wendel White. Hosted by Director of the JKC Gallery, Michael Chovan-Dalton, the talk will take place live and on Zoom. All are invited to register at jkcgallery.online.

Chovan-Dalton said, “This will be the final Third Thursdays for this semester at JKC Gallery and I am pleased to present two artists who have shared their work with us in a solo show. We look forward to welcoming Wendel White and Aaron Turner on May 19.”

Turner is a photographer and educator currently based in Arkansas. He focuses on photography as a transformative process to understand the ideas of home and resilience in the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas. He also creates still-life photography in the studio environment on the topics of identity, history, and blackness as material and abstraction.

Turner originally pursued a career as a photojournalist working for newspapers but was eventually drawn to photography as an art form. more

MERCER MILE MAGIC: Situated within a mile of each other in Doylestown, Pa., the Mercer Museum, left, and Fonthill Castle, right, are the legacy of Henry Chapman Mercer, who designed and filled them with his unmatched collection of pre-Industrial Revolution tools, artifacts, and tiles. Operated by the Bucks County Historical Society, both the Museum and Fonthill, where he lived, offer an exceptional view of early Americana. “You can see history as well as the amazing spark of Mercer’s imagination throughout the Museum and at Fonthill,” says Karina Kowalski, Bucks County Historical Society manager of education.

By Jean Stratton

The unique imagination, intellect, energy, and resourcefulness of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930) are on display at the Mercer Museum (84 South Pine Street) and Fonthill Castle (525 East Court Street) in Doylestown, Pa.   

If you are a first-time visitor to these amazing places, you are about to experience the magic of the Mercer Mile!

Fonthill Castle was Mercer’s home, and just a mile away, the Museum houses his immense collection (more than 50,000 items) of tools, implements, and artifacts of pre-industrial American life.

Under the auspices of the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS), the Museum and Castle are open to the public and are a major part of the Society’s mission, explains Marjan Shirzad, the Society’s chief operating officer. more

BY GEORGE: Princeton University men’s lacrosse star defender George Baughan heads upfield last Saturday as Princeton hosted Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Baughan came up with three ground balls and had one caused turnover to help key a superb defensive effort as fifth-seeded Princeton defeated BU 12-5. It was Princeton’s first game in the NCAA tournament since 2012 and its first triumph in the event since a 10-7 win over Massachusetts in the first round of the 2009 tourney. The Tigers, now 10-4, will be facing fifth-seeded and Ivy League rival Yale (12-4) in the NCAA quarters on May 21 at Hofstra University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team prepared to host Boston University last Saturday in its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012, the Tigers went back to basics.

Not playing on the first weekend of May because it didn’t qualify for the Ivy League postseason tourney, Princeton used the extra time to fine-tune its skills.

“We looked at it like a preseason; we did ground ball drills, fundamental drills, ball protection drills, slide and cover drills and stick protections, just really simple stuff,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon, whose team had defeated BU 12-7 in a regular season meeting on April 9.

“We went at them pretty hard for four days and then we gave them a couple of days off to let them get through exams and let them heal their bodies. We just took a full week of prep with BU and the guys did a good job. We got to wind it down Thursday and Friday and try to come out here as fresh as possible. Having those two weeks off allowed us to taper down our prep week a little earlier which gave us a better opportunity to start the game using our legs to create some pressure.”

Looking sharp and fresh, the fifth-seeded Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back on the way to a 12-5 win, earning its first triumph in the NCAA tournament since a 10-7 win over Massachusetts in the first round of the 2009 tourney.

Princeton, now 10-4, will face fourth-seeded and Ivy rival Yale (12-4) in the NCAA quarters on May 21 at James Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

Tiger senior star defender George Baughan, who helped key a superior defensive effort by getting three ground balls and one caused turnover, credited the extra prep time with helping the Tigers. more

TOUGH SAILING: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kari Buonanno gets stymied by a Yale defender in recent action. Last Sunday, sophomore midfielder Buonanno tallied three goals in a losing cause as Princeton fell 13-9 to fifth-seeded Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The loss left the Tigers with a final record of 15-4 and marked the last game for legendary Princeton head coach Chris Sailer, who is retiring after this season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team fell 13-9 to Syracuse last Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament, many fans in Class of 1952 Stadium rose for a standing ovation and the Tiger staff exchanged hugs on the sideline.

While the result was disappointing, the show of affection recognized the end of an era as legendary Princeton head coach Chris Sailer left the field for the last time heading into retirement with the Tigers seeing their 2022 campaign come to an end.

While Sailer had hoped to see her squad make it to the Final 4, she had no qualms with the effort she got from her players this spring as they posted a 15-4 record.

“I couldn’t be prouder of how they have competed all year long in the journey we have been on,” said Sailer, a 2008 inductee to the U.S. Lacrosse National Hall of Fame, who ended her 36-year tenure at Princeton with a 433-168 record, three NCAA titles (1994, 2002, 2003), 16 Ivy League titles, and six Ivy Tournament Championships.

“We had so many young kids on the field for us. We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores who were really frustrated because there was no competition last year. We had great senior leadership. I am really proud of how far we have come, how we competed, and how well we represented Princeton.”

Last Sunday, the Tigers competed well from the opening draw, jumping out to a 3-0 lead over the fifth-seeded Orange. But high-powered Syracuse responded by outscoring the Tigers 6-3 in the second quarter to seize momentum and edge ahead 7-6 at halftime. The Orange then went on a 4-1 run after the break and never looked back on the way to the 13-9 win. more

TITLE RUN: Princeton University softball player Lauren Sablone sprints to first base last weekend in the best-of-three Ivy League Playoff Series. Freshman Sablone’s hitting helped Princeton top Harvard in the series as it overcame a 5-2 loss in the opening game to win 8-4 and 6-1. Sablone went 5-for-11 in the series with five runs, five RBIs, two doubles, a triple, and a homer. The Tigers, now 27-15-2, will be playing in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional this weekend where it will be facing host and fourth-seeded University of Arkansas (44-9) on May 20 to open play in the double-elimination competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton University softball team fell 5-2 to Harvard in the opener of the best-of-three Ivy League Playoff Series last Friday, the Tigers found themselves trailing 3-1 after three innings in game two and facing elimination.

But Princeton freshman star outfielder Lauren Sablone wasn’t overly concerned by the deficit.

“We weren’t put on our heels too much at that point, we knew that a couple of runs wasn’t going to win that game,” said Sablone. “We knew we were all hitting the ball really hard, we just weren’t finding spots.”

Sablone ended up hitting the ball hard to the right spots, smacking a two-run double in the top of the fifth to put Princeton ahead 4-3 and then lining a two-run homer over the left field fence to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead as they went on to prevail 8-4.

“I have been seeing the ball pretty decently lately and knowing what I had to do in a clutch situation to help my team out, that was the most important part,” said Sablone, reflecting on her double.

As for the homer, Sablone was surprised to see it clear the fence.

“That felt great; I didn’t think it was going out, I was stoked,” said Sablone. “I thought, ‘line drive to the wall, nice, OK, Cate [Bade] in front of me will probably score and we will get a run out of it.’ All of a sudden it goes out of there and I was like ‘oh.’ That was just a bonus.” more

RED ALERT: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Sarah Glenn, right, looks to unload the ball against Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Wednesday evening. Senior star Glenn scored a goal in a losing cause as third-seeded PHS fell 9-8 in double-overtime to the second-seeded Redbirds. The Tigers, now 12-5, will be starting play in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Group 3 sectional where they are seeded seventh and will host 10th-seeded Scotch Plains-Fanwood on May 19 in a first round contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team fell 9-8 in double overtime to Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last Wednesday evening, Sarah Glenn made a beeline for an icepack

It was no wonder that PHS senior star Glenn felt some pain after the Tigers came up just short in a bruising battle between the rivals.

While the defeat stung, Glenn was proud of how the Tigers competed.

“We were really excited for this game, we worked hard all season to prepare for this,” said Glenn of the matchup which saw PHS rally to defeat Allentown 10-9 in overtime in a regular season meeting on April 27. “We really brought the intensity, we kept our heads up. I think we played really well as a team.”

Both squads showed intensity on the defensive end in the early stages of the game as PHS trailed 3-2 at halftime.

“We were working hard out there, we definitely stepped it up,” said Glenn. “All the players on defense knew what their goal was; everyone played to their individual best.”

There were a few more goals in the second half as the teams traded tallies and were tied at five different points, including 8-8 at the end of regulation. more

CAN DO: Hun School boys’ lacrosse player Danny Cano heads to goal last week in the Mercer County Tournament. Last Thursday, sophomore star Cano tallied five goals and two assists as top-seeded Hun defeated second-seeded and host Hopewell Valley 13-10 in the MCT title game to earn the championship in its debut appearance in the competition. Two days later, the Raiders fell short of a second title as they fell 16-8 at Lawrenceville in the state Prep A championship game and moved to 11-5. Hun will be playing in the Mid-Atlantic Prep Tournament from May 19-22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the top-seeded Hun School boys’ lacrosse team trailing second-seeded and host Hopewell Valley 7-4 at halftime of the Mercer County Tournament final last Thursday evening, the message at the break was simple.

“It was just wake up,” said Hun sophomore star attacker Danny Cano, recalling the discussion at intermission.

“We practiced and played for this all year and then it came to the moment. We knew we had to step up.”

Cano took that message to heart, stepping up with four goals in the first 18 minutes of the second half as Hun reeled off an 8-3 run to seize momentum on the way to a 13-10 triumph.

“They were big goals, it all started with the team,” said Cano, who ended the night with five goals and two assists.

“I happened to be at the winning end of it. Luke Donahue in the cage stepped up a lot. My teammates at attack, Brendan Marino and Jack Moran, set me up a lot. It just worked at the end.”

In making its first-ever appearance in the MCT, Hun realized it was facing a formidable foe in HoVal. more

FACE-TO-FACE: Hun School boys’ lacrosse player Ryan Donahue, right, battles for a face-off last week against Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. Junior defender Donahue chipped in a goal and an assist in the May 10 contest as top-seed Hun defeated fourth-seeded Allentown 11-7. Hun went to defeat second-seeded and host Hopewell Valley 13-10 in the MCT title game last Thursday evening. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ryan Donahue did a little bit of everything for the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team as it faced Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last week.

Junior defender Donahue gobbled up ground balls to help his younger brother, freshman goalie Luke, handled face-off duties, and added a goal and an assist for good measure to help top-seeded Hun defeat the fourth-seeded Redbirds 11-7 in the May 10 contest held at Hopewell Valley.

With Hun making its first-ever appearance in the MCT, Donahue was excited for the opportunity.

“It is a really special thing; a lot of these games are just games but now we get to be in a postseason,” said Donahue. “It is really fun, it is a really great experience for everybody. It is great just to play some extra games.”

In the early going, the Raiders played some great defense, stifling high-powered Allentown as it built a 7-2 halftime lead.

“They definitely have a few very good players, No. 40 (Jake Searing) is very good, we trusted our matchups,” said Donahue. “We could sense some frustration a little bit. We had them right where we wanted them. We were playing good defense, that is really what you just look for.”

When Allentown made a 4-2 run to narrow the gap to 9-6 early in the fourth quarter, Hun held the fort down the stretch. more