September 28, 2022

Princeton Public Library hosted an afternoon of original music showcasing local bands and musicians at Hinds Plaza on Saturday. The event also featured rising talents from Princeton University’s graduate composition program. Attendees share what type of music appealed to them in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

Former New Jersey governor and congressman Jim Florio died Sunday of heart failure. He was 85.

A Democrat who was elected governor in 1989, Florio lost to Christine Todd Whitman instead of winning a second term when he raised taxes after vowing that he would not. But he is also remembered for his achievements on cleaning up hazardous waste sites and banning military-style assault rifles, the latter of which earned him a JFK Profiles in Courage award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

“Governor Florio was a fighter who never backed down,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in an official statement Monday after signing an executive order directing flags to fly at half-staff in Florio’s honor. “He was a leader who cared more about the future of New Jersey than his own political fortunes.”

Among those remembering Florio this week was William Harla, a Princeton resident and attorney who was Florio’s deputy chief legal counsel. In the decades since, Harla has practiced law at DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Giblin with Bob DeCotiis, who was the governor’s chief counsel.  more

By Donald Gilpin

With the November 8 Election Day less than six weeks away, the competition for three positions on the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) is heating up. Two new candidates, Lishian “Lisa” Wu and Margarita “Rita” Rafalovsky, are challenging three incumbents, Debbie Bronfeld, Susan Kanter, and Dafna Kendal, in the race to serve a three-year term on the BOE.

For this article, the challengers, Wu and Rafalovsky, were asked to introduce themselves, provide some background information, and comment on why they have chosen to run and, if elected, what their priorities on the board might be.

At press time, Wu, who has run for Princeton Council and for Mercer County Executive in recent years, had not responded to multiple requests for information. Town Topics plans to include profiles of Wu and the other candidates in election coverage during the coming month.


Margarita “Rita” Rafalovsky

Rafalovsky wrote the following in her response:

I live in Princeton with my husband and two children, ages 8 and 11. We moved here 12 years ago for the highly rated public schools and for the diverse, thriving community. For me, education is personal. In 1988, at age 8, I came to this country as a poor, non-English speaking political refugee from the former Soviet Union. I’m a product of N.Y./N.J. public schools, and I strongly believe that quality public education is the greatest equalizer.  more

By Donald Gilpin

With Election Day 2022 approaching and memories of recent past elections still vivid, the precarious state of democracy in the U.S. has been a big topic in the media. That topic will be the theme of a series of conversations, “The Future of American Democracy,” at Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) starting on October 13 at 4:30 p.m. with a conversation featuring three young leaders who have been wrestling with the challenges of hyper-polarization throughout the country.

Jane Coaston, columnist for The New York Times and host of the podcast “The Argument”; Michigan Republican Congressman Peter Meijer, one of 10 Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach President Donald Trump during Trump’s second impeachment; and Symone Sanders-Townsend, former chief spokesperson for U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and host of SYMONE on MSNBC, will be panelists for the conversation at the PTS Wright Library.

“This will be a wide conversation with people whose own life experience is really related to the theme of the series,” said PTS Associate Professor of American Christianity Heath W. Carter, who will moderate the conversation. “For the last five years there’s been a lot of talk, a lot of concern about American democracy, and the theme of polarization in particular.”

He continued, “People are worried that American democracy is failing, and we wanted to host a broad conversation to consider how we reached this point where America is so divided and how do we move forward from here. I think Princeton residents will be really intrigued by what these panelists have to say.”

Described by a PTS press release as “eminent young leaders whose professional lives have been shaped by the sharp edges of our polarized society,” Coaston, Meijer, and Sanders-Townsend will consider such questions as “How did we become so divided?” “How do we sustain government of and by an ever-more divided people?” and “Where do we go from here?”  more

A PERFECT TIE-IN: Illustrator Bryan Collier, who is among the artists in a new show at Princeton Public Library, was among those who appeared at a previous Princeton Children’s Book Festival at Hinds Plaza. The new exhibit and the upcoming festival on October 8 have some close ties.

By Anne Levin

Princeton Public Library staff members were looking for ways to expand the scope of the library’s exhibits when they hit on a logical match. “Telling a People’s Story,” a traveling display devoted to the art found within the pages of African American children’s picture books, is on view starting Saturday, October 1, just in time for the return of the popular Princeton Children’s Book Festival on October 8.

“I had read about this exhibit and had seen some photos,” said Janie Hermann, public programming librarian. “I did some research. When we realized that some of the illustrators had also been in our book festival, it was a really nice tie-in. As well, we just wanted to uplift the work of African American illustrators.”

On the library’s first floor through October 30, the show is focused on art produced as book illustrations. The traveling exhibition on loan from the Miami University Art Museum in Oxford, Ohio, is the first of its kind. The show spotlights the cultural, historical, and social makeup of African American cultural identity while raising awareness of the role African American illustrators and authors play in the field of children’s literature. more

By Donald Gilpin

In the first month of the new school year districts throughout the country have been scrambling to fill teaching positions in their schools, and staffing shortages have also posed challenges for the Princeton Public Schools (PPS).

In a September 20 email to PPS families and students, Superintendent Carol Kelley reported that teachers were stepping up to take on extra responsibilities and fill the gaps. As of Tuesday, September 27, PPS had job openings posted for 13 teachers — three at Princeton High School, four at Princeton Middle School, and six at the elementary schools. In addition, there were openings posted for three aides, two school psychologists, a speech and language therapist, and for substitute teachers and nurses. PPS currently has 741 staff members.

“The bottom line is that while we have managed to maintain excellence in education, staffing shortages are now the new normal throughout New Jersey,” Kelley wrote. “We will continue to creatively manage our resources, to use our trusted substitutes, and to recruit aggressively to make the best of a difficult situation.”

As of September 12, nine out of every 10 school districts in the country reported that up to 10 percent of their instructional staff positions were unfilled, according to the AASA, the School Superintendents’ Association.

Kelley emphasized that PPS is doing relatively well. “Based on our current situation, our staffing situation is much, much better than the national average,” she wrote in a September 26 email. “At this moment, there are relatively few unfilled teaching jobs. There has been a great deal of progress in recent weeks.”

In her letter to parents and students, Kelley pointed out that “the recruiting program implemented by our Human Resources Department has enabled us to frequently find fully qualified teachers, even in instances where there are severe shortages for a particular subject.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
—T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

….perhaps the most amazing thing about Albert Pujols is that less than two years before he began one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history, he was a non-prospect.
—Joe Posnanski, in Sports Illustrated

How the miracle of Albert Pujols came to St. Louis, the city where T.S. Eliot was born 134 years ago Monday, is the stuff of dreams, especially if you’ve followed the St. Louis Cardinals for most of your life, longing for that October moment when, in the poet’s words, “all shall be well / And all manner of thing shall be well.”

A “Grown Man” at 18
Born January 16, 1980, in the Dominican Republic, Pujols was raised in Santo Domingo by his father Bienvenido, his grandmother America, and 10 aunts and uncles. At 16, he moved with his father and grandmother to New York City and from there to his paternal grandparents in Independence, Missouri, where he played ball for Fort Osage High. At 18, he looked old for his age, so much so that managers often walked him, not just because he hit eight home runs in the 33 at bats he was given (one traveling some 450 feet), but because they thought their pitchers should not have to throw to “a grown man.” In his first and only season with the Maple Woods Community College Wolves, Pujols hit .461 with 22 homers. Despite putting up numbers like that in Kansas City’s backyard, he didn’t interest the Royals or anyone else until the Cardinals claimed him in the 13th round of the 1999 draft. He was the 402nd player taken overall. After a year in the minors, the “non-prospect” was the 2001 National League Rookie of the Year, hitting .329 with 37 homers and 130 RBIs.


“THE WOLVES”: Performances are underway for “The Wolves.” Produced by McCarter Theatre, and directed by Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen, the play runs through October 16 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Above, from left: Teammates 8 (Maggie Thompson), 14 (Isabel Pask), 7 (Jasmine Sharma, 25 (Mikey Gray), 46 (Maria Habeeb), 00 (Renea S. Brown), 2 (Katie Griffith), 11 (Owen Laheen), and 13 (Annie Fox) discuss current events while they practice soccer. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is opening its season with The Wolves. The 2016 drama depicts a high school women’s soccer team, whose diverse members discuss current news events — among other, sometimes lighter subjects — as they practice for their games. The Wolves was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist in drama.

Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen directs the spirited production. Although this marks the McCarter debut of The Wolves, Rasmussen has prior experience staging the play. Her 2019 production at the Jungle Theater earned her a Minnesota Theater Award for Exceptional Performative Direction.

While writing The Wolves, Sarah DeLappe (who played soccer from ages 8 to 14) was tutoring teenage girls. An exhibit in the McCarter lobby quotes her as saying, “I felt very close to the current experience of female adolescence.” In a 2017 Lincoln Center Theater interview that is excerpted in McCarter’s printed program, DeLappe explains that she conceived the play “as a war movie. But instead of a bunch of men who are going into battle, you have a bunch of young women who are preparing for their soccer games.”

Scenic Designer Junghyun Georgia Lee covers the brightly lit Berlind stage with green Astroturf, honoring DeLappe’s opening stage direction that describes an indoor “soccer field that feels like it goes on forever.” The background is white and gray, but this is deceptive; Jackie Fox’s lighting often adds splashes of color.

As The Wolves begins, the lighting moves in rhythm to contemporary pop music procured by Sound Designer Pornchanok Kanchanabanca. As the soccer players enter, they are dancing as though they are in a nightclub. Immediately we know that the play will be infused with youthful energy.  more

By Nancy Plum

Choral music performance has had a real struggle over the past two years. For the first six months of the pandemic, no one in choruses sang at all. Then, choristers sang into their computers for six months to create virtual performances, followed by a year of singing with masks. Now, as a foray into maskless and hopefully unobstructed live performance, the Princeton University Glee Club, conducted by Gabriel Crouch, presented a concert this past weekend with a vocal ensemble based in Zimbabwe, but with strong Princeton ties.

Saturday night’s concert in Richardson Auditorium featured the fruits of a week-long residency by the seven-member vocal ensemble Mushandirapamwe Singers, whose conductor Dr. Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa is a Princeton University graduate. While an undergraduate in Princeton’s music department, Tawengwa established a legacy of founding an a cappella chorus and a senior thesis musical theater work which later became an off-Broadway production. Since graduating, Tawengwa has built a career as a conductor, arranger, and virtuoso mbira musician, performing worldwide while paying tribute to Zimbabwe’s turbulent history and traditions.

Choral music from Zimbabwe other regions of the African continent is distinctive in its pure chordal harmonies and spirited approach to text. A number of the pieces in Saturday night’s concert, all of which were either composed or arranged by Tawengwa, conveyed a sense of infectious joy and hope, demonstrating why audiences cannot help but get caught up in the enthusiasm of the performers. Tawengwa divided the concert into five parts, with the first chikamu calling the concert to order and then taking the audience on a journey through Zimbabwe’s history, literature, and culture.

Mushandirapamwe Singers both welcomed the audience and introduced themselves individually with a spirited “Anchulele,” answered with well-blended singing from the University Glee Club. Tawengwa sang the lead vocal lines in many of the pieces, but the six accompanying singers of the Mushandirapamwe ensemble were all expertly trained performers in their own right, with backgrounds in opera, dance, classical performance, and Broadway. Tawengwa was equally as proficient on the piano, and accompanied herself and the choruses in several numbers.  more

GEARED TO KIDS AND FAMILIES: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents “Meet the Music: Can Music Tell as Story?” sponsored by Princeton University Concerts. The concert is curated for ages 6-12.

On Saturday, October 22 at 1 p.m., Princeton University Concerts (PUC) welcomes back The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for the first family program on the series since the start of the pandemic — “Meet the Music: Can Music Tell a Story?”, curated for kids ages 6-12.

This first of two “All in the Family” events in PUC’s 2022-23 season will take place at Richardson Auditorium. Composer Bruce Adolphe will host the event as Inspector Pulse, the world’s greatest and only private ear, investigating a musical mystery with music by Janáček, Ravel, and Adolphe and improvisations, performed by professional musicians from The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

The interactive program seeks to spark a lifelong love of music that will begin the moment that a child “meets the music” in person within the setting of Richardson Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults. Visit, or call (609) 258-2800.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will return on May 20, 2023 for a new program curated for neurodiverse audiences ages 3-6, hosted by guitarist Rami Vamos, called “CMS Kids: Exploring Dvořák.” PUC’s upcoming season also includes the Annual Chamber Jam—a free opportunity for the community’s amateur musicians of all ages and levels to read and play music alongside professional musicians—on Sunday, January 22, 2023. This season’s Chamber Jam will have a mental health focus facilitated by members of the Me2/Orchestra, the only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them.

NEW PLAY AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Students rehearse for “Icarus and Other Party Tricks,” a new work by University senior Sarah Grinalds. (Photo by Dylan Tran ’23)

Icarus and Other Party Tricks, a new play written and directed by Princeton University senior Sarah Grinalds, will be given a semi-staged reading on Friday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 1 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Drapkin Studio, Lewis Arts complex, on the campus. Admission is free.

Audiences are invited into the immersive world of a manic episode, shrouded in color, grief, and tenderness. The piece treads into surrealist and often experimental design forms, depicting mandated therapy sessions, familial confrontations, and fever dreams.

The play is produced with extensive collaboration with professional designer Frank Oliva, as well as mentorship from theater faculty member and award-winning playwright Nathan Davis. Icarus and Other Party Tricks features a performance by theater faculty member Vivia Font and choreography by senior Naomi Benenson. The event is presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University.

Visit for more information.

Dave DiMarchi

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has named printmaker Dave DiMarchi as its Fall 2022 Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence (AIR). During his residency, DiMarchi will engage in a deeper exploration of his print works — further pursuing research of the interconnected language of collage, drawing, printmaking, and installation in his work.

As AIR, DiMarchi’s residency will focus on working across printmaking processes, allowing the process to direct each new step of the prints. This responsive style of printmaking will push his practice out of its comfort zone, hopefully allowing for a deeper connection to process and product, and a deeper appreciation of making. A suite of new printed works — editions, monoprints, dimensional prints — will be available at the conclusion of the residency.

DiMarchi is a queer, multi-disciplinary printmaker and artist working in printmaking, papermaking, and sculptural book forms. He has exhibited works on paper, installations, and books in the U.S. and internationally. He maintains a collaborative studio and art-making space in New Hope, Pa., working deeply with artists to master printmaking techniques and create new portfolio and exhibition-ready prints; his relentless material practice and print research is the basis of his own art-making practice.

He teaches printmaking, papermaking, and book forms extensively throughout the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area. He is also the owner of 9INHANDPRESS, a nexus of design, print, and education. 9INHANDPRESS hosts an annual International Print Exchange that engages printmakers worldwide in a collaborative portfolio and exhibitions; some nearly 9,000 prints have passed through the exchange since its inception in 2016.

In conjunction with his residency, DiMarchi will create a site-specific mural on Spring Street in Downtown Princeton. The mural is expected to be completed by early November and will be on view until early spring 2023.

“Being chosen as the Arts Council’s Fall 2022 AIR, I’m humbled and excited to pursue a new vein of print-based work,” said DiMarchi. “The time, space, and support of the Arts Council will allow me to focus on creating work that builds on the traditions of printmaking while exploring printmaking through a contemporary, process-based lens. The work I make is largely a conversation between artist, process, and product, centered on domesticity — especially that of queer household-building: the schedules, patterns and routines of ungendered work and the ordinariness of place holding, task-doing, and surviving. My work is an ephemeral record of the normalcy of shared life-living: the whats, hows, and whens of making space. It is my goal to expand that conversation to include community — that of artists, makers, and passers-by — in the processes of making and discovering what’s to come off the press next.” more

“PHOTO SHOW LIVE”: The new lunchtime artist talk at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus Gallery (JKCG) will feature Wendy Ewald on September 29 from noon to 1 p.m. The discussion will center around Ewald’s books “The Devil Is Leaving His Cave” and “Portraits and Dreams” as well as Ewald’s film, “Portraits and Dreams,” that aired on PBS. (Photo by Wendy Ewald)

“Photo Show Live,” the new lunchtime photography talk at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus Gallery (JKCG) at 137 North Broad Street in Trenton, will take place September 29 from 12 to 1 p.m.

This month, Director of JKC Gallery Michael Chovan-Dalton features Wendy Ewald, an artist who has spent more than 40 years collaborating with children, families, and teachers all over the world. During this session Ewald and Chovan-Dalton will discuss Ewald’s books The Devil Is Leaving His Cave and Portraits and Dreams as well as Ewald’s film Portraits and Dreams that aired on PBS and which will be running at JKC Gallery. more

“RUSTY PICKUP”: This painting by Robert Heyer is part of “Back to the Palette: New Paintings by Watercolorists Unlimited,” on view October 3 to October 30 at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury.

The Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury is hosting “Back to the Palette: New Paintings by Watercolorists Unlimited,” on view October 3 to October 30.

Watercolorists Unlimited is a group of 12 local artists who meet monthly at one another’s homes to critique assigned paintings on a subject that was discussed the prior month. They meet for lunch and then spend an hour or two discussing the paintings, providing helpful comments and inspiration. This group has been in existence for more than 30 years, with one of the original members still attending. The group shows their work as a group several times a year, including this annual show at the Gourgaud.  more

BEST TRACTORS: This 4610 M 4×4 Hi Crop model, suitable for tillage and planting, is one of many tractors available at Belle Mead Garage. Also known for pre-owned automobiles, rentals, and car service, the company expanded into tractors several years ago. “We are always ready to help customers with advice about the best tractor for their needs and purposes,” point out owners Kip Higgins and Chris Carnevale.

By Jean Stratton 

That familiar adage “When one window closes, another opens” has certainly proved true at Belle Mead Garage. The longtime and highly respected automobile dealership is celebrating its 95th anniversary, and with a new and very successful component to its business — tractors!

Some businesses and organizations — like people — stand the test of time. Some don’t. In recent times, it seems that the business and commercial landscape changes almost in the blink of an eye.

It is all the more remarkable when a business continues to grow and evolve, despite setbacks and new challenges. Such an enterprise is the aforementioned Belle Mead Garage, located at Route 206 and Station Square in Belle Mead. It has been at that location since 1927, when Leroy Higgins opened it as a service station and car dealership, and lived in the attic of the original building.

Three generations of the Higgins family have seen to it that their reputation has remained intact through all the ups and downs of the automobile industry. Paramount is their love of the business, and a willingness to address unforeseen issues that come along. more

STANDING TALL: Princeton University quarterback Blake Stenstrom gets ready to fire a pass last Saturday against visiting Lehigh. Senior Stenstrom hit 25-of-34 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown as Princeton defeated Lehigh 29-17 in its home opener. The Tigers, now 2-0, open Ivy League action by playing at Columbia (2-0) on October 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last fall, Blake Stenstrom and Liam Johnson were part of the supporting cast as the Princeton University football team rolled to a share of the Ivy League title.

This season, senior quarterback Stenstrom and junior linebacker Johnson have earned leading roles for the Tigers and are emerging as stars.

Last Saturday as Princeton defeated visiting Lehigh 29-17 in its home opener to improve to 2-0, Stenstrom hit on 25-of-34 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown while Johnson made a team-high 10 tackles.

After a bit of a shaky start against the Mountain Hawks, Stenstrom got into a groove.

“There were some challenges that we faced and mistakes we made in the first half,” said Stenstrom who was the backup quarterback in 2021, appearing in five games, completing five passes for 44 yards along with 68 yards rushing and two touchdowns. “Some things didn’t go our way. In the end, we figured it out a little bit and came back with a stronger second half.”

Utilizing Princeton’s crew of skill players, Stenstrom spread the ball around. Senior receiver Andrei Iosivas made seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown while senior Dylan Classi had seven receptions for 110 yards, junior JoJo Hawkins made five catches for 34 yards, and senior tight end Carson Bobo had four receptions for 22 yards.

“We are blessed to have a lot of talent all over the field on this team,” said Stenstrom. “Whether it is tight ends, receivers or running backs, I don’t feel any doubt when I throw the ball to these guys. It is fantastic.” more

BRINGING IT HOME: Princeton University women’s soccer Kamryn Loustau, right, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, Loustau and the Tigers had a tough night in Connecticut as they fell 1-0 at Yale in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Princeton, now 5-4 overall and 0-1 Ivy, will be resuming league play on October 1 when it hosts Dartmouth in the first game to be held at the new Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

If Extreme Makeover: Stadium Edition existed, the Princeton University women’s soccer team would be the perfect subject.

The Tigers have been intentionally avoiding even looking toward Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium as Princeton completes a rebuild of the team’s new home that it will share with the men’s team.

“We’ll get on the bus and we’ll drive by it and everyone will look the opposite direction,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll. “No one has actually really seen what it looks like to my knowledge and they’ve all been steadfast with that. I think come Wednesday or Thursday when we unveil it for our first session they’re going to be buzzing and that’s what I want. There are so few surprises in life, I want this to be something really memorable for the team.”

The Tigers will get the big reveal in their first practice at the new stadium this week. They are hoping they can jumpstart the second half of their season when they host Dartmouth on October 1 at 1 p.m. in their first game at the new venue.

“Not getting the result we wanted, I do think it’s perfect timing to find a new home, to establish a new identity potentially and take very seriously the opportunity to start brand new because the stadium has no results in it,” said Driscoll. “It has no wins, has no losses, has no draws, has nothing. That’s for us to create.”

Princeton dropped its Ivy League opener at Yale, 1-0, last Saturday to fall to 5-4 overall. The Tigers have lost four of their last six games going into Tuesday’s scheduled non-conference game at Bucknell as they face a short turnaround.  more

CAT FIGHT: Princeton University field hockey player Beth Yeager, left, battles for the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, sophomore star Yeager picked up an assist as the seventh-ranked Tigers fell 3-2 in overtime to Lafayette. The loss to the Leopards moved Princeton to 5-4 overall. The Tigers, who had started the weekend by edging Penn 2-1 on Friday in their Ivy League opener, play at Yale on September 30 and at Connecticut on October 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After it was over, the Lafayette College field hockey players bounded across Bedford Field to soak in the cheers of their supporters.

Meanwhile, the seventh-ranked Princeton University squad trudged back to their bench, heads down as they processed falling 3-2 in overtime to a Lafayette team that brought a 2-7 record into the contest.

While the weekend had started on a high note for the Tigers as they had edged Penn 2-1 on Friday in their Ivy League opener, Princeton head coach Carla Tagliente sensed trouble on the horizon.

“We had some carry over from Friday, we didn’t come out and play our best,” said Tagliente, whose club fell to 5-4 overall with the setback to the Leopards. “We weren’t connecting, there was little bit of low energy and not executing. I think that was a byproduct of Friday. We Band-Aided it up with a win. I think this was bound to happen at some point here.”

In the loss to Lafayette, the Tigers generated enough opportunities to win, outshooting the Leopards 21-7 in regulation. Princeton took a 1-0 lead late in the first quarter on a goal by Zoe Shepard and then forged ahead 2-1 with 2:47 left in regulation on a penalty stroke by Sam Davidson. Lafayette, though, responded, with a goal 15 seconds later to force overtime and got the game-winner 4:42 into the extra session.

“There was a flukey play, they threw an overhead,” said Tagliente, referring to Lafayette’s second tally. “Overtime is a crapshoot with seven versus seven. You can have a lucky break, or one person’s individual skill can make the difference, it is what it is. You don’t want to put it to that point where you are rolling the dice.” more

DOUBLE WHAMMY: Princeton High girls’ tennis doubles star Ashley Chen reaches for a shot last week at the Mercer County Tournament as partner Maya-Alexandra Todorov looks on from the baseline. The pair of senior Chen and sophomore Todorov won the first doubles title at the MCT as PHS placed seventh in the team standings. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ashley Chen and Maya-Alexandra Todorov quickly sensed they would be a good pairing when they were teamed up at first doubles this season for the Princeton High girls’ tennis team.

Senior Chen liked the chemistry between the two from the outset.

“I don’t think we had really big issues,” said Chen. “We just played together well.”

Todorov, a sophomore, had a similar feeling. “We realized we had a good team,” said Todorov. “We have good communication. We are good friends, we set each other up really well.”

Their playing styles meshed as well. “Maya’s net game is really strong; if it is a short ball, she is right there,” said Chen. “I know I can always rely on her to get that. My groundstrokes are strong, and I hit them angled. She can put it away.”

The 6’0 Todorov thrives on dominating matches with her volleys.

“Playing at the net is what I bring, it is easier on my knees,” said Todorov, who was sidelined last season by injury. “Ashley is really consistent and sets up the ball good and I just put it away.”Last

Wednesday, Chen and Todorov displayed teamwork and skill as they rallied to put away Peddie’s Lakhi Raju and Catherine Zhang 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the first doubles final at the Mercer County Tournament.

The comeback was a product of the pair being more deliberate. more

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE: Hun School boys’ soccer player Mass Verduci celebrates a goal last fall as Connor Frykholm looks on in the background. Junior star Frykholm had a lot to celebrate last Thursday, scoring three goals as Hun defeated Pennington 3-0. The Raiders, who defeated Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) 4-2 last Saturday in improving to 5-2, play at Episcopal Academy (Pa.) on September 28, host Life Center Academy on October 1, and then play at Steinert on October 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Hun School boys’ soccer team lost three times to the Pennington School last fall, Connor Frykholm believed that the squad was poised for a breakthrough against their powerhouse rival when the foes met last Wednesday.

“We were thinking on last year, it was the first time we played them when we lost 3-2 in overtime,” said Hun junior midfielder Frykholm. “We had that feeling coming into this game that we are just going to go in there and battle.”

Frykholm got things going for the Raiders as he converted a free kick in the first minute of the contest to give Hun a 1-0 lead.

“It starts coming from the back, win a great head ball, all pressure and all effort from there,” said Frykholm, reflecting on the tally. “We got a foul and I was able to tuck it in.”

With just under seven minutes left in the first half, Frykholm cooly slotted in a penalty kick to put Hun ahead 2-0 going into intermission.

“It is just step up and have confidence, I know what I have to do,” said Frykholm. “I have taken them before I had the confidence to do it.”

Displaying that confidence, Frykholm added a third goal with 9:39 left in regulation to put the finishing touch on a comprehensive 3-0 win for the Raiders. It marked Hun’s first win over Pennington since 2010 and sparked a raucous postgame celebration as the players sprinted across the field to hug goalie Diego Pena and posed for cell photos in the aftermath.

Despite the frustrating losses to Pennington last year, Frykholm never doubted that Hun would hold off the Red Hawks last Wednesday.

“With this new group of guys coming in, we have got the chemistry,” said Frykholm. “All of these guys are going to work for each other as well as people coming off the bench. Every single person played a part in today. We knew we were getting it done.” more

ENCORE PERFORMANCE: Hun School girls’ tennis player Amanda Francis displays her form last week at the Mercer County Tournament. Senior star Francis advanced to the first singles final at the MCT for the second straight year, helping Hun take ninth in the team standings. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Amanda Francis had her game going as she started play for the Hun School girls’ tennis team in the final day of the Mercer County Tournament last Wednesday at the Mercer County Park tennis complex.

Looking for her second straight trip to the MCT first singles final, Hun senior star Francis topped Praslin Hayes of the Pennington School 6-4, 7-5 in a grueling semifinal match.

“Amanda is such a strong player, she has great intuition for tennis,” said Hun assistant coach Neal Spadafora. “During her semifinals match, which was a battle, it seemed like each point was won after 15 hits. She is very determined.”

But things ended on a down note for the gritty Francis as she retired after losing the first set 6-2 to Lawrenceville’s Aarushi Attray in the final.

“She was feeling unwell, she played as hard as she could,” said Spadafora, whose team ended up finishing ninth in the team standings of the event won by WW/P-South.

Another Hun senior, Sabrina Wang, made it to the semis, advancing at third singles, where she fell 6-1, 6-1 to Courtney Cane of Peddie. Wang went on to lose to WW/P-South’s Alyssa Yang in the third-place match.

“Sabrina played against another strong player and lost in two sets,” said Spadafora, referring to the third-place match. “She is playing well, her serve is very powerful. She is just a very well-rounded player. This was a good tournament for her, and it showed how she has developed as a player.” more

STRINGING IT OUT: Princeton Day School girls’ tennis star Kristina Wang hits a backhand as she competed in the Mercer Country Tournament last week at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. Junior star Wang placed fourth in second singles to help the Panthers finish in a tie for 11th place with Hopewell Valley in the team standings. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bringing high hopes into the Mercer Country Tournament last week, the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team got derailed in the opening day of the competition by illness as it had to default in two of the five flights of the event.

While PDS head coach Michael Augsberger was disappointed to see players unable to finish their matches in September 19 action, he liked the way the team dealt with the situation.

“We thought we could do certain damage in the places where we did enter,” said Augsberger, whose team finished in a tie for 11th place with Hopewell Valley in the team standings in the event won by WW/P-South. “It is good to see that even with the illness happening, we still had a good showing. They had spirits up and you play good competition at counties. This is my second time here with the girls. It was the most schools involved, and we are seeing even more great players.”

Junior Kristina Wang did some damage, advancing to the semifinals at second singles last Wednesday where she fell 6-2, 6-1 to Polaris Hayes of Pennington. more

September 21, 2022

The demolition and construction continue on Witherspoon Street between Nassau Street and Spring Street, where an improvement project has been underway for months. Despite the disruption, all of the road and sidewalk work on this stretch of the street is expected to be completed by October 31, in time for the holiday shopping season. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

A recent Facebook post by the Westminster Foundation updated the Westminster Choir College community about efforts to restore the school from Rider University in Lawrence Township to its former campus in Princeton. While no definitive conclusion was included, “the fight is not over and our efforts and our commitment are ongoing,” reads the post by Constance Fee, president of the Foundation.

The Foundation is a coalition of alumni, students, and supporters of the choir college, which merged with Rider in 1991 and which Rider has unsuccessfully attempted to sell. The post describes an offer made to Rider by ML7, the real estate development and investment firm owned by Jeff Siegel. The firm would purchase the 22-acre campus and return Westminster to that location.  ML7, which has offices in Princeton and New York, owns multiple properties in town.

“Earlier this year, ML7 made a bid to purchase the campus and the choir college from Rider University,” the post reads. “Although Rider administration responded immediately to the bid, they will not engage in further negotiations with Siegel until the Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) claim on Westminster’s Princeton campus is resolved. We have approached PTS about settling their claim, but they wish to await the result of the trial court’s decision on their lawsuit and for our case to be decided by the Appellate Court.”

In a story in the Rider News, a statement from Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown said, “Rider has received many inquiries as to purchasing the Princeton property, including from ML7, but is not in a position to sell until the litigation being pursued by the Princeton Theological Seminary is resolved.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Green movement is gaining momentum locally and throughout the country, and Princeton schools are taking leadership roles in showing the way towards sustainability.

Princeton Montessori School announced last week that its campus is now powered primarily by solar energy; Johnson Park and Littlebrook Elementary Schools have earned Sustainable Jersey for Schools Certification; and Katherine Monroe, a senior at Princeton High School (PHS), has been selected as one of only two students in the state as a student delegate to the World Food Prize’s 2022 Global Youth Institute.

Princeton Montessori on Cherry Valley Road has recently completed a year-long process, including research, procurement, and installation, and is now deriving 90 percent of its energy from the sun.

Leading the school’s solar energy project, as well as the Farm-to-School program, the school’s vegetable garden and composting, Princeton Montessori Sustainability Coordinator and ecology teacher Gery Juleff emphasized the teamwork involved in bringing the project to fruition.

“The key to finalizing this project was a partnership between my colleagues at the school and on the Board, including Head of School Michelle Morrison and Trustee Peter Egbert, along with our local partners the Circadia Group, Plankton Energy, and Green Power Energy,” he said.

He added, “Our installation of the solar panels will enable the school to make its contribution to the fight against climate change, inspire students, and save on energy costs.” more