November 30, 2022

DAN THE MAN: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey goes up for a shot in game last season. Post-graduate guard Vessey figures to trigger the offense for Hun this winter in his final campaign with the program. The Raiders were slated to start the 2022-23 season by playing at St. Benedict’s on November 29 before hosting the Haverford School (Pa.) on December 1 and then competing in the Coaches vs. Cancer event at the Blair Academy on December 3 and 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School boys’ basketball team has only been practicing for a few weeks, Jon Stone is already feeling good about his squad.

“It has been great, we are probably further along than we normally are on chemistry,” said Hun head coach Stone, who guided the Raiders to a 14-10 record last winter as it reached the semifinals of both the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) and Prep A state tournaments. “It is just a good group of guys, it has been fun.”

 more

MO BETTER: Hun School girls’ basketball player Sasha Moise heads to the hoop in a game last season. Senior forward Moise will be counted on to provide production and leadership this winter for Hun. The Raiders tip off their 2022-23 season by playing at George School (Pa.) on November 30 and will then compete in the Peddie School Invitational Tournament from December 2-4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Sean Costello has taken the helm of the Hun School girls’ basketball team this winter, his players are embracing change.

“It has been great, they are doing awesome,” said Costello, the successor to Bill Holup, who guided the program for 23 seasons. “It is all new. It is new system, new process, new practices, new terminology. They have been super receptive with a lot of energy.”

Costello, who previously built the Shipley School (Pa.) girls’ hoops team into a formidable program, is bringing a lot of energy to the court as well.

 more

Members of the Tamasi Shell Steelers are all smiles after they defeated the DZS Clinical Cardinals 35-25 in the championship game of the Princeton Junior Football League (PJFL) Seniors division (ages 11-14) earlier this month. Pictured, from left, are Eli Salganik, Langsdon Hinds, Thomas Horner, Jack Maguire, coach Jesse Lerman, Koby Smith, EJ Edwards, Jaden Brown, Coach Matt Salganik, Ryan von Roemer, Judah Lerman, Levy Meier, coach Ezra Lerman, Miles Oakman, coach Jeffery Oakman, and Haley Oakman.

Members of the Petrone Associates Chiefs enjoy the moment after they topped the Woodwinds Bengals 28-18 in the championship game of the Princeton Junior Football League (PJFL) Juniors division (ages 8-10) earlier this month. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Jax Cherian, Nate Shackney, Sam Frole, Ethan Friedlich, Corrine Lesnik, Nathan Besler, and Jagger Kapoor. In the middle row, from left, are Noah Kusminsky, Luke Branagh, Christian Barr, Hudson Hanley, Jayden Morelli, and Alexander Shah. In the back row, from left, are coaches Jim Barr, Dan Hanley, and Jon Besler.

Town Topics Sports Editor Bill Alden has won two 2022 New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists (NJ-SPJ) Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Alden was awarded first place for the Best Sports Feature in the Garden State Division for his story, “PU Grad Student Snyder Headed to Tokyo Paralympics, Moving to Triathlon After Dominating Swimming Event,” published on August 25, 2021.

He earned second place in the same category for his story, “Espousing Values of Kindness, Always Doing Your Best, Beloved Coach DiGregorio Touched Countless Lives,” published on October 20, 2021.

November 23, 2022

Hamilton Jewelers on Nassau Street is just one of the many local businesses that are geared up and ready for the holiday season. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

With plans in coming weeks for an open house on the town’s efforts to rework its Master Plan, a discussion with industry leaders about the housing and climate crisis, and a forum on housing justice, this seems an especially opportune time for involvement in community issues.

It is also a time when Princeton is looking for residents to volunteer for its boards, commissions, and committees. Covering a wide range including environmental issues, human services, historic preservation, permit parking, public art selection, and public transit — among several others — these groups require a time commitment of 8 to 10 hours a month, and form what Princeton Councilman Leighton Newlin called “the backbone of municipal engagement and government.”

Other members of the governing body stress the importance of the “BCCs.”

“We have a diverse population in Princeton, one that we are very committed to preserving and expanding,” said Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros. “Having diverse representation on our boards, committees, and commissions is one way to assure we have truly representative government. Any community outreach initiatives that we undertake are much more successful if we have more resident involvement.”

Councilwoman Eve Niedergang said the town “benefits greatly from the input of a wide variety of residents with different viewpoints but a shared passion for making Princeton a great place to live and work.” Participation “gives our residents a front row seat in how key grassroots issues work their way up to policy-making, and to also understanding and advancing the community’s priorities.”

The open house devoted to updating the town’s Master Plan is Wednesday, November 30 at Princeton Public Library between 4 and 7 p.m. Members of the public can stop by during those hours to learn about the process, existing conditions, and highlights from recent public surveys. This is an opportunity to share suggestions and ideas on the future of the community. Visit engage.princetonmasterplan.org for more information. more

By Anne Levin

At its November 14 meeting, Princeton Council voted to approve a resolution authorizing a contract for solid waste and bulk waste collection, which goes into effect in the new year. But they held off on the bid for picking up organic waste, agreeing instead to look into less costly options.

Princeton’s Engineer and Deputy Administrator Deanna Stockton told Council that the town’s current provider, Interstate Waste Services, was the only company to respond to the staff’s request for proposal, or RFP. For organic waste, they proposed a system priced at about $1.1 million a year.

“That was too much,” Councilwoman Mia Sacks wrote in an email the day after the meeting. “So we’re looking into things like micro-haulers or community drop-off locations, and advocating for changes to state legislation that will make food waste disposal process more affordable and accessible to municipalities.”

Staff, members of Sustainable Princeton, and a liaison from the Princeton Environmental Commission worked with DeFeo Associates, which had previously reviewed the town’s leaf and brush collection, to come up with an option for solid and bulk waste. The goals, Stockton told Council, were controlling costs, which escalated during COVID-19; expanding the service to include organics; and reducing carbon emissions.

The sole bid came on October 19. Staff’s recommendation was to have solid and bulk waste collection only, with carts supplied by the contractor. Bulk waste is defined as trash too large to fit inside a cart, such as mattresses, desks, chairs, sofas, or other furniture. Residents can make reservations for bulk pick up on the town’s website, by email, or by phone. The link to make a reservation will go live on the website by February 1. more

GATHERING PLACE: The Rubenstein Commons at the Institute for Advanced Study has opened its doors, promoting contemplation, communication, and collaboration among Institute members and visitors. (Photo by Paul Warchol)

By Donald Gilpin

Described by Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) Director David Nirenberg as “a place whose beauty will stimulate contemplation and whose space will invite the dialogue necessary for questioning at its most profound,” the new Rubenstein Commons building has opened its doors for IAS members and visitors.

Made possible through a gift from businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, the building  is designed to have “a transformative impact on intellectual and communal life at IAS,” according to a November 15 IAS press release, and to provide “flexible gathering spaces to support enhanced communication and collaboration among scholars,” and “an inviting social hub for the wider IAS community.”

Noting the building’s “pools, roof gardens, and rooms dancing with light,” Nirenberg, who is a medievalist and intellectual historian and the Leon Levy Professor at IAS, stated, “With the opening of this forum for curiosity, discovery, and critique, we celebrate the Institute’s enduring commitment to the nourishment of the global collective intellect.”

The 17,175-square-foot building, designed by Steven Holl Architects, contains meeting rooms, an indoor/outdoor cafe, a living room, offices, and a gallery of campus history from Einstein to today. It is located near the Institute’s flagship Fuld Hall, where Einstein and others have thought, met, and exchanged ideas since the early days of the IAS’s 92-year history.  more

GOD BLESS US EVERY ONE: Back at McCarter Theatre after a three-year hiatus, a new production of “A Christmas Carol,” directed and adapted by Lauren Keating, opens December 7.

By Anne Levin

In a large rehearsal room at McCarter Theatre, reminders of past productions of A Christmas Carol are stashed on shelves and piled in corners.

There is the turkey (raw and cooked versions) that Ebenezer Scrooge has delivered to the Cratchit family on Christmas morning. Bob Cratchit’s ledger, with scrawls by numerous actors who have played the role, is there. So are the wrapped presents, baskets of food, Scrooge’s bed, and the sofa from his nephew Fred’s parlor, all awaiting the return of the beloved play based on Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel. After an absence of three years, A Christmas Carol opens at McCarter on Wednesday, December 7 and runs through December 24.

Adapted and directed by Lauren Keating, this version of A Christmas Carol respects much-loved past productions while taking on some new territory. A woman, actor Dee Pelletier, plays Scrooge (as a male character) for the first time. Keating’s additional casting pays particularly close attention to diversity, based on research she has done on London’s population during Dickens’ time. Scrooge’s journey through Christmas past, present, and future is still magical – but with some new emphases.

“We know people are coming for the spectacle, and the spectacle is there,” said Keating, who directed the play in the past at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. “But we want this to be story-driven. I think a trap it can fall into is not coming from a place of story. We’re trying to move people with the story as well as everything else.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Cecy Jimenez-Weeast

“LALDEF (Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund) is in its adolescent years right now,” said Executive Director Cecy Jimenez-Weeast in a Monday phone interview. “It’s got a lot of potential to grow.” 

And that growth is evident in all facets of the nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2004 to defend the civil rights of Latin Americans in the Mercer County area and to promote their access to health care and education. 

Jimenez-Weeast described her goal of continuing to expand LALDEF’s legal services and education programs throughout the county and to increase its presence in Princeton in particular. LALDEF’s embrace of the Latinas Unidas organization, announced on November 22, will help to enhance that growth.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Latinas Unidas program,” said Jimenez-Weeast. “Founded by our current Board President Sasa Olessi Montano 30 years ago, the goal of that program is the support of new immigrants in the area, to help women coming in to connect with other women, and to learn about available services. It is a support group for women and families. The mission of Latinas fits the mission of LALDEF.” 

Latinas Unidas was originally based in Trenton, then moved to the YWCA in Princeton in 2015. When it needed a home this year, Montano was eager to invite Latinas Unidas to join LALDEF. Before taking charge at LALDEF a year and a half ago, Jimenez-Weeast noted, she ran the Latinas Unidas program for 25 years. more

By Donald Gilpin

Brian Hughes

Brian M. Hughes, Mercer County executive since 2004, has announced that he will be seeking re-election in 2023 for a sixth term.

Speaking to a large gathering of supporters in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local #269 union hall in Lawrence Township on November 14, Hughes highlighted accomplishments under his leadership over the past 19 years and emphasized the need for progress on future projects.

“There are so many great things on the horizon for Mercer County, and that’s why I ask for your support,” he said.  Among the initiatives that he looks forward to overseeing in the coming years are the Trenton-Mercer Airport’s new terminal, the Dam Site 21 and Moore’s Station Quarry Park developments, and the installation of electric vehicle chargers throughout the county to keep up with demand. 

He talked about his administration’s accomplishments during the pandemic and the opening up of possibilities in the future. “We have all soldiered through the most serious and personal crisis of our time — a global pandemic,” he said. “I feel it has denied me two years to advance projects that have been on hold. But there are so many great things on the horizon for Mercer County. We are now past the depths of COVID, and with unemployment down and the business environment good, I want to see these through to fruition.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.

—Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989)

David Milch’s memoir Life’s Work  (Random House $28) is a tour de force pulled together against all odds; as a work of literary art it’s worthy of comparison with modern American classics like Frank Conroy’s Stop Time, Fred Exley’s A Fan’s Notes, Patti Smith’s Just Kids and M-Train, and Bob Dylan’s Chronicles. Potential readers, however, are met with a blurb in bold type presenting “a profound memoir from a brilliant mind taking stock as Alzheimer’s loosens his hold on his own past.” As if to make up for the pairing of a flat phrase like “taking stock” with the notion that Milch is losing his hold on his past, the jacket copy closes with a line that sings — “a revelatory memoir from a great American writer in what may be his final dispatch to us all.

The catch is that the great writer’s magnum opus was actually a rhetorically rich, fabulously profane American classic called Deadwood, which was not only written but spoken, staged, choreographed, and constructed with contributions from numerous others, only to be shut down after three seasons by HBO, which had once given Milch the game-changing freedom to take language where networks and sponsors usually fear to tread.

In Life’s Work, Milch describes how his thrust toward “ever more extreme varieties of language in their profanity or intricacy or strangeness” has been “to show, through the form of dialogue, the variety and ultimately the joy of the energy that’s given to us all as humans.” For Milch “the joy of the energy” drives both the story of his extraordinary life and his sweeping vision of community in a lawless American mining town in 1876. more

By Nancy Plum

A rare musical gem came to Princeton last week when McCarter Theatre presented an international touring choral/orchestral ensemble. The Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart is a foundation established in 1981 to research and perform the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and connect it to musical composition of today. Despite the focus on Bach, the organization has commissioned numerous works inspired by or rooted in the compositional style of the 18th-century master and has been recognized for its international collaboration. The Bachakademie houses the Gächinger Kantorei chorus and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart orchestra, and both of these ensembles came to McCarter Theatre Center’s Matthews Theater last Wednesday night to perform Bach’s monumental Mass in B minor. Conducted by Bachakademie Artistic Director Hans-Christoph Rademann, the concert presented a work which has challenged choral ensembles for more than 250 years. 

Bach’s responsibilities as cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig in the early 1700s required him to churn out service music at a seemingly unfathomable rate. In the last decade of his life, Bach began to expand a previously composed “Kyrie” and “Gloria” work into what became the Mass in B minor by adding a “Credo,” “Sanctus,” and “Agnus Dei” from music composed over a 25-year period. Bach completed the mass in 1749, but this work was not performed as a concert piece until the mid-1800s, more than a century after Bach’s death.

The Gächinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium performed the Mass in B minor drawing the soloists from the chorus, as would have been done in Bach’s time, and assigning some of the extended coloratura choral passages to solo concertists. Under Rademann’s direction, the performance brought together a clean and precise chorus and orchestra with four historically-informed and technically accurate vocal soloists.  more

BRASS AMONG FRIENDS: The all-female tenThing Brass Ensemble from Norway performs an eclectic concert at Richardson Auditorium on December 13 at 6 and 9 p.m. (Photo by Anna-Julia Granberg)

The all-female, 10-member tenThing Brass Ensemble, formed as a fun collaboration between friends, spearheaded by celebrated trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth, makes their Princeton University Concerts (PUC) debut Tuesday, December 13, at 6 and 9 p.m.

The hour-long holiday program explores the musical traditions of the winter season — from the fjords of Norway, 18th-century Germany, warm Italian Christmas and evergreen England, to the sounds of Ukrainian folk music, Czech fairy tales, and some contemporary American favorites in new arrangements.

As part of PUC’s Performances Up Close series, which brings audiences onstage alongside the musicians at Richardson Auditorium, the musicians will be stationed throughout the concert hall creating a surround-sound musical experience. This season’s Performances Up Close focus on “leading ladies” — a new generation of female musicians who are leading the charge as classical music performance takes new directions. Every detail of this concert — including seating configuration, a relaxed atmosphere, and audience interaction — is curated to foster as direct an experience of the music as possible.

Tickets are $10-$40. Visit puc.princeton.edu or call (609) 258-9220. more

UNEXPECTED RHYTHMS: STOMP uses everything but traditional percussion instruments to create intriguing sounds. The group holds “Stomp Out Hunger” food drives at its upcoming performances.

State Theatre New Jersey presents the international percussion sensation STOMP for three performances on Friday, December 2 at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, December 3 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$98. Ticket buyers can save 15 percent on tickets as part of the STOMP OUT HUNGER Food Drive.

State Theatre has partnered with REPLENISH to host the STOMP OUT HUNGER Food Drive. Patrons can drop off one or more of the much-needed canned or packaged goods from the list of requested items and receive 15 percent to a performance as a thank you. To receive the 15 percent off discount, patrons can use promo code STOMPHUNGER when placing their ticket orders. Patrons are asked to then bring drop-off food or supplies in bins that will be placed in the lobby when they attend the show.

For the list of requested items, visit STNJ.org/Event/STOMP.

REPLENISH provides nonperishable foods and necessities to a network of over 160 partner organizations throughout the 25 towns in Middlesex County to ensure that all residents always have access to nutritionally adequate food and necessities.  more

A POOH CHRISTMAS: Pooh, Piglet, Little Bunny, and the rest of the gang are on stage in the musical “A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail,” at Kelsey Theatre November 26 and 27. (Photo courtesy of Maurer Productions OnStage)

Kelsey Players and Maurer Productions OnStage have planned a special one-weekend-only run of the musical production “A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail” at Kelsey Theatre, on the campus of Mercer County Community College Saturday and Sunday, November 26 and 27 at 1 and 4 p.m.

Audience members are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for donation to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to children in need.

The tale begins when Christopher Robin and friends from the Hundred-Acre Wood share a story of a Christmas Eve a long time ago. Eeyore, the old gray donkey, who lives by himself in the thistle corner of the Hundred-Acre Wood, has lost his tail. All seems lost until Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet round up all their friends organize a search party. The show features songs and themes of caring, sharing, and the importance of friends.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children, students and senior citizens. Visit Kelseytheatre.org.

ON TOUR AND ON CAMPUS: The Mercer County Community College Jazz Band, directed by Scott Hornick, had its debut holiday concert of the season on November 16 at MarketFair on Route 1. It was the group’s first performance there since 2019. More free shows are scheduled for November and December.

The Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Jazz Band is performing free holiday favorites this season at local malls and on the campus at Kelsey Theatre. Additional concerts this season, at Kelsey Theatre, are by the MCCC music faculty and the MCCC Symphonic Band.

Directed by Scott Hornick, the jazz band — composed of 13 MCCC students, faculty, and special guests — will play works by Wayne Shorter, Erroll Garner, George and Ira Gershwin, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stevie Wonder, Kurt Weill, Ringo Sheena, and others. All selections feature improvisations by MCCC jazz students.

The jazz band performs Wednesday, November 30, 6-7:30 p.m. at Princeton MarketFair; and Wednesday, December 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Quaker Bridge Mall before a final concert on Wednesday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Kelsey Theatre, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor. That concert will also be available via livestreaming. more

WINTER ART CLASSES: More than 35 winter adult classes are offered at the Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster. In-person, hybrid, and virtual art classes and workshops are also offered for teens and children beginning January 17.

The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster is offering in-person, hybrid, and virtual art classes and workshops this winter for adults, teens, and children beginning January 17. Select classes will be offered in a hybrid or virtual format. Classes and workshops are offered for artists with all levels of expertise in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, watercolor, drawing, and ceramics.

There are more than 35 winter adult classes including Portrait Drawing, Watercolor Step-by-Step, The Power of Pastels, Morning Oil Landscape, Drawing from Life, Artist Studio: Your Choice, Evening Watercolor, Media Sampler, Chinese Brush Painting, and Evening Painting. Ceramics classes include Beginner Wheel Throwing, Wheel Throwing and Hand Building, and Advanced Ceramics. New classes this winter include Drawing in Colored Pencil, Combining Mediums, Art from the Start: Acrylic Painting, Digital Drawing, Photorealistic Drawing, and a Sculpture ceramics class.

Winter workshops offer students the opportunity to try something new. Workshops include Colored Pencil, Using Negative Space in Watercolor, Watercolor Trees, and Easter Pysanky Egg Dyeing. more

“PARIS”: This work by John Petach of Stockton is a sample of art to be found on the 28th Annual Covered Bridge Artisans Fall Studio Tour, a self-guided driving tour on November 25, 26, and 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The 28th Annual Covered Bridge Artisans Fall Studio Tour, a self-guided driving tour located in the Delaware River Valley of lower Hunterdon and Bucks counties, will be held on November 25, 26, and 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. It will take place in eight professional artists’ studios in the Lambertville, Stockton, Sergeantsville, an Solebury, Pa., areas with 14 additional artists at the Sergeantsville Firehouse Events Center.

The idea for the tour started with a group of six area artists 28 years ago. Each was a professional in their craft and worked in unique, rural, historic studio settings. This original concept of diverse, high-quality craft displayed in interesting environments along a pleasant scenic driving route continues to make the Covered Bridge Artisan Tour a popular event. Visiting artists in their studios and at the group venue offers the public a behind-the-scenes opportunity to see working studios, and provides a firsthand understanding of the inspirations and techniques that go into each work of art. more

“DUET”: This 1987 work by Hughie Lee Smith is part of “Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists,” on view through December 3 at the Arts Council of Princeton. A free panel discussion held in conjunction with the exhibition is on November 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Art on Hulfish, Palmer Square.

The Arts Council of Princeton will host a discussion on oral history and its significance to local race, art, and history on Wednesday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Art on Hulfish, Palmer Square.

The event, “Restoring the Overlooked History of Black Artists and Writers in Princeton and Trenton in the late 20th Century,” will feature panelists Shirley Satterfield, founder of the Witherspoon-Jackson Cultural and Historical Society; Lawrence Hilton, collector of African American art and longtime member of the Trenton art and music community; Stephanie Schwartz, curator of collections and research, Historical Society of Princeton; Margaret O’Reilly, director, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; and Aubrey Kauffman, Trenton artist/photographer and former president, Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA).

This panel, free and open to the public, is held in conjunction with the Arts Council’s exhibition, “Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists,” on view through December 3.

Exhibition curators Rhinold L. Ponder and Judith K. Brodsky will moderate. The presentation will include video clips of interviews with Wendell T. Brooks and other artists, collectors, and community members.

For more information, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org.

“THE FOULANI FLUTE PLAYER”: This work by Ibou Ndoye is part of “Leboone Lipone,” on view at the Silvia Gallery of Art at The Pennington School through January 10.

The Silva Gallery of Art at The Pennington School presents “Leboone Lipone,” an exhibition of paintings by Ibou Ndoye, through January 10.

Born in Dakar, Senegal, Ndoye has combined modernism and traditionalism to create a style unique to himself. Ndoye grew up as the oldest child in a family of four boys in the suburbs of Dakar. His mother made her living as a dressmaker while his grandmother worked as a tie-dye artist. Regularly surrounded by colorful African textiles and fabrics, Ndoye says he “socialized with art and cohabited with colors” from a very young age.

“The mediums I use to create my paintings resonate with the stories; that is the reason why I paint on glass windows, carpets, canvases, and whatever the environment provides, Ndoye said. “Patterns, forms, motifs, lines, signs, colors, and scraps of fabric are part of the visual language that enables me to articulate the stories of the voiceless.” more

ORANGE CRUSHED: Princeton University linebacker Liam Johnson races upfield as he made a 92-yard touchdown return of a fumble recovery to give Princeton a 19-7 lead over Penn last Saturday in its season finale. Johnson’s heroics went to naught as the Quakers rallied for a 20-19 win, dashing Princeton’s hopes for a share of the Ivy League title with Yale, which edged Harvard 19-14 earlier in the day. The Tigers ended the fall at 8-2 overall and 5-2 Ivy. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Princeton University linebacker Liam Johnson raced 92 yards down the sideline with a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the third quarter against visiting Penn last Saturday, it felt like a championship moment.

Johnson’s jaunt gave Princeton a 19-7 lead in the season finale with the Tigers needing a win to clinch a share of the Ivy League title with Yale, which edged Harvard 19-14 earlier in the day.

“It comes down to little things; running to the ball, we put our namesake on that,” said junior star Johnson. “Princeton defense runs to the ball, I was just the right man in the spot.”

But over the rest of the game, it was Penn who did the little things, rallying to a 20-19 win as it scored a TD with five seconds left to dash Princeton’s title hopes before a crowd of 6,028 at Princeton Stadium.

The outcome on Saturday left both Princeton and Penn at 8-2 overall and 5-2 Ivy with Yale earning the league crown outright as it ended up 8-2 overall and 6-1 Ivy.

“We lost the big play battle and that is what it comes down to,” said Johnson, who made 11 tackles in the defeat. “You can win the whole game but a blocked punt, an interception, letting down on those fourth downs for us on the defense. It comes down to those big plays. When you don’t win those big plays, you lose the game.” more

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Princeton University men’s water polo head coach Dustin Litvak (kneeling) makes a point to his players earlier this fall. Last Sunday, No. 8, Princeton defeated No. 18 St. Francis Brooklyn 13-8 in the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) championship game. The Tigers, now 26-5, will host Fordham on November 26 in the NCAA Opening Round Game 1. The victor will then face Southern California on December 1 in Berkeley, Calif., in the NCAA Opening Round Game 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

The Princeton University men’s water polo team pulled off a historic repeat, but there are bigger goals ahead.

Last Sunday, No. 8 Princeton captured the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) championship with a 13-8 win over No. 18 St. Francis Brooklyn in Providence, R.I. to repeat as conference winners for the first time in program history. The Tigers will open the NCAA tournament play by hosting Fordham in Opening Round Game 1 on Saturday at DeNunzio Pool. The winner will play Southern California on December 1 in Berkeley, Calif., in the NCAA Opening Round Game 2.

The trip to the NCAAs gives the Tigers, now 26-5, a chance to add to their 12-game winning streak that includes a win over once-No. 1 Stanford.

“The biggest thing for us is going to be staying healthy and staying hungry and understanding we have a great opportunity not just to win the conference this year but do something that’s never been done before and compete for a national championship,” said Princeton head coach Dustin Litvak. “That’s really motivating the guys.”

Princeton started the weekend with a 12-7 NWPC semifinal win over host Brown on Saturday followed by the strong performance in the title game against St. Francis.

In the final, Princeton jumped out to a 3-0 first quarter lead on goals by Ryan Neapole, Roko Pozaric and Yurian Quinones. Neapole scored another goal to start the second quarter, and the Tigers used strong goalkeeping from Antonio Knez to sustain their lead while getting goals any time St. Francis started to whittle away at Princeton’s advantage. Vladan Mitrovic, Joan Coloma, George Caras, and Keller Maloney also scored in a balanced attack.

“We knew if we played to our ability, we’d have a really good shot,” said Litvak. “I think we have a really deep team this year and that enabled us to rotate a lot of players in and out of games. And we only had to play two games this weekend instead of some teams having to play three. We’re just a little deeper than St. Francis. I think that paid off in the end. We expected to play well. We’re really happy for the guys that they were able to get it done and keep playing.” more

HEADING HOME: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan drives to the basket in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star Evbuomwan tallied 11 points with six rebounds and five assists to help Princeton defeat Marist 62-55. Evbuomwan, a native of Newcastle, England, is heading home this week as the Tigers, now 2-2, will be competing in the London Basketball Classic. The Tigers will face Army on November 24 in the opener of the tournament with the victor advancing to the final against either Northeastern or Manhattan on November 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While millions of Americans will be headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, the Princeton University men’s basketball team is jetting across the Atlantic Ocean to play in the London Basketball Classic.

After falling to Hofstra (83-77 on November 7) and Navy (74-73 on November 11) to start the season, Princeton will be bringing a two-game winning streak into its battle of Britain, having topped UMBC and then topping Marist 62-55 last Saturday.

Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson likes where his team is at as it goes across the pond to an event which will see it face Army on November 24 in the opener with the victor advancing to the final against either Northeastern or Manhattan on November 26.

“We played really well, we needed a game where we came unstuck on making some shots,” said Henderson, referring to the win over UMBC which saw Princeton shoot 57.8 percent from the floor (37-64) and 63.2 percent from the three-point line (12-19). “We guarded well, that is where we made the difference. We did the same thing on Saturday, we were able to guard. We didn’t play great on Saturday, that is a tough one on the road. John Dunne is a terrific coach. Those are really good wins.”

Princeton sorely needed those wins after the setbacks to Hofstra and Navy. more