August 10, 2022

GOLDEN GIRL: Former Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers displays the gold medal and MVP trophy she earned after helping the U.S. open female team to victory at the  Maccabiah Games in Israel. Meyers posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the gold medal game in an 88-55 win over Israel and averaged 18.4 points a game at the tournament. Star guard Meyers, the Ivy Player of the Year in her senior season last winter, will be playing for the University of Maryland in the 2022-23 campaign as a graduate transfer.

By Justin Feil

Abby Meyers passed up the chance to play in the Maccabiah Games in 2017 in order to prepare to start her career for the Princeton University women’s basketball team.

Now at the tail end of her college career, Meyers made the most of another opportunity to compete in the Maccabiah Games this summer as she joined the United States open female team for the event. Meyers averaged 18.4 points per game and was named Most Valuable Player while leading the U.S. open women’s team to the gold medal at the Maccabiah Games.

“Just coming back and showing my family the medal, showing my grandmother the MVP trophy, it definitely is a very special thing to win gold representing Team USA and bring back the hardware,” said Meyers, a 6’0 guard who hails from Potomac, Md.

“What I learned going to Israel in the first place though was I thought it was going to be all about basketball and winning that gold medal. It’s an important part, but ultimately it was a small part of the overall experience.”

Meyers had not played overseas before competing in the Maccabiah Games and she had not yet visited Israel. The chance to combine the two made for a remarkable experience.

“What I most valued from it was getting to meet other Jewish athletes from all over the world, going to the Dead Sea, going to the Yad Vashem, which is the Holocaust Memorial site, and taking the whole experience in,” said Meyers of the competition which brings together 10,000 athletes from 85 countries taking part in 45 sports. “And I still happened to play basketball. It was awesome.” more

WORLD STAGE: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Marge Donovan races upfield against Yale in a game this spring during her senior season. Star defender Donovan has enjoyed an eventful few months. She capped her final Princeton campaign by getting named as the Ivy League Defender of the Year, the Most Outstanding Player in the Ivy postseason tournament, and as a third-team IWLCA All-American. In mid-July, Donovan helped the U.S. women’s team earn a silver medal in the inaugural World Sixes tournament at the World Games in Birmingham, Ala. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last few months, Marge Donovan has reached new heights in her lacrosse career.

This spring, Donovan produced a superb senior season for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team, getting named as the Ivy League Defender of the Year, the Most Outstanding Player in the Ivy postseason tournament, and as a third-team Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-American. Along the way, Donovan set a program single-season record in draw controls (112) and a career record in draw controls with 214.

Donovan’s heroics helped Princeton go 7-0 in Ivy play, win the league postseason tournament, and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament on the way to a 15-4 record.

In July, Donovan, a native of Catonsville, Md., competed for the U.S. team in the inaugural World Sixes tournament at the World Games in Birmingham, Ala. The athletic, rangy 5’10 Donovan helped the U.S. earn a silver medal at the competition.

In reflecting on her lacrosse whirlwind, Donovan credited her Princeton experience with laying the groundwork for her to excel on the world stage.

“I would say I owe much of who I am as a person and a lacrosse player to that program,” said Donovan. “I grew a lot. It is just a fantastic program. You have a coaching staff of Chris [Sailer], Jenn [Cook], and Kerrin [Maurer] that cares about you. Of course they care about your performance on the field but what drives the coaching is that they are culture coaches. When you have people that are genuinely invested in you, you can grow on and off the field. You feel supported.” more

PIPING UP: Community Park Bluefish swimmer Piper Dubow displays her butterfly form in a meet this summer. Dubow helped the Bluefish take first in Division 1 at the Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet in late July. Dubow was named the 18-and-under girls MVP at the PASDA meet, taking first in both the 50-yard breaststroke and 100 individual medley. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was a record-breaking summer on many levels for the Community Park Bluefish swimming team.

First, the venerable program, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, drew 280 swimmers and 60 divers for its 2022 campaign.

“That is the most we have ever had, it blew away the most we had before,” said Bluefish co-head coach Mike Uchrin. “This is our first year back to normal season, 2021 was a transition. We weren’t really sure what to expect this year. As the year went along, I was talking to Kelsey (co-head coach Kelsey Schwimmer), saying these are really big numbers. A lot of families in the post-COVID times wanted to get their kids back into the water and back into a sport where they will have fun. It worked out great.”

Featuring such depth, the Bluefish went 5-0 in dual meet competition in Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) Division 1 action and then dominated the PASDA championship meet in late July, taking first in Division 1 with 4,441 points, well ahead of runner-up Hopewell Valley, which had 1,999.

“It is the most points we have ever had at the championships, we had the most PASDA MVPs (six) we have ever had,” said Uchrin, whose team has been undefeated since 2015 and hosted the PASDA championship meet. “We had multiple PASDA league records that we set. It wasn’t just our collective performance but we had a lot of great individual performances.”

While proud of the team’s achievements, Uchrin is more focused on making sure that the swimmers have a great time.

“It is not about the wins and losses, it is about the fun,” said Uchrin, noting that Friday practices are devoted to playing sharks and minnows and water polo rather than grinding out laps. more

STRONG FOUNDATION: Majeski Foundation’s Jason Larranaga looks to make a pass in a June game in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Friday, Larranaga scored a game-high 16 points to help ninth-seeded Majeski defeat third-seeded Athlete Engineering Institute 45-43 in overtime at the Community Park courts in game three of the league’s best-of-three championship series. Larranaga was named as the Foreal Wooten Playoff MVP. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Majeski Foundation trailing Athlete Engineering Institute 22-10 late in the first half last Friday night at the Community Park courts in the finale of best-of-three championship series of the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League, it was on the ropes.

But displaying the resilience that fueled ninth-seeded Majeski’s unlikely run to the finals, it started to fight back, narrowing the gap to 26-18 at halftime and pulling ahead 29-28 five minutes into the second half.

“We started to make a little progress at the end of the first half,” said Majeski star and team manager Jason Larranaga. “We came in at halftime and kept emphasizing the same things. We have got to get through this. When we started to make our run, we started believing in ourselves a little more. It was all about keep it going and upping the intensity more and more.”

The fierce battle got more intense as the second half unfolded with the foes were knotted at 43-43 at the end of regulation.

The Majeski squad, which is comprised of players from The College of New Jersey’s men’s hoops team, felt it had momentum heading into overtime.

“By the end, we had the second wind and the pressure was on them,” said Larranaga of the squad which had fought off pressure to get to game three, dropping the opener of the title series 50-41 on August 1 before topping AEI 45-36 last Wednesday in game two to stay alive in the series.

“We came out energized and ready to go. They are a good team for sure, they play really hard. Those guys are strong too, they are grown men.”

Both squads played hard defense in the extra session with the score remaining at 43-43 until Larranaga got loose on the baseline and dropped in a lay-up which proved to be the margin of victory in a 45-43 triumph. more

DAN THE MAN: Danny Bodine of Majeski Foundation unloads the ball in recent action in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Wednesday, Bodine scored a game-high 14 points to help ninth-seeded Majeski defeat third-seeded Athlete Engineering Institute 45-36 at the Community Park courts as it evened the best-of-three championship series at 1-1. Two days later, Majeski edged AEI 45-43 in overtime in game three to earn the title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hampered by a sore arm, Danny Bodine was sidelined for a couple of playoff games in late July as Majeski Foundation advanced to the best-of-three championship series in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

But with ninth-seeded Majeski, which is comprised of players from the The College of New Jersey’s men’s hoops team, having lost 50-41 to third-seeded Athlete Engineering Institute in game one of the series on August 1, Bodine wasn’t about to sit out game three on Wednesday night at the Community Park courts with his team on the brink of elimination.

“It is a win or go home situation, that is all the motivation you need,” said Bodine, a 6’9, 190-pound native of Langhorne who was second on TCNJ in scoring (12.1) last winter and first in rebounding (7.3). “You just come out and punch them in the mouth early and keep that lead the whole time.”

Shrugging off the pain from his sprained elbow, Bodine delivered some blows to AEI, tallying a game-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers as Majeski pulled out a 45-36 victory to stay alive in the series.

“Our team was moving the ball, it was our team getting good looks for us,” said Bodine, reflecting on his performance. “I am confident in anyone shooting and they are confident in me shooting. Whatever shot we can get, I will take it.”

Playing with their backs to the wall, Majeski produced a stifling defensive effort, building a 24-15 lead at halftime. more

August 3, 2022

SIX SHOOTER: Zach Currier heads upfield against Yale in 2017 during his senior season for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team. Star midfielder Currier helped Canada take gold last month at the World Lacrosse Sixes tournament at The World Games in Birmingham, Ala. Currier tallied five goals in the gold medal final as Canada defeated the U.S. 23-9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Zach Currier has been adding lacrosse titles each year since graduating from Princeton University in 2017.

Indoor. Outdoor. Major League Lacrosse. National Lacrosse League. And the Mann Cup for senior men’s box lacrosse in Canada.

Last month, the former All-America midfielder for the Tiger men’s lacrosse program added another championship in the newest version of the sport. Currier scored five goals to pace Canada to a 23-9 win over the United States, which included former Princeton star Tom Schreiber ’14, in the gold medal game of the inaugural World Lacrosse Sixes at The World Games in Birmingham, Ala., on July 12.

“I was pretty happy with the win,” said Currier, a native of Peterborough, Ontario. “I know it’s been perceived as a bit of a funky format for most native lacrosse fans, but I also think at the same time it’s the way that the Olympic committee thought we had to go to make the game more acceptable to the countries that it might not be more common on.”

The Sixes discipline was created to interest Olympic organizers by modifying the traditional game of lacrosse. Sixes is played on a smaller field, six-on-six, with a shorter shot clock and modification designed to speed up the pace of play. World Lacrosse would like to see the Sixes version in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“It was cool to be in the first event and be a part of Team Canada,” said Currier. “Hopefully in 50 years when this is in the Olympics, people can look back and see my name on that roster and that would be a pretty cool thing.”

Currier’s name on a championship roster is nothing new. His name has become a significant force in the sport that he is deeply entrenched in from a variety of angles. He is working on a new collective bargaining agreement as president of the NLL Players Association, a position he has held since 2020. When he isn’t playing, that job takes up a lot of his time and energy. He also still works in product design for Warrior Lacrosse. And he works at building his skills and developing his game with no plans of exiting the game any time soon. more

SO READY: Sophia Lis, right, controls the ball in action last fall during her senior season for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team. This week, Lis will be starting preseason practice for the Lehigh University women’s soccer team as she gets ready to make her college debut. Over the summer, Lis played for Real Central New Jersey of the Women’s Premier Soccer League and helped the club advance to the league’s Eastern Conference semifinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sophia Lis reached new heights last fall in her senior season for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team, scoring a program-record 38 goals as the Tigers went 21-3 and advanced to the state Group 3 final for the first time.

In reflecting on her dream season, Lis credited her teammates with helping to inspire her heroics.

“It is all about the positive team environment around you, just knowing that everyone on the team was doing the best they can, preventing goals,” said Lis, whose goal output marked the second highest single-season total in CVC history behind the 65 scored by Steinert’s Lisa Gmitter in 1982.

“Watching our defenders work so hard, it motivated me to try and take leadership, knowing that all we needed to win the game could be one goal. I tried to have that in mind, that all it takes is one goal and have the confidence that it can be the game changer, I knew I had a good support system behind me.”

The week, Lis will be taking her game to higher level as she starts preseason practice for the Lehigh University women’s soccer team.

“I hope I can fit in and play a good amount and just have fun with the team,” said Lis, who will be hitting the field for the Mountain Hawks on August 6. “A lot of my club team friends are committed to go to other Patriot League teams and I am excited to play against them and the whole environment. I am getting more excited as I get close to the season. I was nervous when I first received the 60-page fitness packet from the coaches. I was like, these girls are going to be so much stronger than me and so much faster. I have been practicing what I am supposed to know.”

Over the summer, Lis joined the Real Central New Jersey team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League to help her get up to speed for the challenges of college soccer. more

HIGH CAL: Cal Caputo, right, heads to goal this spring for the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. Former Princeton Day School star attacker Caputo tallied 40 points on 36 goals and four assists in his debut campaign for the Ephs. (Photo provided courtesy of Williams College Athletics)

By Bill Alden

For Cal Caputo, making his debut for the Williams College men’s lacrosse team in early March proved to be worth the wait.

After his senior season for the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team in 2020 was canceled due the pandemic and he was at home for his freshman spring semester at Williams studying remotely, Caputo didn’t wait to make an impact as he hit the field against Trinity College on March 5 for his first taste of college game action.

The 5’8, 150-pound sophomore attacker tallied two goals in the first half and ended up with a hat trick as Williams prevailed 9-5.

“It was awesome, I was really nervous,” said Caputo. “It had been two years since I had played a game, it really meant something for me. I was shaking. I think I had to get hit once and settle in and see one go in. I got a few that game which was good. At the end of the day, you can never really complain about a hat trick, but it is one of those games where I could have had another two or three goals.”

Caputo’s performance in the opener proved to be a harbinger of things to come this spring as he ended up tallying 40 points on a team-high 36 goals and four assists.

“I think the speed and physicality stand out to anyone, but I also think the level of how players are scouted and how teams prepare,” said Caputo, reflecting on the transition to college lacrosse.

“In high school, I feel like I could score a million goals with Coby (former PDS teammate and current Christopher Newport star Coby Auslander) dodging and someone sliding off and there being no two slides. But college teams figure out pretty quickly what you are good at on offense. They spend all week preparing on how to shut you down and how to take away your strengths. After that first game, it was pretty obvious that I was a catch and shoot guy in the crease and you have to have a two slide ready to go. There aren’t any easy goals at the college level.” more

JUSTIN TIME: Justin Kovacevich of Athlete Engineering Institute goes up for a shot last week in playoff action in the Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Monday, Kovacevich tallied a game-high 20 points to help third-seeded AEI defeat ninth-seeded Majeski Foundation 50-41 in the first game of the league’s best-of-three championship series. Game two is scheduled for August 3 at the Community Park courts with game three, if necessary, slated for August 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Athletic Engineering Institute advanced to the best-of-three championship series in the Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League this year, Jalen Parham has sparked the squad.

Former Hillsborough High and Montclair State standout Parham led the league in scoring at 20.6 points per game and was named as the regular season MVP.

But when third-seeded AEI hit the Community Park courts last Monday night to face ninth-seeded Majeski Foundation in game one of the title series, Parham was missing, away on vacation.

While AEI’s Justin Kovacevich acknowledged that not having Parham on court was a challenge, he and his teammates were unfazed.

“He has definitely been carrying the scoring load for us throughout the season, but we knew we could step up and move the ball around,” said Kovacevich of Parham. “Everybody played their part tonight.” more

July 27, 2022

HEADING FORWARD: Michael Sowers heads to goal in a 2020 game during his senior season with the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team. Star attackman Sowers, who ended his Princeton career as the program leader in points (302) and assists (181), is currently making an impact on the next level for the Waterdogs of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). After being sidelined last summer in his rookie season due to a head injury, Sowers has tallied 18 points on 11 goals and seven assists to help the Waterdog go 3-3. He played in the PLL All-Star game on July 16, tallying three goals to help Team Baptiste rout Team Farrell 33-13 in the contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Michael Sowers may be two years removed from ending his Princeton University career and is technically a second-year pro, but he feels like a rookie in the Professional Lacrosse League (PLL).

His debut season in the PLL for the Waterdogs in 2021 was limited by a head injury to two games last year, but he has rebounded this summer to help the club start 3-3. Earlier this month, Sowers played in the PLL All-Star game, tallying three goals to help Team Baptiste rout Team Farrell 33-13 in the contest. Capping the day, the shifty, acrobatic 5’9, 165-pound Sowers won the freestyle competition in the All-Star Skills contest.

For Sowers, getting the chance to participate in the All-Star weekend in Boston on July 16 had a special meaning after his abbreviated 2021 campaign.

“In college, when the PLL first got going, watching the all-star game, it just always was a super cool event,” said star attackman Sowers, who ended his Princeton career as the program leader in points (302) and assists (181). “It’s definitely a cool honor to be a part of it.”

Sowers accrued 15 points on eight goals and seven assists in his first four games this season to earn the All-Star selection. After scoring three goals to help the Waterdogs edge the Chrome 11-10 last Sunday, Sowers now has 18 points on 11 goals and seven assists. The second pick in the 2021 draft after finishing his college career at Duke as a graduate transfer, Sowers has fit in well in the PLL. more

AIMING HIGH: Ben Amon delivers a pitch this spring in his junior season for The College of New Jersey baseball team. Former Princeton High standout Amon emerged as the ace this year for TCNJ, going 4-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 61 innings. Amon earned All-NJAC Second Team honors and was also named as Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Region Team and D3baseball.com All-Region performer. (Photo provided courtesy of The College of New Jersey Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Ben Amon began his sophomore season with The College of New Jersey baseball team in 2021 as a relief pitcher, but injuries thrust him into the starting rotation.

“We had two of our top starting pitchers get hurt, they both had shoulder and arm injuries,” said former Princeton High standout Amon. “I was thrown into that first game on Saturday role — that helped me take a big step. I got very used to coming out and facing the ace.”

After going 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA and 37 strikeouts on 44 1/3 innings over the rest of that season, Amon emerged as the ace for the Lions in 2022. The lanky 6’5, 170-pound right-hander posted a 4-4 record with a 2.51 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 61 innings. more

RECORD PACE: Coby Auslander, left, races upfield in a game this spring in his junior season for the Christopher Newport University men’s lacrosse team. Former Princeton Day School star Auslander produced a historic campaign for the Captains, setting a program single-season record for assists with 46. Midfielder Auslander, who also scored 30 goals, earned first-team United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American recognition, among other honors, as CNU went 18-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. (Photo provided courtesy of Christopher Newport University Athletics)

By Bill Alden

After the Christopher Newport University men’s lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2021 for the first time in program history, Coby Auslander and his teammates were primed for a return trip to the national semis this spring.

“There was just a completely different mindset in fall ball,” said former Princeton Day School standout midfielder Auslander. “I think over the summer a lot of guys were just absolute freaks and just took their game to a completely different level. We knew we had the culture and the teammate vibe where everybody was already close-knit. We just needed to take our skills to a different level and I think we did that in the fall.”

This spring, junior Auslander and the Captains took things to a higher level, going 16-0 in regular season play and rising to No. 1 in the D-III national polls. Cementing his status as one of the top playmakers in the country, Auslander set a program single-season record for assists with 46.

The squad had four players earn United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American honors, including Auslander, who was a first-team selection.

But CNU fell short of its ultimate goal as it lost 10-9 in overtime to York College in the NCAA D-III quarterfinals, ending the spring with an 18-2 record. more

INSIDE PRESENCE: Ethan Garita heads to the hoop during his career for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team. Last Monday, Garita, who played last winter for the Lincoln University men’s hoops program, tallied 20 points to help fifth-seeded Jefferson Plumbing defeat fourth-seeded Planet Fitness 50-38 in the quarterfinals of the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League playoffs. In other playoff action on Monday, seventh-seeded Princeton Supply defeated PATH Academy 75-56 and ninth-seeded Majeski Foundation topped eighth-seeded Market on Main 45-26 in first round contests. In quarterfinal action on Wednesday at the Community Park courts, top-seeded and three-time defending champion LoyalTees will face Majeski while third-seeded Athlete Engineering Institute will play sixth-seeded Pizza Den and second-seeded Homestead will take on Princeton Supply. The semis are slated for July 29 with game one of the best-of-three championships series scheduled for August 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ethan Garita put his nose to the grindstone last winter in order to make an impact in his freshman season for the Lincoln University men’s basketball program.

“It is a different experience, going against great competition, going against grown men,” said former Princeton Day School standout Garita, a 6’9, 200-pound forward, who averaged 1.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 23 games last winter for the Division II program. “I had to work for it, gradually I got better. I got more playing time, putting in the work in practice and the gym and it showed. It was a great season.”

Garita’s transition was aided by having some familiar faces on the squad, including former Princeton High star Zahrion Blue, fellow PDS player Freddy Young Jr., and former Trenton Catholic standout Peter Sorber.

“It is a great fit, great chemistry,” said Garita. “It is good to have some of the guys back from home.”

This summer, Garita had found a good fit, joining the Jefferson Plumbing team in his first season playing in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. more

July 20, 2022

HOMPE DAY: Former Princeton University women’s lacrosse star Olivia Hompe ’17 celebrates after scoring the winning goal to give England an 8-7 victory over Australia in triple overtime of the bronze medal game at the Women’s World Championship earlier this month. Hompe, who ripped a free position shot on the winning tally, scored 29 points on 21 goals and eight assists in the tournament. It was the second bronze for Hompe at the Worlds as she helped England take third in the 2017 tourney. (Photo by England Lacrosse, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Olivia Hompe will take some time to finalize her future, but she may have played her last lacrosse game.

If so, the 2017 Princeton University graduate did so memorably. Star attacker Hompe ripped a free position shot to give England an 8-7 win over Australia in triple overtime of the bronze medal game at the Women’s World Championship on July 10.

“It would be a great way to go out even having fallen short of silver,” said Hompe, a native of New Canaan, Conn., who holds a British passport because her mother is a citizen of England.

“I’m really proud of the team and how we rallied in that game and persevered throughout the whole tournament and through a mix of adversity. I think we really rose to the occasion on the final day. It would be a pretty great last shot in my career.”

Hompe finished with four goals and an assist in England’s third-place game. Hompe was among the championship’s leading scorers with 29 points on 21 goals and eight assists in eight games. She, Aurora Cordingley and goalie Brittany Read were the lone members of England to be named to the All-World Team. Hompe also played for England when it won bronze in 2017, but this year’s version was a much improved group that gave Canada an 11-9 challenge in the championship semifinals. It was a sign of the team’s growth in five years. more

POWER SURGE: Luke Franzoni follows through on a swing this spring for the Xavier University baseball team. Former Princeton Day School standout Franzoni enjoyed a huge season for Xavier, batting .385 with school single-season record in homers (29) and RBIs (78). He was named the BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year and earned American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-America Third Team honors as the Musketeers went 33-27 and advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament. (Photo provided courtesy of Xavier Athletics)

By Bill Alden

When the pandemic halted the sports world in March 2020, Luke Franzoni headed home from the Xavier University baseball team and went to work.

Along with his older brother Paul, a star catcher for NJIT, and younger brother Ian, a Brown University running back, they turned their garage in Robbinsville into a weight room.

“We wanted to take it upon ourselves to just get stronger,” said Franzoni. “A bunch of our friends just donated any gym equipment that we had into our garage and everyone would come every day. It was a lot of lifting and lot of eating. Kudos to my parents for feeding all of us. They were probably only used to feeding Ian, who was the only one home at that point. For the summer they had me and Paul and the other guys, it was like feeding an entire village.”

That work paid off as Franzoni packed on 20-25 pounds of muscle, going from 185 pounds to around 205, and enjoyed a superb 2021 junior season, batting .279 with nine homers and 28 RBIs as Xavier went 28-26 and lost to UConn in the BIG EAST tournament final.

“It was great to get a full season, we made a good run,” said Franzoni. “We were pretty young at that point. That year was a really good step in the right direction because a lot of guys matured.”

Coming into the 2022 season, Franzoni followed a similar formula last fall along with his teammates.

“Our coaches were really big in the fall, trying to get our entire team really strong,” said Franzoni. “We lifted like five days a week in the fall, they did a really good job. It was after we lost to UConn in the BIG EAST tournament our junior year where our coach said it was clear that they were a more physical team. They were bigger than us and that could contribute to why we lost. So that was a main focus.” more

SHO TIME: Shoshi Henderson heads upfield in game this spring in her freshman season for the Pomona-Pitzer College women’s lacrosse team. Former Princeton High star Henderson came up big for the Sagehens in her debut campaign, tallying 132 points on 42 goals and 90 assists to help Pomona-Pitzer go 18-1 and advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2022 NCAA Division III Tournament. In the process, Henderson broke the Sagehens’ single-season record for points and assists and broke the NCAA Division III record for assists in a season. (Photo provided by Pomona-Pitzer College Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Shoshi Henderson wasn’t sure how much she would contribute in her freshman season this spring with the Pomona-Pitzer College women’s lacrosse team.

“My goal was to be on the field, I wanted some playing time,” said Henderson, a former Princeton High standout. “I wanted to fit in, I wanted to make a difference.”

Henderson didn’t waste any time making a difference, tallying two goals in the first 2:11 of the season opener against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) on February 23, ending up with three goals and seven assists on the day as the Sagehens prevailed 15-7.

“I was, this is my first college game, that is kind of crazy,” said 5’7 attacker Henderson. “I am pretty nervous about this, I am starting. All I want to do is just help in any way I can. I had two fast break goals right off the bat which is so fun. I had a hat trick in the first quarter. I was in shock. That game opened my eyes, like wow this could be a really good season, not only for me personally but for the team. We crushed CMS, which is unheard of.”

It turned out to be a great season for both Henderson and the Sagehens as she tallied 132 points on 42 goals and 90 assists, helping the team go 18-1 and advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2022 NCAA Division III Tournament. In the process, Henderson broke the Sagehens’ single-season record for points and assists and broke the NCAA Division III record for assists in a season.

While Pomona-Pitzer kept rolling after the opener, it wasn’t always a smooth ride.

“We definitely had some ups and downs, we had a couple of injuries,” said Henderson. “I was the only attacker who never missed a game with injury so we had a lot of different players filling in spots all over the field. We had so much depth that it never really mattered too, too much. We definitely gained confidence.”

For Henderson, a key confidence builder came when she tallied four goals and four assists in a 19-4 win at Colorado College in early March.  more

HISTORIC DISTRICT: Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball player Jaxon Petrone hits the ball in recent action. Last Sunday, recent Princeton High grad Petrone got two hits, including a homer, in a losing cause as Post 218 lost 5-3 to Washington Township Post 521 in an elimination game at the N.J. District 4 tournament at West Deptford. It makes the first-ever appearance in District play for Post 218, which finished the summer with an 8-12 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team looking to make its first-ever trip to the New Jersey District tournament, it wanted to clinch a spot by beating Allentown last week rather than relying on help from other teams.

Allentown, though, posed a formidable obstacle to Post 218’s plan as it had already clinched a share of the Mercer County American Legion League (MCALL) regular season title.

Undaunted, a scrappy Post 218 team jumped out to an 11-2 lead over Allentown and held on for an 11-9 win to punch its ticket to the Districts.

“It was huge, at the time they were 14-3,” said Post 218 manager Benito Gonzalez. “We played them well the first time, it was Rohan [Sheth] starting in that game too. It was the fifth inning that was the issue the first time. The second time around was probably the best overall offensive effort that we put up the whole year.”

The victory epitomized the resilience that Post 218 displayed as it battled down the stretch.

“Our last four, five games we responded by winning a bunch of ones that we had to,” said Gonzalez. “We knew when we won against Allentown, we clinched it. We said guys, congratulations, you didn’t not let it go to fate.” more

YOUNG AT HEART: Freddy Young Jr., right, unloads the ball for Homestead in recent action in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Monday night, Young, a former Princeton Day School and Trenton Catholic standout, tallied 12 points to help Homestead edge Athlete Engineering Institute 69-68 as it improved to 6-2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Freddy Young Jr. was primed to make his debut for the Lincoln University men’s basketball team this past winter, but he was stopped in his tracks before he even played a game.

“I hurt my foot in the first scrimmage,” said Young, a former Princeton Day School and Trenton Catholic standout guard. “I was running through a play and I happened to break my foot. It was really unlucky but I got to learn a lot.”

While being sidelined, Young developed a better feel for the college game.

“I got to hoop in college before I broke my foot so I was experiencing it,” said  the 6’3, 180-pound Young.

“I saw how fast it was when I was hooping. When I had to sit back and watch, I got to see how slow that game actually was. I got to slow down my mental approach. I am a more complete player because I can see what everybody can do and what I can do better.”

Young did keep busy as he rehabbed his injury. “The team kept me with them throughout everything,” said Young of the squad which also includes Princeton High alum Zahrion Blue and Princeton Day School grad Ethan Garita. more

July 13, 2022

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: Kevin O’Toole controls the ball in game last fall during his senior season for the Princeton University men’s soccer team. O’Toole, who was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year to help Princeton win the 2021 league crown, is currently playing for New York City Football Club (NYCFC)in Major League Soccer (MLS). Midfielder/forward O’Toole has yet to appear in an MLS game, but has been logging heavy minutes for NYCFC’s second team. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Kevin O’Toole got a jump start on his professional career. As his final semester at Princeton University approached this past January, the New York City Football Club (NYCFC) selected him with the 34th pick in the 2022 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft.

“I was kind of thrust into my career while I was finishing up school, which was definitely a challenge to balance the two, especially with the senior thesis,” said O’Toole, who was officially inked in March to a contract for the 2022 season with options for 2023 and 2024.“That was the hardest thing to get done while doing both. It definitely kept me busy for full days.”

O’Toole was one of two Ivy League players selected in this year’s draft along with Cornell’s Tyler Bagley. His selection and subsequent signing helped him fulfill a goal he had set upon entering Princeton.

“I always wanted to play professional soccer,” said O’Toole, a 5’10, 165-pound midfielder/forward. “That was a goal of mine. I know a lot of guys come into Princeton and get obsessed with the academics and then have lucrative career paths awaiting them when they graduate. I never veered from the soccer course and continued on playing and working hard through the school seasons to make sure I was in shape and performing well enough to get looks from professional scouts. That was always my goal. Maybe I was a bit overconfident that would happen because it is pretty rare for guys to make it out of the Ivy League. I was very fortunate to do it and very happy how it worked out.”

O’Toole heard before the draft through his agent and through Princeton University men’s soccer head coach Jim Barlow that there was interest in him from four or five MLS teams. He was coming off a season in which he returned from a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic to post seven goals and nine assists to claim his second Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. The three-time first-team All-Ivy forward had family on hand at his home in Montclair, and they joined in a chorus of screams when his name popped up on the draft board. more

GOING FOR GOLD: Andrew Goldsmith goes after the ball in a 2016 game during his senior season for the Princeton High boys’ soccer team. After wrapping up a superb career for the Vassar College men’s soccer team last fall, Goldsmith is currently in Israel playing for the U.S. open men’s soccer team in the Maccabiah Games. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last fall, Andrew Goldsmith enjoyed a superb senior season for the Vassar College men’s soccer team.

The former Princeton High standout served as a team captain for the Brewers, helping the squad go 11-4-2, earning United Soccer Coaches Division III All-Region third team and All-Liberty League Honorable Mention honors in the process.

“It was my last season and it was definitely my favorite season; it was a combination of doing well record-wise but it was also the playing style,” said Goldsmith, a 6’0 defensive midfielder.

“It is keeping the ball moving, the one and two touch approach  that fit my playing style. I was able to help the rest of the guys and we were all able to mold to that system and win games by playing the right soccer. That is the best feeling of it all. I have never been one to care for accolades but I felt like I had my best season and getting honored as an all-regional player was a great feeling as well.”

This month, Goldsmith is savoring another honor as he is playing for the U.S. open men’s team at the 21st Maccabiah Games in Israel to get his last taste of competitive soccer.

“To be able to wear the USA jersey and compete against other countries is a dream come true,” said Goldsmith. “It is something I have aspired to do for a while now. One of the reasons I chose Vassar was that I believed I would get a lot of playing time and be a leader right away. I got four years of playing soccer and I wanted to make the most of it. To be able to have this final encompassing soccer event is going to be an extremely incredible experience.” more

NATIONAL STAGE: Members of the Princeton FC Barcelona 2006 squad show off the trophy and medals they earned for winning the boys’ 16U final in the US Youth Soccer (USYS) 2022 National Presidents Cup tournament. PFC Barcelona defeated Chicago KICS FC 2006 City MWC 2-1 in the national final last Sunday in Greensboro, N.C.

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton FC Barcelona 2006 faced Chicago KICS FC 2006 City MWC last Thursday to open play in the boys’ 16U bracket in the US Youth Soccer (USYS) National Presidents Cup tournament in Greensboro, N.C., it got off to a shaky start.

PFC Barcelona trailed 1-0 at halftime and some doubts started to creep in.

“We didn’t really know how it would go at the start, there were a lot of nerves,” said PFC Barcelona center back Nick Matese, a rising Princeton High junior. “It was a stage none of us had been on before. The coaches always say that the first game of the tournament is the most important because if you lose, you are basically out so you have to get a result. We went down in the first half so it was definitely worrying and there were thoughts, ‘Are we really up to this?’”

PFC Barcelona proved to be up to the challenge, pulling out a 1-1 draw.

“We knew we had to fight back to get the result,” said PFC midfielder Felipe Matar Grandi, also a rising PHS junior. “We got a tie, we got the job done. We learned a lot about them, it was a tough game.”

Getting the job done in the rest of Bracket A action, PFC Barcelona topped 2-0 Tuzos Garfio 06 (Ariz.) and then edged Bayern Munich 2006 Boys White (Texas) 1-0. As a result, it finished tied for first in the bracket with Chicago KICS, setting up a rematch between the foes in the national final last Sunday at the Bryan Park –Truist Soccer Complex.

Matar Grandi and his teammates were primed for the second round with the Chicago side. more

SWINGING AWAY: Princeton Little League (PLL) player Brady Lee takes a swing in recent action. Lee helped PLL take third in the Section 3 Intermediate 50/70 tournament last week as it posted an 11-3 win over Old Bridge last Wednesday to go 1-2 in the double elimination competition won by Toms River East. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Princeton Little League (PLL) squad suffered a lopsided 22-0 defeat to powerhouse Toms River East last week to open the Section 3 Intermediate 50/70 tournament, its players could have thrown in the towel in the double-elimination competition.

As PLL manager Matt Bellace addressed his players before they faced Old Bridge in a knock-out game last Wednesday in the division which utilizes a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths and is open to players ages 11-13, he challenged them to bounce back.

“I was thinking about the moment for those guys and I talked about a book I wrote, Life is Disappointing and Other Inspiring Thoughts,” said Bellace. “The one conclusion I came to after writing that whole book is that sometimes after huge disappointments, the only thing you can do is ask yourself is what is this going to inspire. So here we are against Old Bridge; we have just gotten crushed by Toms River East and the question is what is this going to inspire. Does it inspire you guys to say we can play in another level. We can give it everything we have and not just say, ‘oh well, woe is me, we are not going to win the Section, who cares.’”

PLL produced an inspired performance, defeating Old Bridge 11-3 to stay alive in the competition.

“I really do think that clicked ultimately,” said Bellace, referring to his pregame message. “Old Bridge was more to our level age-wise and the speed of the game. We had no errors on that game and we also hit the ball really, really well. We had 13 hits so it seemed like every inning we were getting guys on base.”

Victor Espita and Noah Prete led the hit parade for Princeton as they each went 3-for-4 in the win with Brady Lee going 2-for-4.

On the mound, Matthew Brophy stymied Old Bridge with some crafty work.

“Matthew pitched a gem, he is so calm under pressure,” said Bellace. “He went six of seven innings. He lulls teams to sleep, he is consistent. They don’t know what to do, they are hitting pop-ups and grounders. They can’t figure him out. He is not trying to overpower anybody. He is throwing location at the right time with a little curveball and a little off speed. Hitters can’t sit back on it.” more

FOR PETE’S SAKE: Peter Hare makes contact in a recent game for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. Last Sunday, recent Princeton High grad Hare had three hits and two RBIs to help Princeton defeat Trenton Post 93/182 9-2. On Monday, Post 218 defeated Trenton again, prevailing 9-5 to improve to 7-10 and stay alive in the race for a spot in the upcoming Legion State District Tournament. Princeton was slated to end regular season play by hosting Allentown on July 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Peter Hare was dragging a bit when he arrived at Smoyer Park last Sunday to play catcher for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team as it hosted Trenton Post 93/182.

“Waking up this morning I was tired,” said Hare, who had reason to be fatigued as Post 218 had a marathon Saturday, falling 16-3 to Broad St. Park Post 313 and then losing 13-6 to Bordentown Post 26. “I think everyone else was too.”

With Post 218 trailing Trenton 1-0 heading into the second inning on Sunday, Hare helped key a rally in improbable fashion, laying down a bunt with two runners aboard that was misplayed and found himself standing on third with two runs in.

“I joked that I was going to hit for the cycle,” said Hare, reflecting on the sequence which gave Princeton a 2-1 lead.

Hare kept hitting, smacking a two-run double in the bottom of the third to put Post 218 up 5-2 and added two singles as Princeton pulled away to a 9-2 victory.

“I think it was two strikes and their right fielder was playing closer to the line,” said Hare, reflecting on his double. “I knew if I got it to right center there was some room so I just flared it out there and then he sort of bobbled it and I took second.”

On Monday, Princeton took it to Trenton again, topping Post 93/182 9-5 to improve to 7-10 and stay alive in the race for a spot in the upcoming Legion State District Tournament. more

TEEING IT UP: Nick Davidson unloads the ball in a game last year for LoyalTees in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Monday, Davidson tallied 21 points to help LoyalTees defeat Princeton Supply 72-47 as it improved to 5-2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With its sights set on earning a fourth straight title in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League, the LoyalTees squad has hit some bumps in the road this season.

The proud team lost 51-38 to Athlete Engineering Institute on June 24 and then fell 65-49 to Majeski Foundation last Friday evening.

But as LoyalTees got ready to hit the Community Park courts last Monday to face Princeton Supply, one of its veteran stars, Nick Davidson, was unfazed by the recent setbacks.

“Every loss we have had this season, we haven’t had our full roster or we have had guys coming late,” said Davidson.

On Monday, LoyalTees was missing some key players in Zahrion Blue and Vince Anfield, leading Davidson to assume a playmaking role.

“I tried to get the ball around and get everyone involved,” said Davidson. “I wanted TB (Terrance Bailey) to have a good game. We need a lot out of TB and he played great for us.” more

July 6, 2022

MIGHTY HEAVE: Princeton University women’s track star Kate Joyce throws the javelin at the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. Last month. Joyce capped her sophomore season at Princeton by taking sixth with a best heave of 179’5 at the NCAA meet to earn first-team All-American honors. She went on the compete in women’s javelin at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, also in Eugene, where she placed 16th with a throw of 145’4. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Kate Joyce took a break from something she has been wanting to do in order to do something in track and field that she never anticipated.

Joyce is traveling the country photographing wildlife over the summer for a personal project as one of 13 Princeton University sophomore recipients of a Dale Summer Award. Joyce’s “Picture This….” project brought her to San Diego last week — after a stop to compete in women’s javelin at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.

“It was a really cool experience to be throwing with such an elite level of competition and people who have been doing this a while,” said Joyce, who placed 16th with a throw of 145’4.

“Even just watching was great. It would have been cool to make finals, but just to watch them was a cool experience. And outside of javelin, being surrounded by such great athletes in that atmosphere was incredible.”

Joyce still is embracing her own elite level as a college javelin thrower. Her meteoric rise over the last three-plus years took her to sixth place and a medal in her first trip to the NCAA Championships in June and record-setting success.  more