May 18, 2022

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOURNAMENT TOUGH: Hun School baseball player Ryan DiMaggio fires a pitch in a game last season. Last Wednesday, senior star DiMaggio struck out 14 and allowed only one earned run to help second-seeded Hun defeat 10th-seeded Lawrenceville 3-2 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. The Raiders were slated to face sixth-seeded WW/P-South in the MCT semis on May 17 with the victor advancing to the final on May 19. In addition, Hun, who improved to 18-2 with an 8-2 win over St. Joseph (Metuchen) last Sunday, will be competing in the state Prep A tournament where they are hosting Pingry in an opening round game on May 18. The final rounds of the double-elimination tourney are slated for May 21-22 at Lawrenceville. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Ryan DiMaggio impressed early in a scrimmage to set the bar high for the season and the Hun School senior lefty pitcher has lived up to those expectations.

Last Wednesday, DiMaggio struck out 14 and allowed only one earned run to keep the Raiders in striking distance before they manufactured a seventh-inning three-run rally to pull out a 3-2 win over rival Lawrenceville in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals to keep their title shot alive.

“I think it means a ton,” said Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto, reflecting on the team’s quest to win the county tournament.

“It’s something we’ve never been able to do at our school. Peers at our school — other teams — have been able to accomplish it and we’ve never been able to. There are things that make it a little more difficult for prep teams. Our state tournament is always sandwiched in the middle of this and we’re not able to play any of our fifth-year guys. Those are things that make it a little bit more difficult for us. No excuses, we’ve never been able to get it done. So I think this means a ton to our guys. It’s something they really, really, really want. It’s something that we talk about in the beginning of the year, it’s something we talk about as the year goes on. Our guys have friends on all the different teams in the county. We want to win this as much as we want to win anything.”

Hun has not had to produce a late rally this year like it did against Lawrenceville, a team it defeated 14-2 and 4-1 in previous meetings this season. The Raiders had to battle back when they were trailing 2-0 entering the seventh inning and down to their final three outs.

“I think one of the things that helped us win that game was the fact that I don’t think anybody in our dugout believed that we weren’t going to win that game,” said Monfiletto. more

May 11, 2022

QUICK DRAW: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Marge Donovan races upfield against Yale in regular season action. Last Sunday, senior star defender Donovan had a single-game record 12 draw controls, adding two caused turnovers and two ground balls and an assist to help Princeton defeat Yale 19-9 in the final of the Ivy League women’s lax tournament. Donovan, who also had seven draw controls in 13-6 win over Harvard in in the Ivy semis on Friday to move into No. 1 all-time (192) in program history and No. 1 in a season (90) in that category, earned tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Princeton, now 14-3, will host Massachusetts (16-3) in an NCAA tournament first round contest on May 13. The victor will play the winner of the first round matchup between fifth-seeded Syracuse and Fairfield in the second round on May 15 at Class of 1952 Stadium. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Marge Donovan seemed stunned, shrugging her shoulders and striking a “who, me?” pose upon learning last Sunday that she had been chosen as the Most Outstanding Player of the Ivy League women’s lacrosse tournament.

“I was pleasantly surprised, I am so blessed,” said Princeton University senior star defender Donovan, reflecting on the honor.

“Kyla [Sears] said it a couple of seconds ago, it is such a team effort. That award goes to every single person.”

Donovan, though, should not have been taken aback, having produced a memorable weekend. On Friday, she had seven draw controls in top-seeded Princeton’s 13-6 win over fourth-seeded Harvard in the Ivy semis to move into No. 1 all-time (192) in program history and No. 1 in a season (90).

Two days later, Donovan had a single-game team record 12 draw controls, adding two caused turnovers, two ground balls, and an assist to help Princeton defeat second-seeded Yale 19-9 in the final.

Princeton, now 14-3, will be staying at home this weekend to start action in the NCAA tournament as it will face Massachusetts (16-3) in a first round contest. The victor will play the winner of the first round matchup between fifth-seeded Syracuse and Fairfield in the second round on May 15 at Class of 1952 Stadium. more

ALL IN: Princeton University softball pitcher Ali Blanchard fires a pitch in a game earlier this spring. Junior star Blanchard has excelled with her arm and bat, helping Princeton win the Ivy League regular season title. The Tigers, 25-14-2 overall and 17-4 Ivy, will be hosting Harvard (21-18 overall, 15-6 Ivy) in a best-of-three Ivy Playoff Series this weekend which will determine the league’s automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA tournament. Game one is scheduled for May 13 with game two and game three, if necessary, slated for May 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for Ali Blanchard to sense that the Princeton University softball team could be special this year.

Upon returning to Princeton last fall after a gap year, junior Blanchard was impressed by the work ethic she saw across the board.

“I was super excited to get back, a few of us took the year off and it made us more appreciative of things,” said Blanchard. “Everyone was super excited to get working. I think from the fall everyone had a feeling that his Ivy League season was going to be a pretty good one, based on our practices and how everyone showed up ready to get better every day. As soon as we set foot on campus, everyone was willing to put in the extra work.”

After a rough start in Florida where the Tigers went 1-4, Princeton started picking up wins when it went 4-1 in the UCSB Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., from March 11-13.

“I think everyone started to get their feet under them there,” said Blanchard, a 5’10 native of Lincoln, R.I. “We really started taking it game by game. Once we started to figure things out, I think everybody started to settle down.”

The Tigers got off to a big start in its Ivy campaign in mid-March, sweeping Brown in a three-game series as it posted 4-2, 2-0, and 7-0 wins.

“It was a good confidence booster for sure,” said Blanchard. “That was something that made us realize we can do it this year because I don’t think anyone saw that as our best softball. We wanted to peak at the right time. Every weekend, we keep trying to get better, even if it is one percent better.” more

WILLPOWER: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse attacker Will Doran heads to goal in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Doran tallied nine goals and four assists to help fifth-seeded PHS defeat 12th-seeded Hightstown 16-9 in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament. On Monday, Doran had another big game with two goals and seven assists but PHS fell 18-13 at fourth-seeded Allentown in the MCT quarterfinals to move to 8-6. The Tigers play at Pennington on May 12 and host Princeton Day School on May 14 before starting play in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Will Doran got an uneasy feeling when the fifth-seeded Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team found itself knotted in an 8-8 tie with 12th-seeded Hightstown in the third quarter last Thursday in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament.

“They had momentum, we had a few scary ones at the beginning of the season,” said PHS senior star attacker Doran. “Ones that we ended up on the wrong side because of slow starts.”

Doran, though, singlehandedly changed momentum in favor of the Tigers, tallying five goals in the next eight minutes of action as PHS pulled away to a 16-9 victory.

“In the first half we were definitely struggling, their goalie made a lot of great saves so I have to give credit to him,” said Doran, who tallied 13 points in the contest on nine goals and four assists.

“I got into my rhythm. A lot of credit has to be given to Brendan Beatty and Patrick Kenah for giving me passes right on my ear. That makes the job of catching and finishing a lot easier.”

With Doran and his classmates playing in their last MCT, the win over Hightstown was sweet.

“This is something Will [Erickson], Andrew [Koehler], John [O’Donnell] and I have talked about for a really long time,” said Doran. “I remember when we were freshmen, coach had us put all of our goals up on our locker. Our captain freshman year, Carson Giles, said his goal was to win a Mercer County championship. We have kept that paper, he passed it on to us. It is something that has been on our mind since early preseason. Coach (Chip Casto) always says he wants us to peak in May, not play our best games in April.” more

G-FORCE: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse goalie Gigi Peloso makes a save in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, senior star and Colby College-bound Peloso made 11 saves to help third-seeded PHS defeat sixth-seeded Princeton Day School 13-7 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. The Tigers, now 12-4, will play at second-seeded Allentown in the MCT semis on May 11 with the victor advancing to the final on May 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team edged Princeton Day School 14-13 in late April, Gigi Peloso was not at her sharpest.

“I had a frustrating game myself,” said PHS senior goalie Peloso, who had three saves in the win. “I wasn’t too happy with how I played.”

When the local rivals met in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Monday, Peloso and the third-seeded Tigers tightened things up in the rematch with sixth-seeded PDS, jumping out to a 6-2 halftime lead on the way to a 13-7 victory.

PHS, now 12-4, will play at second-seeded Allentown in the MCT semis on May 11 with the victor advancing to the final on May 13.

“We just came out with so much more hype, we came together as a team more,” said Peloso.

“That is so important and goes miles with our team. We just really learned to talk it through and we talked more on the field and off the field.”

Peloso made some noise, coming up with 11 saves in the win with several coming on point blank shots.

“Today, I was meshing with the defense more,” said Peloso. “They are always huge helps for me. I felt the hype in my body 100 percent. It was a lot more than before.” more

STICKING TOGETHER: Princeton Day School baseball player Michael Carroll, right, celebrates with his teammates after Connor Topping (No. 8) scored a run in a game earlier this season. PDS, now 2-11, plays at WW/P-South on May 13 and hosts WW/P-North on May 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Michael Carroll and his fellow seniors on the Princeton Day School baseball team have been through a lot over the last four years.

As a freshman, Carroll and his classmates helped PDS reach the state Prep B championship game where it fell to Rutgers Prep.

In 2020, their sophomore season was canceled due to the global pandemic.

A year later, they welcomed their third head coach in as many years as Jeff Young took the helm of the program and the team struggled to a 2-13-1 record.

Heading into a Mercer County Tournament play-in game against visiting Nottingham last Wednesday, the Panthers had gone 2-9 this spring.

But with the program holding its Senior Day ceremony before the 16th-seeded Panthers faced the 17th-seeded Northstars, Carroll saw plenty to celebrate in his topsy-turvy ride with the program.

“It was really exciting for us, the parents did a great job setting things up,” said Carroll, whose fellow seniors included Connor Topping, Harrison Fehn, Jackson Bailey, Jonah Soos, Jacob Roitburg, and Hunter Von Zelowitz. more

ON THE BALL: Hun School girls’ lacrosse player Olivia Kim, middle, secures the ball from a group of foes in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore star Kim scored six goals as fifth-seeded Hun defeated 13th-seeded WW/P-South 15-3 in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament. On Monday, Kim chipped in three goals and an assist but it wasn’t enough as Hun got edged by fourth-seeded Notre Dame 9-8 in the MCT quarterfinals. The Raiders, who moved to 6-8 with the loss, were slated to play at WW/P-North on May 10 in its season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Olivia Kim brought some extra emotion to the field for the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team as it hosted WW/P-South in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament last Friday.

“If Kaia Diaz and I didn’t go to Hun, we would have played for South,” said Hun sophomore star Kim, referring to teammate Diaz.

“We were especially hyped for this game because we don’t get to play public schools that much. It was a perfect opportunity. I was very pumped, I was very energetic because I know all of these people and they know me. I was having a fun time.”

Despite a driving, gusty rain pelting the field for most of the game, Kim had a lot of fun, tallying six goals as the fifth-seeded Raiders pulled away to a 15-3 win over the 13th-seeded Pirates.

“The weather didn’t impact our spirit at all,” said Kim. “It was actually kind of fun playing in the rain, it was a change of pace. I enjoyed it.”

Coming off a tough 18-8 loss to Lawrenceville in the state Prep A tournament two days earlier, the Raiders enjoyed the lopsided win over South.

“It felt good,” said Kim. “I feel like we got all of the anger from Lawrenceville and we brought it into this game.”

Over the last two years, Kim has developed a very good connection with classmate Ava Olender, who assisted on three of Kim’s goals and ended up with four goals and four assists in the victory. more

May 4, 2022

HISTORIC DAY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kyla Sears races upfield last Saturday against Yale. Senior star Sears tallied five goals and two assists to help Princeton defeat the Bulldogs 17-14 in an Ivy title showdown as the rivals both entered the game with 6-0 league marks. Sears broke the program record for career assists and tied Olivia Hompe for the most points in team history, ending the day at 285 points and 93 assists. The triumph also gave Princeton’s Hall of Fame head coach Chris Sailer a win in her final regular season home game. After the game, she was honored in a special ceremony with hundreds of her former players on hand. The Tigers, now 12-3 overall and 7-0 Ivy, while be hosting the Ivy postseason tournament this weekend. Princeton will face fourth-seeded Harvard on May 6 with the victor advancing to the final on May 8 against the winner of the semifinal between second-seeded Yale and third-seeded Cornell. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

History and emotion intersected in a memorable fashion as the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team hosted Yale last Saturday afternoon.

The contest marked the regular season finale for the program’s Class of 2022 which had already won two Ivy League titles during their time with the program.

It also marked the final scheduled home game for Princeton’s legendary Hall of Fame head coach Chris Sailer who had announced before the season that the 2022 campaign, her 36th guiding the program, would be her last year at the helm.

The occasion was marked by banners hanging around Class of 1952 Stadium depicting highlights of her tenure with Chris Sailer bobbleheads distributed to fans on hand. Hundreds of former Tiger players showed up, many wearing T-shirts in honor of their coach, marked “GOAT” (greatest of all time) on the front with the words “vision, keystone, impact, love, legend” printed on the back.

Adding to the drama, the clash with Yale, which drew a crowd of 1,223, was an Ivy title showdown as the rivals both entered the game with 6-0 league marks.

Princeton senior star Kyla Sears sensed the gravity of the moment.

“It was a huge day, there is obviously a lot going on,” said Sears. “We wanted to win for our senior class and for Chris. At the end of the day, there was one job that we had to do and that is win.” more

SEEING RED: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Coulter Mackesy, right, tries to get around a Cornell defender last Saturday. Freshman attackman Mackesy tallied five goals and an assist but it wasn’t enough as Princeton fell 18-15 to the Big Red. While the loss kept the Tigers from making the Ivy League postseason tournament, Princeton, now 9-4 overall and ranked No. 9 in the Inside Lacrosse media poll, is in good position to earn an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA tournament. The NCAA tournament bracket will be announced on May 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team trailed Cornell 12-5 at halftime last Saturday, Coulter Mackesy wasn’t fazed.

“It was just do our thing, we have been in this position before in this season,” said freshman attackman Mackesy. “We know that we can just as easy have the half that they had in the first.”

Mackesy acknowledged that the Tigers misfired in the first half.

“We got out to a slow start today, their defense is good,” said Mackesy. “Their No. 77 (Gavin Adler) is a presence, we let him dictate things. We just weren’t being patient enough and we were letting them dictate our passing lanes. Our spacing was kind of off.”

With Mackesy scoring three goals in the third quarter, Princeton outscored the Big Red 8-3 to draw within 15-13 with 15 minutes left in regulation. After the Tigers made it a 15-14 game with 12:23 left, Cornell outscored Princeton 3-1 over the rest of the contest to pull out an 18-15 win.

The loss dropped Princeton to 9-4 overall and 3-3 Ivy League, keeping it from making the Ivy postseason tournament. The Tigers, who are ranked No. 9 in the Inside Lacrosse media poll, are in a good position to earn an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA tournament. The tournament bracket will be announced on May 8.

“We had a ton of momentum going into the fourth,” said Mackesy, who ended up with a career-high five goals and one assist in the defeat. “They had a couple of big turnovers at the end. The chances were there, we just couldn’t capitalize at the end.” more

WARMING TO THE TASK: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jonathan Gu warms up before a match last week at the Mercer County Tournament. Making his debut at the MCT, junior star Gu won the title at first singles. Gu’s heroics helped PHS take second in the team standings at the event. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jonathan Gu didn’t get the chance to compete in the Mercer County Tournament in his two first years with the Princeton High boys’ tennis team and he was fired up to do something special in his debut last week at the competition.

“It is my first time playing in this,” said junior first singles star Gu. “Freshman year it was canceled and last year we did the CVC team tournament.”

Gu ended up playing very well at the event held at the Mercer County Park tennis complex, posting two straight-set wins in the first two rounds of the competition on April 25 and then defeating Princeton Day School’s Joshua Chu 6-1, 6-4 in the semis to advance to the final against Josh Finkle of Pennington.

In the final, Gu kept rolling, posting a 6-1, 6-4 triumph, utilizing some inside knowledge gained from playing doubles with Finkle in some USTA events.

“I was just trying to keep the ball deep, making sure he couldn’t go to the net as much as he wants to,” said Gu. “He is good at the net so I wanted to keep him out of the net.”

Gu was pushed hard in the second set as he trailed 3-4 but he regained momentum to pull out the victory.

“I lost a bunch of really close games with many deuces,” said Gu. “I just made a couple of more balls. He had a few games where he made all of his balls and I lost. There wasn’t anything I could do. In the last two games, I just tried to hit the ball deep and force some errors.”

Earning the title in his MCT debut was special for Gu, whose heroics helped PHS take second in the team standings at the event behind perennial champion WW/P-South.

“It is cool to win,” said Gu. “It is not that often that these many good players come together.”

In order to become an even better player, Gu has focused on becoming more powerful on the court.

“I worked on my serve a lot,” said Gu. “I am trying to work on volleys as well and come to the net more.”

PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert liked seeing the MCT resume its traditional format and was proud of how her players stepped up. more

By Bill Alden

Although this is the first season in nearly 30 years without Sheryl Severance at the helm of the Princeton High boys’ golf team, it has been business as usual for the program.

“You are never going to fill those shoes, you just hope you are not going to mess it up,” said PHS head coach Pat Noone, who previously served as an assistant for the program and is also the head coach of the PHS boys’ basketball team.

“Luckily we have the team to do it. Sheryl was such a legend. We are building a bridge and really just trying to replicate what she did.”

Last week at the Mercer County Tournament held at the Mercer Oaks West Golf Course, PHS replicated that success, tying Peddie for second with a score of 305, three strokes behind winner Lawrenceville.

“They loved it; it is an awesome tournament and they performed really well,” said Noone. “That was the lowest Princeton has ever scored in the MCT.”

Sophomore Brooks Cahill-Sanidas led the way for the Tigers at the April 26 event, taking fifth individually with a one-over 73.

“Brooks had an awesome day at the county tournament,” said Noone. “As a freshman he came out and I worked with him a lot and he grew a big passion for the game. From last summer to now, I haven’t seen anyone make a jump in any sport like he has. He went out and he played in every tournament that he could. He is a range rat. He is always there, he is always playing no matter the weather. You can see that has really paid off. He double-bogeyed the first hole and it didn’t get him overwhelmed where it could for a lot of people.”

The Zang sisters, junior Maddie and freshman Jackie, didn’t get overwhelmed competing against the boys. Maddie fired a 75 while Jackie carded a 73, good for eighth place individually on a tie-breaker.

“Maddie is a captain, she is a great leader,” said Noone. “She is an unbelievable golfer but she is even a better person. She is really good for the team, she is always complimenting everybody. Jackie as a freshman to step in there was great. They play in the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) tournaments. You can see that they are a little bit more comfortable when playing in that atmosphere.”

Junior Wes Yonish also starred at the MCT, carding an 84. “Wes is another guy who last year as a sophomore,  played a couple of matches and was in the low 40s,” said Noone. more

FIRING AWAY: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Riley Devlin, left, fires a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore midfielder Devlin tallied four goals as PHS edged Princeton Day School 14-13. The Tigers, now 11-3, will be starting play in the Mercer County Tournament this week where they are seeded third and will host a quarterfinal contest on May 9. In addition, PHS will be hosting Hillsborough on May 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Riley Devlin has been soaking up some valuable lessons this spring from the veterans on the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team.

“It is the best learning opportunity, I watch them a lot and they give me a lot of advice,” said PHS sophomore midfielder Devlin referring to the squad’s senior offensive stars, Kate Becker and Grace Rebak. “They really teach me so thanks to them.”

Last Friday, Devlin applied that knowledge, tallying four goals to help PHS pull out a 14-13 win over Princeton Day School and improve to 11-3.

“We were trying really hard,” said Devlin. “Yesterday’s practice was really intense, we were really trying to get ready for this game.”

The Tigers jumped out to a 4-1 lead but the game turned into a nail-biter as the Panthers battled back to go up 12-10 midway through the second half. Devlin scored the next two goals of the contest as PHS went on a 4-1 run to earn the victory.

“I think we did have momentum at the beginning but we kind of got sloppy which is something we are going to work on,” said Devlin. “I think our hustle was really good and our defense was good.”

Devlin attributed her late game heroics to the influence of Becker and Rebak.

“It was just encouragement from the seniors, like Kate [Becker] and Grace [Rebak] that gave me the confidence to take it to the goal,” said Devlin. more

FINAL SWING: Princeton High softball player Molly Brown takes a swing in recent action. Last Monday, senior shortstop Brown had a double, an RBI, and scored a run as PHS fell 21-7 to Nottingham. The Tigers, now 2-10, will be starting play in the Mercer County Tournament where they are seeded 12th and will play at fifth-seeded Robbinsville on May 4 in a first round contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As a four-year starter for the Princeton High softball team, Molly Brown had a lot on her mind as the program celebrated Senior Day last Monday when it hosted Nottingham.

“I have been playing with these girls all four years,” said star shortstop Brown. “It is sad, but I love these girls and I know we are all going off to do good things.”

PHS has been doing some good things coming into the Nottingham game, having topped Trenton 19-13 last Thursday and then edging Princeton Day School 10-7 last Friday after starting the season 0-9.

“We were feeling confident,” said Brown. “You never really know, we always play our hardest.”

With PHS trailing Nottingham 7-0 heading into the bottom of the third, Brown helped spark a three-run rally with an RBI double and then came home for another run.

“Hitting is contagious,” said Brown. “The first person gets a hit and then everyone is going to get a hit to keep that rally going.” more

NO JOSHING AROUND: Princeton Day School boys’ tennis player Joshua Chu hits a forehand as he competed at the Mercer County Tournament last week. Junior Chu placed fourth at first singles as PDS took fifth in the team standings at the event held at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Competing in the opening rounds of the Mercer County Tournament last week, the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team thrived in the buzz created as 18 squads hit the courts for the competition.

With the MCT back at the Mercer County Park tennis complex after being canceled in 2020 due to the global pandemic and the format modified in 2021 to include only a CVC dual match tourney, PDS rose to the occasion.

At the end of the opening rounds on April 25, the Panthers were in fourth place just one point behind Princeton High, WW/P-South and WW/P-North. PDS saw junior Joshua Chu advance to the semifinals at first singles with Jason Wu following suit at third singles and the first doubles pair of Neel Adusumilli and Oliver Silverio making the final four in their flight. more

IN CONTACT: Princeton Day School softball player Adriana Salzano hits the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, sophomore star Salzano had a single and a double and also helped with the pitching duties as PDS fell 17-2 to Ewing. The Panthers, now 3-6, play at Somerville on May 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Undeterred by gusting winds last Wednesday afternoon making it feel like the low 40s, Adriana Salzano was in the heat of the action for the Princeton Day School softball team as it hosted Ewing.

Batting leadoff for PDS, sophomore standout Salzano legged out an infield single in the first inning and lashed a double to the right field fence in the bottom of the third.

Starting at shortstop in the field, Salzano came on to pitch in relief of starter Colleen Mayer. Salzano’s efforts, though, went for naught as PDS fell 17-2.

While co-captain Salzano was disappointed by the result, she and fellow sophomore and co-captain Mayer know they have to keep encouraging their teammates.

“She and I stepped up from day one as freshmen; we look to take the lead because we are the only two travel players on the team,” said Salzano, who plays for the TNT softball program. “We just want to lead by example. We teach them about the game but have fun at the same time.”

Salzano had fun with the bat against Ewing. “I am never thinking home run, I am thinking base hit, base hit and then from there, what can I do,” said Salzano. “I look where the fielders are. I always look to place the ball up at bat. I have been taught from day one, hustle everything out because you never know. I think I am hitting in the .800s right now. I am looking to improve every year. To improve from last year is a tough job because I hit over .700. It is tough to improve from that but that is what I am going to focus on right now.” more

SAVING GRACE: Hun School boys’ lacrosse goalie Ryan Croddick makes a save in a game earlier this season. Post-graduate and Princeton University commit Croddick made nine saves to help Hun defeat Haddonfield Memorial 12-4 last Thursday. Hun, which fell 10-9 to the Westtown School (Pa.) last Saturday to move to 7-4, will be starting play in the Mercer County Tournament this week. The Raiders are seeded first in the MCT and will host a quarterfinal contest on May 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After starring at goalie for the Rumson-Fair Haven boys’ lacrosse team and then committing to play at Princeton University, Ryan Croddick decided he needed some more experience before heading to the next level.

Coming to the Hun School for a post-graduate year and joining the school’s boys’ lax program, Croddick is thriving.

“It has really helped me, I missed my junior year because of COVID,” said Croddick. “It is getting an extra year to play, honing my skills before college next year.”

For Croddick, Hun has proved to be a good fit on and off the field.

“The level of lacrosse is pretty similar; Rumson is one of the top public schools in the state,” said Croddick, who also played for the Hun boys’ hockey team this winter. “I am bringing my leadership from the last four years to here and am looking to help the team out. It is a great group of guys, I live on campus with a lot of them.”

Last Thursday, Croddick helped Hun out with some superb play in goal, making nine saves in a 12-4 win over Haddonfield Memorial as the Raider defense stifled the Bulldogs.

“We have really been keying on a zone defense; we have been working on it, running out pretty well in practice and just executing really well in the games,” said Croddick. “Ty Jameson has been talking a lot helping back there, it has been working well. It helps when you have a nice zone around you, I have been seeing the ball pretty well recently.”

The win over Haddonfield marked the Raiders’ fifth victory in its last six games. more

April 27, 2022

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Members of the Princeton University men’s volleyball team display the trophy they earned for topping New Jersey Institute of Technology 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 27-25, 25-18) in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association final last Saturday evening. The Tigers, now 15-12 overall and riding a 10-match winning streak, will be facing North Greenville University (20-5) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on May 1 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University men’s volleyball team fell 3-1 to Penn State on March 18, it looked like the squad was going nowhere this season.

The defeat left the Tigers at 5-12 overall and 4-6 Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and out of the mix for the EIVA playoffs.

But Princeton head coach Sam Shweisky saw something special in his squad’s performance that night.

“We took a set off of them and you could see that we had really improved from before,” said Shweisky, referring to a 3-0 loss to the Nittany Lions on February 4. “It was a better product, it wasn’t about winning. They beat us, they were better than us but we felt proud about what we put out there. We also felt excited about learning.”

The Tigers defeated St. Francis 3-0 a day later and haven’t lost since, producing some exciting volleyball along the way. They ended the season on a seven-game winning streak, finishing in fourth place and earning a spot in the EIVA playoffs.

Last week, Princeton defeated St. Francis 3-0 in the opening round of the playoffs on Wednesday, setting up a matchup against the top-seeded and second-ranked Penn State, the tournament host a day later. Princeton turned the tables on the Nittany Lions, pulling out a thrilling 3-2 win to earn a spot in the final. Last Saturday, the Tigers defeated New Jersey Institute of Technology 3-1 to earn the EIVA title.

Now the Tigers, 15-12 and riding a 10-match winning streak, are headed to California where they will face North Greenville (20-5) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on May 1 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.

In reflecting on the team’s late surge, Shweisky points to an increased emphasis on defense. more

HEAVY LIFTING: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowing varsity 8 churns through the water in a race earlier this spring. Last Saturday, Princeton finished behind Yale and topped Cornell in the race for the Carnegie Cup. Yale was determined to have cut to the inside of a turn buoy and was disqualified, giving the Tigers the cup. In upcoming action, Princeton hosts Brown on April 30 in the race before the Content Cup. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

It has been a steep learning curve this spring for the rowers on the Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowing team.

With the 2020 season having been canceled due to the global pandemic and the 2021 campaign limited drastically due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, many of the program’s athletes lacked any meaningful college rowing experience coming into 2022.

“In a normal year, in each of the boats, you have one or two first-years that are in that lineup and are learning from six or seven guys who have had a racing season at that level and have the experience and the knowledge and expectations for what it is all about,” said Princeton head coach Greg Hughes.

“This year, you have the exact opposite, you have one or two guys in each boat who have had a racing season and six or seven guys who have never done it before. It is very different. There is a lot more to talk about, to work on and teach.”

With a full schedule for the first time since 2019, the Tigers have been getting that racing knowledge. more

CREASE CONTROL: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse goalie Rory Dobson, right, tracks a shot in a game earlier this season. Sophomore Dobson helped key a superb defensive effort as PHS defeated Allentown 9-7 last Saturday. The Tigers, who improved to 5-4 with the win, play at South Brunswick on April 30 and then host Red Bank Regional on May 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Will Erickson has taken it upon himself to lead the defensive unit for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team this spring.

“I have learned from some good guys, like Carson Giles and Lucas Kirby, and I just have to be a vocal leader out there and show the young guys how to play,” said senior star Erickson. “On ball, I have improved a lot. Playing against Will Doran and Patrick Kenah every day in practice gets you a lot better.”

With PHS having lost three of its last four games coming into a clash against visiting Allentown last Saturday morning, Erickson was determined to help PHS improve at the defensive end.

“We had been frustrated with some of our losses,” said Erickson, reflecting on a tough stretch that saw PHS fall 14-10 to Hopewell Valley on April 19, 14-12 to Notre Dame on April 12, and 13-9 to Mount Olive on April 9.

“We just wanted to come in and prove ourselves. As a defense we gave up a lot of goals that we didn’t want to. We just wanted to limit those and make them work.”

The Tigers limited Allentown’s potent one-two punch of senior stars Jake Searing and Jake Raff as PHS raced out to a 6-1 halftime lead.

“They are a lefty and a righty, me and Anthony [Famiglietti], the other defender, just matched up with our hands and didn’t let them get to the their dominant hands,” said Erickson. “We know they took some shots they probably didn’t want to and that is what we wanted to do as a defense. We wanted to make them feel the pressure and make them feel that they have to shoot. It happened and Rory [Dobson] made some great saves.” more