May 18, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

FAB FOUR: The Princeton High girls 4×100 and their coaches are all smiles after the quartet placed first in the Mercer County Relays at Lawrence High last Saturday. Pictured, from left, are head coach Ben Samara, Samirah Hutchinson, Megan Rougas, Sophie Gono, Kendall Williamson, and assistant coach Thomas Harrington.

By Justin Feil

Samirah Hutchinson didn’t run for the Princeton High girls’ track and field team after she moved to the area last year, but she’s excited for the rest of the season after seeing the strength of the 4×100 relay.

Hutchinson, a senior, ran the third leg for the Tiger team that included Sophie Gono, Megan Rougas, and Kendall Williamson as they won the 4×100 relay at the Mercer County Relays at Lawrence High last Saturday in 50.77 seconds. The school record is 50.27 seconds.

“Honestly it was very ecstatic and proud moment,” said Hutchinson. “We put the work in at practice. It was our first relay of the year. We were very happy about it.”

PHS also won the girls’ 4×200 with Gono, Katherine Monroe, Alysse Kiesewetter, and Williamson going 1:47.48, and the foursome of Lucy Kreipke, Robin Roth, Florica Eleches-Lipsitz, and Kyleigh Tangen won the girls’ 4×1600 in 22:09.51. The boys also picked up a win in the distance medley relay with Charlie Howes, Zach Della Rocca, Kento Nakaya, and Andrew Kenny finishing in 10:46.94.

Five PHS teams also garnered second-place finishes in relays. The girls’ 4×800 of Eleches-Lipsitz, Brielle Moran, Maeve Motto, and Tessa Thai took silver. Monroe, Grace Defaria, Chiara Lavino, and Kiesewetter were runners-up in the girls shuttle hurdles. In the field events, Isabella Ospina Posada and Macaela Wilton placed second in girls’ shot put, and Ospina Posada and Brittany Newman were second in girls’ discus. Zach Della Rocca, Blake Bergman, Kento Nakaya, and Addison Motto were second in the boys’ sprint medley.

“We were pleasantly surprised,” said PHS head coach Ben Samara. “It’s been slow going at the start of the season. We had an ill-timed spring break in terms of training and competing. We’re just getting people back, and this is the first real weekend for competing. The kids came out and performed really well.” more

ON A ROLL: Hun School baseball player Ben Romano takes big cut in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Romano went 2 for 3 with two runs to help Hun defeat Seton Hall Prep 5-1. The Raiders, who defeated Lawrenceville 14-2 last Monday to improve to 10-1, host Steinert on April 30 and play at Don Bosco on May 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Ben Romano stepped to the plate for the Hun School baseball team in the first inning last Thursday against Seton Hall Prep, he was looking to keep things simple.

“Usually I get my first pitch fastball and I just take that up the middle,” said Romano. “I just keep that approach every single time at the plate and that is what I did. It gets us started.”

Utilizing that approach, Romano lined a single up the middle, stole second and third and then came home on a two-run homer by Mike Chiaravallo as Hun went up 2-0.

In the third inning, Romano got things started again, ripping a double and scoring on a single by Jackson Kraemer.

“Again it was a first pitch fastball, I just tried to do what I can with it and stay in the middle,” recalled Romano. “I was fortunate enough to put it in the gap, get on second base and get on scoring position. Kraemer got a nice hit to get me in.”

Hun went on to add two more runs as it prevailed 5-1, earning an impressive victory over a perennial powerhouse.

“It was another game that was circled on our calendar, they obviously had a lot of good players,” said Romano of the matchup. “They had a lot of good arms, we were looking forward to this one. Luckily, we came out with a win today. I thought we played exceptionally on offense and the defense was amazing. We made two double plays.”

The Raiders showed the depth of their batting order as Michael Jolly added an RBI and Carson Wehner went 2-for-3. more

IN THE SWING: Hun School softball player Christina Riviello takes a swing in recent action. Last Saturday, senior shortstop Riviello smacked a double and scored two runs to help Hun defeat the Blair Academy 10-0. The Raiders, who improved to 10-0 with the victory, host Lawrence High on April 29 and Hopewell Valley on April 30 before playing at Blair on May 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Christina Riviello has developed a take-charge attitude this spring in her senior season for the Hun School softball team.

“I am normally quiet but I have taken more of a leadership role,” said Riviello. “I like to pick everyone up and make sure that everyone is included.”

Last Saturday, shortstop Riviello helped pick up Hun as it hosted the Blair Academy, hitting a double and scoring two runs as the Raiders prevailed 10-0.

“I have been feeling more comfortable at bat,” said Riviello. “I have been working on keeping my head in and just driving the ball because I am not very big. I have got to use everything I have got.”

Despite hitting in the bottom of the order, Riviello has emerged as an offensive catalyst for the Raiders.

“I feel like I am up first a lot because the innings end before I get up for some reason,” said Riviello. “I like being first up in an inning.”

With Hun off to a 10-0 start, the squad has made scoring first a habit this spring.

“It is mostly everybody being aggressive and trying to take advantage,’ said Riviello. “We really came out with energy today. We all feel pretty good, even after making mistakes. You have got to pick yourself up and you have fun.”

Riviello is having fun playing shortstop.  more

VITAL CONTRIBUTOR: Hun School girls’ lacrosse goalie Angelina Vitale, right, looks to clear the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, junior star Vitale celebrated her 17th birthday by making nine saves to help Hun defeat Princeton Day School 10-6. The Raiders, who lost 12-8 to the Shipley School (Pa.) last Monday to move to 4-5, host Germantown Academy (Pa.) on April 30 and then play at Lawrenceville on May 3 in the state Prep A semis. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last Friday was Angelina Vitale’s 17th birthday, and she celebrated by giving a gift to the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team as it played at the Princeton Day School.

Playing under rental lights brought in for the night game, junior goalie Vitale saw the ball fine, producing a brilliant performance that saw her make nine saves including several point blank stops as Hun stifled PDS for a 10-6 win.

Vitale and her teammates were fired up for the Friday night lights clash with their crosstown rival.

“We played a hard game against them last year and didn’t come out on top,” said Vitale. “We worked hard in practice and really came out strong today with energy. It was their home field so we knew we had to bring a lot of energy and intensity and play with heart.”

The Raider defense showed plenty of heart as it clogged up the crease area to thwart the Panthers and jump out to a 7-1 halftime lead. more

IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Allison Lee races upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, freshman star Lee tallied seven goals and two assists to help Stuart defeat Rutgers Prep 14-4. On Friday, Lee contributed four goals and five assists to help the Tartans edge the Ranney School 12-11 to improve to 3-5. Stuart was slated to start action in the state Prep B tournament this week where it is seeded sixth and was scheduled to play at third-seeded PDS on April 26 in a first round contest. In addition, the Tartans will be playing at Hamilton West on April 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for Allison Lee to make an impact this spring in her freshman season for the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team.

The skilled midfielder tallied four goals in a season opening 17-7 defeat to Princeton Day School on April 4 in a harbinger of things to come.

“Everyone has their role on the team and my role has been to help with the scoring,” said Lee. “I can always count on my team. They are always supporting me so it allows me to score.”

Last Wednesday, Lee scored early and often, tallying seven goals and two assists in a 14-4 win over Rutgers Prep as the Tartans posted their second win in the last three games.

“In practice, we have been working really hard, we have been working on different plays,” said Lee. “It is a lot about the teamwork. In the beginning, it was little bit rougher but then we started to come together. The whole team has been working really hard and it has been showing in the results.” more

April 20, 2022

BIG MAC: Princeton High baseball player Connor McDowell takes a cut in recent action. Last week, senior McDowell went 3 for 4 with three RBIs to help PHS rally from a 4-0 deficit to edge Lawrenceville 8-7. The Tigers, who fell 13-1 to Notre Dame last Monday to move to 3-4, host Princeton Day School on April 20, WW/P-South on April 21, Ewing on April 23, and Allentown on April 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Before the Princeton High baseball team took the field to host Lawrenceville last week, it engaged in some soul-searching.

“We had a talk before the game about resilience and picking it up,” said PHS senior Connor McDowell.

“After that last game (a 2-0 loss to Robbinsville on April 11), we knew we had to perform. It was that or nothing.”

With McDowell picking up the offense by going 3 for 4 with three RBIs, PHS rallied from a 4-0 deficit to pull out an 8-7 walk-off win over the Big Red in the April 12 contest.

In the bottom of the second inning, McDowell helped get the Tigers back in the game, banging out a two-run single that narrowed the Lawrenceville lead to 4-3.

“I knew the pitcher was probably going to throw me a fastball,” said McDowell, recalling that at-bat. “I just needed to stay down and hit a line drive. I didn’t need to hit anything crazy, just hit through the ball and hit a single, that is all I need.” more

FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Kate Becker looks to unload the ball in a game earlier this spring. Last Wednesday, senior star Becker tallied five goals and an assist to help PHS defeat Notre Dame 9-6. On Monday, Becker scored nine goals as the Tigers defeated Hopewell Valley 14-8 to improve to 7-2. In upcoming action, PHS plays at Lawrence High on April 20, at Pingry School on April 23, and at WW/P-North on April 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kate Becker knew that the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team faced a major challenge as it looked to break down a stingy Notre Dame defense last Wednesday.

“They are notorious for their defense, they play it so well,” said PHS senior star and co-captain Becker. “It is hard to simulate in practice. They just work for it, they are shifting, and they are incredibly well-coached.”

With PHS trailing 2-0, Becker got things working, finding the back of the net with 8:59 left in the first half.

“We wanted to take our time, it was really hot out and we wanted to pass it around and give the middies a break,” said Becker, who added two more goals in the half as the teams went into halftime tied at 3-3. “It just took us a second to look for their weaknesses, they don’t have a lot. We were just looking for that right pass. We said going in that we wanted to make passes that are going to be 100 percent going to be catches and just maintain our energy and keep our composure on offense.”

Keeping its composure in the second half, PHS pulled away to a 9-6 victory.

“They were just getting rowdy and we were saying play the game, let them foul, take the hits, and move it on offense,” said Becker. “We were really focusing on when their backer plays us out, beating one and then passing it or moving it. I think that is what we were able to do, even in our stall at the end.”

Displaying her focus, Becker ended up with five goals and an assist in the win. more

STRINGING IT TOGETHER: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jonathan Gu hits a shot in action last spring. With junior Gu starring at first singles, PHS is off to a 5-0 start. In upcoming action, the Tigers host Notre Dame on April 21 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on April 25 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sarah Hibbert has been doing some mixing and matching this spring with the Princeton High boys’ tennis team.

With last year’s second singles star Jack Ling deciding not to play this spring in his sophomore season so he can focus on junior tennis, PHS head coach Hibbert has been forced to shuffle things around.

“That is obviously a big gap in our singles lineup,” said Hibbert, referring to the loss of Ling. “Jonathan [Gu] returned to give us a lot of strength at first singles. Melvin [Huang] has been working really hard as well at second. All of the other guys have been working really hard to step into the starting varsity lineup.”

In the early stages that work has been paying off as PHS defeated WW/P-North 3-2 on April 11 and Robbinsville 3-2 on April 13 with makeshift lineups.

“We were able to get past North which was a nice win for us, especially considering that our second doubles played at one and we had Luke Bornstein filling in at second doubles,” said Hibbert, whose team defeated Allentown 5-0 last Monday to improved to 5-0.

“He really stepped up. He got called up in a big spot twice this week; he is usually right on the cusp there for third doubles. He moved in and won a match at second doubles for us against North and moved into first doubles for us against Robbinsville and were still able to pull off the win. We had JV doubles at second. It made it a lot more exciting than perhaps it needed to be.”

PHS figures to get some exciting play all spring from junior Jonathan Gu at first singles. more

By Bill Alden

Over the course of this spring, the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team is going to be tested early and often.

PDS is facing a gauntlet of tough foes in regular season action, featuring a schedule packed with formidable prep and public school opponents. As for postseason play, the Panthers will be competing in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) tournament for the first time in addition to their annual tradition of  taking part in the state Prep B tourney and the Mercer County Tournament (MCT).

For PDS head coach Michael Augsberger, facing challenges is the key to making progress.

“I tell them it is really important for me to be playing the best because it means that we are trying to become the best tennis players that we can be and not just win matches,” said Augsberger. “That is impotent but it is more important to improve and to test yourself and your mettle. The challenge with that is that you have to try to keep spirits up.”

The chance to test their mettle in the NJSIAA competition is a big motivation for the PDS players.

“The guys are really excited, I think part of it is the success, ending on a high note last year and getting excited about it,” said Augsberger, whose team topped Peddie 5-0 last week to improve to 2-3 and hosts Haddonfield on April 20 before starting play in the MCT on April 25.

“Also I think it is entering the states. They see in the fall what the girls could do (winning a sectional title) and they are really excited about it. We are really happy to be a part of it. They really understand that this is a neat opportunity that no one else in school history has had.”

At first singles, junior Joshua Chu is getting a boost this spring from having the opportunity to spend two weeks training in Spain prior to the season. more