October 27, 2021

ROCKING ROBIN: Princeton High girls’ cross country junior star Robin Roth heads to the finish line at the Mercer County championship meet last Friday at Washington Crossing Park. Roth placed second individually in the girls’ varsity race to help PHS take the team title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Robin Roth didn’t feel particularly confident as she got ready to compete for the Princeton High girls’ cross country team at the Mercer County championship meet last Friday at Washington Crossing Park.

“Coming into today, it was ‘hopefully I don’t cry.’ It has not been my week,” said PHS junior star Roth.

“There is a lot of stress with this because Lawrenceville is so good. Freshman year we were supposed to win, it was supposed be really close between us and Allentown and we got fourth and that was a big thing for us. We had a lot of pressure in the county meet.”

Overcoming those doubts, Roth ended up having a great day, placing second individually in a time of 19:10.89 over the 5,000-meter course. Roth’s heroics helped PHS win the team title as it posted a score of 57 with Lawrenceville placing second at 85. She was followed closely by junior teammate Lucy Kreipke, who posted a time of 19:26.86, with Tiger sophomore Kyleigh Tangen coming in sixth in 19:30.54.

“I felt so good, I was in the back woods and I was wow, I am doing this,” said Roth.

“I feel good, I am running fast. This course plays to my strength because there is that downhill in the middle. I usually get engaged in the middle when I put my head down and I am jogging but with the downhill and all of the people, I feel pressure to still run.” more

PHOTO FINISH: Princeton High boys’ cross county star Andrew Kenny, right, edges Shaurya Srivastava of WW/P-South at the Mercer County cross country championship meet last Friday at Washington Crossing Park. Kenny finished fifth individually to lead the way for PHS as it placed second in the team standings, one point behind champion WW/P-North. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Andrew Kenny came to the starting line of the boys’ varsity race at the Mercer County cross country championship meet last Friday afternoon with his right calf wrapped in pink tape.

While Princeton High junior star Kenny had tweaked his calf just days before the meet, that didn’t keep him from assuming his frontrunner role for the Tigers.

Kenny clocked a time of 15:54.47 over the 5,000-meter course at Washington Crossing Park to take fifth individually.

“Even though my calf was burning for almost the whole time, I pushed through,” said Kenny. “I still raced amazing, it was a PR.”

Even though the PHS squad pushed hard collectively, it fell just short of winning the team title, losing by one point to WW/P-North, 52-53. Junior Zachary Deng was the next finisher for the Tigers, taking eighth in 16:28.47. Senior Kento Nakaya placed 12th in 16:35.14 with junior Marty Brophy finishing 13th in 16:41.95.

In reflecting on his race, Kenny said the course was suited to him.

“My start and my downhills I am really strong at so I really worked those two downhills,” said Kenny. more

FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis displays some fancy footwork last Monday as third-seeded PHS played second-seeded Hopewell Valley in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. Senior star and Lehigh-bound Lis scored a goal but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers fell 3-1. PHS, now 15-2, is next in action when it starts play next week in the state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sophia Lis is determined to make the most out her final postseason run with the Princeton High girls’ soccer team.

“I want to stay on this team for as long as possible,” said senior star and Lehigh-bound Lis. “It has been so great, it has been such a fun year.”

Last Thursday, Lis had a lot of fun, tallying two goals and four assists as third-seeded PHS defeated 14th-seeded Ewing 7-0 in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament.

“We have been looking forward to the MCTs starting and the states,” said Lis. “It is great to be here and already off to a good start.”

The Tigers showed great balance in the win as Casey Serxner tallied two goals and two assist with Holly Howes scoring two goals and Megan Rougas chipping in one goal and an assist.

“We have really been working in practices a lot,” said Lis. “I feel like we have the chemistry off the field, that is really showing on the field. We have done so many dinners, we just went to Conte’s and a whole group dinner there. Everyone is such great friends, we all want each other to score.”

Lis displayed her connection with sophomore Serxner, assisting on her two goals as PHS jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

“We know each other well from playing together last year,” said Lis. “I am really glad that is showing off this year.”

After assisting on the first three goals of the game, Lis found the back of the net with 22:11 left in the first half. In the second half, she got her second goal of the contest with 30:00 left in regulation. more

THRILLING FINALE: Princeton Day School field hockey player Ally Antonacci, right, battles a Lawrence High player for the ball in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Thursday night. Senior star Antonacci tallied a goal and an assist in the contest as third-seeded PDS fell 5-4 in overtime to fourth-seeded Lawrence. The Panthers, who fell to 13-4 with the defeat, are next in action when they compete in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public North sectional where they are seeded fourth and will host fifth-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in quarterfinal contest on November 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton Day School field hockey team played at Lawrence High in late September, it turned out to be one of the most dramatic games of the fall.

Playing under the lights, a scrappy PDS squad upset previously undefeated Lawrence 4-3 on a fourth quarter goal by Lily Ryan in the September 24 contest.

Last Thursday night, the foes met again on the same field in the Mercer County Tournament final and they outdid themselves, producing a championship game for the ages.

The third-seeded Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the fourth-seeded Cardinals on goals by Jadyn Huff and Tessa Caputo. After Lawrence responded with a goal from Princeton University-bound superstar Talia Schenck, who recently set the state record for goals in a season as she passed the 100 mark, the Panthers took to a 3-1 lead at halftime on a second goal by Caputo with eight seconds left in the second quarter.

“It was a good start,” said Farlow. “It was come out aggressive, play possession and play our game, that is the whole game plan.”

In the third quarter, Schenck scored two goals to even the game at 3-3. With 21 seconds left in the fourth, Schenck found the back of the cage to make it 4-3, seemingly closing the deal. more

ON THE BALL: Princeton Day School field hockey player Jadyn Huff hits the ball in action last week in the Mercer County Tournament. Junior star Huff contributed an assist as third-seeded PDS upset previously undefeated and second-seeded Princeton High 2-0 in the MCT semifinals on October 19. Two days later, Huff contributed a goal as the Panthers fell 5-4 to fourth-seeded Lawrence in overtime in the county final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jadyn Huff and her teammates on the Princeton Day School field hockey team weren’t intimidated as they faced undefeated Princeton High in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last week.

“We came with same mentality that we had at Lawrence because they had also been undefeated for a long time,” said PDS junior star Huff, referring to the Panthers’ 4-3 win over Lawrence on September 24.

“We just really pushed and we really wanted to take them out just as we did Lawrence. It is just living in that moment.”

Huff provided a big moment with 6:32 left in the first quarter, firing a blast off a penalty corner that was tipped into the goal by Ally Antonacci to give PDS a 1-0 lead.

“We practice a lot with our corners and I know she will be there and she could just touch it,” said Huff.

“That is exactly what happened, our chemistry is on the next level.” more

MAKING STRIDES: Princeton Day School girls’ cross country sophomore star Emily McCann heads to the finish line at the Mercer County championship meet last Friday at Washington Crossing Park. McCann placed eighth individually in the girls’ varsity race, clocking a time of 19:42.36 over the 5,000-meter course. PDS finished 11th in the girls’ team standings. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After going undefeated last fall in her freshman season for the Princeton Day School girls’ cross country team in a campaign abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns, Emily McCann has enjoyed testing herself against tougher competition in 2021.

“Last year, there were not many big races, the first few invitationals this year got me in the mindset,” said McCann.

“This is insane. It was overwhelming how many people there were. I am used to it now.”

Utilizing that experience, McCann placed eighth in the girls’ varsity race at the Mercer County Championships last Friday at Washington Crossing Park. McCann clocked a time of 19:42.36 over the 5,000-meter course, helping PDS finish 11th in the girls’ team standings.

“I knew the first mile was going to be really fast,” said McCann reflecting on the race.

“It is all downhill and the field is really good. I was ready to have it be a sub 6-minute mile. I didn’t want there to be much strain but that is exactly what I did. The first mile felt really good. I think I was 10th there. I stayed with them the whole time.” more

STARK REALITY: Hun School boys’ soccer player Tyler Stark controls the ball in a game earlier this fall. Junior defender Stark has shored up the back line for Hun, helping it advance to the state Prep A semis and the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. The Raiders, who fell 5-0 to Pennington last Saturday in the MCT quarters to move to 9-5, play at Steinert on October 27 and at Peddie on October 30 before getting a rematch against Pennington in the Prep A semis on November 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Pat Quirk liked the way his Hun School boys’ soccer team was playing as it approached tournament time.

“We were stating to click and play really well together,” said Hun head coach Quirk.

“It is really selfless soccer, we emphasize making the extra pass in the box and the guys have been buying into that.”

The Raiders clicked in state Prep A opener, posting a 4-2 win over Blair on October 19.

“We got off to a pretty good start against them. We knew that if we could play soccer we could put a bunch of pressure on them, which is what we like to do,” said Quirk who got two goals from Mass Verduci in the win with Osman Bayazitoglu and Adhityan Tamilselvan adding one apiece.

“The kids stuck to game plan well. Hector [Suriel] was hurt so we didn’t play him. Mass kind of stepped in and played the role. He put two in the back of the net, it was nice for him. It was a good confidence builder. He can create stuff for himself, he has gotten pretty strong on the ball. It is just getting him to put it on the frame — he has a very powerful shot.” more

October 20, 2021

BIG HIT: Princeton High field hockey player Delaney Keegan hits the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore forward Keegan tallied a goal and an assist as second-seeded PHS defeated 10th-seeded Hun 3-0 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. The Tigers, now 13-0, were slated to face third-seeded Princeton Day School (12-3) in the MCT semis in October 19 with the victory advancing to the final on October 21 at Lawrence High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Delaney Keegan and her teammates on the undefeated and second-seeded Princeton High field hockey team knew they were in for a battle when they hosted 10th-seeded Hun in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Friday.

“I do think they wanted to come for us,” said PHS sophomore forward Keegan of the clash against the upset-minded crosstown rival. “They definitely were hungry for a really competitive game.”

Things were very competitive in the first half as the foes played to a scoreless stalemate.

“They were tough to break down,” said Keegan. “They put up a great fight.”

At halftime, the Tigers focused on playing more as a unit. “Our forward line and midline were not connecting so we talked about it,” said Keegan.

“In the end it was just a matter of playing as a team and playing as one together.”

PHS got things together as senior star and Rutgers-bound Weir scored to put the Tigers up 1-0 with 9:52 left in the third quarter.

Minutes later, Keegan took a feed from Weir and banged it home. Returning the favor, Keegan set up Weir for the third and final goal of the contest with 1:14 left in the third as the Tigers never looked back, prevailing 3-0 and improving to 13-0. more

COMEBACK KID: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Owen Deming boots the ball in recent action. Last week, senior midfielder Deming scored the tying goal and winning tally as PHS edged Notre Dame 4-3 in overtime, coming back from a late 3-2 deficit. The Tigers, who defeated WW/P-South 1-0 last Saturday to move to 8-2-2, start action in the Mercer County Tournament this week. PHS is seeded third and will host a first round contest on October 21 between the winner of the play-in game between the Princeton Day School and Ewing. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Owen Deming brought some extra emotion to the field for the Princeton High boys’ soccer team as it hosted undefeated Notre Dame last week.

“It was a huge senior day, we are playing against Notre Dame and they are a really tough opponent,” said senior midfielder Deming, reflecting on the October 12 contest.

“I haven’t beaten them in my high school career so when I came out here, I really wanted to beat them.”

In early stages of the clash, Deming focused on his defensive responsibilities.

“Defensively we were just trying to lock down their center midfielders and their attacker Denny Bensch,” said Deming. “We did really well, we were up 2-0 in the first 15 minutes.”

PHS kept that 2-0 lead heading into the second half but the Irish rallied, scoring three unanswered goals in a 13-minute stretch of the second half to forge ahead 3-2 with 4:52 left in regulation.

“We kind of dropped in and let them keep pinging balls in,” said Deming. “When we got down 3-2, I was pretty mad.” more

J-TRAIN: Princeton High football player Jaiden Johnson races upfield in a game earlier this fall. Last Friday night, senior star Johnson made three catches for 48 yards and kicked a 46-yard field goal in a losing cause as PHS fell 38-10 to Camden Catholic. The Tigers, now 1-6, host Cinnaminson (1-6) on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was Friday night lights time for the Princeton High football team as it hosted Camden Catholic for Homecoming.

An overflow, raucous crowd had packed the stands around the PHS turf field by the 7 p.m. kickoff last Friday on an unseasonably warm October evening with fans spilling into the hill overlooking the end zone.

As Tiger senior receiver/cornerback Jaiden Johnson took the field, he was pumped to give the fans something to cheer about.

“The atmosphere was amazing, I am glad to see everybody here,” said Johnson.

“Last year we didn’t have it because of COVID. I just love it; the support from the school.”

After Camden Catholic jumped out to an 8-0 lead, Johnson got the throng on hand buzzing, making a 40-yard reception down the sideline on a bomb from Jaxon Petrone and later kicking a 46-yard field goal as the Tigers cut the deficit to 8-3.

“We have been working on it every single day in practice,” said Johnson, recalling his spectacular catch.

“We have been getting better and it transitioned into the game. We want to keep doing that as much as possible.”

Johnson and fellow senior star receiver Everaldo Servil have developed a good connection this fall with senior quarterback Petrone.

“On the offseason, me, Everaldo [Servil] and him have just been working together,” said Johnson, who came into Friday averaging 15 yards per catch. more

WINNING PARTNERSHIP: Lucia Marckioni, left, and Sophia Kim celebrate the Princeton High girls’ tennis team’s run to the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional title. The pair of seniors Marckioni and Kim starred at first doubles as PHS earned its first sectional crown since 2018. PHS fell 3.5-1.5 to Tenafly in the state Group 3 semis last Thursday at Mercer County Park. Marckioni and Kim provided a highlight in the defeat with a straight-set win. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lucia Marckioni and Sophia Kim have accomplished a lot over the years playing at first doubles for the Princeton High girls’ tennis team.

The pair of seniors won the first doubles title at the Mercer County Tournament in 2019 and 2021 and went undefeated in 2020 but didn’t have the chance to defend their MCT crown as the event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Despite all of their success, Marckioni and Kim hadn’t been part of a sectional team title winner.

Last week, they added that line to their resume, posting a 7-5, 7-5 win over Sabrina Chang and Kirthi Chigurupati to help PHS edge WW/P-N 3-2 in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional final and earn a spot in the state Group 3 semis for the first time since 2018.

Last Thursday, PHS headed to Mercer County Park for the semis and battled hard before falling 3.5-1.5 to Tenafly.

Marckioni and Kim provided a highlight in the defeat as they came through with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Tenafly’s Zoe Han and Liliana La Pera.

For Marckioni, advancing to the state semis was particularly meaningful as a senior.

“We weren’t on varsity freshman year and sophomore and junior year the team lost in the semifinals,” said Marckioni.

“This year we were able to win the final and to come here. It is such a way to end.” more

MAKING HISTORY: Princeton Day School girls’ tennis player Neha Khandkar hits a forehand in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A team final last Thursday at Mercer County Park. Junior star Khandkar fell at first singles as PDS lost 5-0 to Pingry. It marked the end of a superb debut as the Panthers had won the South Jersey Non-Public A sectional team final in their first-ever appearance in the competition. On Sunday, the Panthers started play in the state Prep B tourney and saw Amy Zhou advance to the final at third singles with Sophie Zhang and Jackie Baranski making it at first doubles. The Panthers, who sit second in the team standings behind Montclair Kimberley Academy, will wrap up play in the event on October 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Princeton Day School girls’ tennis first singles star Neha Khandkar knew she was facing a challenge when she played Pingry’s Anika Paul in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A team final last Thursday at Mercer County Park.

A week earlier, Khandkar had lost 6-3, 6-3 to Paul when the teams met in a regular season match won by undefeated Pingry 5-0.

Coming into the rematch, Khandkar tweaked her strategy.

“My approach was to hit high to her backhand because it as the weaker stroke off her two groundstrokes; her forehand is really solid and aggressive,” said Khandkar.

“It was just to keep mixing up the pace and not let her get into a rhythm.”

While Khandkar battled hard, she never found her rhythm, falling 6-1, 6-1 to Paul as PDS lost 5-0 again to Pingry.

“It was sort of the same honestly,” said Khandkar reflecting on the setback.

“It could have gone a lot better but at least I had a strategy going in.”

It marked the end of a superb debut for the Panthers as they had won the South Jersey Non-Public A sectional team final in their first-ever appearance in the competition. more

By Bill Alden

This past spring, Abby O’Brien emerged as the go-to finisher for the Hun School girls’ lacrosse program, tallying a team-leading 70 goals.

But playing in her junior season for the Hun field hockey squad this fall, O’Brien has assumed a much different role, developing into a top defender for the Raiders.

“As the center back, I am the last line of defense there,” said O’Brien.

“I want to do absolutely everything I can to keep that ball out of the goal.”

Juggling the two sports helps O’Brien excel no matter what end of the field she is patrolling.

“I definitely enjoy having this role, it is a great balance to do both,” said O’Brien.

“There are a lot of the same technical things with spacing and things like that so it is really cool to be able to have one in the air and one on the ground.”

Playing at second-seeded Princeton High in the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Tournament last Friday, the 10th-seeded Raiders did a lot of good things as they held undefeated and second-seeded Princeton High to a scoreless stalemate in the first half.

“I think our defense played well, we did everything that we could to try to save those goals,” said O’Brien of Hun, who edged seventh-seeded Allentown 2-1 in the first round last Wednesday to earn a shot at the Tigers. more

QUICK LEARNER: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Emily Ix dribbles the ball in a game earlier this season. Junior Ix, who took up field hockey this year after playing tennis the last two falls, has emerged as a scoring threat for Stuart. Last Wednesday, Ix tallied two goals to help the sixth-seeded Tartans top 11th-seeded WW/P-S 4-1 in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament. Stuart, which fell 3-2 to Princeton Day School in the MCT quarters last Friday to move to 10-3-2, will continue postseason play when it hosts a state Prep B semifinal contest on October 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Emily Ix spent her first two falls at Stuart Country Day School playing tennis.

This year, however, junior Ix decided to make a change and joined the Stuart field hockey program.

“I love tennis and I really love team sports,” said Ix, who stars for the Stuart lacrosse team in the spring, having scored a team-high 37 goals in the 2021 campaign.

“A lot of my friends play field hockey and I love Miss Bruvik [field hockey head coach Missy Bruvik]. I got a lot out of tennis and I feel like a lot of my game in tennis translates to my game in field hockey so that has been really helpful.”

It hasn’t taken Ix long to develop a comfort level in her new sport.

“When I first started playing, the rules were a little different,” said Ix.

“My dribbling and stick skills have improved a lot. Lacrosse is my main sport probably and a lot of the same girls play lacrosse so I was able to fit right in. It has been great with the team.” more

October 13, 2021

AMAZING GRACE: Princeton High field hockey player Grace Rebak, left, controls the ball last Friday against Lawrence High. Senior star defender Rebak helped spearhead the back line as PHS edged Lawrence 3-2 in showdown of powerhouses. The Tigers, who improved to 11-0 with the win, are next in action when they compete in the Mercer County Tournament. PHS is seeded second in the MCT and hosts No. 15 Hamilton West in an opening round contest on October 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In 2020, the Princeton High field hockey team brought an undefeated record into its clash with Lawrence High and came away with a stinging 7-1 defeat.

Last Friday in the rematch of powerhouses, PHS found itself in a similar position, coming into the matchup at 10-0 and having not allowed a goal all fall as it girded for the showdown with 11-1 Lawrence.

This time, though, PHS was determined to produce a different result.

“We were coming out very hungry from last year; we just wanted redemption, we talked about last year’s game all of the time,” said PHS star senior defender and co-captain Grace Rebak.

“We were just ready for this, we were ready for the competition in defense. I wanted to feel the pressure, I wanted to go up against a really good offense so I was super excited going into it. I think our entire squad was really excited going into it.” more

SECOND CHANCE: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Bella Lependorf hits a backhand last Thursday against Hightstown in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional semifinals. Senior Lependorf posted a 6-0, 6-0 win over Diana Kalajdzic to help the third-seeded Tigers edge the second-seeded Rams 3-2.Lependorf had opened the season by losing a three-setter against the Rams as PHS dropped a 3-2 nail-biter to Hightstown. The Tigers, who improved to 7-1 with the victory, were slated to play at top-seeded WW/P-North in the sectional final on October 12 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 semis on October 14 at Mercer County Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bella Lependorf was primed to make the difference as the Princeton High girls’ tennis team faced Hightstown in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional semifinals last Thursday.

Senior star Lependorf opened the season by losing a three-setter at second singles to Diana Kalajdzic against the Rams as PHS dropped a 3-2 nail-biter to Hightstown on September 8.

As Lependorf hit the court, she was looking for redemption from the opening day loss.

“I think last time I kind of let my emotions get the best of me,” said Lependorf.

“I was a little nervous because it was our first match. This time I tried to stay calm because I know that kind of ruined it for me last time.”

Lependorf succeeded in turning the tables, posting a 6-0, 6-0 win over Kalajdzic as third-seeded PHS prevailed 3-2 over the second-seeded Rams and improved to 7-1, advancing to play at top-seeded WW/P-North in the sectional final on October 12. The victor of that match will play in the state Group 3 semis on October 14 at Mercer County Park.

“I tried to get my first serve percentage higher,” said Lependorf. “I was making a lot of serve errors last time so I wanted to make sure that I fix that this time. It definitely made the difference.”

For Lependorf, making the difference as PHS reached the sectional final in her senior campaign was extra special.

“I was really hoping that this would happen in my senior year because I have been working so hard the last three years. and we always make it to the semis,” said Lependorf. more

THE JAX SHOW: Princeton High football senior star Jaxon Petrone gets ready to throw a pass in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday against visiting Robbinsville, quarterback/safety Petrone had a busy day passing for 172 yards and making several crunching tackles in the secondary. Petrone’s efforts weren’t enough as PHS fell 30-7 to the Ravens. The Tigers, now 1-5, host Camden Catholic (4-2) on October 15 under the lights for Homecoming. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jaxon Petrone is ready to do whatever he can to help the Princeton High football team.

After PHS hosted Robbinsville last Saturday, Petrone kept contributing, picking up pylons in the end zone to clean up the field.

Earlier in the day, senior quarterback/safety Petrone was busy on the field, hitting on 15-of 25 passes for 172 yards and making several crunching tackles in the secondary.

Petrone’s efforts, though, weren’t enough as the Tigers fell 30-7 to Robbinsville and dropped to 1-5.

In the early stages, PHS hung tough against the Ravens, battling back from a 10-0 deficit, going on a 7-play, 65-yard scoring march late in the second quarter. A 42-yard pass from Petrone to Jaiden Johnson got the Tigers to the Robbinsville six-yard line and then two plays later Jason Ling scored on a 3-yard TD run as PHS narrowed the gap to 10-7 at intermission.

“The pass to Jaiden was great,” said Petrone. “We had a lot of momentum going in at halftime.” more

GOAL-ORIENTED: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Grace Romano goes after the ball in a 2020 game. Last Wednesday, junior striker Romano tallied two goals to help PDS defeat Pingry 3-1. A day later, Romano chipped in a goal to help the Panthers defeat Gill St. Bernard’s 3-1 in the opening round of the state Prep B tournament. PDS, now 7-2-2, plays at Newark Academy on October 16 and then hosts Hopewell Valley on October 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Grace Romano proved to be in the right place at the right time for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team as it hosted the Pingry School last Wednesday.

Less than 30 seconds into the contest, junior striker Romano converted a miscue by the Pingry goalie into a goal, swooping in on a bobble and slotting it into the back of the net.

Then with PDS clinging to a 2-1 lead in the waning minutes of the second half, Romano raced into the box and volleyed a ball over the head of the keeper to seal the deal as the Panthers prevailed 3-1.

“I think that really got our momentum started,” said Romano

“I thought she had it and then I turn around and see it rolling and I was, I have got to get to that.”

While the Panthers built a 2-0 lead at halftime as Abby Weed also found the back of the net, PDS wasn’t quite in synch.

“I think halftime really brought us back together,” said Romano. more

By Bill Alden

Making its debut in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A sectional, the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team is leaving quite a first impression.

Seeded fourth, PDS defeated fifth-seeded Red Bank Catholic 5-0 in the sectional quarters on October 5. Two days later, the Panthers upset top-seeded Donovan Catholic 4-1 in the semis.

With PDS having joined the NJSIAA starting with the 2021-22 school year, the squad was fired up to test itself in the sectional.

“It is a first for us,” said Panther head coach Michael Augsberger, whose team is slated to play at second-seeded Trinity Hall on October 12 in the sectional final with the victor advancing to state Group semis on October 14 at Mercer County Park. “We really were excited for it.”

Augsberger was excited by how his first singles player, junior Neha Khandkar, battled in her 7-6, 7-6 win over Peiyi Liu of Red Bank Catholic.

“The No. 1 match was the best tennis match I have ever seen ever coaching tennis in my career,” said Augsberger.

“It was incredibly cerebral tennis. They were asking really deep questions of each other with a lot of short angles, a lot of smart shots and thinking. I loved it. I sat there with the other coach so I could get a better angle to watch behind the baseline with their team. It was just a joy.” more

MAKING PROGRESS: Hun School quarterback Marco Lainez III rolls out in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior star Lainez completed 11-of-13 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown in a 21-7 win at Suffield Academy (Conn.). Hun, now 4-0, plays at the Hill School (Pa.) on October 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Marco Lainez III was focused on being a better decision maker and taking better care of the football for the Hun School team.

The junior quarterback has been better at both in his second season with the Raiders. Last Saturday, Lainez completed 11 of 13 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown in a 21-7 win at Suffield Academy (Conn.).

While Lainez was pleased with his performance, he was more excited that Hun improved to 4-0.

“It’s awesome,” said Lainez. “I think it’s a real testament to how hard we worked in the offseason and how much our guys have put in. We’ve really gelled together as a team. The linemen are our key to our success. Those guys up front, they’re sacrificing their bodies every game and they’re the reason we’re winning right now.”

Lainez posted a gaudy 150.3 quarterback rating against Suffield, spreading the ball to six different receivers.

“I definitely didn’t value the football as much as I would have liked to last year,” said Lainez, who lives in nearby Skillman.

“One thing I learned is the more we hang onto the football, the more we have the ball, the more we have the opportunity to give it to our playmakers.” more

HEADING THE DEPARTMENT: Evan Moorhead, center, poses with Ben Stentz, left, and Vikki Caines at the Community Park Pool. Moorhead has succeeded Stentz as the executive director of the Princeton Recreation Department, taking the helm this July when Stentz left to pursue other opportunities. Moorhead is well-prepared for his new role, having served as the assistant recreation director for the department since 2011 and in a variety of other part-time roles since the 1990s. (Photo provided by the Princeton Recreation Department)

By Bill Alden

When Evan Moorhead got his first job at the Community Park tennis courts working for the Princeton Recreation Department in 1990, he never envisioned that he would someday be running the department.

Over the years, Moorhead has worn many hats for the Rec Department, including managing the CP Pool, running the Summer Men’s Hoops League and the Dillon Hoops league, and coaching in the boys’ hoops league while working full-time at Bloomberg and then running Dillon Gym.

Moorhead, a former Princeton High boys’ hoops player, started working full-time for the Rec Department as an assistant director in 2011 when his close friend and former PHS teammate Ben Stentz became the executive director.

Earlier this year when Stentz announced he was stepping down to pursue other opportunities, Moorhead put his hat in the ring to succeed his friend and was chosen by the Recreation Commission as the new executive director, taking the helm in July.

“It was bittersweet for me, I was completely excited and thrilled to be given the opportunity,” said the easy-going, affable Moorhead, 47, who lives in town with his wife, Dana Hughes Moorhead, a third-generation Princetonian, and their daughter, Eme Moorhead, age 9.

“But at the same time it meant I would no longer be working day to day with a colleague I really respected and a friend who I have known since I was 10 years old. I felt ready but there is a little bit of nerves. It is a big job. Ben left very big shoes to fill here at PRD, as did Don Barr and Jack Roberts prior to that. I’m following in the footsteps of three New Jersey Parks and Recreation legends.” more

October 6, 2021

MEMORABLE DEBUT: Princeton University men’s soccer player Malik Pinto controls the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore midfielder Pinto made a sensational Ivy League debut, tallying two goals, including the game-winner, as Princeton edged Dartmouth 3-2 in overtime in the Ivy opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 4-4 overall and 1-0 Ivy, play at Temple on October 6 and at Brown on October 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In recent years, the Princeton University men’s soccer team has struggled in its rivalry with Dartmouth.

Coming into the clash last Saturday against the Big Green, the Ivy League opener for both teams, Princeton was mired in a six-game winless skid in the series.

Even though Dartmouth entered the game with a 0-6 record, Princeton head coach Jim Barlow knew that his team was in for a battle.

“We have really struggled against Dartmouth over the last several seasons,” said Barlow.

“It was a little different because they struggled to get results early. It was misleading because they had played all six of their games away and they had played four teams in the top 25.”

Princeton came out firing early against the Big Green, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Walker Gillespie 9:32 into the contest. The Tigers doubled the lead early in the second half on a goal by sophomore midfielder Malik Pinto. more

ON THE BALL: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Richard Wegmann, center, dribbles the ball around a defender in recent action. Last Thursday, junior striker Wegmann tallied two goals to help PHS defeat Hamilton West 6-0. The Tigers, who fell 5-2 to Pingry School last Saturday to move to 6-1-1, play at Lawrence High on October 7 before hosting Notre Dame on October 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High boys’ soccer team led Hamilton West 2-0 at halftime last week, Richard Wegmann realized that a win wasn’t guaranteed.

“We knew that 2-0, the game is not done yet,” said PHS junior striker Wegmann. “We came out and we were ready to put it away.”

Wegmann helped put the game away for the Tigers, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half as PHS pulled away to a 6-0 triumph in the September 28 contest and improved to 5-0-1.

His first tally came 2:33 into the half on a feed from senior star Nico Carusone.

“It was great pass from Nico, my striking partner,” said Wegmann.

“It is a real pleasure to play with him, he is great. He gave me a great ball and I just had to put it in.”

Wegmann found the back of the net eight minutes later, slotting in a feed from Cooper Ealy.

“It was another good through ball, we have been working on that connection with the midfield and it came through there,” said Wegmann.

“I had a little bit of space and I had to stick it towards goal and one of the touches was going to put it in.” more

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Megan Rougas, center, celebrates after a goal. Senior striker Rougas is having a big final campaign as PHS has gotten off to a 7-0 start. The Tigers, who have scored 35 goals and given up just one in their first seven games, will look to keep rolling when they host Lawrence on October 7 and Ewing on October 8 before playing at Notre Dame on October 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Megan Rougas sensed early on this fall that the Princeton High girls’ soccer team could enjoy a special season.

“We have a really great team; this is my senior year and I want to go out as strong as I came in,” said Rougas.

“I am really, really happy to have this team. We just work so well together. We have been doing a lot of team bonding and chemistry. I think that has definitely helped us on the field.”

Last Thursday, PHS looked like a dominant team as it defeated Hightstown 6-0, jumping out to a 4-0 lead midway through the first half and never looking back as it improved to 6-0.

“We came into it with such a positive mindset,” said Rougas.

“Having so many shutouts and working so well as a team had really pushed us and motivated us. You would think that we’d plateau but we didn’t. We just keep going.”

Rougas got the rout going, tallying the first goal of the day five minutes into the contest on an assist from classmate and close friend Sophia Lis.

“It was all Sophia, I have to say,” said Rougas. “She really took it up the field, I just tapped it in. It was a team effort.”

The bond between Rougas and the Lehigh-bound Lis has helped fuel the hot start by the Tigers as they outscored foes 33-0 through their first six games. more

VALUE ADDED: Princeton High boys’ cross country star Addison Motto heads to the finish line in a race last fall. Last Saturday, senior Motto placed 30th in the Boys Varsity B division in the New Balance Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park. Motto helped PHS finish third of 25 squads in the Boys Varsity B team standings. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Andrew Kenny didn’t need a race to know how much he had improved.

The Princeton High School junior runner knew from practice that his training since last fall had made him much faster.

“It was me sticking up with my teammates in the workouts,” said Kenny.

“Last year, I’d be straggling behind and I wouldn’t be with that top crew. With summer training and the start of the season, I’ve been with the top crew or exceeding the top crew in training.”

Kenny was out front again as the third finisher overall in the Boys Varsity B race at the New Balance Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park on Saturday. Kenny covered the famed 5-kilometer course in a personal record of 16:28 to lead the Tiger boys team to third of 25 squads in the division’s team standings.

“I was really hurting through the first mile,” said Kenny. “Those roller coasters kill you and there’s not much traction with your spikes. I cruised through the next half mile to the one-and-a-half mile mark. I worked the hill decent. I know I’m a good downhill runner. Once I got to The Bowl, I put on the gas and just went.”

Kenny and the Tigers didn’t get to compete in the big invitationals last year due to a COVID-19 pandemic adjusted schedule, but he ran 18:30 as a freshman at Shore Coaches and last year clocked a 18:40 at a CVC dual meet around the same time. He’s been making up for lost time. more