June 1, 2022

FAMILIAR WATERS: Nathalie Verlinde, far left, competes in the bow seat as the Princeton University lightweight women’s varsity 8 churns through the water in a race this spring. Sophomore Verlinde, a Princeton High alumni, will be looking to help the Tiger top boat repeat as national champions when it competes in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships from June 3-5 on Mercer Lake. During her high school career, Verlinde competed on Mercer Lake as a member of the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) Mercer Junior rowing program. (Photo by Row2K, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Nathalie Verlinde feels at home on Mercer Lake, where she will try to help the Princeton University lightweight women’s varsity 8 boat repeat as national champions June 3-5 at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships.

Verlinde graduated from Princeton High and started rowing for the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) Mercer Junior rowing program. as a high school freshman. The Mercer Juniors train on Mercer Lake, and last year her high school teammates came out to see her Tigers team win the national title in a field reduced to two by the COVID-19 pandemic. Princeton won by more than 26 seconds over Wisconsin for its first national crown since 2003.

Now a sophomore, Verlinde and Princeton will face a full field as it tries to cap a perfect season. The Tiger top boat has not been beaten this season, as it won another gold at the Dad Vail Championships in Philadelphia on May 14 to follow up an important win at Eastern Sprints in Worcester, Mass., on May 1. more

PASSING THE TORCH: Jenn Cook, right, and Chris Sailer are all smiles last Wednesday after Cook was named to succeed Sailer as the head coach of the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team. Cook served for 10 years as an assistant and associate head coach for the Tigers before getting promoted to the top job. Sailer, a Hall of Fame coach who led Princeton to a 433-168 record and three NCAA titles in her 36-year tenure guiding the program, announced last fall that she was retiring after the 2022 campaign. (Photo provided by Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Princeton University Director of Athletics John Mack didn’t have to go far to find a successor to legendary Tiger women’s lacrosse head coach Chris Sailer.

After conducting a nationwide search for a new head coach upon Hall of Famer Sailer announcing last fall that she was retiring after the 2022 campaign, longtime Princeton assistant and associate head coach Jenn Cook was named last week to take the helm of the program.

In her introductory press conference last Wednesday at Chandler Lounge, Cook vowed to be herself as she fills the big shoes of Sailer, a Hall of Fame coach who led Princeton to a 433-168 record and three NCAA titles in her 36-year tenure guiding the program.

“When I was interviewing for this job, a lot of my friends in the lacrosse world said those are big shoes to fill and I couldn’t agree more,” said Cook, a former University of North Carolina star who coached at her alma mater for four years and one year at Drexel before coming to Princeton in 2013.

“What Chris has taught me is that I have to coach in my own shoes and lead authentically. Chris has always led authentically in her coaching style and I am going to do the same. Those are big shoes and I think that the traditions that she has brought here and the tradition of winning is incredibly important. Those are things that I am going to continue to believe in and do but of course have my own spin on it.”

Cook believes she is more than ready to handle the top job. more

HANGING TOUGH: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Melvin Huang hits a forehand in a match this spring. Last Friday, sophomore Huangposted a 7-6, 6-1 win at second singles over Akul Solanki to help top-seeded PHS defeat the fifth-seeded Rams 5-0 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 sectional semifinals. PHS went on to defeat second-seeded WW/P-North 3-2 in the sectional final last Tuesday to improve to 15-1. The Tigers will now be competing in the state Group 3 semis on June 2 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As usual, Melvin Huang was the last player in action as the Princeton High boys’ tennis team hosted Hightstown last Friday morning in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 sectional semifinals.

Utilizing his grind-it-out style, sophomore Huang posted a 7-6, 6-1 win at second singles over Akul Solanki to help top-seeded PHS defeat the fifth-seeded Rams 5-0.

“I enjoy being on court so I want to stay on it as long as possible,” said Huang. “I want to give 100 percent because if I don’t give it now, when I am going to try. I want to put all of effort into tennis and the hard work has paid off a lot.”

Huang had to work hard to defeat Solanki. “He played really well, he made it really tough,” said Huang.

“He kept getting balls back that I couldn’t get back. He was running all over the court getting everything back. He really wanted to play and stay in the points. He made it hard to finish off points. After the first set, I just tried to calm down a bit and not try to overhit the ball and just make him run even more.”

Moving up to second singles this season, Huang has kept his cool in dealing with better competition.

“It has been kind of the same because I played a lot of second singles last year, it has been fun,” said Huang, who took over that spot after last year’s second singles player, Jack Ling, decided not to play for PHS this spring to concentrate on junior tournaments. “Third singles was kind of easier and now it is more of a challenge at second.” more

ROCK STAR: Princeton High junior sprinter Zach Della Rocca displays his form at the Mercer County Track and Field Championships last weekend. Junior Della Rocca starred at county meet, winning the 400 meters in a school-record time of 48.52 and taking first in the 200 meters. Della Rocca’s heroics helped PHS place fourth in the team standings with 47 points in a competition won by WW/P-North (78). (Photo provided by Ben Samara)

By Justin Feil

Zach Della Rocca’s speed has been a big asset on the soccer field for Princeton High and he always wondered how it would translate in track and field.

The junior in his first year running for the PHS boys’ track team set his second school record while winning a pair of events at the Mercer County Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday.

“I love it,” said Della Rocca of his introduction to track.“It’s very addicting. It’s a very different type of fitness that you don’t get from soccer. We do a lot of weight training which I really enjoy doing. It’s helped me, especially mentally, focus on being able to compete. It requires a lot of mental attention. Anxiety builds so you have to stay calm. I’ve seen it help me in many ways, and I really enjoy it.”

In the 400 meters at the county meet, Della Rocca took first in 48.52, smashing the previous school record of 49.42.

“At Penn Relays, I split 48.4, which was better than the record, but it didn’t count because it was a relay,” said Della Rocca. “I knew I had it in me and I was just really trying to do it in an open 400 at a time that would count for the record. That was my goal going into it and I gave it everything to try to get it.” more

SO GOOD: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Sophie Jaffe, left, races upfield in recent action. Last Thursday, junior Jaffe tallied three goals to help top-seeded PDS defeat eighth-seeded St. Elizabeth 15-4 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B quarterfinals. The Panthers, who improved to 12-8 with the win, were slated to host fourth-seeded Bishop Eustace in the semis on May 31 with the victor advancing to the title game on June 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In the early stages of this season, Sophie Jaffe was part of the supporting cast for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team.

With such high-powered stars as Paige Gardner, Tessa Caputo, Ali Surace, and Elle Anhut dominating the scoresheet, Jaffe was overshadowed a bit.

But down the home stretch, junior Jaffe has been emerging as a star for the Panthers. In the Prep B state title game against Montclair Kimberley Academy on May 20, Jaffe tallied a team-high five goals with an assist and helped dominate the draw circle along with senior Ali Surace down the stretch as PDS rallied from a 12-9 deficit to pull out a 13-12 win.

Last Wednesday, Jaffe tallied three goals to help top-seeded PDS defeat eighth-seeded St. Elizabeth 15-4 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B quarterfinals.

In reflecting on her late surge, Jaffe said she has gained a comfort level on the field.

“I definitely feel like I am growing as a lacrosse player,” said Jaffe, who has tallied 40 points this season on 28 goals and 12 assists. “I am making sure that I am seeing the open girl on time.” more

NICK OF TIME: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Nick Somogyi, middle, fends off two foes in a game this spring. Junior Somogyi’s hustle all over the field helped ninth-seeded PDS make an inspired run in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B semis. The underdog Panthers defeated eighth-seeded Morristown-Beard 11-6 in a first round contest and then stunned top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s 7-6 in the quarterfinals. The squad’s bid for the title ended when it fell 12-10 at fourth-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy last Saturday in the semifinals. The defeat left PDS with a final record of 6-11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Heading into the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B tournament with a 4-10 record and having lost seven of its last nine games, the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team didn’t look like a threat to make a deep run in the competition.

But ninth-seeded PDS proceeded to defeat eighth-seeded Morristown-Beard 11-6 in a first round contest then stunned top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s 7-6 in the quarterfinals.

Panther head coach Joe Moore, though, wasn’t stunned by his squad’s late-season heroics.

“I think there is a lot that goes into the success that we are finding,” said Moore. “For starters, we are finally healthy for the first time this season. That is a big contributor but I don’t want to use the injuries as a crutch. I would say that the injuries and the adversity that we had made us stronger because our younger players and less experienced guys had to step up. Now that we are back to full strength those guys are actually contributors.”

After losing 6-5 to Mo-Beard in the Prep B state tournament, the Panthers were fired up for the rematch in the Non-Public tourney.

“The obvious difference is having Charlie Hogshire in that game the second time around,” said Moore, of sophomore Hogshire, who scored three goals in the win over Mo-Beard with Sebastian Rzeczycki tallying two goals and three assists, Ollie Hall adding two goals and two assists, and Harry Bernardi contributing two goals. “He is a big contributor, he helps set the tempo on offense.”

The win was a confidence builder for the Panthers. “We are young so any time that we are able to go and steal a quick win or even if it’s a loss but it is a moral victory, you hang on to that moment,” said Moore.

“Being that we are so young and we don’t have a ton of experience at the varsity level, confidence is a big factor. It has been challenging for us to find confidence. Right now things are clicking and we couldn’t be more confident.” more

FLYING HIGH: Stuart Country Day School track star Giselle Jean-Marie flies to victory in the 100-meter hurdles at the Prep B state outdoor championship meet last week. Sophomore Jean-Marie also placed first in the high jump, triple jump, and shot put at the meet to help Stuart finish third in the team standings. (Photo by Kevin Broughton, provided courtesy of Len Klepack)

By Bill Alden

Although the Stuart Country Day School track team didn’t place first at the Prep B state outdoor championship meet last week, the Tartans still produced a winning effort.

With numerous Stuart athletes achieving personal bests, the squad finished a strong third in the team standings, piling up 71 points as Montclair Kimberley tallied 111 to win the title with Villa Walsh coming in second at 71.50.

Heading into the competition which was held on May 23 at Newark Academy, Stuart head coach Len Klepack wasn’t sure how his young squad would perform under the pressure of a state meet, especially since there hadn’t been a Prep B state outdoor championship meet since 2019.

“I was hoping to finish in the top five; we knew Giselle Jean-Marie would get a lot of points but other people reached new levels for us,” said Klepack of sophomore standout Jean-Marie who ended up scoring a lot of points for the Tartans, placing first in the high jump, triple jump, shot put, and 100-meter hurdles.

“They all just did what you want as a coach, we want them to try to be their best and is basically that is what happened.”

Over the course of the spring, the Stuart athletes patiently went about their business with an eye to peaking in May. more

May 25, 2022

TITLE SHOT: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Sam English fights to get off a shot against Boston University in the first round of the NCAA tournament on May 14. Last Saturday, junior midfielder English tallied three goals to help fifth-seeded Princeton top fourth-seeded Yale 14-10 in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Tigers, now 11-4, will face top-seeded Maryland (16-0) in the NCAA semis on May 28 at East Hartford, Conn., with the victor advancing to the title game on May 30. It marks Princeton’s first Final 4 appearance since 2004. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Matt Madalon could have felt an uncomfortable sense of déjà vu as the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team fell behind Yale 3-1 in the NCAA quarterfinals last Saturday afternoon.

With fourth-seeded Yale having beaten fifth-seeded Princeton six straight times and Tiger head coach Madalon never having experienced a win over the Bulldogs in his five-year tenure, history seemed to be repeating itself in the contest played at Hofstra University.

But Madalon wasn’t fazed by the early deficit. “We were down 3-1 but we were still getting some of the shots off that we would like to get, they just weren’t dropping,” said Madalon. “I think at that point, it was ‘hey, just stick to the game plan and keep working. If we get some shots to drop, we can flip this pretty quickly.’”

Princeton did flip the script in a hurry, going on a 7-0 run over a 14-minute stretch from the latter part of the first quarter into the second to seize momentum.

“It was really important, I don’t know if we have been on a 7-0 run at any other point of the year,” said Madalon.  “It was a couple of good bounces, a couple of good saves, and a couple of really good shooting performances.”

Building an 8-5 lead at halftime, the Tigers held off the Bulldogs over the final 30 unites of the contest to pull out a 14-10 win. The Tigers, now 11-4, will face top-seeded Maryland (16-0) in the NCAA semis on May 28 at East Hartford, Conn., with the victor advancing to the title game on May 30. It marks Princeton’s first Final 4 appearance since 2004.

Madalon liked the way his squad took care of business in the second half. more

OPEN THROTTLE: The Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 churns through the water in a race this spring. The Tiger top boat, along with the second varsity 8 and varsity 4, will be competing in the NCAA Championships from May 27-29 in Sarasota, Fla. (Photo by Sideline Photos, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Heading into the Ivy League Championships earlier this month, the rowers in the Princeton University women’s open crew program experienced a range of emotions.

“They were definitely fired up for it; we hadn’t had an Ivy championship for almost three years,” said Princeton women’s open crew head coach Lori Dauphiny.

“The interesting thing is that most of them had not been in an Ivy championship. There was a little bit of anxiousness as to what is this all about. I thought the seniors did a really nice job of trying to walk them through what is was going to be like.”

There were some anxious moments at the regatta held on May 15 in Pennsauken, as Princeton found itself in a tight battle with Yale and Brown for the Sally P. Shoemaker Trophy given to the crew with the most points. A victory by Princeton’s varsity 8 in its grand final proved to be the tiebreaker as the three squads each had 74 points.

The Tiger top boat clocked a time of 6:11.703 over the 2,000-meter course on the Cooper River to edge Brown (6:13.730) to win its grand final.

“We knew they would be a tough competition,” said Dauphiny of Brown. “We did not change the race plan that we had but we were ready. We knew that it would be close. We talked a lot about that and to be prepared for that and stay internally in the boat. They did that because the team hit a goose in the race and a kid almost lost her oar. They also hit a log somewhere in the race so there were two bobbles in which they hit something. It was a great race. It just heightened the fact that they had a lot of resilience through the year with inconsistencies, different lineups, and sickness. They were able to race through some things that were thrown at them in the race.” more

SENIOR MOMENT: Princeton High baseball player Carl Birge follows through on a swing as PHS hosted Franklin High last Wednesday. Senior catcher Birge went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs as PHS topped Franklin 16-6. The Tigers, who moved to 11-11 with an 11-10 loss to WW/P-North last Monday, play at Seneca on May 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Carl Birge loved the vibe around the Valley Road field last Wednesday afternoon as the Princeton High baseball team held its annual Senior Day ceremony.

“This was really fun because a lot of people came, a lot of parents and a lot of the old players,” said senior catcher Birge. “It was great to see them.”

With PHS featuring a group of 13 tight-knit seniors, there is no wonder that the game drew a big crowd.

“We are best friends on the field, best friends off the field and it shows,” said Birge. “We are really comfortable with each other, we are quick to adjust to everything.”

After falling behind 4-1 to Franklin, the Tigers adjusted with aplomb, exploding for nine runs in the bottom of the third inning to go up 10-4 and never looked back on the way to a 16-6 victory.

“It was a great hitting game where we show off our offense,” said Birge, reflecting on the win which saw PHS pound out 20 hits.

“Everyone contributed and that is what we love to see. It was the same with our game against Ewing (an 8-4 win on May 13) where we had a six-run inning in the first. It helps to build up that big lead and then it becomes a whole lot easier to pitch and play after that.”

Birge made a big contribution, going 3 for 4 with three runs and three RBIs, including driving in the last run of the contest on a single through the infield to end the game on the 10 run-rule. more

ACTION JACKSON: Hun School baseball player Jackson Kraemer heads to first base in recent action. Senior star Kraemer scored a run to help Hun defeat Hamilton West 6-0 in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Thursday. On Saturday, he pitched a shot and hit a homer as Hun deferred Peddie School 15-0 in the semifinal round of Prep A state tournament. Hun went on to fall 5-3 to Pingry in the Prep A final round on Sunday to end the spring with a 22-4 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Jackson Kraemer, helping the Hun School baseball team top Hamilton West 6-0 in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Thursday is something he will never forget.

“Thursday was huge, we have been working for this for four years, our program had never done this in its history,” said senior outfielder/pitcher Kraemer, who scored a run in the win. “It meant a lot. Having our fans out there and the whole setting, it was awesome.”

The bonds that Kraemer has developed with his teammates made the title even more awesome.

“It is just the brotherhood I have been building up the last four years,” said Kraemer. “The friends and the friendships are going to last me a lifetime. I love the sport.”

The love of the game helped Hun push through a baseball marathon last week as it was also competing in the state Prep A tournament. The Raiders fell 8-2 to Pingry on Wednesday in the first round of the double-elimination competition and hosted Peddie on Saturday in a loser’s bracket contest as it looked to keep its Prep title hopes alive.

“Coach (Tom Monfiletto) said last week this would be a marathon in these tournaments with all the scheduling,” said Kraemer. “We just had to go out there and compete.”

On Saturday, Kramer competed hard, pitching in sweltering 90 degree heat and tossed a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts and hit a homer as Hun rolled to a 15-0 win over Peddie in the semifinal round.

“I felt good today it was just going out there and doing a job to get us to Sunday,” said Kraemer, who lost his rhythm as Hun exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the third inning. “The long inning slowed me down a little bit. It took me a couple batters and then I felt good. It was very hot out there.”

Kraemer started the 10-run outburst in style, leading off the inning by blasting a homer over the left field fence.

“In the first at-bat, I got caught looking with a curve ball,” recalled Kraemer. “For my second at bat, I was talking to coach [Steve] Garrison and it was just try to hit a ball to right field. The pitcher got me an inside fastball and I just tried to hit it where it was pitched. I got good barrel on it and I saw it going out. That was awesome.”

For Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto, a former Hun player and assistant coach, guiding the Raiders to the MCT title was an awesome achievement.

“It meant more than I can even describe, from the school community, from the alumni, and from the parents with the emotions that were involved in that game,” said Monfiletto, a 2004 Hun alum. more

FINAL INNINGS: Hun School baseball player Carson Applegate fires a pitch in the Mercer County Tournament. Applegate starred as Hun won its first-ever MCT title, beating Hamilton West 6-0 in the final Thursday. Last Sunday, senior star Applegate battled hard on the mound as Hun fell 5-3 to Pingry in the Prep A state final. Applegate went 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and three walks as the Raiders ended the spring with a 22-4 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When it was over, Carson Applegate trudged off the field with arm around Ben Romano as they consoled each other after the Hun School baseball team fell 5-3 to Pingry in the Prep A state final last Sunday afternoon.

The defeat ended a marathon week for Hun which saw it fighting a two-front war as it won the program’s first-ever Mercer County Tournament title on Thursday night and then battled from the loser’s bracket to make the Prep A final in the double-elimination competition.

With his eyeblack smudged by tears, Applegate acknowledged that going for two titles in seven days was a grind.

“It was definitely a highly emotional week with a lot of emotional wins especially Thursday night,” said Applegate. “Winning the MCT, that was a goal for us. With Brody [Pasieka] on the mound and everybody in the field just laying their hearts out, that is the standard we set for this program.”

Applegate and his classmates were heartbroken after coming up just short against Pingry, hugging each other one by one in right field after the team’s postgame talk.

“I think this is the first time I have ever cried on the baseball field,” said Applegate. “These bonds that we have built over the past couple of years are really special.”

Having lost 8-2 to Pingry in the first round of the Prep A tourney, Hun rebounded by topping Peddie 15-0 on Saturday and then defeating Lawrenceville 10-1 early Sunday morning to advance to the final against Pingry.

Even through Applegate was spent, he was psyched to take the mound for Hun in the finale.

“I was drained. I took a four-hour nap when I got home and I felt horrible when I woke up,” said Applegate, who went 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and three walks and went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. more

MEMORABLE RUN: Hun School softball player Lexi Kobryn, right, celebrates with Kat Xiong after scoring a run in a game this spring. Last Thursday, sophomore star Kobryn led the way with her arm and bat as Hun defeated Lawrenceville 11-2 in the Prep A state title game. She hurled a complete game, striking out 10 and yielding five hits and went 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs as Hun posted a final record of 18-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lexi Kobryn has produced some remarkable pitching performances this spring for the Hun School softball team, hurling two perfect games and four other no-hitters.

But sophomore star Kobryn was involved in one meltdown this season as Hun squandered a 7-0 seventh inning lead against Lawrenceville in late April with her in the circle on the way to an 8-7 defeat for its first loss of 2022.

When the rivals met last Thursday in the state Prep A title game at the Adventure Sports and Entertainment Center in Jackson, Kobryn had that setback on her mind.

“I was definitely nervous; it was one inning that really killed us,” said Kobryn. “We wanted to come back and show what we are made of and what we have been working for.”

Kobryn kept her head, putting on a show with her arm and bat as the Raiders prevailed 11-2 over the Big Red. She hurled a complete game, striking out 10 and yielding five hits and went 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs as Hun posted a final record of 18-1 on the way to winning its first Prep A title since 2017.

“They have some good hitters but I threw all of my pitches,” said Kobryn. “It was just keeping them off balance. My rise was working, I got a lot of batters on that. I had confidence in myself, I was trying to keep it together.”

Kobryn has gained confidence through the spring as she hurled one gem after the other. more

DOUBLE TAKE: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Elle Anhut heads to goal last Monday as PDS hosted Morris Catholic in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B tournament. Senior star Anhut tallied a goal and three assists to help the Panthers post a 13-1 win over 16th-seeded Morris Catholic. PDS, now 11-8, will host eighth-seeded St. Elizabeth in the quarterfinals on May 26. The Panthers are seeking a title double, having won the Prep B state tournament final last Friday when they rallied for a 13-12 win over Montclair-Kimberley Academy. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Elle Anhut and her teammates on the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team looked ahead to the homestretch of this season, they were determined to give retiring coach Jill Thomas a special farewell tour.

The goal was to send out New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Famer Thomas with a pair of state titles, starting with the Prep B state tournament, to honor her impact on the program and players.

“She pushes you to be your best, you might not know you can give it,” said senior star midfielder and tri-captain Anhut, reflecting on the experience of playing for Thomas. “She knows what you can give and she is pushing it from you. It may seem like a bit at times but she is pushing you to be your best and take on certain roles. She believes in you.”

With the Panthers trailing MKA 12-9 in the state Prep B final, the players kept believing, reeling off a four-goal run to pull out a dramatic 13-12 win and earn the program’s first Prep title since 2017.

“I think as a team we worked the best that we have the entire season, everybody was in it the entire time,” said Anhut, who had four assists in the final with Sophie Jaffe tallying five goals and an assist and Tessa Caputo chipping in four goals and an assist.

“Everybody is proud of how they played. We played super well, super strong, especially against a North Jersey team too. It felt awesome because my freshman year, we lost in the semi.”

Getting the Prep B crown was worth the wait. “It was huge, I know the captains and were feeling it, we were freshman on varsity that first year,” said Anhut, who is a team captain along with classmates Ali Surace and Maggie Zarish-Yasunas. more

SPOILS OF VICTORY: Members of the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team show off the plaque and trophies they earned for winning the team title at the Prep B state tournament last week. PDS totaled 11 points to edge runner-up Pennington by one point. Pictured, from left, are head coach Michael Augsberger, Steven Li, Jaylen Peng, Farhan Mohammad, Josh Chu, Jason Wu, Dhruv Balajji, Andrew Marshall, Oliver Silverio, Neel Adusumilli, Albert Ming, and assistant coach Jon Brown. PDS is now competing in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B tournament where it is seeded third and topped sixth-seeded Bishop Eustace 5-0 last Monday in a quarterfinal contest. The Panthers will now play at second-seeded Rutgers Prep in the semis on May 27. (Photo provided by Michael Augsberger)

By Bill Alden

Michael Augsberger sensed that his Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team was all in as it hit the court last week to compete in the Prep B state tournament.

“The guys were laser focused, we always talk about peaking at tournament time,” said PDS head coach Augsberger. “Their mental energy peaked at the right time, you could tell going into the first day that they really wanted it badly. Neel Adusumilli is the vocal senior leader. He and Andrew Marshall are the two guys that held everybody accountable and got them worked into a frenzy. I have to give them the credit.”

The Panthers needed that intensity as the tournament turned into a two-horse race between PDS and rival Pennington. In the first day of action, the Panthers advanced to the finals in four of the five flights of the competition to build a narrow 9-8 lead over Pennington.

Heading into the finals on May 17 at Edison, Augsberger wasn’t taking anything for granted.

“We told the guys this is not a coronation day, it is a work day,” said Augsberger. “It could go any way. Even though we have four guys in there, it could easily be a spectacular demise.”

It ended up being a spectacular day for the program as PDS prevailed at both first doubles and second doubles to pull out the crown with 11 points, one better than runner-up Pennington. It was the first team title for the program since 2018. more

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