December 22, 2021

FROST ADVISORY: Hun School boys’ hockey player Riley Frost controls the puck in recent action. Senior forward Frost has tallied three goals and six assists to help Hun get off to a 5-5 start. The Raiders are next in action when they host Don Bosco on January 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Hun School boys’ hockey team has gotten off to an up-and-down 5-5 start, Ian McNally believes the record is not an accurate barometer of his squad’s potential.

“Everybody we have played has been good, we have shown each other that there is something here and we are not out of it in either of our leagues,” said Hun head coach McNally, whose program competes in both the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) and the
Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference (APAC).

“There is potential to play for playoff spots and the hope to have a big finish. In some of these pretty disappointing losses against PDS (a 2-1 defeat on December 1) and Lawrenceville (a 5-4 defeat on December 14) where you feel like you deserved better, maybe that comes back around in the end. There is enough optimism there for that, we have had some big moments so far. The biggest takeaway is the proof, showing each other we can beat all of these teams.”

The Raiders came tantalizingly close to beating Lawrenceville, taking a 4-1 lead early in the third period only to see the Big Red score four unanswered goals to pull out the win.

“They scored early and then we got up 3-1, it was a very similar game a few weeks ago when we were in Pittsburgh,” said McNally.

“We played Hoosac (N.Y.) and we won 4-1. It was fast, hard. We were getting our shots and competing and we made the best of our chances. In the Lawrenceville game, they were never not there. They probably could have scored on some other occasions. We were holding on but as soon as it started to go, it went in a hurry.” more

FINISHING TOUCH: Princeton Day School girls’ basketballTochi Owunna heads upcourt last Saturday against West Windsor/Plainsboro-North. Sophomore forward Owunna scored eight points to help PDS defeat the Northern Knights 30-23 and improve to 1-1. In upcoming action, the Panthers will be taking part in a holiday tournament at South Hunterdon High from December 28-29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Undeterred by losing 63-22 to George School (Pa.) in its season opener last Friday, the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team brought confidence into its matchup against visiting West Windsor/Plainsboro-North on Saturday morning.

“We wanted to win because we had played them in a scrimmage,” said PDS sophomore forward Tochi Owunna. “This was a winnable game.”

Trailing the Northern Knights 7-4 after the first quarter, the Panthers got things going in the second, building a 15-10 lead by halftime.

“I think we got a lot of energy,” said Owunna, reflecting on the second quarter surge which saw her contribute four points.

“We were passing the ball on offense well and we were playing really good defense.”

The Panthers held off WW/P-N down the stretch to earn a 30-23 win with Owunna ending up with eight points.

“This gave me confidence,” said Owunna of her performance. “It was also just the morale of the whole team, there was just really good energy the whole game.”

The Panthers did run low on energy in the latter stages of the contest as they tired playing in their second game in less than 24 hours.

“In the fourth quarter we started to get a little tired so went to the 2-3 but we still held our own on defense,” said Owunna. “This was our first home game so it was a really good job.” more

December 15, 2021

BOOK OF ELIJAH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Elijah Barnes defends Keondre Kennedy of UMBC last Monday night at Jadwin Gym. Senior forward Barnes tallied nine points in 13 minutes off the bench against the Retrievers, going 4 of 4 from the floor, to help Princeton pull away to an 89-77 victory. The Tigers, now 9-3, will be on a hiatus for exams and will return to action when they host Kean University on December 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University men’s basketball team deadlocked at 71-71 against UMBC last Monday evening at Jadwin Gym, an unlikely one-two tandem turned the tide in favor of the Tigers.

Little-used senior reserve Elijah Barnes scored seven points on a jumper, a dunk, and a three-pointer while senior star guard Jaelin Llewellyn hit a three-pointer and a layup to spark a 12-0 run as the Tigers pulled away to an 89-77 victory, posting their fourth straight win in improving to 9-3.

For Barnes, who had just played 33 minutes this season in six appearances off the bench entering Monday, coming up big was a matter of staying in the moment.

“I come to work every day in practice and try to be there for my teammates and support them,” said the 6’7, 215-pound Barnes, who ended up with nine points in 13 minutes on 4 of 4 shooting with two rebounds and a blocked shot.

“Whether it is helping somebody else get extra work in everyday or talking to Tosan [Evbuomwan], Zach [Martini], or Mason [Hooks] and making sure they know what they have to do. It prepares me. I watch to see that they are doing and what they need to do. As a senior, being here for a fifth year is big time. I have been around the program for a long time and I have waited my turn. I got an opportunity and I made the most of it so that is all anybody has to do.” more

GOING TO THE GLASS: Princeton University women’s basketball player Ellie Mitchell heads in for a layup in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore forward Mitchell pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds in a losing cause as Princeton fell 70-60 to Seton Hall. The defeat snapped a 21-game home winning streak for the Tigers, the third longest in the nation heading into the day. Princeton, which fell to 6-3 with the setback, hosts Texas on December 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team hosting a tall and skilled Seton Hall squad last Saturday afternoon, Ellie Mitchell knew she had to hit the boards for the Tigers.

“In our last loss (76-67 to Fordham on December 5) we got out-toughed so that is one of the things we can control, work hard and hit a body and go chase the ball,” said 6’0 sophomore forward Mitchell, a native of Chevy Chase, Md.

“I think that all comes back to being a team effort, everyone boxes out. That is a big thing, whether or not shots are falling, rebounding what I need to do.”

Mitchell displayed her toughness against the Pirates, pulling down a career-high 19 rebounds, the most in a game for Princeton since Bella Alarie had 19 against Quinnipiac on December 8, 2018.

But Mitchell’s hard work on the glass wasn’t enough as Seton Hall defeated Princeton 70-60, snapping its 21-game home winning streak, the third longest in the nation heading into the day as the Tigers fell in Jadwin Gym for the first time since losing 86-76 to Yale on February 8, 2019.

“They had some great offensive players, they had two girls averaging high teens and a really big post player and we were ready for that,” said Mitchell, reflecting on the setback which dropped Princeton to 6-3. more

LOCKED IN: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Ethan Garlock controls the puck in recent action. Last Friday, junior defenseman Garlock tallied a goal and an assist to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 5-0. The Tigers, who defeated Nottingham 10-4 last Monday to improve to 4-1-1, play at Tenafly on December 17 to wrap up the 2021 portion of their schedule. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is a good thing for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team when there is a Garlock wearing No. 4 and playing at defenseman for the squad.

From 2014-18, Max Garlock starred along the blue line for PHS with the No. 4 on his sweater, helping the Tigers make runs to the state tournament semis in his junior and senior seasons.

Inspired by his older brother, junior Ethan Garlock is following the family tradition, emerging as a standout defensemen for PHS.

“I definitely got into hockey because of him,” said Garlock of his older brother.

“He taught me a lot through the years, especially in my driveway helping me out and doing stuff with him. I am really grateful.”

Last Friday against Hopewell Valley, Garlock showed how well he learned those lessons, tallying an assist and a goal as PHS jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back on the way to a 5-0 victory.

Just under four minutes into the contest, Garlock’s assist came on a feed to senior star Cooper Zullo, who ended up scoring three goals in the victory.

“I had the puck down low and I saw Cooper wide open on that so that was a given,” said Garlock. more

MAKING STRIDES: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Molly Brown dribbles upcourt in a game last season. PHS will be depending on senior forward and team captain Brown to provide all-around play and leadership this winter. The Tigers open their 2021-22 season by hosting Hightstown on December 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ basketball team only played 10 games last winter in a season abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns, the squad made progress as it went 7-3.

With PHS opening its 2021-22 season by hosting Hightstown on December 17, PHS head coach Dave Kosa is looking for his program to keep showing improvement.

“We just have to keep on taking the next step and working hard in practice,” said Kosa, whose team tips off its 2021-22 campaign by hosting Hightstown on December 17.

“The freshmen last year are now sophomores. The seniors were the sophomores two years ago when we were 5-20. We are taking our strides and we are just hoping to take the next one this year.”

The squad’s quintet of seniors, Molly Brown, Nora Devine, Sofia Aguayo, Moji Ayodele, and Katie Chao are setting a positive tone. more

TOP GUN: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Connor Topping fires a shot in a game last winter. PDS is looking for senior star Topping to have a big final campaign. The Panthers tip off their 2021-22 campaign by playing at George School (Pa.) on December 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Eugene Burroughs enters his second year at the helm of the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball program, he is facing a coaching challenge.

Losing some key players from last year’s squad to graduation and having a rising star, Hampton Sanders, transfer to Lawrenceville, Burroughs will need to mix and match the remaining pieces at his disposal.

“Right now, I am putting together a puzzle, we don’t have true positions,” said Burroughs, who guided PDS to a 7-3 record last winter in a season shortened by COVID-19 concerns.

“I don’t have a true, true point guard so I have to figure out how to put guys in different spots. I have to look at the matchups and we have to play to see who can do what.”

Having gotten used to the approach of Burroughs, who has coached at the college and pro levels, the returning players are on the same page with him.

“I am impressed with some of our kids and the carryover from last year, which is a sign of growth from year one to year two,” said Burroughs, whose team tips off its 2021-22 campaign by playing at George School (Pa.) on December 17. more

By Bill Alden

Logan Harrison starred at center midfield this fall for the Princeton Day School field hockey team, helping the Panthers reach the Mercer County Tournament final.

This winter, sophomore Harrison is utilizing some of what she gained from the fall to have a similar impact on the ice for the PDS girls’ hockey team.

“It is easy because the stick handling just very similar,” said Harrison, reflecting on juggling the two sports.

“It also gives me another opportunity to get my fitness up, it conditions me for hockey season.”

Last Wednesday, Harrison displayed her stick handling skills on the ice, assisting on two goals as PDS defeated Westfield 5-0.

Harrison stumbled into her first helper of the contest as she set up a goal by freshman Eibhleann Knox that gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead late in the first period.

“I think the girl tripped me and then I fell,” recalled Harrison with a chuckle.

“Eibhleann got the puck and scored that and it was a really cool goal.”

Her second assist proved to be a cool moment as Harrison fed the puck to fellow sophomore and club teammate Emily McCann.

“We have been friends for a while, we played on the same team three years ago when I first started playing girls’ hockey,” said Harrison, who plays club hockey with the Princeton Tiger Lilies. more

By Bill Alden

It was Ewanchyna day for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team as it hosted St. Augustine last Wednesday.

With 8:19 left in the first period, PDS freshman forward Wyatt Ewanchyna scored to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

St. Augustine tallied two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second period and minutes into the frame, PDS junior forward Ace Ewanchyna, Wyatt’s older brother, found the back of the net.

That turned out to be the final score of the contest as the foes skated to a 2-2 tie.

“It is pretty cool seeing my little brother go out there and score points here in high school,” said Ace Ewanchyna. “I guess it shows I am a good influence.”

Ewanchyna is enjoying getting the chance to team up with his younger brother for the Panthers.

“It has been a ton of fun, I have done it a couple of times in the past,” said Ewanchyna.

“The last time we played together a ton was squirts. It has been cool to see him out there. Hopefully, he is learning a little from me.”

On his second period goal, Ewanchyna was in the right place at the right time.

“It was a good pass from my teammates, I didn’t do too much,” said Ewanchyna.

“I was really looking for a rebound, I was more confident in my teammate Ollie [Hall] scoring than I was myself. It is mostly my teammates, I can’t really give myself credit.” more

SHARPSHOOTER: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey goes up for the shot in recent action. Last weekend, senior guard Vessey starred as Hun took fifth place at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT). On Saturday, he scored 19 points to help the Raiders defeat Lawrenceville 72-59 in a consolation round contest. A day later, he again scored 19 points as Hun defeated Peddie 76-68 in the PSIT fifth place game. The Raiders, now 4-4, host Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 16 and then play Hudson Catholic on December 18 in the Hoop Group Tournament at Elizabeth. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After falling 64-58 to the Phelps School (Pa.) in the opening round of the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT) last Friday, Dan Vessey and his teammates on the Hun School boys’ basketball team were determined to bounce back when they faced Lawrenceville in the consolation round.

“It is important after a tough loss to come back and get a win, especially this early in the season,” said Hun senior guard Vessey.

With Vessey tallying 19 points, Hun pulled away to a 72-59 win over the Big Red last Saturday.

“Beating Lawrenceville is a good win, we love it,” said Vessey.

“Lawrenceville is a good team, they always have been. Doug Davis (former Hun and Princeton University star) is their coach and that Lawrenceville team is much better than the Lawrenceville team we played two years ago. They have made a lot of steps in the right direction, we will play them again.” more

December 8, 2021

RALLY TIME: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan, right, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Sunday, junior forward Evbuomwan scored a career-high 27 points to help Princeton rally for an 81-79 overtime win against visiting Drexel. The Tigers trailed by six points in the last minute of regulation and by six points early in the overtime before pulling out the win over the Dragons. Princeton, who improved to 6-3 with the victory, plays at Lafayette on December 11 before hosting UMBC on December 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Twice it looked like the Princeton University men’s basketball team had lost the game as it hosted Drexel last Saturday afternoon.

With 42 seconds left in regulation, Princeton trailed 71-66 but reeled off five straight points on a pair of free throws by Jaelin Llewellyn and a dramatic three-pointer by Ryan Langborg to knot the game at 71-71 and force overtime.

In the extra session, the Tigers were trailing 77-71 with 3:29 left but once again battled back, outscoring the Dragons 10-2 down the stretch. Tosan Evbuomwan hit a pair of clutch free throws and the winning bucket as Princeton pulled out an improbable 81-79 victory before a frenzied crowd of 1,312 at Jadwin Gym.

“That is an incredible win for us; I hate saying it, we weren’t deserving for parts of the game,” said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson, whose team improved to 6-3.

 more

DREAM SEASON: Princeton High girls’ soccer star Sophia Lis displays her skills in a game this fall. Senior striker Lis made history in her final PHS campaign, scoring 38 goals, giving her the second highest single-season total in CVC history behind the 65 scored by Steinert’s Lisa Gmitter in 1982. The heroics of Lehigh-bound Lis helped Princeton go 21-3 and advance to the state Group 3 final for the first time in program history. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sophia Lis didn’t want her final season on the Princeton High girls’ soccer team to end.

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

A great team chemistry helped make the team so fun. “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. Everyone is such great friends, we all want each other to score.”

While PHS boasted good scoring balance, Lis emerged at the go-to finisher for the team, tallying 11 goals and six assists in the first seven games of the seasons as the Tigers got off to a 7-0 start.

“I am definitely trying to work on my shot accuracy but also with me getting more shots, I want to make sure that my team does the same,” said Lis.

“We work well as a unit to make sure to get the final product no matter what.”

Lis kept burying shots as PHS worked really well as a unit, going 13-1 in regular season play and then advancing to the Mercer County Tournament semifinals where it fell for a second time to rival Hopewell Valley.

Moving on to the state tournament, Lis took her game to new heights, tallying two goals in a 6-0 win over WW/P-North in the opening round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 sectional. In the quarterfinals, she tallied the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Robbinsville and then got two goals in a 3-1 win over Colts Neck in the semis. In round three with HoVal in the sectional final, Lis tallied both goals in a sweet 2-0 triumph. more

STEADY HAHN: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kiera Hahn dribbles the ball last weekend at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament. Senior guard Hahn helped Hun go 1-2 at the event as the Raiders took fourth place. In upcoming action, Hun, now 2-2, plays at Agnes Irwin (Pa.) on December 10 and at Germantown Friends (Pa.) on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Hun School girls’ basketball team adding some talented newcomers to a group of solid returners, it wouldn’t be surprising if it took a while for the squad to develop into a cohesive unit.

Instead, the group has come together in a matter of weeks. “Their personalities are great, they are just a lot of fun to be around,” said Hun head coach Bill Holup, who led Hun to a 5-3 record last winter in a campaign abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns.

“It makes it a lot better when everybody is happy, having fun, competing and learning.”

Last weekend, Hun competed hard at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament, topping St. James (Md.) 66-15 on Friday before losing 68-32 to Séminaire Saint-François (Quebec) on Saturday and falling 63-51 to Pennington on Sunday to take fourth place at the event.

Holup is happy to have post-graduate point guard Erin Maguire join the squad this year, the third sister from the Irish clan to play for the program.

“They are a great family and we are very excited to continue our relationship with the family,” said Holup of Maguire, who scored 21 points and had nine rebounds in the loss to Pennington.

“She can penetrate, she handles the ball. She is extremely unselfish, she will be able to shoot from the perimeter. She has quick hands and quick feet. She is a great leader.” more

CHASING SUCCESS: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Lauren Chase, right, goes after the puck in a game last season. Junior defenseman Chase will be spearheading things along the blue line for the Panthers this winter. Chase picked up an assist as PDS defeated Randolph 4-2 in its season opener last Wednesday. The Panthers host Westfield on December 8 before playing at Oak Knoll on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team doesn’t boast a big group of veteran performers, it is still bringing plenty of optimism into the 2021-22 season.

“Our numbers are really strong this year, there continues to be a positive vibe around the team to join the program,” said PDS head coach John Ritchie, who guided PDS to a 5-0-1 record last winter in a season abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns.

“We are definitely a younger team but they definitely all have high expectations for themselves.”

Ritchie has high hopes for junior goalie Abigail Ashman, who is assuming the starting role after the graduation of star net minder Jillian Wexler.

“Abby is going to take over for Jillian,” said Ritchie, noting that freshman Grace Ulrich will serve as a backup.

“Not having Jillian is a huge loss for us but Abby is up to the task. Abby is probably going play 70-80 percent of the games this year. Grace is interesting because she is a good goalie but she is a very good player too. She is going to be doing a little bit of double duty for us.”

Along the blue line, defensemen junior Lauren Chase, sophomore Isabel Cook, and senior Natalie Celso will lead the way. more

EMERGING FORCE: Wilberforce School girls’ cross country runner Gwen Mersereau displays her form in a race this year. Freshman Mersereau emerged as the leader of the pack for Wilberforce this fall. She placed fourth individually in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Girls’ Non-Public B Group championship meet to help Wilberforce win the team title, the first in program history. She went on to take 94th in the Meet of Champions as the Wolverines took 18th in the team standings. (Photo provided by Lois Szeliga)

By Bill Alden

While the Wilberforce School only has about 80 students in its upper school, five stellar runners on its girls’ cross country team were able to make some big noise this fall.

After finishing sixth in the team standings at the Mercer County Championship meet in late October at Washington Crossing Park and then placing first at Bob Kiessling Invitational in Logan Township, the girls’ squad made school history by winning the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B Group championship meet on November 13. The Wolverines went on to place 18th at the Meet of Champions a week later.

Wilberforce head coach Lois Szeliga sensed that her squad was on track for a big fall after its performance at the county meet as it held its own against some much larger schools.

“When you have one through five within two minutes of each other and that is what we had been doing, you really have a chance at winning these bigger meets,” said Szeliga.

“We have been finishing 1:30 apart. In the Group meet, it was around 2:01. That is really what you need.”

At the Group meet, freshman Gwen Mersereau led the way for the Wolverines, taking fourth individually, covering the 5,000-meter course at Holmdel Park in a time of 21:09. Classmate Adeline Edwards was right behind her in fifth with a time of 21:11. Junior Sophia Park took eighth in 21:35 while senior Annie Whitman came in 11th in 22:23 and senior Laura Prothero finished 18th in 23:10. In the team standings, Wilberforce had a winning score of 45, just six points better than runner-up and perennial power Villa Walsh. more

December 1, 2021

MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton University men’s water polo player Roko Pozaric fires the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, freshman star Pozaric scored four goals to help 19th-ranked Princeton defeat No. 16 Fordham 17-8 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The Tigers, now 26-7, will face No. UCLA on December 2 in Los Angeles in the second opening-round game of the tournament with the victor advancing to the semis on December 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

The Princeton University men’s water polo team had some options when it set up its schedule this year.

The Tigers could have looked at their less experienced roster after a year off from competition and scheduled to build momentum against East Coast teams. Instead, they challenged themselves from the get-go against a parade of talented West Coast squads and the resulting reward is a trip to the second opening-round game of the NCAA tournament.

“To me, it was worth the risk,” said Princeton head coach Dustin Litvak.

“Otherwise we’d end up playing the same teams we always play every weekend. If that was going to be the reality, it was almost going to be better that we’d end up just practicing. If we ended up getting a ‘no’ on our two California trips, I was fine with just practicing through those weekends. Thankfully it worked out and we were able to go out there and play a lot of great teams at a lot of great pools.”

Last Saturday, things worked out very well for the Tigers as 10th-ranked Princeton pulled away from 16th-ranked Fordham for a 17-8 win in the first opening-round game of the NCAAs. It is the program’s first NCAA win since 2011. The Tigers will play at No. 1 UCLA in the second opening-round game of the NCAA tournament Thursday.

“We want to compete and we want to play with confidence,” said Litvak. “If we do that, we give ourselves a chance.” more

TRIPLE THREAT: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evboumwan dribbles to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, junior forward Evboumwan scored a career-high 19 points and added eight rebounds and five assists as Princeton defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 89-79. The Tigers, now 5-2, play at Hofstra on December 1 before hosting Drexel on December 4 and Bucknell on December 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tosan Evboumwan was sidelined when the Princeton University men’s basketball team played at Monmouth last Wednesday, and he was missed.

Princeton built a 46-39 halftime lead against the Hawks but faltered down the stretch, falling 76-64, lacking the inside presence and playmaking ability that the 6’9, 215-pound junior forward Evboumwan brings to the table.

Last Sunday,  Evboumwan, a native of Newcastle, England, returned to the lineup as the Tigers hosted Fairleigh Dickinson University and he certainly made a difference. Evboumwan tallied a career-high 19 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists as Princeton topped FDU 89-79.

“It is great to be back and playing with my teammates,” said Evboumwan.

“We got a win after the loss to Monmouth. It was tough to watch and not be out there. I am glad to be back.”

Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson was certainly glad to see Evboumwan back in action. more

SHOOTING STAR: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, senior guard Meyers scored a game-high 21 points to help Princeton defeat Maine 82-43. The Tigers, now 5-1, play at No. 22 Florida Gulf Coast on December 1 and at Fordham on December 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Abby Meyers knows that she has to be a go-to offensive player for the Princeton University women’s basketball team this winter.

After playing a supporting role to such stars as Bella Alarie and Carlie Littlefield in the past, it is time for Meyers to carry more of the scoring load.

“As a senior, I have gotten a lot of trust from my coaches and teammates, which I really value and appreciate,” said Meyers, who averaged 9.4 points a game in the 2017-18 and 6.3 points in 2019-20.

“I almost have the green light and that is something that not many people are lucky enough to have. I am working really hard on my game. My teammates are looking for me. In the end, we need the scorers to score. I really want to try and internalize that role, being a good scorer for our team. We need it.”

Last Sunday against visiting Maine, Meyers displayed her offensive game, tallying a game-high 21 points as the Tigers pulled away to an 82-43 win in improving to 5-1.

“Getting 100 shots a day is really key to keeping your shot good,” said Meyers, a 6’0 native of Potomac, Md., who is now averaging a team-best 17.7 points a game this season.

“It is just having fun with and not overthinking it. I think a lot of our players in the beginning started to overthink stuff because there is a year off. They pictured a lot of things, like I am going to do this, this, and this. It is just going in with no expectations and having a short term memory and playing the best that you can.” more

99 AND COUNTING: Princeton University women’s hockey player Maggie Connors fires the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, junior forward Connors scored the lone goal for 10th-ranked Princeton as it fell 3-1 to No. 4 Northeastern. The tally marked the 99th point for Connors in her college career. The Tigers, now 5-4-1 overall, play a two-game set at Providence on December 3 and 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s hockey team having not scored in its previous two games heading into its contest against Northeastern last Saturday, Maggie Connors and her teammates came out firing.

The 10th-ranked Tigers outshot the visiting No. 4 Huskies 15-6 in the first period.

“After last night’s game, we really regrouped,” said junior forward Connors, referring to a 2-0 loss to Northeastern last Friday.

“We wanted to come out strong and really push the pace, knowing that they are a very fast team, respect to them.”

Even though the game was knotted in a 0-0 tie after the first with Northeastern goalie Aerie Frankel coming up big to repel Princeton, the Tigers were confident they would break through.

“We stuck together, we knew that it was going to come if we keep putting pucks on net,” said Connors. “She is an amazing goalie, we had to keep pushing.”

After the Huskies took a 1-0 lead with 6:38 left in the second period, Connors got a puck in the back of the net in the waning moments of the frame, stealing the puck from Frankel and flipping it past her.

“I just wanted to forecheck, I knew I was the closest there,” said Connors, whose tally was her eighth goal of the year and the 99th point in her Princeton career. more

TACKLING MACHINE: Princeton University star linebacker Jeremiah Tyler corrals a ball carrier in action this fall. Last week, Tyler was named as a finalist for the 2021 Stats Perform Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Buck Buchanan Award. The Buck Buchanan Award is presented to the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year. The award, in its 27th season, is named for Buchanan, a legendary Hall of Fame defensive lineman who starred with the Kansas City Chiefs and played collegiately for Grambling State. Tyler produced a team-high 58 tackles this season, adding seven for a loss as Princeton went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy League, to tie Dartmouth for the league title. The senior captain also had two sacks, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and six pass breakups. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Pito Walton has been around Hobey Baker Rink for around a decade.

Growing up in nearby Peapack, Walton played in youth hockey games at the historic rink. Going on to star at the Lawrenceville School, Walton was in the stands to watch Princeton University games.

Now as a junior defenseman for Princeton, Walton relishes the chance play on a daily basis in the storied building.

“It was a real privilege to come here and it is a dream come true,” said Walton.

“I came here to games when I was at Lawrenceville. When I was a kid, I played mite games here.”

Last Saturday, Walton was all over Baker Rink, helping Princeton produce a superb defensive effort as it battled RIT to a scoreless stalemate through regulation before losing 1-0 in overtime and moving to 3-5-1 overall.

“We definitely put an emphasis on our d-zone, making sure that we focused,” said Walton, reflecting on the contest which came on the heels of a 5-4 loss to RIT on Friday evening.

“We are just focused on staying connected in the d-zone and making sure that we are communicating, knowing that we are really a positionally-sound team. When pucks are turned over, we are going to pounce on them and get it going the other way.” more

HAN SOLO: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Han Shin gets ready to fire the puck up the ice in a game last winter. Sophomore defenseman Shin figures to be a key performer for PDS this winter. The Panthers, who open their 2021-22 season by falling 3-2 to Pope John, play the Hun School on December 1 at the Ice Land Rink and then host St. Augustine on December 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The 2021-22 season will mark the dawn of a new era for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team.

While the storied program has established itself as a traditional power, winning state Prep and county titles and posting some memorable victories over Mid-Atlantic Hockey League foes like Lawrenceville and Hun, it is branching out this winter to join the Gordon Conference and compete in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state Non-Public tournament for the first time.

PDS head coach Scott Bertoli is fired up about the program’s new path.

“I feel like the expectation and hope that it will be a normal, uninterrupted season — it lends itself right from the get-go to get really excited about being back on the ice,” said Bertoli, who guided his team to a 4-1-1 record last year in an abbreviated season.

“Every game we are going to play this year is a league game or a conference game. That is exciting.”

The Gordon Conference which includes such formidable foes as Delbarton, Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic, and Seton Hall Prep, among
others, will provide some stern tests for the Panthers.

“Personally I think it is awesome, it is a perfect fit for us,” said Bertoli, whose team fell 3-2 to Pope John in its Gordon debut last Monday. more

BREAKING THE ICE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Nick Dimatos skates in a 2019 game. Post-graduate defenseman and co-captain Dimatos will be leading the blue line unit for the Raiders this winter. Last weekend, Hun started its season by going 3-1 in the Shady Side Academy Thanksgiving Classic in Pittsburgh, Pa. In upcoming action, the Raiders host Princeton Day School on December 1 and St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) on December 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Things were pretty bleak last winter for the Hun School boys’ hockey team as it only got to play three games due to COVID-19 concerns.

“There was a lot of anticipation for last year; you have these little windows where you can be pretty competitive and I think last year seemed like the pinnacle of one,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally.

“Everybody was very excited to play and then we didn’t; the air came out.”

Understandably, the Hun squad was very excited to start the 2021-22 season by heading to Pittsburgh, Pa., last weekend to compete in the Shady Side Academy Thanksgiving Classic where it played more games in three days than it did all season, going 3-1 at the event.

“Once we got on the ice here this season, the excitement was very high,” said McNally.

“People started looking around, saying wait a minute, we are going to be pretty good. The whole point of doing this tournament was to feel like we were hitting the ground rolling in December instead of it taking a couple weeks for you to get going. That is what we got out of it.”

After losing 5-2 to host Shady Side last Friday to open the season, Hun rebounded with a 7-2 win over the Blyth Academy (Ontario). more

ON GUARD: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey, right, guards a foe in a 2019 game. Senior guard Vessey is looking to have a big final campaign at Hun. The Raiders were scheduled to tip off their 2021-22 season by hosting St. Benedict’s on November 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

A year ago, the Hun School boys’ basketball team started its preseason training outdoors on the school’s tennis courts as it wasn’t allowed to practice in the gym due to COVID-19 concerns.

As Hun got ready to tip-off its 2021-22 campaign by playing powerhouse St. Benedict’s on November 30, the Raider players were savoring the chance to be going through their paces inside the Shipley Pavilion.

“I think any way you cut it, we are so much further along than we were last year,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone who guided the Raiders to an 8-2 record in their abbreviated 2021 campaign.

“It is the thrill of playing every day, it has been great, the guys are really excited, as am I.”

Senior guard Jack Scott, who is headed to Princeton University next year to follow in the footsteps of his father, Joe Scott, a former hoops star and coach for the Tigers, is primed for a great season.

“Jack formally committed to the process at Princeton; he had a really big summer,” said Stone.

“It is a little bit of everything, he sees the floor really well, he is a really good passer. He has continued to grow, he is 6’5 now so just his size as a guard is a tremendous asset at both ends of the floor. Offensively, he has the ability to finish around the rim. Defensively, he can guard bigger players and guards.” more

WASHINGTON CROSSING: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Leila Washington brings the ball upcourt in a game last season. Sophomore guard Washington figures to emerge as a star for Stuart this winter. The Tartans were slated to start their 2021-22 campaign by hosting Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on November 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last few seasons, the Stuart Country Day School basketball team featured a formidable inside-outside punch.

With the pair of Ariel Jenkins and Laila Fair dominating in the paint and guards Nia Melvin and Aleah James starring on the perimeter, Stuart won three state Prep B titles from 2018-20 and advanced to the Mercer County Tournament final in 2020 for the first time in program history.

With that quartet having graduated and Jenkins playing at Georgetown, Fair at St. Joseph’s, James at LIU, and Melvin opting not to play at the college level despite a number of offers, the Tartans will have a radically different look this winter.

“Everyone is excited, we have a lot of new faces,” said Stuart head coach Justin Leith, who guided Stuart to a 7-6 record last winter in an abbreviated season.
“W
e have either inexperience or freshmen. It has been fun though as a coach, you are coaching different things, going back to more basic stuff. Even in a short amount of time, I am seeing them reaping the benefits of repetition. They are starting to get an understanding of the game which is exciting.”

As a result of the graduation losses, the Tartans will be employing an up-tempo style featuring interchangeable parts.

“We are tiny, we don’t have a backcourt or a frontcourt, we are just guards,” said Leith, who also lost valuable performers Catherine Martin and Molly Lagay to graduation. more

November 24, 2021

TITLE RUN: Princeton University quarterback Cole Smith runs past a Yale defender. Last Saturday, senior star and co-captain Smith passed for 214 yards and ran for 69 yards to help Princeton defeat Penn 34-14 and clinch a share of the Ivy League title. The Tigers went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy to tie Dartmouth (9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy) for the crown. It marked the fourth league title in eight seasons for the program. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As evening descended on Philadelphia last Saturday, the Princeton University football team held an impromptu party in one corner of venerable Franklin Field.

After thumping Penn 34-14 to earn a share of the Ivy League title, Princeton players, coaches, family and friends mobbed each other on the turf with the revelry including bear hugs, countless cell phone photos, cigar smoke wafting into the air, and dumping buckets of water on Tiger head coach Bob Surace.

The Tigers ended up 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy to tie Dartmouth (9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy) for the crown after having last season canceled by the league due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. It marked the fourth league title in eight seasons for the program, which came into the game ranked 20th nationally in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

Princeton senior quarterback and co-captain Cole Smith, who passed for 214 yards and rushed for 69 and a touchdown in the win over the Quakers, savored the moment of triumph as the celebration went on around him.  more