October 26, 2022

ROCKIN’ ROBBINS: Princeton University men’s hockey player Adam Robbins, left, controls the puck in game last season. Junior forward Robbins figures to be an offensive catalyst this winter for the Tigers. Princeton starts its 2022-23 season by playing at Harvard on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s hockey team heads into the 2022-23 season, it is focusing on being gritty all over the ice.

“We need to be the toughest team to play against, night in and night out,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty, who guided the Tigers to an 8-21-2 overall record and 7-14-1 ECAC Hockey last winter. “That stems from doing the non-skilled parts of the game. We have to be very good at the non-skilled parts of the game, like blocking shots, being physical, and taking care of the smaller details. All of those will yield wins.”

Fogarty saw progress in preseason scrimmages as Princeton topped Yale 2-0 and Brown 4-2 in two-period sessions last weekend.

“The biggest part of what I was trying to see in preseason is to find out what the players can bring,” said Fogarty, whose team will be opening its season by playing at Harvard on October 29. “They created their identities on the weekend. The guys basically showed us what they can do.”

Fogarty believes that his group of forwards — which includes junior Adam Robbins (5 goals, 8 assists in 2021-22), junior Nick Seitz (3 goals, 6 assists), freshman Dave Jacobs, senior Liam Gorman (3 goals, 3 assists), freshman Brendan Gorman, and junior Ian Murphy (9 goals, 10 assists) — can do a lot this winter.

“Adam and Nick have looked good on the weekend. They played together last season, so there is some familiarity,” said Fogarty. “Dave, a first year player, was on the right wing. That line is looking good. We have the Gorman brothers playing on the same line with Murphy. That is unique in a way to have a senior and freshman on the same line.” more

SHE’S BAAACK: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Fillier skates up the ice in a 2020 game. Junior star Fillier has returned to Princeton after a two-year hiatus during which she helped the Canadian women’s national team win two world championships and a gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Fillier totaled 114 points on 44 goals and 70 assists in her first two seasons for the Tigers, earning All-American honors each year. Princeton hosts No. 4 Colgate (9-0) on October 28 and No. 8 Cornell (2-0) a day later to start its 2022-23 season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Cara Morey is experiencing a little trepidation as her Princeton University women’s hockey team prepares to start its 2022-23 campaign.

“I don’t know what to expect this weekend,” said Princeton head coach Morey, whose squad, ranked 10th nationally, is hosting No. 4 Colgate (9-0) on October 28 and No. 8 Cornell (2-0) a day later.

“It is just hard because sometimes they are flying and they look great. Sometimes there is a lull and you are like wait, do we have to start all over again.”

The Tiger players are on edge as well. “I think we are ready to play, now we are anxious to get on the ice and play some games,” said Morey, whose team went 13-15-5 overall and 9-10-3 ECAC Hockey last winter on the way to the league semifinals. “It is at that point of preseason where we need to play so then we can kind of figure out where we are at.”

Morey is anxious to see what junior superstar Sarah Fillier can do upon her return after taking a two-year hiatus from Princeton during which she helped the Canadian women’s national team win two world championships and a gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

“Sarah is an X-factor, she is great; the players look up to her,” said Morey of Fillier, who piled up 114 points on 44 goals and 70 assists in her first two seasons for the Tigers, earning All-American honors each year.

“She is an awesome leader. They watch her when she is on the ice which can sometimes be a detriment because they need to play instead of watching her. Overall it is amazing, it has been so great to have her back.” more

FINAL BATTLE: Princeton Day School girls’ tennis player Neha Khandkar hits a forehand last Thursday at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public final at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. PDS, which had defeated Ranney 4-1 in the Non-Public South sectional final, fell 5-0 to powerhouse Pingry in the state final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Neha Khandkar and Amy Zhou have been singles stars for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team over the last four years, and it was fitting that they ended their career on the court at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public final last Thursday at the Mercer County Park tennis complex.

“Amy and I have been together since freshman year; we have been through it all together,” said Khandkar.

Zhou, for her part, has enjoyed sharing the ride with Khandkar.

“Me and Neha were singles during freshman year and through all of the years,” said Zhou. “It has been nice playing all these years. I will remember the hardships and the highs and lows. Sometimes winning feels great, but also losing together is hard.”

The Non-Public final against powerhouse Pingry turned out to be a low as PDS fell 5-0.

“We know it is a tough team to play — we have played them a lot of times before,” said Khandkar.

In her match at first singles against Anika Paul of Pingry, she fought hard in a straight-set defeat.

“The first set was a lot closer; there were times where I was up on changeovers and it gave me a lot of adrenaline,” said Khandkar. “I had a lot of energy in the first set and that sort of dwindled a little bit in the second.” more

By Bill Alden

Time was running out on the Princeton High football team in its quest to get its first win this season.

Having lost its first eight games and trailing Palmyra 21-17 late in the fourth quarter last Saturday with the Panthers in possession of the ball, things looked bleak for PHS.

But then lightning struck as Tiger linebacker Jack Callahan forced a fumble and Joe George scooped up the ball and raced 40 yards to the Palmyra three-yard line.

Two plays later, PHS sophomore quarterback Travis Petrone scored on a one-yard plunge to give the Tigers a 23-21 lead. The Tiger defense then held the fort, stopping Palmyra in downs to seal the deal and finally earn a triumph.

“We had great individual efforts from a lot of guys,” said PHS head coach Charlie Gallagher. “It looks like just a really great team win when you add them all up.”

Gallagher knew his squad needed to make a big effort to contain Palmyra star running back Kwinten Ives.

“We knew that they had this really super talented player in Kwinten Ives,” said Gallagher. “My message to them this week was that we know that this guy is going to get his yards and TDs. We are going to try to contain him and barrel him up. We just need more of our guys to make their plays. Let him do it, but we can’t let anybody else. We have to make up for this one player with five or six of our guys, and you guys have to step up.”

PHS stepped up early, cashing in on two Palmyra mistakes to jump out to a 10-0 lead. After the Panthers didn’t execute a punt, PHS took over at the Palmyra 10-yard line. The Tigers got a 22-yard field goal by Sean Wilton. Later in the quarter, PHS recovered a fumble at the Panthers 26 and Tyler Goldberg ended up scoring on a six-yard touchdown run.  more

LEADERS OF THE PACK: Members of the Princeton High boys’ cross country team get started at the Mercer County Cross County Championships last Thursday at Thompson Park. Pictured, from left, are Atticus Ayres, Max Dunlap, Zach Deng (with sunglasses), Charles Howes, and Marty Brophy. The Tigers ended up taking first place in the team standings at the meet, scoring 54 points for the victory with runner-up West Windsor-Plainsboro North, which edged PHS by a point for the title last year, taking second with 82 points. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Charlie Howes made big strides over the past year, improvements that helped the Princeton High boys’ cross country team earn the Mercer County Championship last week.

Howes was one of three seniors, along with Marty Brophy and Zach Deng, to lead the way for the Tigers, who put four finishers in the top 10 on their way to scoring 54 points for the victory Thursday at Thompson Park. Runner-up West Windsor-Plainsboro North, which edged PHS by a point for the title last year, was second with 82 points. The Lawrenceville School was third with 146 points.

“It just feels really awesome,” said Howes, who placed fifth with a time of 16:47 over the 5,000-meter course. “Coming into this season we knew we’d be without our best guy from last year due to injury, but we knew we would still have a strong team. Marty has been the lead guy all season and I’ve been able to work off him so well. I feel like the chemistry we’ve all been able to develop has helped lead us to greater things. We’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries and for all of us to come together, race really well and win the county title means a lot.”

Howes was Princeton’s second finisher. Brophy took fourth place in 16:26. Howes came in 21 seconds later in fifth, barely a second and a half ahead of WW-P North’s top finisher. Deng broke 17:00 for eighth place in 16:59, and Max Dunlap took 10th in 17:08. Felix Farrugia’s strong second half of the race enabled him to move up to finish 27th in 18:00 to seal the victory. Braedyn Capone was 33rd and Atticus Ayres was 53rd to round out the team.

“The county is good, there’s a lot of talent in our county every year,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk. “Whenever you get the opportunity to have a win at counties, it’s a big deal. We were a little nervous going in considering what had happened last year, losing to North by a point. North is young team. Coach (Brian) Gould has them well put together. They execute well. You know you’re getting a race from them. We had some question marks we had to solve, and I think we solved them. We put together the day we were looking for. I’m thrilled with them. I think they really took advantage of the opportunity given to them and proved that they’re championship level.”

The PHS girls placed fifth with 126 points, only six points out of third place. The Wilberforce School won the girls title with a score of 88. The Tigers were led by Lucy Kreipke in sixth in 19:56 in an encouraging performance at Thompson Park.  more

LOGAN’S RUN: Princeton Day School field hockey player Logan Harrison, right, chases after the ball in recent action. Last Thursday, junior Harrison scored the lone goal for fifth-seeded PDS as it fell 2-1 in overtime to second-seeded Lawrenceville in the Mercer County Tournament final. A day later, Harrison helped second-seeded PDS edge third-seeded Pennington 1-0 in the Prep B state semis. The Panthers, who improved to 7-7 with the win, were slated to play at top-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy on October 27 in the Prep B final. In addition, PDS will be starting play in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public tournament next week. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton Day School field hockey team fell 6-1 to Lawrenceville in a regular season game on October 8, Logan Harrison and her PDS teammates were fired up for a rematch with the Big Red in the Mercer County Tournament final last Thursday night.

“We were the underdogs so there was nothing to lose for us,” said Panther junior star Harrison of fifth-seeded PDS which brought a 4-6 record into the MCT, edging fourth-seeded Robbinsville 4-3 in a quarterfinal contest and then stunning undefeated and top-seeded Princeton High 3-2 in the semis on the way to the clash with second-seeded Lawrenceville.   

“They are a really tough opponent. We know how they play and we had to work hard. We just had to figure out their weaknesses and just try to fight against it.”

While PDS yielded a second quarter goal and trailed 1-0 at halftime of the game played at Lawrence High, Harrison and her teammates liked where they were at.

“We have been down a lot in the first quarter and have gotten back a couple of times,” said Harrison. “We are pretty used to that. We just keep our momentum, we are not fazed by that. We know we have three more quarters so whatever we can do to get the ball back.”

Harrison got PDS even as she scored a goal off of a penalty corner at the end of the third quarter. more

HAPPY KAMPER: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Johanna Roggenkamp warms up as she got ready for her first singles match in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 3 state final against Montgomery High last Thursday. Roggenkamp and the Tigers, who defeated Shawnee 3-2 in the Group 3 state semis earlier in the day, fell 5-0 to the Cougars in the final. PHS, who moved 13-2 with the loss, is slated to host Lawrence on October 26 before playing at WW/P-South on October 27 and at Allentown on October 28 to wrap up regular season action. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming to Princeton this fall from Germany, Johanna Roggenkamp faced some challenges as she joined the Princeton High girls’ tennis team.

“It is very different,” said junior Roggenkamp, a native of Heidelberg whose parents came to the U.S. for stints at the Institute of Advanced Studies. “It was the first time I have played people that are very much older than me.”

Earning the first singles spot on the squad, Roggenkamp honed her game over the course of the fall.

“I got better at defending because people hit harder,” said Roggenkamp.

On October 18, Roggenkamp helped PHS defend its New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 sectional title as it topped Red Bank Regional 3-2.

Two days later, the Tigers headed to the Mercer County Park tennis complex to face Shawnee in the Group 3 state seniors where it pulled out a 3-2 win that came down to 10-point match tiebreaker in second doubles. more

PAIR OF ACES: Hun School senior Eric Scully, left, and junior Emily McCann produced superb performances at the Mercer County Cross Country Championships at Thompson Park last Thursday. Scully placed second in the boys’ race while McCann took third in the girls’ race. (Photos by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Producing superb performances, Eric Scully and Emily McCann were the highest Princeton-area finishers at the Mercer County Cross Country Championships at Thompson Park last Thursday.

Scully, a senior at the Hun School, placed second in the boys’ race in 16:24. It’s the highest finish in his three years of running at the county meet.

“It was really great,” said Scully. “For me, the biggest improvement was going from 74th place as a freshman to second place as senior and not even racing counties sophomore year. I stayed consistent throughout those four years and I’m really happy with my improvement.”

McCann, a junior at Princeton Day School, still has a year to go after taking third place in the girls’ race in 19:45. She placed eighth a year ago.

“The time was a little off where I wanted to be,” said McCann. “It was a little slower race, but there was a lot of headwind. It wasn’t really about time today, it was about racing. Last year I got eighth. My goal was to get top seven this year. Getting third boosted my confidence a lot and makes me feel good.”

Scully and McCann took different paths to their places. Scully bolted out to the lead, defying a headwind that stared runners in the face from the start down more than 500 meters until the first turn. His move put the Hun jersey out front early and took some by surprise as he took on the wind and a talented field of runners.

“The biggest success for me was getting off the line well,” said Scully, who will be competing for the University of Richmond next year. “My coach (Kurt Wayton) and I always talk about getting off the line well, because if you get beat off the line you’ve kind of already lost the race. You want to get out and get good position. I really wanted to put pressure on second place early in the race and make them work hard to try to catch me. Overall, I succeeded on that.” more

GO TIME: Hun School boys’ soccer goalie Diego Pena clears the ball in a game earlier this season. Last week, senior star Pena made six saves in a losing cause as second-seeded Hun fell 1-0 to third-seeded and eventual champion Pennington in the Mercer County Tournament semis. The Raiders, who topped Lawrenceville 3-1 last Saturday to improve to 11-3-2, will be competing in the Prep A state tournament this week where they are seeded second and will be hosting a semifinal contest on October 27. In addition, Hun will be hosting Peddie on October 29 in a regular season game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After spending this past summer playing for the Dominican Republic U-17 national soccer program, Diego Pena was primed for his sophomore season with the Hun School boys’ soccer team.

“You work there with a lot of professional people and they help shape the way you are as a person and as a soccer player,” said Hun goalie Pena.

Last week, Pena showed how good a player he has become, making six saves, including some spectacular stops, in a losing cause as second-seeded Hun fell 1-0 to third-seeded and eventual champion Pennington in the Mercer County Tournament.

With Hun having shut out the Red Hawks 3-0 in a regular season contest on September 21, Pena and his teammates were ready for a battle in the rematch.

“We were coming into this game with a lot of hype,” said Pena. “It was a game we were looking for. We have got to show up and that is what we did. The first game was a really tough game and we came out on top. In this game, they obviously wanted revenge and they came pretty hard.”

Pena held the fort with a lot of help from Hun’s back line.

“I couldn’t ask for more from my defenders, it was a great game for them,” said Pena. “They had a complete game, they cleared everything they should have.” more

WILL TO WIN: Members of the Wilberforce Schools girls’ cross country team are all smiles after they placed first in the Mercer County Cross Country Championships last Thursday at Thompson Park. Pictured, from left, are head coach Lois Szeliga, Sophia Vardeman, Gwen Mersereau, Abby Readlinger, Sophia Park, Virginia Whitman, Adeline Edwards, and Laura Sallade. Wilberforce had a winning score of 88 with WW/P-South taking second with 94. (Photo provided courtesy of Lois Szeliga)

By Bill Alden

Coming into her senior season this fall for the Wilberforce School girls’ cross country team, Sophia Park put in some extra work.

“I trained pretty hard, I got a lot of mileage in,” said Park. “This summer before the preseason started I was running 35-40 mile weeks. My long run was about 10 miles.”

Last Thursday, that work paid dividends at the Mercer County Cross Country Championships at Thompson Park as Park finished seventh individually to help Wilberforce win the team title.

In earning its first-ever county team crown, the Wolverines had a score of 88 with WW/P-South taking second at 94. Following Park for Wilberforce was sophomore Adeline Edwards, who took 11th, freshman Laura Sallade in 20th, sophomore Gwen Mersereau, the 23rd finisher, and senior Abigail Readlinger, who came in 33rd.

Park’s race plan centered on tracking Princeton High runners.

“We actually thought that Princeton High was the team to beat, they were racing really well,” said Park who clocked a time of 20:03.80 over the 5,000-meter course at Thompson Park. “We started the race and there were three of them in front of me. I just kept locking in on the one in front of me.”

As the race unfolded, Park picked off one runner after the other. more

October 19, 2022

DIGGING IT: Princeton University women’s volleyball player Cameron Dames makes a dig in recent action. Last Saturday, senior libero Dames made a career-high 35 digs to help Princeton defeat Brown 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20). The Tigers, now 14-3 overall and 6-1 Ivy League, play at Penn on October 21. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Cameron Dames is looking forward to the second half of the Ivy League season after she and the Princeton University women’s volleyball team regained momentum last Saturday.

After falling 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-15) to Yale last Friday night in what Dames called an “implosion,” less than 24 hours later Dames delivered one of the finest performances in her four seasons starting at libero as the Tigers knocked off defending Ivy League champion Brown, 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20), to improve to 14-3 overall, 6-1 in Ivy play and show encouraging resolve.

“I’m just excited to see what this team can do,” said Dames, a 5’9 native of Atlanta, Ga. “I’m excited that we can come back from such a tough Friday game.”

A day later, Dames had a career-high 35 digs to pace a defense that tied their season-high with 83 digs. That helped Princeton win a pair of tight sets, and then after Brown won the third set, the Tigers closed out the Bears 25-20.

“I definitely felt good about the game,” said Dames. “I just felt really confident back there. I knew that I wanted to perform well for my team. I knew if we were going to come out with a win, I needed to show up. I really wanted to bounce back from Friday and show the team I was going to give my all every single point and I think I did that.”

Princeton will try to build on the momentum regained when they start the second time through the Ivy teams when it plays Penn on October 21. Previously, the Tigers beat the Quakers 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-13) on September 23.  more

SHARED BELIEF: Princeton High field hockey players, from left, Erin Liggio, Hannah Christopher, Delaney Keegan, and Gianna DiGioacchino, celebrate after a goal last Saturday as top-seeded PHS edged eighth-seeded Stuart Country Day 3-2 in a Mercer Country Tournament quarterfinal contest. The Tigers, who improved to 13-0 with the win, were slated to play fifth-seeded Princeton Day School in the MCT semis on October 18 with the victor advancing to the final on October 20 at Lawrence High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hannah Christopher brought a lot of emotion to the field last Saturday morning for the Princeton High field hockey team as it hosted Stuart Country Day in a Mercer Country Tournament quarterfinal contest.

In addition to the game being the postseason debut for PHS, the program was holding its annual Senior Day celebration.

“It is definitely overwhelming,” said senior star and tri-captain Christopher. “I am so sad to leave, it is definitely bittersweet. I think it gave us motivation to play for each other.”

Underdog Stuart, the eighth-seed, showed some motivation of its own, battling top-seeded and undefeated PHS to a 0-0 stalemate at halftime.

“I think that we were lacking some aggression in the first half at halftime,” said Christopher. “We were talking about playing as a team, playing as a unit. We brought it together in the second half.”

Christopher helped PHS get it together over the last 30 minutes of the contest, picking up two assists as PHS pulled out a 3-2 win in improving to 13-0. The Tigers were slated to face fifth-seeded Princeton Day School in the MCT semis on October 18 with the victor advancing to the title game on October 20 at Lawrence High.

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead midway through the third quarter on goals by junior Erin Liggio with Christopher assisting on the second tally. Stuart responded with a goal late in the quarter to cut the lead in half and cause some anxious moments for the Tigers. more

COACHING THEM UP: Princeton High girls’ tennis head coach Sarah Hibbert, left, talks strategy with her first doubles team of Maya-Alexandra Todorov and Ashley Chen during a recent match. Last Friday, third-seeded PHS defeated second-seeded WW/P-North 4-1 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA)Central Jersey Group 3 sectional semifinals, avenging a 3-2 loss to the Northern Knights in late September. The Tigers, now 10-1, were slated to play at top-seeded Red Bank Regional in the sectional final on October 18 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 semis on October 20 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In late September, the Princeton High girls’ tennis second doubles team of Ashna Bushan and Sophie Miller lost a tough three-setter to WW/P-North as the Tigers got edged 3-2 in the match.

When the foes met last Friday at the Mercer County Park tennis complex in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 sectional semifinals, the pair of freshman Bushan and senior Miller were primed to turn the tables on North’s Anusha Kumar and Odette Liu.

Bushan saw smarter play as a key in the rematch. “We tried to communicate better and focus more on getting the balls in rather than trying to hit harder,” said Bushan.

Miller was concentrating on bringing a positive mindset to round two.

“The coach (Sarah Hibbert) said not to get frustrated with our last match, and we didn’t do that,” said Miller. “We went in wanting to win and not just being frustrated that we lost last time.”

The PHS pair frustrated their foes, rolling a 6-1 win in the first set. more

NO ORDINARY JOE: Hun School boys’ soccer player Joey Bucchere, center, races upfield against Princeton Day School last week. Junior forward Bucchere tallied a goal and an assist as Hun edged PDS 2-1 in the October 11 contest. On Saturday, Bucchere contributed a goal and an assist as second-seeded Hun defeated seventh-seeded WW/P-South 6-1 in a Mercer County Tournament quarterfinal contest. The Raiders, who improved to 10-2-2 with the victory, were slated to play third-seeded Pennington in the MCT semis on October 18 with the winner advancing to the final on October 20 at Hopewell Valley High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Joey Bucchere was determined to become a go-to player this fall for the Hun School boys’ soccer team.

“I just want to make an impact, I want to add something to the program,” said junior forward Bucchere. “I really wanted to win this year. Coach (Pat Quirk) put me up top this year and I have really been finding my flow.”

Last week, Bucchere made a huge impact for Hun as it played at Princeton Day School, scoring a goal and assisting on another as the Raiders pulled out a 2-1 win over a scrappy Panther squad.

With PDS packing nine players in front of its goal, Hun’s high-powered offense was bottled up for much of the contest.

“It is a battle every time we play them,” said Bucchere. “It was a great competition. They played a great game and came back. We just kept our heads in it and got the last goal that we needed.” more

KEEN EFFORT: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Joaquin Rodriguez, left, controls the ball in a game earlier this season. Last week, senior star midfielder Rodriguez scored a goal in a losing cause as PDS fell 2-1 to the Hun School. The Panthers, who lost 1-0 to Jackson Memorial last Monday in moving to 3-8-2, will be competing in the Prep B state tournament this week where they are seeded fifth and will be playing at top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s on October 20 in a semifinal contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

On paper, it looked like a mismatch when the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team hosted a powerhouse Hun School squad last week.

PDS brought a 3-6-2 record into the October 11 contest while Hun stood at 8-2-1, including a 3-0 win over a Pennington team that had routed the Panthers 6-0 earlier in the season.

But PDS head coach Brian Thomsen had a plan to slow the Raiders, packing his team in with nine players patrolling the defensive end.

“They are dangerous off set pieces as we saw; they do a good job of counterattacking if you press them high,” said Thomsen. “We tried to minimize as much time as we could on the ball in dangerous spots. We didn’t want Connor [Frykholm] to get the ball in the center of the park. We were OK with Connor getting the ball outside on the wing. We were trying to minimize how much that was happening and it worked for the longest time.”

While Hun did get a goal 10 minutes into the game, the Panther defense held the fort for the rest of the half and the first 18 minutes of the second before it tied up the game on a goal by senior star Joaquin Rodriguez. more

SUPER SAVER: Stuart Country Day School field hockey goalie Emily Harlan guards the cage last Saturday as Stuart played at Princeton High in a Mercer County Tournament quarterfinal contest. Sophomore Harlan made 13 saves in a losing cause as the eighth-seeded Tartans fell 3-2 to top-seeded and undefeated PHS. Harlan passed 100 career saves in the process. Last Monday, Stuart defeated Northern Burlington 6-0 in a regular season game to improve to 8-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team facing undefeated Princeton High last Saturday morning in a Mercer County Tournament quarterfinal contest, Missy Bruvik did some tinkering tactically.

“We knew we would have to add an extra defender back today,” said Stuart head coach Bruvik. “We did that and focused on trying to keep that ball out of the middle third of the field and work the sidelines. I think we were able to execute that pretty well against a very good team.”

For 30 minutes that strategy worked well as eighth-seeded Stuart battled top-seeded PHS to a 0-0 draw.

In the second half, though, the Tigers broke through with two straight goals in the third quarter. Stuart responded with a goal by Alex Mandzij to cut the PHS lead in half.

The Tigers took a 3-1 lead early in the fourth quarter but the Tartans kept fighting as senior star Emily Ix found the back of the cage with 47 seconds left in regulation. That tally turned out to be the final score of the contest as PHS held on for a 3-2 win and improved to 13-0.

“I am just proud of the way we were able to finish today and put the ball in,” said Bruvik. “We got our corner opportunities for sure. I just thought we played pretty relentlessly in good spurts that kept our momentum going. I feel like we gave a very good team a good battle.” more

By Bill Alden

This past Sunday was not a day of rest for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team.

With the Prep B state tournament condensed into a single-day event last Sunday at Thomas A. Edison Park in Edison, PDS hit the road at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. start and didn’t leave the court until 5:15 in the evening.

“We did it all in one day, it was a long day,” said Panther head coach Michael Augsberger. “It was like an 11-hour day.”

Battling hard in the marathon session of tennis, PDS won two flights of the competition as senior Amy Zhou prevailed at third singles and the first doubles pair of senior Josephine Baranski and junior Ashlyn Du also finished first. In the team standings, the Panthers took second with 10 points, two points behind champion Pennington.

Augsberger was thrilled to see Zhou come through. “Amy has been brilliant all year,” said Augsberger of Zhou who posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Lauren Decker of Pennington in her final. “She plays third singles like first singles in the sense of the way she plays her points and her style of play. A lot of third singles matches take a long time. The semifinal match between her opponent and Rutgers Prep went four hours just because their style of play. Amy plays very aggressively. She has a gorgeous backhand and she deserves it. It is great for her to have a senior crowning moment.”

Baranski earned a crowning moment as she stepped in at first doubles at the last moment as sophomore Arya Kalra couldn’t make it to Edison because of illness. more

October 12, 2022

CRUNCH TIME: Princeton University defensive lineman Nate Martey, left, helps knock a Lehigh ball carrier to the ground in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore Martey and the Princeton defense stifled Lafayette as the Tigers defeated the Leopards 23-2. Princeton, now 4-0 overall, 1-0 Ivy League, and ranked 23rd nationally, hosts Brown (2-2 overall, 0-1 Ivy) this Friday evening. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Despite getting off to a 3-0 start this fall, the Princeton University football team had been plagued by some choppy execution in the early going.

Princeton fell behind Stetson 14-7 in its season opener on September 17, was knotted in a 10-10 tie at halftime against Lehigh a week later, and then spent most of the first half of its Ivy League opener at Columbia on October 1 clinging to a 7-6 lead.

But last Saturday at Lafayette, the Tigers produced some sharp play from the opening whistle, going on scoring marches of nine plays, 54 yards, 12 plays, 62 yards and 10 plays, 63 yards in building a 20-2 halftime lead on the way to a 23-2 win over the Leopards before 3,303 at Fisher Stadium in Easton, Pa.

Princeton head coach Bob Surace liked what he saw from the Tigers as they improved to 4-0.

“We only had nine drives and we scored on four,” said Surace, whose team is now ranked 23rd nationally in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Coaches’ Poll. “We missed what should have been a high percentage field goal and we had a touchdown called back on a mistake in alignment. We were off the ball — we should have been on, so we ended up losing that drive. We drove it for the last nine minutes and we were putting backups in and we ended up getting stuck on the one-yard line.”

Tiger senior quarterback Blake Stenstrom capably led those scoring drives, continuing to show progress as he made his fourth career start.

“That was a really challenging defense and they have a terrific D-line,” said Surace of Stenstrom, who connected on 30-of-40 passes for 290 yards. “It doesn’t matter who they have played, they are going to put you under duress. He handled it extremely well. He was accurate, the numbers don’t even reflect how well he played. We had a 70-yard touchdown pass called back. We were really successful running it down in the tight red zone so he did not end up with any touchdown passes. He is playing at a really high level.” more

DOGGED PURSUIT: Princeton University men’s soccer player Daniel Diaz Bonilla, right, goes after the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior star forward and co-captain Diaz Bonilla made history, scoring the first goal for the men’s squad in the new Roberts Stadium as Princeton hosted Yale. The tally by Diaz Bonilla, though, was not enough as the Tigers fell 3-1 to the Bulldogs. Princeton, now 4-4-1 overall and 1-1 Ivy League, plays at Columbia on October 15 and at Virginia Tech on October 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Daniel Diaz Bonilla and his teammates on the Princeton University men’s soccer team were fired up last Saturday to finally play their first game at the new Roberts Stadium.

After their originally scheduled debut at the new venue against Monmouth on October 4 was postponed due to a rainstorm, Princeton hosted Yale four days later.

“It is a total privilege to play here,” said Princeton senior star forward and co-captain Diaz Bonilla. “It is a beautiful venue, it is probably the best venue in the Ivy League.”

But the debut turned ugly for the Tigers as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead by early in the second half and held off a late Princeton charge to earn a 3-1 win, snapping its eight-game winning streak in Ivy League play over the last two years.

“We are really disappointed that we couldn’t open up the stadium with a win,” said Diaz Bonilla, who ended the game on the sidelines with his left knee wrapped in ice after taking a knock late in the second half. “It is sad we couldn’t get a win on this beautiful field.” more

DOUBLE COVERAGE: Princeton High girls’ soccer players Rowan Gilmore, left, and Alysse Kiesewetter mark a Trenton High foe in a game earlier this season. PHS, which fell 2-1 to Robbinsville last Saturday to move to 8-3-2, starts play in the Mercer County Tournament this week. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rowan Gilmore has been making some noise this fall along the back line for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team.

“I am definitely trying to be very vocal on the field, yelling a lot and communicating,” said PHS senior defender and co-captain Gilmore. “If people don’t know where they are supposed to be, I am letting them know. Encouragement is such a big thing and just letting everyone know that they are doing well.”

Last Saturday as PHS hosted Robbinsville, Gilmore got some encouragement from her teammates as the program held its annual Senior Day.

“It is definitely a very emotional day,” said Gilmore. “It is always a lot of fun getting to see how the juniors and everyone decorates for us. It is awesome. It is very emotional but a lot of fun too.”

There were some sad emotions Saturday for the Tigers as they fell 2-1 to Robbinsville. PHS yielded a goal with 17:20 left in the first half and held the Ravens scoreless for the next 51 minutes. Robbinsville found the back of the net with 5:40 left in regulation but PHS kept battling and Alysse Kiesewetter buried a penalty kick with 2:54 remaining to make a 2-1 game. more

MAC ATTACK: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Ella McLaren, left, prepares to boot the ball in recent action. Last Thursday, freshman midfielder McLaren tallied a goal and an assist as fourth-seeded PDS defeated fifth-seeded Morristown-Beard 3-1 in a state Prep B quarterfinal contest. The Panthers, who defeated George School (Pa.) 1-0 last Saturday to improve to 8-3, will be hosting Pennington on October 13 and then starting play in the Mercer County Tournament. In addition, PDS will be playing at top-seeded Rutgers Prep in the state Prep B semis on October 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was Ella McLaren’s first tournament game for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team and things didn’t get off to a good start.

With fourth-seeded PDS hosting fifth-seeded Morristown-Beard in a state Prep B quarterfinal contest last Thursday, the visiting Crimson tallied a goal in the first 30 seconds of the game.

“It was definitely a challenge; it is not great to fall behind but it didn’t bother us,” said PDS freshman midfielder McLaren. “It motivated us to work harder. It was a wake up we needed to play better and more together.”

That work paid off as PDS knotted the game at 1-1 when junior star Adriana Salzano converted a penalty kick with 2:24 left in the first half.

“That helped us with our mentality,” said McLaren. “It was alright we are tied, we don’t have to be rushed and panicked. Now we can settle down and play our game and not worry about playing theirs.”

McLaren broke the deadlock with 8:34 left in regulation, taking a corner kick from senior star Grace Romano and knocking it off her chest into the goal.  more

DANTE’S INFERNO: Hun School football player Dante Barone heads upfield in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star and Rutgers commit Barone had two touchdown catches to help Hun defeat Blair 48-7. The Raiders, now 5-0, host the Hill School (Pa.) on October 15. (Photo by Jamie McKee/The Hun School)

By Justin Feil

Dante Barone played tight end for his former team two years ago  but Hun football head coach Todd Smith saw more potential in him.

“He’s a real Swiss Army knife for us,” said Smith. “He’s probably the most versatile kid on the team.”

Barone indeed has developed into a two-way player that has helped the Raiders start 5-0 for the second straight season. The senior had a pair of touchdown catches and was part of a dominant defensive line in a 48-7 romp at Blair on Saturday as he continues to impress on both sides of the ball in his second year at Hun.

“It was definitely different compared to my old school because I was more of a traditional tight end at my old school,” said Barone, a Manalapan resident. “And playing at Hun, it’s kind of similar to the way Kyle Shanahan uses Kyle Juszczyk on the 49ers which I really like. I’m in the slot, I’m at fullback, I’m at wing, and also at tight end sometimes. I think it’s really cool to be able to be versatile. I like to run and I like to catch the ball and I like blocking. I do all those things. It’s really cool.”

Barone was just one weapon for the Raiders, who saw quarterback Marco Lainez III account for six of Hun’s seven touchdowns. Lainez ran in two of them and passed for four touchdowns with Logan Galletta catching a 35-yard strike and Liam Thorpe on the receiving end of the final passing touchdown. Kamar Archie ran in the Raiders’ other touchdown.

“We came out and took care of business,” said Smith. “We did a good job of spreading the ball around to a bunch of different guys. The kids really executed the game plan on both sides of the ball, and we came out on top.” more

DIOS MIO: Hun School field hockey player Ana Dios, left, controls the ball in recent action. Junior transfer Dios, a native of Spain, has been a catalyst in the modified for Hun as it has produced a 7-2 start. In upcoming action, the Raiders play at Stuart Country Day School on October 12 and host the Hill School (Pa.) on October 15. In addition, Hun will be starting play in the Mercer County Tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After winning its first seven games this season, the Hun School field hockey team tasted defeat twice last week.

While Hun head coach Tracey Arndt was disappointed to see her squad fall 1-0 to Pennington on October 3 and then lose 4-3 at the Blair Academy last Saturday, she believes the setbacks could be a positive in the long run for the Raiders.

“Sometimes losses early in a season prepare you for postseason,” said Arndt. “The Blair game and Pennington showed we can hang with these teams. Blair is good and they are aggressive and so was Pennington. We got bumped around and we held our ground and no matter what the score was, we kept battling. Those are all the things that are helpful as you prepare for playoffs.”

Hun gave undefeated Blair (9-0) a good battle, jumping out to a 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and trailing 2-1 at halftime. After the Buccaneers scored two unanswered goals in the third quarter, the Raiders responded with two straight goals in the fourth quarter.

“It was 2-1 at halftime, it was a competitive game; that was exactly what we needed,” said Arndt. “We really felt that we played hard. I really appreciated the grit and the perseverance that the girls showed. At the end, we just ran out of time. We scored with hardly any time left, who knows if we had five more minutes. Their team was very good.”

Junior Ava Che had a very good game for the Raiders against Blair, scoring both of the fourth quarter goals.

“Ava usually plays back for us, she has got nice skills has a great hit,” said Arndt. “Typically we don’t bring her up to the corners because she is a defender and I am always conscious of a transition ball. We had nothing to lose then so I put her on the first corner and the last corner. It paid dividends, she just ripped it.”

With Hun not losing in September on the way to a 7-0 start, the players gained a lot of self-belief.

“The girls had created several goals for themselves this year and one of them was to be undefeated in September so that was very cool to do that,” said Arndt. “Over the last few years, we really had to look at minor, little victories so I think that was a large victory for them. It gave them the confidence that they need. Our league is really strong and our county is really strong, setting that goal and achieving it was really great.” more

October 5, 2022

FOR PETE’S SAKE: Princeton University men’s basketball alums pose together last Friday at Jadwin Gym after a Celebration of Life held in honor of legendary Tiger head coach Pete Carril, who passed away in mid-August at the age of 92. The event drew hundreds of former Princeton players, opposing coaches, past and present Tigers coaches, and members of the community.

By Bill Alden

Pete Carril espoused a basic philosophy to his Princeton University men’s basketball players over his 29 years at the helm of the program — there was life and there was basketball but there was no life without basketball.

In the wake of Carril’s passing in mid-August at the age of 92, Princeton held a Celebration of Life in honor of the Hall of Fame coach last Friday morning at Jadwin Gym.

The event, which drew hundreds of former Princeton players, opposing coaches, past and present Tigers coaches, and members of the community, was filled with laughs and some tears.

The gym was transformed to a shrine to the coach with a montage of images of Carril on the video board and banners detailing his achievements hanging near the stage.

The program featured six speakers. It also included a video tribute of Carril’s career narrated by Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy. It detailed some of the highlights of Carril’s Princeton tenure that ran from 1967 to 1996 and saw him lead the Tigers to a 514-261 record, 13 Ivy League championships, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, and the 1975 NIT title. He was a 1997 inductee to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

There was another short film with remembrances from such Princeton luminaries as Princeton President Emeritus Harold Shapiro, Princeton Athletic Director Emeritus Gary Walters, former Tiger hoops great Craig Robinson along with former Tiger players and coaches Armond Hill, John Thompson III, and Mike Brennan.

The Rev. Christopher Thomforde ’69, a player in the early years of Carril’s tenure set the tone for the morning.

“There is a gap created in our lives when anyone of consequence dies,” said Thomforde. “We maintain the gap and let grief be real to each of us. Today we want to celebrate, tell stories, and give thanks for a very important person Pete Carril.” more

CLASS ACT: Princeton University senior receiver Dylan Classi heads upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, Classi made six receptions for 133 yards to help Princeton defeat Columbia 24-6 in its Ivy League opener. The Tigers, now 3-0 overall, play at Lafayette (2-3) on October 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace knew that his Princeton University football team was facing a bruising encounter when it played at Columbia last Saturday.

“I have played against Al now 12 times,” said Princeton head coach Surace, referring to Columbia head coach Al Bagnoli who previously guided the Penn program. “With every one of those games, you get on the bus if it is a road game, or you go back to the locker room and your body feels it. You have been hit and you have hit hard.”

It was Princeton, however, who delivered the hardest blows on Saturday as the Tigers whipped the Lions 24-6 in the Ivy League opener for both teams before a crowd of 4,071 at Robert K. Kraft Field.

Princeton’s triumph was highlighted by a rugged defensive effort which saw the Tigers hold Columbia to 235 yards total offense and make three interceptions.

“The best word is effort,” said Surace in assessing the defensive effort. “I watched the film when I got home last night and there are some plays on there — like where Liam Johnson deflects a screen pass, he was on a blitz, the ball goes to the receiver, but it is slower. He just runs and immediately joins in on the tackle. Will Perez had a couple of those too.”

The defensive pressure resulted in senior linebacker Perez snagging one interception and senior linebacker Joe Bonczek picking off two.

“The energy our guys were playing with was really, really high,” said Surace. “I think we were doing that for the course of 70 plays and eventually the ball comes to you. Both of Joe’s interceptions were just great reads. The throw was not perfect and usually they become incompletions. He made great plays.”

The Tigers got off to an energetic start offensively, taking the opening kickoff and marching 75 yards in eight plays with freshman running back Ryan Butler culminating the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

“We got into a good rhythm,” said Surace. “Our thing has been, when we don’t have negative plays like a penalty or a dropped ball sack or whatever, we move the ball really well. Our efficiency rates are really high. I thought that first drive was an example of that.”

Clinging to a 7-6 lead late in the second quarter, Princeton went on another scoring drive, going 52 yards in seven plays, taking a 14-6 lead on a 13-yard TD pass from Blake Stenstrom to JoJo Hawkins.

“That was a big drive, we were scuffling a little bit,” said Surace. “Credit Columbia, they have a good defense. We had some negative plays. Our defense was playing lights out. I thought we really needed to get the points on the board at half and execute well as we did. We got such in a good rhythm there.”

Senior receiver and co-captain Dylan Classi found a good rhythm, making six receptions for 133 yards.

“Dylan is a really good player, he has been so consistent throughout his career,” said Surace. “I thought he did a great job not only on the deep throws, but he got yards after the catch.”

In the second half, Princeton got the job done, scoring 10 unanswered points and continuing to play stifling defense. While Surace was happy with effort, he acknowledged that Princeton has to clean up some things.

“We really played hard, we are overcoming some of the early season mistakes with effort,” said Surace. “I am hoping we can correct them. We are going to need to as you are looking around our league and the competitiveness. We are going to have to raise our game. I thought we played with a great deal of energy.”

With Princeton heading to Lafayette (2-3) on Saturday, the Tigers will look to raise their game as they tune up for the Ivy stretch drive.

“Their scores, except against Temple (30-14) and William and Mary (34-7), have been really close,” said Surace. “In the Temple game, Lafayette gave up three blocked punts. Take those away and that game is probably 17-14 but you can’t take that away. Offense and defense-wise, they are playing in these hard-fought contests. They have won a couple of them, they won one last week (24-14 over Bucknell last Saturday), and they have lost a couple of them.”