November 24, 2021

NEAR MISS: Princeton University women’s soccer player Aria Nagai dribbles the ball upfield in a 2-0 win over Vermont in the first round of the NCAA tournament on November 12. Last Friday, sophomore midfielder Nagai picked up an assist in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-2 to TCU in overtime in the second round of the NCAA tourney. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 15-3-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Rutgers University played host to two major landmark moments in the Princeton University women’s soccer season in 2021. Both visits showed just how good the Tigers were this year.

Back on September 5 in just the fifth game of the season, the Tigers rallied for a 4-3 overtime win over a Rutgers team then ranked ninth in the country. On the heels of a 1-1 tie with then-No. 8 ranked Georgetown, it set expectations high for the remainder of the year.

Princeton did not disappoint over the course of a memorable season that ended at 15-3-1 overall after a 3-2 double overtime loss to fourth-seeded Texas Christian University (TCU) on Friday at Rutgers. The Tigers were less than two minutes away from extending a season that had included a second-place finish in the Ivy League, a home NCAA tournament game that they won, and the third-most wins in a season in program history on the heels of a full year away from competition.

“I absolutely adore the group, I love the group,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll.

“That’s what makes losing so difficult because I wanted to keep the season going. As I said to them Thursday in training, I want to keep it going because I don’t like the idea of not having a tomorrow with you guys, that’s all it comes down to.” more

RESERVE STRENGTH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ryan Langborg guards a foe in game earlier this season. Last Wednesday night, junior guard Langborg scored a career-high 14 points off the bench to help Princeton defeat Marist 80-61. On Sunday, he chipped in eight points as the Tigers edged Oregon State 81-80 in improving to 4-1. In upcoming action, Princeton plays at Monmouth on November 24 before hosting Fairleigh Dickinson on November 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ryan Langborg came off the bench in the early going for the Princeton University men’s basketball team as it hosted Marist last Wednesday and didn’t waste any time making an impact.

Entering the contest with 15:56 left in the first half, junior guard Langborg drained a three-pointer 58 seconds later. That bucket was a harbinger of things to come as Langborg ended up tallying a career-high 14 points to help Princeton pull away to an 80-61 victory.

“We had a good game plan, we were trying to get the ball inside,” said Langborg.

“If we get the ball inside to Keeshawn [Kellman], Mason [Hooks] and Tosan [Evbuomwan] and they make something happen and they crash on those guys, we move and we knew we would be open and get good shots. We like getting the ball inside and getting it back out and swinging it around for a good three. They fell tonight so I just kept taking them.”

In reflecting on his performance, Langborg credited defense with leading to offense. more

OH BOY: Princeton University men’s soccer player Kevin O’Toole dribbles past a foe in recent action. Senior star O’Toole, who was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year this season as he helped Princeton go 7-0 in league play, saw his brilliant career come to an end as the Tigers fell 1-0 at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament last Thursday. Princeton ended the fall with an overall record of 12-6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In late September, the Princeton University men’s soccer team lost a hard-fought 1-0 battle to St. John’s.

Last Thursday, Princeton got a rematch at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Tigers were primed to turn the tables on the Red Storm.

“The last couple of games were really hard to grind out results; we had stretches during those games where I thought we played well but I think the guys were so determined to win the league and get through the league unbeaten,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow, whose team came into the NCAA game at 12-5 overall and 7-0 Ivy and riding an 8-game winning streak.

“At times it was more about competing than it was about putting the best soccer out there. At times we were able to do both. We had stretches down the stretch where I thought we were really connected, defending as group, moving the ball well and creating chances. I think there was a lot of confidence going into the tournament.”

Barlow knew it wouldn’t be easy to overcome St. John’s. “They are just so hard to score on, they concede so few goals,” said Barlow.

“They are big, they are athletic. It is a tough matchup. We didn’t create many chances in the first game against them and I don’t think they did either. It was a pretty competitive game with neither team able to generate many chances.”

The NCAA contest turned out to be competitive but with same result as the Red Storm won 1-0, finding the back of the net at the 43rd minute and holding off the Tigers from there. more

ON BOARD: Princeton University men’s hockey player Finn Evans (No. 16) battles a St. Lawrence player for the puck along the boards last Friday at Hobey Baker Rink. Senior forward Evans tallied a goal and an assist in a losing cause as Princeton fell 6-4 to the Saints. The Tigers, who lost 8-3 to Clarkson last Saturday to move to 3-3-1 overall and 2-2 ECAC Hockey, host a two-game set against RIT on November 26 and 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although their 2020-21 season was canceled by the Ivy League due to COVID-19 concerns, Finn Evans and his teammates on the Princeton University men’s hockey team still made progress.

“We were just skating at local rinks around New Jersey and working out,” said senior forward Evans, who was enrolled in school and living in the Princeton area with some of his teammates last school year.

“We were brought back in the spring and we were able to skate and work out. That was good, the freshmen were here. It brought us closer together as a group. I think it shows this year. We are all really tight, everyone is contributing.”

That group effort had been reflected in scoring balance across the team’s lines.

“It is nice this year, in previous years it has been a top-heavy contribution,” said Evans.

“The great thing about our lineup this year is that you look throughout the lineup and it is evenly spread right through. I think the theme of our team is that it doesn’t matter who scores. It is all just working hard and playing the game.”

Last Friday against visiting St. Lawrence, Evans contributed an assist and a goal as Princeton overcame an early 2-0 deficit  to build a 4-2 lead over the Saints with 14:38 left in the second period.

Evans set up the first goal, feeding Nick Seitz who banged home the pass. more

PEAKS AND A VALLEY: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Megan Rougas, center, battles for the ball in a game this season. Last Sunday, senior star Rougas and PHS made the program’s first-ever state final appearance and fell just short of the crown as they lost 2-1 in overtime to Wayne Valley. The Tigers finished the fall with a final record of 21-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When it was over, Megan Rougas embraced Sophia Lis on the field as they consoled each other.

Although the two senior stars for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team were upset in the wake of the squad falling 2-1 in overtime to Wayne Valley in the state Group 3 final last Sunday afternoon at Kean University, that sadness couldn’t take away from what the Tigers accomplished this fall.

Utilizing a blend of skill and togetherness, PHS enjoyed a dream season this fall, advancing to the state final for the first time in program history and ending the campaign with a 21-3 record.

While her eyes were reddened from tears, Rougas managed a smile in reflecting on how the fall unfolded for the Tigers.

“Unexpected is the word I would use,” said standout midfielder and co-captain Rougas.

“I have seen so much talent pass through this school, with players like my sister (Lauren), and Sophia’s sisters (Taylor, Devon). I think we were the underdogs this year. We took everything we could. We took giant steps, we did exactly what we needed to do to get to where we needed to be. We made it to the top, somehow, some way. I could not be prouder of these girls.”

The Tigers expected a battle from Wayne Valley, the Passaic County champions, who entered the final at 21-3 and riding a 16-game winning streak.

“We knew coming in that this was going to be a really tough game,” said Rougas. more

SO BRILLIANT: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis heads to goal in state tournament action. Senior star and Lehigh-bound Lis helped fuel an unprecedented postseason run for PHS as it reached the state final for the first time in program history. Lis tallied nine goals in the squad’s postseason run, including the winning goals in the sectional quarterfinal, semis, and final and Group 3 semis. She tallied the one goal for the Tigers in a2-1 overtime defeat to Wayne Valley in the Group 3 final in Sunday, giving her 38 for the season, the second highest single-season total in CVC history behind the 65 scored by Steinert’s Lisa Gmitter in 1982. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sophia Lis appeared exhausted as the Princeton High girls’ soccer team prepared to go into overtime against Lacey Township in the state Group 3 semis last Wednesday.

As the PHS players stood in a huddle around Tiger head coach Dave Kosa getting their final instructions before starting the extra session as the foes had played to a scoreless stalemate, a red-faced senior star forward Lis sat on the bench, gulping Gatorade and catching her breath.

Having battled a pesky Lacey defense on its pockmarked grass field as she made run after run to goal, Lis had plenty of reason to be spent.

“I think the grass has a really bad effect on my legs, I have always found that,” said Lis.

“But the playing field is even for everybody. It was hard for me to get over that but this is what we have worked so hard for the whole season so I might as well give it everything I have got this game and see how it plays out.”

Minutes into OT, Lis gave PHS the win, making a run down the flank and dipping the ball over the Lacey goalie.

“I won the ball and I just turned and dribbled down the sideline,” said Lis, recalling the winning tally.

“I have been finding this whole season, I have been doing a lot of sideline work. So using my speed I just ran to the corner and took a shot to see if maybe a rebound could be found or it could find the back of the net. I was fortunate that this time, it did.”

Seconds later, Lis was mobbed by her teammates as they sprinted across the field to hug her. more

GUTTING IT OUT: Princeton High boys’ cross country runner Kento Nakaya heads to the finish line at the Mercer County championship meet in late October. Last Saturday, senior Nakaya helped PHS place sixth at the Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Kento Nakaya’s third and final season on the Princeton High boys’ cross country team has gone better than he could have dreamed.

The PHS senior produced arguably the best race of his career at the perfect time as the Tigers placed sixth at the Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park on Saturday in a meet won by Union Catholic. The finish ties the third-best placing in PHS boys’ history. The 2016 team won MOC, and the 2017 team placed fourth, while the 1974 Tiger boys also placed sixth.

“As a PHS cross country team, we didn’t qualify for Meet of Champions for three years,” said Nakaya, who was the Little Tigers’ third finisher Saturday.

“I’ve never qualified to Meet of Champs in my life. I wasn’t expecting a lot from the meet. I was very surprised to be on the podium getting sixth place, and very happy to be there.”

Nakaya is one of two seniors in the PHS boys’ top seven. They will be without their other senior, Addison Motto, when the Tigers compete at the Nike Regionals in Bowdoin Park, N.Y., on November 27 as a springboard to a potential nationals spot next year. Nationals are not being run this season, and it will be the final race for Nakaya, who expects to return to his native Japan for college following graduation.

“I really want to thank my teammates for helping make my senior year great,” said Nakaya, who moved from Japan to Princeton in sixth grade. “I obviously had a lot of fun with working out with them and getting sixth at the Meet of Champs.”

The PHS girls’ squad also competed at the Meet of Champions. It’s the only time other than 1985 that both Princeton teams reached the Meet of Champions together. In 1985, it was Eva Klohnen in 25th individually who paced the PHS girls to a ninth-place team finish while Nathaniel McVey-Finney who took 41st to lead the Tiger boys to 12th place. more

November 17, 2021

G-FORCE: Princeton University women’s soccer player Tatum Gee, right, controls the ball last Friday night as the Tigers hosted Vermont in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Senior Gee scored both goals in the contest as Princeton prevailed 2-0. The Tigers, now 15-2-1, will face eighth-seeded TCU (18-2-2) at Rutgers on November 19 in a second round contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Tatum Gee is trying to extend her time with the Princeton University women’s soccer team as long as possible.

The senior captain scored the only two goals in the Tigers women’s soccer team’s 2-0 win over Vermont in an NCAA tournament first round contest last Friday night at Class of 1952 Stadium.

“I think that was the perfect way to end it on this field,” said forward Gee, a native of Long Beach, Calif. “I couldn’t have asked for more than that. I have only good memories on this field now.”

Gee scored both goals in the first 20 minutes and Princeton Day School product Grace Barbara made three saves including a huge one early in the second half as Princeton improved to 15-2-1. Princeton advances to face eighth-seeded TCU, an 8-0 winner of Prairie View A&M, on November 19 at Rutgers, which is the bracket’s No. 1 seed.

“I’ve seen every top team in the country because I like to see how we match up in general in case we get there,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll, whose team would face the victor of the Rutgers-Saint Louis matchup on November 21 in a Sweet 16 matchup if it can defeat the Horned Frogs.

“TCU is exceptional. Very, very good; very athletic, very well coached. I know Eric (Bell, TCU head coach) just from his time at Florida State. They’re a great team.” more

PULLING AWAY: Princeton University football player John Volker races upfield last Saturday as the Tigers defeated Yale 35-20. Freshman running back Volker rushed for 29 yards and caught a 64-yard touchdown pass in the win as Princeton improved to 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy League. The Tigers are tied for first in the league standings with Dartmouth, also 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy, with one game left in the season. Princeton plays at Penn (3-6 overall, 1-5 Ivy) on November 20 in its season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a disappointing 31-7 defeat at Dartmouth, its first setback of the fall, the Princeton University football team was chomping at the bit to get back on the field as its hosted Yale last Saturday with first place in the Ivy League on the line.

But Princeton had to wait a little longer as a line of thunderstorms swept through the area delaying the Senior Day ceremony and kickoff by 90 minutes.

“It was a very emotional day for sure with the lightning delay, it was very unusual,” said Princeton senior receiver Dylan Classi.

Emotions were high for Princeton as it looked to bounce back from the defeat to the Big Green.

“It was a tough loss but everything we want is still in front of us and that was the mentality throughout the week,” said Classi.

“We knew we were playing for a championship. Practice was where it started. We had a great week of practice, we were able to come out today and execute.”

The Tigers went out and executed very well, pulling away to a 35-20 win over the Bulldogs before a crowd of 7,686 at Princeton Stadium to improve to 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy. Princeton is tied for first place in the league standings with Dartmouth, also 8-1 overall and 5-1 Ivy, with one game left in the season. more

WRIGHT DIRECTION: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ethan Wright dribbles up court last week in Princeton’s season opener against visiting Rutgers-Camden. Senior guard and co-captain Wright scored seven points as the Tigers prevailed 94-28 over the Division III Scarlet Raptors. Over the weekend, Wright starred as Princeton advanced to the final of the inaugural Asheville Championship, topping South Carolina 66-62 in the semis and then falling 87-80 in double overtime to Minnesota in the championship game. In the loss to Minnesota on Sunday, Wright recorded a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Princeton hosts Marist on November 17 before playing at Oregon State on November 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ethan Wright didn’t waste any time getting back into the flow for the Princeton University men’s basketball team as it hosted Rutgers-Camden to open its season.

As Princeton hit the court on November 9 for the first time since March 2020 after that season was halted due to the pandemic and the 2020-21 campaign was canceled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, senior guard and tri-captain Wright scored the first seven points of the contest.

“We have been waiting a long time to be back,” said Wright.

“It felt great to be back with the guys and playing against somebody else in uniform with fans. I haven’t done that in over 600 days. Last time I did that, I was a sophomore. A lot has changed since then. It was incredible to be back in Jadwin.”

Wright’s early outburst set the tone as Princeton went on to rout the Division III Scarlet Raptors 94-28.

“Coach (Mitch Henderson) was emphasizing getting off to a hot start so we could play a bunch of guys,” said Wright.

“I thought we executed really well early on and got some quick baskets. We like to run a lot so that was a quick start for us.”

Princeton executed well despite the long hiatus from game action. more

DOUBLING HER FUN: Princeton University women’s basketball player Julia Cunningham dribbles the ball last Sunday against visiting Boston University. Junior guard Cunningham posted her first career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Tigers prevail 69-40 in its first game at Jadwin Gym since February 2020. The win improved Princeton to 3-0 and extended its winning streak to 25 stretching back to the 2019-20 campaign. The Tigers play at Rhode Island on November 20 and at Temple on November 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team having its 2020-21 season canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, Julia Cunningham took a gap year and turned her attention to self-improvement.

“With the year off, you are not playing games and there is not that kind of strain on your body, you get to focus on some of things you wouldn’t normally get to focus on — getting in shape, getting stronger, lifting together,” said Princeton junior guard Cunningham, a 5’11 native of Watchung, N.J., who lived with two of her teammates in the Princeton area during the 2020-21 school year.

“I think it was really important. We spent a lot of time in the gym, getting shots up, getting reps.”

Last Sunday as Princeton hosted Boston University for its first game at Jadwin Gym since February 29, 2020, Cunningham displayed the fruits of that labor, contributing 20 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double to help Princeton pull away to a 69-40 win over the Terriers.

The win improved the Tigers to 3-0 and extended their winning streak to 25 stretching back to the 2019-20 campaign.

“I think for me it is the defense into offense,” said Cunningham, reflecting on her progress.

“We really get our momentum from the defensive end and coming down offensively we are just very confident. We rep it out in practice here on our home court. We get a lot of shots up on these baskets, it is just being confident with the ball in my hands.” more

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University men’s hockey team playing its first game at Hobey Baker Rink in more than 20 months last Saturday evening, the Tigers gave the fans on hand their money’s worth.

Hosting Long Island University, Princeton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Liam Gorman and Ian Murphy only to see the Sharks tally four unanswered goals in the second period to go up 4-2. Princeton responded with goals by David Ma and Corey Andonovski in the third to force overtime. Neither team scored in overtime and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.

Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty was thrilled to see his players hit the ice at Baker Rink for the first time since losing 2-0 to Brown on February 29, 2020.

“To be back home after 623 days was great,” said Fogarty.

“There was great excitement from the players. They had a major jump in the first part of the game, we played really well throughout.” more

STANDING TALL: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis, left, celebrates after scoring a goal against Hopewell Valley in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional final last Friday. Senior star and Lehigh-bound Lis scored two goals in the contest as top-seeded PHS prevailed 2-0 over the second-seeded Bulldogs. The Tigers, who improved to 20-2 with the triumph, will now play at South champion Lacey (15-6-1) in the Group 3 semis on November 17 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 final on November 21 at Kean University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High girls’ soccer team, the third time proved to be the charm as it hosted Hopewell Valley in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional final last Friday.

With PHS having lost 3-2 to HoVal in the regular season and then dropping a 3-1 decision in the Mercer County Tournament semis, the top-seeded Tigers turned the tables on the second-seeded Bulldogs, winning 2-0 in the sectional final.

PHS, which improved to 20-2 with the triumph, now play at South champion Lacey (15-6-1) in the Group 3 semis on November 17 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 final on November 21 at Kean University.

Coming into round three with Hopewell, Tiger head coach Dave Kosa fine-tuned his game plan.

“We were definitely trying to be the aggressor and get on the attack first,” said Kosa, who is in his first season guiding the program.

“We taped the first two games; it was learning what we did not so good and just trying to take away some of the things that they do well. We limited their corners, we didn’t let them behind us. They got behind us in the first two games and in this case they didn’t so that took away a lot of their set pieces and a lot of their corner kicks. Second of all, we were looking to win all of the 50/50 balls. We scouted them against Brick in the sectional semis and Brick controlled most of the play. They were all over them too, they were really, really aggressive, marking closely. We took that and used that to our advantage.” more

FAST COMPANY: Members of the Princeton High boys’ cross country team take off at the start of the Mercer County championship meet last month at Washington Crossing Park. Last Saturday, PHS placed fourth at the state Group 4 championship meet at Holmdel Park. The Tigers figure to be back at Holmdel on November 20 for the Meet of Champions as they should make the meet as a wild card entry after three state Group races remaining were to be completed on November 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Earlier this month, the Princeton High boys’ cross country team found itself in a battle with Manalapan High for first place at Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet.

PHS prevailed in the November 13 competition at Thompson Park, scoring 82 points to edge Manalapan by two points to win the title.

Last Saturday at Holmdel Park in the state Group 4 championship meet, the two squads were again matching each other stride for stride but this time the prize was third place.

While PHS junior Andrew Kenny had a big day, taking eighth individually in a time of 16:15 over the famed 5,000-meter course, it was not enough as Manalapan came in at 134 to take third with the Tigers posting a score of 149 to grab fourth. Powerhouse Ridge took first at 91 with Westfield coming in second with a score of 99.

The next PHS finisher was junior Marty Brophy who took 42nd in 17:08 with junior Zachary Deng finishing 46th in 17:11, senior Addison Motto coming in 47th 17:13, and sophomore Maxwell Dunlap placing 55th in 17:21.

As for the PHS girls, junior star Robin Roth continued her late surge. After taking second individually at the Mercer County Championships and fifth at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet, Roth placed 17th overall at the Group meet, posting a time of 20:06. more

FINAL PUSH: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player William Vasquez battles for the ball in the South Jersey Non-Public B sectional. Senior Vasquez scored two goals to help seventh-seeded PDS defeat fifth-seeded Ranney School 3-1 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional last Thursday. On Sunday, Vasquez and the Panthers fell just short of a state title as they lost 3-1 to Gill St. Bernard’s in the Non-Public B state final to end the fall with a 12-12 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In its run to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional title, the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team relished its role as road warriors.

Seventh-seeded PDS won 3-1 at second-seeded Holy Cross Prep in the sectional quarterfinal on November 4, 3-2 at sixth-seeded Bishop Eustace in the semis on November 8, and then prevailed 3-1 at fifth-seeded Ranney School in the sectional final last Thursday.

But facing powerful Gill St. Bernard’s in the Non-Public B state final at the spacious Kean University field last Sunday, the Panthers found themselves at a disadvantage far from home.

“In our sectional run we played on relatively small fields,” said PDS first-year head coach Brian Thomsen.

“We were able to withstand pressure, able to handle pressure better, able to play out quickly and counterattack quickly on those fields. That Gill team was just able to spread us out more than we have been used to in the past four weeks. We haven’t seen a team like that in terms of the quality of player since Hopewell Valley three weeks ago. We were playing against a true possession-oriented team that worked on that all year.”

Despite chasing Gill all over the field, the Panthers only trailed 1-0 at halftime. After intermission, the Knights scored two goals to take a 3-0 lead and put the game out of reach. PDS did answer back with a late goal by senior star Milan Shah to make it a 3-1 final. more

FIRST STRIKE: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player John Ramos boots the ball last Thursday against the Ranney School in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional final. Senior star Ramos, who was sidelined for much of the season with a leg injury, helped seventh-seeded PDS top fifth-seeded Ranney 3-1 to earn the title in the program’s first appearance in the sectional. Senior William Vasquez scored two goals in the win with senior Milan Shah adding the third. The Panthers went on to lose 3-1 to Gill St. Bernard’s in the Non-Public B state final on Sunday to end the fall with a 12-12 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

John Ramos feared that his senior season for the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team might have been over just after it started.

“I got hurt in the first game, the first 10 minutes,” said senior defender and co-captain Ramos. “It was a high ankle sprain, it was really bad.”

Ramos was sidelined indefinitely, disappointed to only be able to look on as PDS struggled in the early going.

“It has been difficult on a team you have played with for so long,” said Ramos. “You want them to succeed, it is tough to see losses.”

But Ramos returned to action on October 28 as PDS  defeated Spotswood 2-1 in a tune-up for the program’s first-ever appearance in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B sectional final.

With Ramos patrolling the back line, the seventh-seeded Panthers made an improbable run in the sectional, topping 10th-seeded Gloucester Catholic 8-0 in the first round, upsetting second-seeded Holy Cross Prep 3-1 in the quarters and beating sixth-seeded Bishop Eustace 3-2 in the semis to earn a spot in the final at fifth-seeded Ranney School last Thursday. more

November 10, 2021

Members of the Hun School girls’ soccer team scream for joy last Wednesday after they edged perennial power Pennington School 4-3 in overtime to win the state Prep A title game. Top-seeded Hun rallied from a late 3-2 deficit to pull out the victory over second-seeded Pennington and earn the program’s first Prep A crown since 2014. For details on the game, see page 31. (Photo by Jamie McKee/The Hun School)

RETURN TRIP: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers looks to unload the ball in a 2018 game. Senior guard Meyers is poised to have a big final campaign for the Tigers. Having not played since March, 2020, Princeton returns to action when it plays at Villanova on November 10 and will have its home opener on November 14 when it hosts Boston University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

While most of the Princeton University women’s basketball team took a gap year in 2020-21, Abby Meyers was enrolled and on campus last spring.

The Tigers only had four other players there, two of whom were Carlie Littlefield and McKenna Haire, who were polishing up their games to play as graduate students this year at North Carolina and Hawaii, respectively.

Often there were more coaches than players on the floor, but Meyers valued the time with Princeton head coach Carla Berube and her staff, who were still relatively new after coming in 2019.

“It was an interesting dynamic,” said Meyers, a 6’0 senior guard from Potomac, Md. who averaged 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds a game in the 2019-20 campaign.

“It made me personally appreciate the game more and appreciate being a part of a close-knit community at Princeton because despite not having a season, the faculty there, they were very excited for what was to come next year and now that we’re finally here, the excitement is brewing. It was a great intimate environment and we were able to focus on skills and getting better.”

The small group worked through the one-year anniversary of their 2019-20 season that the COVID-19 pandemic ended after they had compiled a 26-1 record and the Ivy League regular season championship. The 2020-21 season was also canceled by the Ivies due to ongoing safety concerns. Now almost 20 months after they last played, Meyers and the Tigers open their 2021-22 campaign at Villanova on November 10. more

BREAKING THE ICE: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sarah Paul brings the puck up the ice last Friday night against RPI. Freshman forward Paul scored the first two goals of her college career to help Princeton prevail 4-1. The Tigers, who defeated Union 4-2 a day later to improve to 4-0 overall and 4-0 ECAC Hockey, will now play a home-and-home set against Quinnipiac this weekend. The Tigers host the Bobcats on November 12 and then play them in Hamden, Conn., on November 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sarah Paul was aiming to make her debut at the Hobey Baker Rink last Friday evening for the Princeton University women’s hockey team a night to remember.

“It was definitely something that our team collectively has been looking forward to, some of us for 600 days, others since we committed in high school, whenever that was,” said freshman forward Paul,  a 5’8 native of West Kelowna, British Columbia.

“It was just a lot of excitement and definitely a good feeling to be here.”

Just under six minutes into the game, Paul got a very good feeling, tallying her first career goal for the Tigers.

“I tried to pass it through the stick of that defender who was on me,” recalled a smiling Paul, clutching the puck with which she scored the milestone tally.

“It didn’t work out so I made the next best play and I ended up getting a good chance and got lucky and back of the net. It feels good, it is a bit of a relief to get that first one out of the way and move forward.” more

TOUGH HIT: Princeton University football player Carson Bobo gets tackled in a game earlier this season. Last Friday night, senior tight end Bobo had one catch for 10 yards as Princeton fell 31-7 at Dartmouth. The Tigers, now 7-1 overall and 4-1 Ivy League, host Yale (5-3 overall, 4-1 Ivy) on November 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University football team girded last week for its clash at Dartmouth, a number of players got ill with the flu.

Early in the contest last Friday night at Hanover, N.H., Princeton was hit with a sickening sight as Tiger senior star running back Collin Eaddy suffered a serious leg injury and was carted off the field in what turned out to be the last play of his stellar college career.

Reeling from that loss and dealing with a Dartmouth squad on a roll, Princeton found itself in a 17-0 hole.

“It was a challenge from a standpoint, there are no excuses, said Princeton head coach Bob Surace. “Dartmouth was great.”

The Tigers battled back, making it a 17-7 game late in the second quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by John Volker to culminate a 13-play scoring march.

Surace believed his team had some momentum at that point. “We have been down to Monmouth (overcoming a 21-6 deficit to win 31-28 on October 9),” said Surace.

“We have been up on teams. We have had to hold leads, we have had every scenario. You are confident in your players, I thought we settled in. We go down and score and we have a two-minute drive and we didn’t make the field goal into halftime.” more

ADDING UP TO A TITLE: Princeton High boys’ cross country star Addison Motto heads to the finish line at the Central Jersey Group 4 championship Saturday at Thompson Park. Senior Motto placed 12th individually to help PHS win the team title at the meet as it had a score of 82 to edge runner-up Manalapan by two points. The Tigers are next in action when they compete in the Group 4 state championship meet at Holmdel Park on November 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Addison Motto was a bit taken aback after helping the Princeton High boys’ cross country team edge Manalapan for the Central Jersey Group 4 championship last Saturday at Thompson Park.

“It feels amazing,” said PHS senior Motto. “I don’t think anyone on our team thought we’d make it this far and win sectionals at the beginning of the year. It’s really shocking. It feels great.”

The win came two weeks after a heartbreaking one-point loss to WW/P-North for the Mercer County championship meet. Had any of Princeton’s top five finishers in that race moved up one spot, the Tigers would have won. They grasped the importance of each point, and pulled out an 82-84 win over Manalapan for the sectional title.

“We knew that we had a shot,” said Motto. “We knew that we could beat Manalapan. We knew we could put five guys in before their fifth guy. We knew we’d have to run as a team, not just individually, which we were able to execute definitely. We knew people would have to step up and have some of their best races of the season. The guys stepped up, so that was great.”

PHS used a tight pack to take the title even without a runner in the top 10 individually. Junior Andrew Kenny placed 11th individually in 16:25 over the 5,000-meter course, Motto took 12th in a personal-record 16:32, junior Marty Brophy finished 16th in 16:44 and junior Zachary Deng came in 17th in 16:47. When senior Kento Nakaya surged in with a big move over the final quarter-mile to finish 26th in 17:03, it sealed the Tigers’ win. Sophomore Max Dunlap was 35th in 17:15 while junior Charles Howes took 42nd in 17:30. more

COMING UP BIG: Princeton High girls’ soccer goalie Moji Ayodele makes a save in recent action. Last Friday, senior star Ayodele made 12 saves to help top-seeded PHS edge ninth-seeded Robbinsville 1-0 in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional quarterfinals. The Tigers were slated to host fourth-seeded Colts Neck in the sectional semis on November 9 with the victor advancing to the final on November 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Moji Ayodele wasn’t quite herself last fall as she played for the Princeton High girls’ soccer team, hampered by injury and illness.

Coming into this fall, senior goalie Ayodele was determined to be at full strength for her final campaign for PHS.

“I worked a lot this summer on coming back strong,” said Ayodele.

“I wouldn’t say I had much of a high school season last year with COVID.”

That work paid off as Ayodele got off to a strong start this fall, posting six shutouts as the Tigers produced a 7-0 start.

“I think since I have had this full season, I have been able to get back on track,” said Ayodele.

Last Friday, Ayodele helped keep PHS on track for a sectional title, making 12 saves to help the top-seeded Tigers edge ninth-seeded Robbinsville 1-0 in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional quarterfinals and improve to 18-2.

PHS got the margin of victory on a goal by senior star Sophia Lis with 2:07 left in regulation and were slated to host fourth-seeded Colts Neck in the sectional semis on November 9 with the victor advancing to the final on November 12.

Even though the Tigers had defeated Robbinsville 5-0 in the season opener, Ayodele knew things were going to be a lot tougher in the rematch.

“We played them in our first game and they were missing a lot of people,” said Ayodele. more

LIFTING THEIR SPIRITS: Members of the Hun School girls’ soccer team celebrate last Wednesday after they edged perennial power Pennington School 4-3 in overtime in the state Prep A title game. Top-seeded Hun rallied from a late 3-2 deficit to pull out the win over second-seeded Pennington to earn the program’s first Prep A crown since 2014. The Raiders, who also won the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title, ended the season with a 12-5-2 record, a marked improvement from the 0-4-1 record they posted in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. (Photo by Jamie McKee/The Hun School)

By Bill Alden

Riley Hayes had a shot to win a championship for the Hun School girls’ soccer team and she wasn’t about to squander it.

With Hun tied 3-3 with perennial power Pennington in the state Prep A championship game after regulation, seconds into overtime junior midfielder Hayes found the ball on her foot in front of the goal.

“I saw it was coming through and I knew I had the ability so it was just take it and shoot it,” said junior midfielder Hayes.

“I knew the opportunity was there and I took it, As long as you have confidence, that’s all it is.”

Hayes slotted the ball into the back of the net to give Hun a 4-3 win and the title, setting off a riotous celebration as student fans from the throng on hand stormed onto the field and the Hun football team bolted over from practice en masse to join in the fun.

It marked the first Prep A title for the team since it defeated Pennington in the championship game seven years ago. more

By Bill Alden

Aden Spektor joined his Hun School boys’ soccer teammates in jumping up and down in unison in the pregame huddle last Friday as they got pumped up before hosting Lawrenceville in their season finale.

With 4:41 left in the contest, the Hun players were jumping all over Spektor in one corner of the field after he scored a goal to put Hun up 3-1 and close the deal as the Raiders went on to a 4-1 victory and ended the fall with a 10-7 record.

For senior forward Spektor, emotions were running high as the program held its Senior Day ceremony.

“It was crazy, playing for four years and this is my last game ever,” said Spektor. “I was just really excited.”

Hun didn’t play its best early on, controlling possession but not cashing in as the rivals were knotted in a 0-0 draw through the first 71 minutes of the contest.

Tyler Stark broke the stalemate, scoring with 8:19 left to put Hun up 1-0 and Conor Frykholm found the back of the net 1:08 later as the Raiders doubled their lead.

“I knew it was coming, it has been the same thing for every other game,” said Spektor of the two-goal outburst.

“We have really good build up and it is going to come a little bit toward the end. You want to feel comfortable going into the final minutes of the game. The two goals got the momentum.” more

STEPPING UP: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Milan Shah controls the ball in a game earlier this fall. Last Thursday, senior star Shah tallied two goals to help seventh-seeded PDS defeat second-seeded Holy Cross Prep 3-2 South Jersey Non-Public B sectional quarterfinals. On Monday, Shah got two assists to help the Panthers edge sixth-seeded Bishop Eustace 3-2 in the sectional semis. PDS, now 11-11, will play at fifth-seeded Ranney School (11-4-1) on November 11 in the sectional final with the victor advancing to the Non-Public B state final on November 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although it’s the first-ever trip to the South Jersey Non-Public B sectional for the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer program, Brian Thomsen believed his squad could make a big run in the tourney.

“Knowing who is in our sectional for the state tournament, in the back of my mind, I always kind of knew this was the tournament for this group to be successful,” said PDS first-year head coach Thomsen.

“I know the section pretty well and it is a lot of hardworking guys that will make your life miserable on the physical side of the game. So if you are not ready to go battle with your teammates, it is going to be a long day.”

Displaying a battling spirit, seventh-seeded PDS has enjoyed great success in the sectional, knocking off 10th-seeded Gloucester Catholic 8-0 in a first round contest on November 1, upsetting second-seeded Holy Cross Prep 3-1 last Thursday in the quarters, and then edging sixth-seeded Bishop Eustace 3-2 in the semis last Monday.

The Panthers, now 11-11, will play at fifth-seeded Ranney School (11-4-1) on November 11 in the sectional final with the victor advancing to the Non-Public B state final on November 14 at Kean University.

In Thomsen’s view, a 2-1 win over Spotswood on October 28 helped prepare PDS for the sectional.

“I think the key was that we picked up a game against Spotswood the week before,” said Thomsen. more