April 20, 2022

By Bill Alden

Over the course of this spring, the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team is going to be tested early and often.

PDS is facing a gauntlet of tough foes in regular season action, featuring a schedule packed with formidable prep and public school opponents. As for postseason play, the Panthers will be competing in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) tournament for the first time in addition to their annual tradition of  taking part in the state Prep B tourney and the Mercer County Tournament (MCT).

For PDS head coach Michael Augsberger, facing challenges is the key to making progress.

“I tell them it is really important for me to be playing the best because it means that we are trying to become the best tennis players that we can be and not just win matches,” said Augsberger. “That is impotent but it is more important to improve and to test yourself and your mettle. The challenge with that is that you have to try to keep spirits up.”

The chance to test their mettle in the NJSIAA competition is a big motivation for the PDS players.

“The guys are really excited, I think part of it is the success, ending on a high note last year and getting excited about it,” said Augsberger, whose team topped Peddie 5-0 last week to improve to 2-3 and hosts Haddonfield on April 20 before starting play in the MCT on April 25.

“Also I think it is entering the states. They see in the fall what the girls could do (winning a sectional title) and they are really excited about it. We are really happy to be a part of it. They really understand that this is a neat opportunity that no one else in school history has had.”

At first singles, junior Joshua Chu is getting a boost this spring from having the opportunity to spend two weeks training in Spain prior to the season. more

BRING HER A-GAME: Hun School girls’ lacrosse player Ava Olender, right, runs upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, sophomore star Olender tallied seven goals and an assist to help Hun defeat Moorestown Friends 16-4. The Raiders, now 3-3, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on April 20 and at the Princeton Day School on April 22 before hosting the Shipley School (Pa.) on April 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kathleen Jaeger wasn’t fazed when her Hun School girls’ lacrosse team started the 2022 season by suffering two lopsided losses.

“We are a relatively young team so the beginning of the season is all about growth,” said Hun head coach Jaeger, whose team fell 15-7 to Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) in its season opener on March 26 and then lost 17-5 to Lawrenceville four days later.

“They were just improving on consistency and learning to manage the highs and lows of the game.”

The Raiders experienced a high when they topped Villa Joseph Marie (Pa.) 18-8 on April 2 to earn their first win of the season.

“It was definitely a good game for the girls to come together all across the field,” said Jaeger, who got six goals from Ava Olender in the victory with Abby O’Brien scoring four and Maggie Maffia and Olivia Kim chipping in three apiece. “We actually played that game on grass so it was an adjustment for them. In that game you saw a lot of different people stepping up. We saw scores from six different people and that was players looking for each other, getting their heads up on the field in transition and not being afraid to be a little more aggressive than they had been in recent games.”

A pair of sophomores, Kim and Olender, have provided a potent one-two offensive punch for Hun.

“Olivia plays more attack and Ava has been more in the midfield,” said Jaeger, whose team defeated Moorestown Friends 16-4 last Wednesday to improve to 3-3 with Olender tallying seven goals and an assist in the victory.

“They have done a very good job of creating space for themselves and finding that space and being aggressive towards the goal. It is fun to see them grow more confident on the field, they held back a little last year.” more

April 13, 2022

SWING TIME: Princeton University baseball player Nadir Lewis follows through on a swing in recent action. Last weekend, junior outfielder Lewis starred as Princeton went 2-1 in a three-game series against visiting Cornell. Lewis went 5-for-11 with two homers, three runs, and seven RBIs in the series for the Tigers. Princeton, now 4-21 overall and 2-7 Ivy League, will head to New England next weekend for a three-game series at Dartmouth with a doubleheader on April 16 and a single game on April 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Nadir Lewis worried that he might be forgotten after what amounted to two years away from college baseball due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Princeton University junior center fielder has come back and drawn attention for his consistent play. Lewis is second in the Ivy League in batting average at .398 among players with 40 or more at bats. Through the first 25 games of the season, he had been held hitless just twice to serve notice that he cannot be overlooked. He is only one spot away from being the Triple Crown leader. He is tops in the Ivies with nine home runs and with 29 runs batted in.

“I’m still here and these years off have not been years off,” said Lewis, a 6’1, 195-pound native of Alpharetta, Ga. “I’ve been working.”

It wasn’t easy for Lewis, not with huge breaks between playing college seasons. But he learned more about himself during those challenges and has developed into a more polished, more prepared, and more mentally ready player.

“It’s definitely a very gratifying feeling,” said Lewis. “When you’re putting in work, it’s nice to see results from stuff that you’ve done. I feel like that’s baseball. You get out what you put in. So far individually I’m happy, but team-wise I wish we had more wins. But I think they’re coming.”

Princeton picked up its first two Ivy wins of the season last weekend. Lewis was 3-for-4 with a double and grand slam in a 12-3 win over Cornell in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. He homered again Sunday in a 10-6 win over Cornell as the Tigers gained confidence winning two out of three games. Lewis went 5-for-11 with two homers, three runs, and seven RBIs on the weekend as the Tigers improved to 4-21 overall and 2-7 Ivy. more

PASSING IT ON: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Chris Brown, right, fights past a Rutgers defender in recent action. Last Saturday, senior Brown dished for a career-high seven assists to help third-ranked Princeton defeat No. 13 Boston University 12-7. The Tigers, now 8-2 overall, resume Ivy League play by hosting Dartmouth on April 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Chris Brown was held without a goal for just the second time in 42 games in his career for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team as the Tigers hosted Boston University last Saturday.

But senior attackman Brown still had a major impact on the Princeton offense, dishing for a single-game career-high seven assists as the third-ranked Tigers pulled away to a 12-7 win over the No. 13 Terriers and improved to 8-2 overall.

In reflecting on the win, Brown credited BU with making things difficult for the Tigers.

“They were playing great defense on iu, it was a little frustrating at times,” said Brown, who missed all seven shots that he took in the day.

“They just showed a really different and unique look with a lot of ball pressure, a lot of sliding early. I give them credit, they played great fundamental defense. They really played awesome, it was great team.”

With Brown misfiring, he focused on dishing to open teammates.

“I was just trying to move the ball around the perimeter honestly; I took a lot of shots but unfortunately didn’t really hit,” said Brown, whose previous career-high was four assists. more

OPEN SEASON: Members of the Princeton University women’s open crew display the Class of 1975 Cup that the varsity 8 retained last Saturday after defeating Harvard and Cornell in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Later in the day, the fifth-ranked Tiger top boat topped Wisconsin to remain undefeated this spring. Princeton faces second-ranked Yale in New Haven on April 16 in the race for the Eisenberg Cup.

By Bill Alden

Last year, the Princeton University women’s open crew started its preseason training with socially-distanced ergometer workouts on the dock outside the Shea Rowing Center in the winter chill.

Things were a lot different for the rowers coming into this spring as the squad headed south to Florida for a preseason training trip in January.

“Everyone was so excited; I had just not seen that many smiles, that energy and that enthusiasm in a long time,” said Princeton head coach Lori Dauphiny.

“The group that was here last year was small and it was just a different time. There were so many restrictions. This was the first time where we got to travel together and be a team. It was really fun.”

While Dauphiny had a full squad on hand this spring, things are still very much a work in progress.

“Some came back ready to go and some were further behind,” said Dauphiny.

“This has been a time, this fall, winter and even early spring where we are working to come together and all be on the same page. It has been a challenge because of sickness in the month of February. I felt like we were making big strides and then we had a setback there. We are forging forward.” more

HE DID IT: Princeton High sophomore fencing star Larry He, center, flanked by PHS head coach Sam Blanchard, left, and volunteer assistant coach Jake Silverman enjoy the moment after He won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) boys’ individual épée title last month. He’s triumph marked the first-ever state title for the PHS fencing program and highlighted an historic season for the Tigers.

By Bill Alden

Coming into the winter, Sam Blanchard wasn’t expecting his Princeton High fencing program to make history this season.

“We had a bunch of strong freshmen show up, that was a bit of a surprise,” said PHS head coach Blanchard. “I had no idea how strong they were going to be.”

It was a sophomore, Larry He, who produced the strongest performance, winning the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) individual boys’ épée title, the first state crown for the PHS fencing team.

“Larry is a solid fencer, he works really hard, he is fencing a lot of tournaments,” said Blanchard, who got a 25th place finish in the épée from junior Theodore Kopaliani.

“I think he started when he was about 11, 12, maybe as early as 10. Going into the day of the championships, if you were making book, he would not be your top pick for winning the event. He is a very good long day fencer and that made a big difference, he had a couple of fortunate coincidences that happened. It is all Larry and his preparation, he is very good.”

He combined with Joseph Wong and Kopalianito help the épée team finish seventh in the State Squad final.

Another young PHS fencer, freshman Noah Zeng, also excelled at states, taking 15th in the saber.

“Noah is a very strong fencer,” said Blanchard, whose boys’ saber team of Gary Dai, Chris Bao and Bence Molnar-Somogyari, and Daniel Zhang placed 18th in the State Squad final. “I think we will see him in the top rankings in the future years.”

Senior Oliver Cai led the boys’ foil squad. “My foil captain Oliver has been a very strong performer over his entire career with the team,” said Blanchard of Cai who placed 11th in the state individual competition. “He is an exceptional fencer.” more

IN THE HUNT: Princeton Day School baseball player Hunter Von Zelowitz takes a big cut in a game earlier this season. Senior infielder Von Zelowitz is primed to have a big final campaign for PDS this spring. The Panthers, who fell 6-5 to the Blair Academy last Monday to move to 0-3, plays at the Peddie School on April 14 and at the Lawrenceville School on April 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jeff Young is determined to make this a special spring for the seven seniors on his Princeton Day School baseball team.

“The good news is that we have a ton of seniors,” said PDS head coach Young, who guided the Panthers to a 2-13-1 record last spring in his first season at the helm of the program.

“The motto for them is just to make sure that they play the game in a way where they can look back at it and really enjoy their last year of high school baseball. I am going to promote an atmosphere where they can be as competitive as they want but I want them to realize that their love for being on the field and being with their teammates comes first this year.”

Heading into his second year coaching the squad, Young believes the Panthers are ahead of where they were last year in the early stages of the season.

“Once I knew I was the baseball coach, my job was to be prepared everyday on the baseball field and that is really the easy part,” said Young, whose squad opened its 2022 campaign by falling 18-1 to the Hill School (Pa.) on April 1, 11-7 to New Hope-Solebury (Pa.) on April 4 and 6-5 to the Blair Academy last Monday. more

COMEBACK KIDS: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Ali Surace heads to goal in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star and tri-captain Surace tallied two goals and two assists and scooped up six ground balls to help the Panthers rally from a 6-0 deficit to edge Hillsborough 12-11. PDS, which defeated the Pennington School 17-6 last Monday to improve to 3-2, plays at Haddonfield High on April 14 and at the Lawrenceville School on April 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team trailing Hillsborough 6-0 in the first half last Saturday morning, Ali Surace lost her cool.

“I started getting a little angry and thinking I am not going to let that girl get it,” said PDS senior standout and tri-captain Surace, referring to gathering up the ball on draw controls.

“It was definitely a mentality shift for me. I am not going to let this girl beat me right now. I was going to get every ball on the ground and every ball in the air.”

PDS outscored the Raiders 5-3 over the rest of the half to shift the momentum and narrow the Hillsborough lead to 9-5.

“I think we had the energy the whole time, we knew what we needed to do,” said Surace.

“Once we started catching the balls and cleaning it up, it started to come together. I feel like the momentum was definitely there. We were trying to clean it up, win every 50/50 ball and just fight for everything.”

With Surace leading the fight, scooping up a number of ground balls to give PDS possession, the Panthers started the second half with a 7-1 run and held on for a dramatic 12-11 victory. more

SIZZLING START: Hun School softball star Lexi Kobryn fires a pitch in a game last season. Sophomore Kobryn has gotten off to a sizzling start this spring, firing a perfect game with 19 strikeouts in a season-opening 6-0 win over the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on March 26 and followed that up with a no-hitter in a 6-0 victory over the Lawrenceville School on March 31. Last week, Kobryn recorded 17 strikeouts and yielded two hits in a 6-1 win over the Peddie School. The Raiders, who improved to 6-0 with a 10-0 win over Morristown-Beard last Monday, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on April 13 at Princeton Day School on April 14 and at the Pingry School on April 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lexi Kobryn put in some extra work over the offseason to make herself a better pitcher for the Hun School softball team this spring.

“I have been in the gym all fall and winter and I have gotten a lot stronger,” said Hun sophomore Kobryn.

“I was also working with my pitching coach I have definitely gotten a lot faster, I am hitting 65.”

It didn’t take long for that work to yield dividends as Kobryn hurled a perfect game with 19 strikeouts in a season-opening 6-0 win over the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on March 26 and followed that up with a no-hitter in a 6-0 victory over the Lawrenceville School on March 31.

“That was really exciting, I tried not to think about it,” said Kobryn, reflecting on the perfect game.

“Anything could ruin it, we had a couple of grounders. Everything was on that day for me. We haven’t beaten Lawrenceville in four years, it was a great team effort. It was also exciting.”

Pitching against Peddie last week, Kobryn looked like she was on her way to another mound gem, striking out the first nine batters she faced.

“I was like mixing up the pitches and everything,” said Kobryn. more

GETTING UP TO SPEED: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Emily Ix races up the field in recent action. Junior star and team captain Ix tallied three goals in a losing cause as Stuart fell 12-10 to Lawrence High last Monday. The Tartans, now 0-4, play at the Pennington School on April 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Opening its 2022 campaign last week, the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team hit the ground running with three games in five days.

While the Tartans ran into some tough foes, losing 17-7 to Princeton Day School on April 4, 12-6 to Peddie last Thursday, and then got edged 13-11 by South Brunswick a day later, Stuart junior star midfielder and co-captain Emily Ix saw plenty of positives

“It has been really fun, we have definitely had a lot of good competition,” said Ix, who has three goals and an assist in the loss to South Brunswick.

“It is helping us out. We are learning a lot, we are improving. I am really proud of our girls.”

The Tartans applied some of those lessons in the second half against South Brunswick, outscoring the Vikings 7-4 in the second half after trailing 9-4 at intermission.

“We came out after halftime and said we have to do this, we are capable,” said Ix.

“We went out there and gave it our all. We were hustling, that really changed it for us.”

In Ix’s view, Stuart showed progress in a number of areas over the course of opening week.

“Our team chemistry and working the ball up the field on transition has improved,” said Ix.

“Our defense, sliding, helping each other and communicating is better.” more

April 6, 2022

BIG BEN: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Ben Finlay guards the crease area in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Finlay helped key a superb defensive effort as Princeton defeated Brown 17-9. The third-ranked Tigers, now 6-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League, will wrap up non-conference play this week as they were slated to host Marist (3-6) on April 5 and No. 13 Boston University (8-1) on April 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team, its 14-12 loss at Yale in late March proved to be a bit of a wake-up call.

“Yale is a great team and not to take anything away from that game, we didn’t play our brand of Princeton lacrosse,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “We had a few too many mistakes, both in the nature of the game and mental mistakes as well. We learned from the film and went back to work. We pretty much understood as a program that we had to play a little better. We needed more discipline in certain parts of the game and play a little more physical when the ball is on the ground.”

The Tigers were looking to apply those lessons last Saturday as they played at nemesis Brown, a team they had lost to in five of their last six meetings and had not beaten in Providence, R.I., since 2012.

“It was a good opportunity; you go up to Brown, they are a great team and we haven’t won up there in a long time,” said Madalon. “They are a big, strong, fast, well-coached team.”

True to form, the rivals were locked in a tough battle at halftime with the Tigers clinging to a 7-5 lead.

“It was a really tight game in the first half,” said Madalon. “We were getting some offensive looks but they were doing a good job, going back and forth from zone to man to man trying to keep us on our heels. There wasn’t a ton of flow to the first half, there were a lot of penalties on both sides of the ball. We had a pretty fortunate start to the third quarter, we got off and running.”

Princeton junior star attacker Slusher went off in the third quarter, scoring four goals in the period as the Tigers built a 13-5 lead on the way to a 17-9 win, improving to 6-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League.  more

TAKING OFF: Princeton University men’s track star pole vaulter Sondre Guttormsen races down the runway on his way to a leap at the Division I Indoor NCAA Track and Field Championship last month. Junior Guttormsen won the event with a best mark of 5.75 meters (18’10¼). (Photo by Seth James Photography, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

It’s been a unique journey to the top for Sondre Guttormsen from California to Norway back to California and finally to Princeton University with a stop at the Tokyo Olympics along the way.

The Tiger junior standout won the men’s pole vault at the Division I Indoor NCAA Track and Field Championships on March 11 with a clearance of 5.75 meters (18’10¼).

“It was a long time coming, coming back to the NCAA,” said Guttormsen. “I really wanted to win it and I knew that I could. It was amazing coming out there and taking the win, especially representing Princeton.”

Guttormsen was a rare transfer accepted to Princeton two years ago after competing for UCLA in his first year of college. As a freshman for the Bruins, Guttormsen placed ninth in the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor NCAA Track and Field Championships when he jumped 18’4½”. He did not compete for the Tigers until this year after transferring and then waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic cancellations.  more

GOING TO GOAL: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Patrick Kenah heads to goal last Saturday morning against visiting North Hunterdon. Sophomore star Kenah tallied six goals and one assist to help PHS pull out a 10-7 win over the Lions. The Tigers, who improved to 2-0 with the victory, host WW/P-North on April 7 before playing at Mount Olive on April 9 and at Notre Dame on April 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Patrick Kenah and his teammates on the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team were primed for an early-season test as they hosted North Hunterdon last Saturday morning.

“Coming into this game we knew it was going to be our first real challenge,” said sophomore star attacker Kenah. “We definitely wanted to come out of here with a good result and really see how good we are as a team.”

After North Hunterdon got off to a good start with two unanswered goals, PHS reeled off four straight tallies to turn the tide of the contest.

“We knew we had to shift the momentum,” said Kenah. “[Will] Doran and me talked, we knew we had to get into our spots and get going and bury the ball. We had some shots early but the goalie made some good saves. We just had to make sure that we were finishing.”

Kenah displayed a superb finishing touch in the back-and-forth contest, tallying six goals and an assist as PHS pulled out a 10-7 win after the teams were tied at 6-6 late in the third quarter. more

NO BACKING DOWN: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Grace Rebak races up the field in a 2021 game. Last Wednesday, senior star Rebak chipped in four assists to help PHS defeat Hightstown 15-1 in its season opener. The Tigers, who topped WW/P-South 12-1 on Friday and then blanked Monroe 12-0 on Saturday to improve to 3-0, play at Lawrenceville on April 6, host Robbinsville on April 8, host Montgomery on April 9, and then plays at Hopewell Valley on April 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

A big question mark surrounding the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse coming into the season was how to pick up the playmaking slack left by the graduation of Shoshi Henderson, who dished for 75 assists last spring to spark the Tiger attack.

While PHS senior star Grace Rebak has been known more for her defensive prowess over the years, she may have provided part of the answer to that question last Wednesday, passing for four assists as the Tigers cruised to a 15-1 win over Hightstown in their season opener.

Rebak, a Williams College commit who will be playing both field hockey and lacrosse at the next level, is enjoying playing a greater role in the Tiger offense.

“I played midfield last year and I am going to play it again,” said Rebak. “I love seeing both sides of the field.”

After scoring just one goal in the first 8:47 of the opener, PHS exploded for seven unanswered tallies in the next 7:33 to build an 8-1 lead and never looked back.

“Our offense has been doing super well,” said Rebak, who had a goal and an assist in a 12-0 win over WW/P-South last Friday and then chipped in a goal and two assists in a 12-1 victory over Monroe a day later.  more

HANDS-ON LEARNING: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Sebastian Rzeczycki, left, battles to get past a Shawnee High defender last Thursday in its season opener. Sophomore attackman Rzeczycki tallied two goals in the contest as PDS fell 11-4. On Saturday, Rzeczycki scored three goals as the Panthers lost 15-4 to Clearview. In upcoming action, PDS is slated to play at Hillsborough on April 9 and at Blair Academy on April 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Joe Moore knew that his Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team faced a big challenge as it hosted Shawnee High in its season opener last Thursday.

“We are young and I think we have a long way to go from a leadership perspective so we are still finding ourselves in that area,” said PDS head coach Moore. “They returned a lot of players, which we knew. They were familiar with us.”

Showing its youth, PDS fell behind 4-1 by halftime and trailed 10-1 early in the fourth quarter on the way to an 11-4 defeat.

“The good thing is that the future is bright but now there are going to be growing pains,” said Moore, who got two goals from sophomore Sebastian Rzeczycki in the setback. “These guys are competitive, they know the opportunities that they have in front of them. We played a lot of freshmen and sophomores today. They are trying to find that confidence on the field.”

Moore has confidence that Rzeczycki along with sophomore Charlie Hogshire, sophomore Logan Hermann, and junior Oliver Hall can provide some scoring punch for the Panthers this spring. more

BECK AND CALL: Hun School boys’ lacrosse player Andrew Heubeck, right, looks to unload the ball in a game last season. This past Friday, senior star and Colgate-bound Heubeck tallied two goals and three assists to help Hun defeat Pennsbury High (Pa.) 16-6. In upcoming action, the Raiders, now 2-1, host Lawrenceville on April 6, play at the Blair Academy on April 9, and then host the Peddie School on April 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Andrew Heubeck has emerged as a jack-of-all trades for the Hun School boys’ lacrosse team this spring.

The Colgate-bound senior star attackman has added taking face-offs to his normal duties of playmaking and scoring.

Last Friday, Heubeck displayed his versatility, tallying two goals and three assists in addition to his work in the face-off X as Hun rolled to a 16-6 win over Pennsbury High (Pa.).

Heubeck is enjoying his increased responsibilities.

“It is my first time trying face-offs, it has been a challenge but I like it so far,” said Heubeck. “On offense, it is a little bit of dodging and trying to get my teammates goals too.”

Jumping out to a 9-2 halftime lead over Pennsbury, Hun displayed a potent offense.

“We had lots of energy and we were moving the ball around,” said Heubeck. “We were ready to take over.”

Moving the ball to freshman star attackman Jack Moran helped trigger the Raider attack.

“He is always open, I think he scored five or six goals,” said Heubeck of the connection with Moran, who ended up with six goals and two assists in the win. more

WAY BETTER: Hun School baseball player Carson Wehner makes a play at third base in 2021 action. Last Saturday, senior star Wehner produced a stellar mound effort, yielding three hits and striking out nine in a 4-1 win over Poly Prep Country Day School (N.Y.). The Raiders, who improved to 4-0 with the victory, host St. Augustine on April 7 before playing at the Blair Academy on April 9 and the Pennington School on April 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Carson Wehner was determined to close the deal as he took the mound for the Hun School baseball team to pitch the seventh inning against Poly Prep Country Day School (N.Y.) last Saturday.

Having surrendered just three hits over the first six innings as Hun built a 4-1 lead, senior righty Wehner proceeded to retire the Blue Devils 1-2-3 to put the finishing touches on a superb mound effort.

“That is how I pitch; I like to get stronger as the game goes on, I have always been that way,” said Wehner, who had nine strikeouts in his complete game performance. “All of my pitchers were on, I felt it before the game in the bullpen. They were all working for me well today.”

Facing the New York powerhouse, Wehner brought a battling mentality to the mound.

“I just wanted to attack the guys, I wasn’t quite familiar with them because they are from New York,” said Wehner. “It was just throw strikes. I knew my fielders were going to do the job, I love the guys behind me.”

Wehner helped himself with an RBI groundout in the second inning to make it a 1-1 game and a bunt single in the sixth that loaded the bases and help set the table for a three-run rally by the Raiders.

“I saw coach (Tom Monfiletto) call it, I had a few bunts for hit last year,” said Wehner. “He called it and I was like, ‘all right, why not.’ The pitch was a little up, I honestly don’t know how I got a good bunt down. It was huge to get the bases loaded for us and the offense took off from there.”
Pulling out the win was uplifting for the Raiders. “It was a huge confidence builder, we were all up in the dugout and we said we need to score and we did and came out on top,” said Wehner. “I think we are going to do great things this year.”
 more

March 30, 2022

BLAST OFF: Princeton University softball player Adrienne “A.J.” Chang belts the ball in recent action. Junior star Chang has been an offensive catalyst for the Tigers this spring, hitting a team-high .397 and two homers and 10 RBIs. Princeton, now 11-10 overall and 5-1 Ivy League, will look to stay atop the league standings as it hosts a three-game series against Dartmouth on April 2-3 with a doubleheader slated for Saturday and a single game on Sunday. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University softball team lost eight of its first nine games this spring as played its first steady string of games since 2019, its players weren’t discouraged.

“I think the team has been really bought into understanding the growth that is going to happen throughout the season and not taking any of the results early on too seriously,” said Princeton head coach Lisa Van Ackeren. “They understand the context of where we are. We basically have three classes of freshmen in terms of collegiate at-bats.”

The Tigers displayed that growth by posting wins in 10 of their next 12 games, including sweeping Brown in a three-game series to start Ivy League play and then going 2-1 at Harvard last weekend in their second league series.

“There are a couple of people who are really catching on,” said Van Ackeren. “I think the next few weeks are going to be exciting to see what we can do.” more

HISTORY MAKERS: Members of the Princeton University wrestling program, from left, head coach Chris Ayres, associate head coach Sean Gray, junior Patrick Glory, junior Quincy Monday, assistant coach Nate Jackson, associate head coach Joe Dubuque, and athletic trainer Michael Tremblay pose together at the 2022 NCAA Championships earlier this month in Detroit, Mich. Glory and Monday made history as they gave the Tigers two national finalists in the same NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Glory finished second at 125 pounds while Monday took second place at 157 pounds. (Photo by Lisa Elfstrum, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Patrick Glory and Quincy Monday may have come up short of their ultimate goal, but the two took another step forward for the Princeton University wrestling program.

Both juniors, Glory and Monday gave the Tigers two national finalists in the same NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Glory finished second at 125 pounds and Monday took second place at 157 pounds. Princeton last had one NCAA finalist in 2002 when Greg Parker reached the championship match and finished second at 174 pounds.

“It’s one more new thing that we haven’t done before,” said Princeton head coach Chris Ayres. “And so then it’s familiar, and that gives other people permission to do the same thing, and I think they go into it more confident. You have five Penn State guys (in finals) and they all win, and I don’t think that’s by mistake. I think they thought, this is what I’m supposed to do – win this NCAA title. I think we touched new ground for our program in terms of what’s expected.”

Princeton would have loved to have seen their finalists take it one step further to win a title in the competition held in Detroit, Mich. The euphoria of Glory and Monday reaching the championship matches with semifinal wins on March 18 made it all the more difficult when they fell in the finals a day later.

“We’ve been through a lot since I got here, so to have these moments there’s a lot of emotion,” said Ayres. “We thought we could do it, but there’s also this piece of me that can’t believe you’re doing it because of where you came from. There’s a lot of emotion and I still haven’t unpacked it. I go through all these moments – I’m really happy, and then I’m kind of devastated because it’s a hard thing to get that finals opportunity, and we didn’t get a champ. It goes all around.” more

ON THE BALL: Princeton High baseball player Jaxon Petrone takes a pickoff throw at first base in action last spring. Senior star Petrone will be filling a lot of roles this spring for the Tigers as a pitcher, hitter, and infielder. PHS opens the 2022 campaign by hosting Steinert on April 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With his Princeton High baseball team featuring a group of 14 seniors, Dom Capuano is going to face a major challenge in figuring out to deploy the resources at his disposal.

“This is definitely the deepest team I have had to date, it is just seeing who emerges,” said PHS head coach Capuano, who guided PHS to an 11-9 record in 2021 and its first victory in the state tournament in years.

“The theme of the year is to compete. We have to compete with ourselves to push each other in a positive way to get the best team overall out there.”

To that end, Capuano is driving his players to compete on a daily basis.

“Every day, we start practice with a different competition,” said Capuano, whose team opens the 2022 campaign by hosting Steinert on April 1.

“Part of our practice is competing in everything we do. It is getting them to understand that competing with each other is OK. It is OK to compete with each other as long as you understand that competition is for the end goal of the team being successful.”

After the success the squad experienced last spring, Capuano is looking for his players to take things to the next level.

“It is a mission, it is understanding of how to continue to elevate themselves and the program,” said Capuano. “It is a destination that they strive to get to. We just have to keep preparing to get there.” more

GOAL-ORIENTED: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Kate Becker gets ready to unload the ball in a 2021 game. Senior star Becker, who scored a team-high 77 goals last year, will be counted on to be the go-to finisher again this year for the Tigers. PHS opens the season by hosting Hightstown on March 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Katie Federico is confident that the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse program won’t miss a beat this spring as she guides the team in the absence of head coach Meg Dunleavy who is out on maternity leave.

“We are such good friends, it is going to be very similar; we have been talking a lot,” said Federico, who has been an assistant coach with the squad for the last six years and helped PHS go 9-6 in 2021 and advance to the South Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinals.

“She is going to take the program over next year, it is 100 percent clear. I am just filling in for this season.”

The team’s strong group of seniors will make Federico’s job easier this spring.

“It was a very easy transition because of them knowing me so well and we have seven seniors,” said Federico of the program’s Class of 2022, which includes Kate Becker, Jane Biggs, Sarah Glenn, Cartee O’Brien, Gigi Peloso, Grace Rebak, and Sarah White.

“Five of the seven have been on varsity since freshman year. I refer to them like the core four from the Yankees. They have played together since they were in elementary school. They are such a great group.”

Becker, who tallied a team-high 77 goals in 2021, provides leadership to go along with her production.

“Kate is pretty much the anchor of the team; she has always been a leader but I feel she has stepped up even more this year,” said Federico. “She is helping the underclassmen see things on both defense and offense. She is the one that gets it going and she is such a great teacher of the younger players.”

Sophomore standout Riley Devlin, who had 16 goals and three assists last spring in her debut season, will be depended on to get things going on offense along with Becker. more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player John O’Donnell looks for an opening in a game last season. Senior standout O’Donnell figures to be a key offensive performer this spring for the Tigers. PHS gets its 2022 campaign underway this week by playing at Lawrence High on March 31 and then hosting North Hunterdon on April 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Making impressive strides last spring, the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team went 9-5, getting into the state tournament for the first time since 2017 and posting a first round win over Morris Knolls before falling to Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the sectional quarterfinals.

While PHS head coach Chip Casto was proud of what the squad accomplished last year, nobody around the program is resting on their laurels.

“The year started with a lot of energy and excitement,” said Casto, whose team gets its 2022 campaign underway this week by playing at Lawrence High on March 31 and then hosting North Hunterdon on April 2.

“No one has mentioned last year except Will Doran, who basically said, ‘that was last year, we need to start all over again and work to get back to the level of play we were at last year.’”

Williams College-bound Doran, who led the Tigers with 91 points on 51 goals and 40 assists last spring, brings high-level play to the PHS attack.

“Will looks great — he is an even better leader,” said Casto. “He has aspirations to make an impact at Williams next year and so has continued his work ethic and focus.” more

SURE SHOT: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Ali Surace heads to goal in a game last season. Senior tri-captain and Columbia University-bound Surace is coming off a superb 2021 season that saw her tally 25 goals and 17 assists. The Panthers get their 2022 campaign underway by playing at Clearview on April 2 and then hosting Stuart Country Day on April 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

This spring marks the swan song for Jill Thomas after a quarter century at the helm of the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse program and she is confident her squad will hit some high notes in her finale.

PDS head coach Thomas, who was inducted into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2018 and previously announced that she is retiring after 34 years at the school, is going to savor this spring.

“I think it is bittersweet, this is a great group of people,” said Thomas, citing her coaching staff of Tracy Young and Cait Flynn along with strength and conditioning coach Darius Young. “This group of seniors is pretty special. Since 2019, we haven’t had a full season so I think it is going to be great. It is really about them, not me.”

The Panthers got off to a good start with a preseason jaunt to Florida earlier this month as it prepares to open its 2022 campaign by playing at Clearview on April 2 and then hosting Stuart Country Day on April 4. more

ON THE MOVE: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Lily Harlan brings the ball up the field in game last season. Junior Harlan will help spearhead the Stuart defense this spring. The Tartans start their 2022 season by hosting South Brunswick on March 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a 1-12 season in 2021 which saw it lose several close games, the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team is determined to get over the hump this spring.

“As the saying goes, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on a couple of occasions last year,” said Stuart head coach Mark Maser, whose team starts its 2022 season by hosting South Brunswick on March 31.

“The mood is very positive, we have a good turnout of numbers this year. We have at least 20 with about a dozen returning players.”

The key returning player for Stuart is junior star and co-captain Emily Ix, who had team-high 42 points on 37 goals and five assists last season.

“Emily is looking good, she is going to be playing midfield,” said Maser. “She brings an inspiration and an optimism. She has got good skills, she is a solid player.”

The Tartans boast two other solid players in the midfield with freshman Alison Lee and senior co-captain Kaitlyn Magnani.

“Allison has been playing the game for a while, she plays club,” said Maser. “She is a smaller kid as a freshmen but she can do everything — right hand, left hand, pass, and catch. She is really, really good. Kaitlyn missed most of the season last year with injury. She is a two-way player. Between Kaitlyn, Emily, and Anna Landis, they are doing a very good job of taking it upon themselves to tutor the new kids a little bit before and after practice. It is a collaborative experience.” more

March 23, 2022

MOMENT OF MADNESS: Players on the Princeton University women’s basketball team celebrate last Saturday after the 11th-seeded Tigers stunned sixth-seeded Kentucky 69-62 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Bloomington, Ind. It marked the second-ever win in March Madness for the program. Two days later, the Princeton nearly reached the Sweet 16 for the first time, battling valiantly before getting edged 56-55 by third-seeded and host Indiana in a second round contest. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 25-5. (Photo by Bill Alden)

By Bill Alden

When Kaitlyn Chen hit a shot in the waning seconds of the first quarter to give the Princeton University women’s basketball team a 12-11 lead over Kentucky last Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament, she was mobbed by her teammates as she ran back to the bench.

With its swarming defense forcing sixth-seeded Kentucky into 31.2 percent shooting (5-16) in the first quarter and sophomore guard Chen and senior Abby Meyers triggering the offense, the 11th-seeded Tigers sensed an upset was brewing before a crowd of 6,389 at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

Princeton built its lead to 32-25 at halftime and then utilized its tough defense to hold off a late charge by the Wildcats to win 69-62, setting off a wild celebration with the players screaming, hugging each other, and waving to their supporters in the stands.

Meyers, who ended up with a career-high 29 points in the win, cited the defensive effort in reflecting on the program’s second-ever win in the NCAA tournament (the first since the Tigers topped Green Bay 80-70 in the first round of the 2015 tourney).

“Yeah, I mean, it really just gets down to like it’s Ivy League defense, it’s Ivy League play,” said Meyers.

“I don’t think a lot of people — they just underestimate how good the Ivy League is at both ends. So we wanted to come in and just shock them, and I think we did that. Yeah, I think just making them uncomfortable, too, down low. We doubled up on [Dre’Una] Edwards. She’s a great player, very strong and just trusting in each other one through five and knowing we have help.” more