September 14, 2022

STEPPING UP: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Holly Howes controls the ball last Thursday against Trenton High in the season opener. Junior forward Howes tallied a goal and two assists to help PHS prevail 7-0. Two days later, Howes added a goal as the Tigers topped WW/P-North 2-0. In upcoming action, PHS plays at Ewing on September 15, hosts Hamilton West on September 17, and plays at Hightstown on September 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is a tough act to follow but Holly Howes and her teammates on the Princeton High girls’ soccer team are embracing the challenge.

With PHS coming off an historic fall that saw it go 21-3 and advance to the Group 3 state championship game for the first time in program history, the 2022 squad could be feeling pressure to match such heroics

Instead, the Tigers are using last year’s success as a blueprint.

“The word of the season is ‘repeat,’” said PHS junior forward Howes. “We are doing everything to repeat the season we had last year with our communication, our playing style.”

Howes, for her part, is looking to follow in the footsteps of Sophia Lis, who tallied 38 goals for the Tigers last fall and is now starting for the Lehigh University women’s soccer team.

“My biggest influence was Sophia, she would always take chances,” said Howes, who tallied 14 goals and 10 assists last season. “She would always be working the hardest on the field, she was always finding open space. Because of her, I have become more confident in my play to take chances, to take shots.”

Last Thursday, Howes took advantage of her shots, scoring a goal and adding two assists as PHS topped Trenton High 7-0 in the season opener for both teams.

“It is definitely nice to start out the season with a goal,” said Howes. “I first shot it and then someone else got the rebound. She saved it again and then I shot it in.”

With a number of new faces in the PHS starting lineup, Howes knows she has to play a key role up top. more

By Bill Alden

It was the first varsity home game for Brian Donis on the Princeton High boys’ soccer team and he made quite an initial impression.

With PHS hosting WW/P-North last Saturday morning, sophomore forward Donis tallied two goals in the first half to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead at halftime. Early in the second half, Donis found the back of the net again to put PHS up 3-0 and it never looked back on the way to a 5-0 victory.

Afterward, a smiling Donis was taken aback by his memorable home debut.

“It is amazing, I can’t even believe it myself,” said Donis, reflecting on his hat trick. “It was because of the team’s work that we got the win, that is very important. I am just very happy for the team.”

Donis credited his teammates with setting up his two first half goals. “It was a beautiful pass from Felipe [Matar Grande], luckily I got to the end of it. The keeper kept it out at first but as long as it goes in,” said Donis, reflecting on his first goal. “The finish on the second one, I just tried and and it went in. It was a beautiful play by Felipe and Jamie [Reynolds].”

As for the third goal, Donis got loose on the end line and cleverly dribbled past a defender before firing the ball into the back of the net.

“It was a good finish but it was a beautiful pass by Archie [Smith],” said Donis.

PHS tacked on goals by Nick Matese and Matar Grande to make it a 5-0 final score.

“We all worked hard, we deserved it,” said Donis. “Overall we keep getting better. They are a good team, they have really good players. I think we did really well.”

In assessing his transition to varsity, Donis acknowledged that it has been challenging.

“It has been a bit difficult,” said Donis. “The first game against Trenton (a 1-0 win last Thursday) was very eye-opening; it just showed me to wake up and just play faster.” more

SECOND WIND: Princeton High girls’ tennis play Lada Labas lofts a backhand in a match last year. Sophomore Labas has moved up to the second singles spot this fall after playing at third in 2021. PHS, which improved to 3-0 with a 5-0 win over Hopewell Valley last Monday, hosts Hightstown on September 14 and Hamilton West on September 16 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on September 19 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Featuring a totally revamped lineup, the Princeton High girls’ tennis team is bound to go through some growing pains this fall.

“We have got five new faces in the lineup and seven people in different positions from last year,” said PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert, who guided the Tigers to a 13-3 record in 2021 and a spot to the Central Jersey Group 3 semifinals. “It will be a bit of a year for learning and growth.”

Despite all of these changes, Hibbert believes the program can maintain its winning tradition.

“I am really pleased with the new players and the talent we did have come in,” said Hibbert. “It is a new group but they are working hard. They are excited to be where they are.”

The Tigers have produced an exciting start the season, going 3-0 in the early going.

“With five new players on varsity and nobody in the same spot, it is definitely nice to have a couple of comfortable wins to open the season,” said Hibbert, whose team posted 5-0 wins over Ewing, Steinert, and Hopewell Valley in the first week of the season.

One of new faces on the squad is junior Johanna Roggenkamp, who came to PHS this year from Germany and has earned the first singles spot.

“Johanna has a nice all-around game,” said Hibbert. “She has the ability to mix up the spin on the balls and move around the court well. It is nice to have her join us.”

Sophomore Lada Labas has moved up to second singles after playing third last fall. more

STROKE OF BRILLIANCE: Princeton Day School girls’ tennis player Neha Khandkar smacks a forehand in a match last season. Senior Khandkar will playing at first singles again this fall for PDS. The Panthers, who started the season with 3-2 losses to Peddie School and Haddonfield last week before topping Mount St. Mary 5-0 last Monday, play at the Stuart Country Day School on September 16, compete in the Newark Academy Invitational on September 17, and then start play in the Mercer County Tournament on September 19 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While seeing his Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team start the season with a pair of narrow losses last week stung a little, Michael Augsberger is hoping his players gain some lessons from the setbacks.

“I think the biggest takeaway is patience and realize that we are not quite decided on everything yet so there is a lot of juggling with the lineup to come,” said Augsberger, whose team fell 3-2 to Peddie last Thursday in its season opener and then lost 3-2 to Haddonfield a day later before beating Mount St. Mary 5-0 last Monday.

“It is also patience in terms of not getting your head down when you are losing early in a match or whether you lose the first couple matches in a season. The match is long and the season is long. There is lot of tweaking to be done and they are only going to improve. They will realize that. Once they are in better form and their reactions are a little bit stronger with the volleys, they are going to win these points that are going the other way.”

At first singles, senior Neha Khandkar gives the Panthers a very strong player at the top of its lineup.

“Neha is one of the best around, she is really mentally strong,” said Augsberger. “We love her mentality and the way that she leads the team, the way that she never gives up and thinks her way through situations. She has improved a lot. Her slice is a little better, she is playing angles a little bit differently. A lot of it is in her decision-making. Her consistency is a little bit stronger. She is a bit fitter and able to last a little longer with that year of maturity.”

Senior Amy Zhou has been showing consistency at second singles. more

SAVING GRACE: Princeton Day School field hockey goalie Molly Hall tracks the ball last Saturday. Sophomore Hall made 21 saves in a losing cause as PDS fell 8-0. In upcoming action, the Panthers, who moved to 0-2 with the loss, play at the Stuart Country Day School on September 16 and at Peddie School on September 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School field hockey team hosted Hillsborough last Saturday afternoon, Heather Farlow had a lot to say.

With a squad featuring a number of new faces including four freshmen and four sophomores, PDS head coach Farlow imparted a constant stream of tips to her players as the game unfolded.

Among other things, Farlow urged her players to move their feet, put two hands on their stick, look over their shoulder, push up the field, sprint back on defense, and anticipate the play.

Farlow’s instructions were designed to keep the Panthers focused as they fell behind the Raiders 2-0 in the first quarter on the way to a 8-0 setback.

“We are young, it is getting used to the speed of varsity play,” said Farlow, whose squad moved to 0-2 with the defeat. “We are getting better, we need to get used to the stamina and pushing through.”

Sophomore goalie Molly Hall was a bright spot in the defeat, making 21 saves.

“Molly did a lot of training this summer,” said Farlow. “She is working with Gianna Glatz (former Rutgers star goalie) who is coaching part-time with us for the goalies. It was a tough day for her to hang in, I am really proud of her.”

Other players who hung in there for the Panthers on Saturday included junior Katie Zarish-Yasunas, senior Jadyn Huff, junior Lily Ryan, and junior Tessa Caputo. more

OH WOW: Hun School field hockey player Ava Olender (No. 5) celebrates after a goal last season. The Raiders started their 2022 season with a bang, topping Morristown Friends 6-0 last Monday as Olender contributed a goal. Hun hosts Hopewell Valley on September 15 and then plays at Academy of New Church (Pa.) on September 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tracy Arndt sensed something special about her Hun School field hockey team from day one of preseason practice this August.

“The girls came in and they did the extra work they needed to do over the summer,” said Hun head coach Arndt, who guided the Raiders to an 8-8-1 record and a spot in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. “Our base is a little bit stronger than in years past which is a good thing. We don’t have to start back at square one.”

The commitment displayed by her players allowed Arndt to focus on tactics rather than fundamentals.

“We have kids that want to do the work in the offseason, they are calling each other to work out in the summer,” added Arndt. “You just need a couple of those and you can spark a great energy in the group. When the kids are empowered and they help themselves and hold each other accountable, then the coach can focus playing hockey.”

Hun boasts an energetic forward line in senior Logan Frith (3 goals, 1 assist in 2021), senior Mia Chiodo (3 goals, 1 assist), junior Ali Ieva (1 goal), junior Alexa Cavalli, junior Avery Barrett, and freshman Addi McNally.

“We rotate almost six kids which has been nice; we have tried it during the preseason and it has worked,” said Arndt, whose team opened its 2022 campaign by defeating Moorestown Friends 6-0 last Monday as Ana Dios tallied three goals with Phoebe Thielmann, Ava Olender, and Frith scoring one apiece. more

STARK DIFFERENCE: Hun School boys’ soccer player Tyler Stark dribbles the ball in a game last fall. Senior defender Stark will be spearheading the Hun defense this fall. The Raiders, who moved to 1-1 with an 8-2 win over the Kiski School (Pa.) last Sunday, are hosting Scotland Chapel Academy (Pa.) on September 15 and then facing Malvern Prep (Pa.) on September 18 in the Mainline Jamboree at the United Sports Training Center in Downingtown, Pa. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last fall, the Hun School boys’ soccer team produced some important breakthroughs, getting wins in both the Mercer County Tournament and state Prep A tourney and earning a share of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title.

Looking ahead to the 2022 campaign, Hun head coach Pat Quirk believes that success has energized his group of returners.

“With the 12 or 13 kids who are coming back, they all have great experience here,” said Hun head coach Quirk, who guided the Raiders to a 10-7 record last fall. “They all got into games last year at the varsity level. Winning a couple games and being close in some of the bigger games gives them more confidence but we know it is a whole new season.”

The trio of senior Massamiliano Verduci (5 goals, 1 assist in 2021), junior Joey Bucchere (2 goals, 3 assists), and junior Zachary Stark figure to give Hun some high level play at forward.

“Mass Verduci is going to be our point guy in the 4-3-3 with Joey and Zachary out on the wings,” said Quirk, who got three goals from Bucchere as Hun defeated the Kiski School (Pa.) 8-2 last Sunday to improve to 1-1.

“He has gotten a lot stronger, he was in the weight room a lot this summer. He is really good with the ball at his feet and he is getting his shot off quicker. He just wants to play. He said I could play in the back and I said no we need you to score goals. He scored some in the summer, he got voted to our captain’s council again this year. He is going to be a strong leader up front.”

Senior Will Zeng (6 goals, 1 assist) should also be a strong offensive threat for the Raiders.

“I do expect Will to score some goals, he may slide into the midfield a little bit to be more of a distributor,” said Quirk. “He sees the field really well. He is definitely a guy we can push out in the wing and get dangerous.” more

September 7, 2022

FIRST TRY: Princeton University women’s rugby player Erica De San Jorge bursts past Sacred Heart players last Saturday on the way to the first try as Princeton made its debut as a varsity program. The Tigers, who started as a club program in 1979 and were granted varsity status in 2021, fell 53-21 to the Pioneers. Princeton will host Army on September 10 in its home opener. (Photo by Sacred Heart, provided courtesy of Josie Ziluca)

By Bill Alden

Josie Ziluca was behind the wheel in May 2021 when she learned the good news that the Princeton University women’s rugby team had been granted varsity status.

“It was amazing,” said Princeton head coach Ziluca, who came to the school in 2019 to guide the Tiger club program. “At that point I was driving cross country back to Princeton to attend graduation for our seniors who had a bizarre COVID year.”

That decision culminated a lengthy process as the club was founded in 1979 and enjoyed a lot of success. The Tigers won 57 straight matches in 1995-96 and two national championships and the seed was planted for an eventual move to varsity status.

There was discussion in 2012 to make the move but the players were content remaining as a club at that point. In 2017, the students made a proposal to go varsity which was ultimately approved four years later.

Last fall, Ziluca guided the Tigers through their last club season they prepared to make the jump to varsity competition. Princeton went undefeated in the fall rugby union (15 players a side) action and then placed third in national club 7s tournament this past spring.

This August, the players arrived at campus to start preseason practices for their varsity debut.

“It was crazy; it was a lot of hard work, it was a lot of fun,” said Ziluca, who spent the summer of 2021 leading the fitness programming for elite senior and U-18 women at the American Rugby Pro Training Center in Arkansas. “The students came back on August 16 and then we started training on August 18. It was filled with multiple two-a-days. I was putting them through some programming I do with the national players. For some of these students, it was something they had never experienced. They came out on the other side after every training session saying wow.”

Last Saturday, the players experienced a wow moment when Princeton made its varsity debut as it played at Sacred Heart, falling 53-21.

Appropriately, the squad left with some fanfare as it headed for the trip to Sacred Heart. more

OPENING ROUND: Princeton University men’ soccer player Daniel Diaz-Bonilla, right, fights for the ball last Friday night against Rutgers in the season opener for the Tigers. Senior star Diaz-Bonilla scored a goal late in the contest as Princeton rallied to earn a 1-1 draw with the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway. The Tigers, who fell 2-0 to Vermont last Monday in their home opener to move to 0-1-1, play at Penn State (2-1-1) on September 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In 2021, the Princeton University men’s soccer team returned to action after the previous season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns by falling 1-0 to Rutgers and 2-0 to the University of Vermont.

Over the Labor Day weekend, Princeton started its 2022 campaign by facing the same two foes, looking to turn the tables on them.

“They are two teams that beat us last year in two very even games,” said Barlow as he looked ahead to the season. “I think we felt as the season went on that we would love to have another shot at those two teams and now we get another shot at them.”

On Friday at Rutgers, Princeton seemed headed to the same result against the Scarlet Knights as it trailed 1-0 with 14 minutes remaining in regulation.

Tracking down a loose ball on a free kick, Tiger defender Issa Mudashiru got the ball to Harry Roberts who eluded a defender and slotted the ball to Daniel Diaz-Bonilla, who fired a shot that was saved. Undeterred, Diaz-Bonilla chased down the rebound and fired the ball into the back of the net.

That tally proved to be the final score of the contest as the local rivals played to a 1-1 draw, giving the Tigers some measure of payback.

On Labor Day, Princeton hosted Vermont in its home opener and, like in the opener, dug itself a hole.

The Catamounts took a 1-0 lead 10:19 into the contest on an own goal off a corner kick as a clear by the Tigers ricocheted off a defender into the net.

Minutes later, Vermont generated another corner kick and cashed in again as Yves Borie scored with 22:40 left in the first half to double the lead for the Catamounts. more

SMASH HIT: Princeton High field hockey player Delaney Keegan gets ready for a big hit last fall. Junior Keegan is the leading returning scorer for PHS, having tallied seven goals and 17 assists last fall. The Tigers are slated to open their 2022 season by playing at Lawrence High on September 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High field hockey team has plenty of talent on hand, the challenge for Heather Serverson is to mix and match those pieces into a cohesive unit.

“It is an overall positive feeling around the team; we did a lot of work over the summer and a lot of girls have committed to playing year round,” said PHS head coach Serverson, who led PHS to a 15-2 record last fall on the way to the Mercer County Tournament semifinal. “We are in our usual situation where we just need to figure out who we have, what our strengths are, and how they best fit together.”

One of the squad’s strengths figures to be the play of junior Delaney Keegan, the leading returning scorer for PHS, having tallied seven goals and 17 assists last fall to help trigger the Tiger attack.

“Delaney is playing well, she has been doing a great job defensively and offensively,” said Serverson, whose team is playing at Lawrence High on September 12 in its season opener.  “She really reads the play and the field well, I can’t say enough about her.”

Senior co-captains and sisters Hannah Christopher and Kayla Christopher along with junior Reva Doshi, sophomore Mia Ramirez, junior Leah Rose-Seiden, senior Anna Terry, and junior Erin Liggio have the ability to attack all over the field.

“I have Hannah at forward and Kayla is a midfielder,” said Serverson. “Reva also plays midfield; she plays a little bit higher so she can do great things offensively for us. Mia has good stickwork and some really good poise for her age, which really pays off for us in the circle. She is coming into her own right now. Leah has been playing at forward, we have been seeing some great stuff from her as well. She has a great shot on goal, she also has some good poise. Annie had to sit out part of the season last year because she was a transfer. We are looking forward to her getting a full season in. She has been a really good feisty player for us in the midfield, doing some great things. Erin is my filler, I know I can put her any place and she will get the job done.”

Senior tri-captain Gianna DiGioacchino is getting things done for PHS on the back line.

“Gianna has been doing a great job,” said Serverson. “She is really coming into her own this year, especially as a captain. She is vocal on the field. She anticipates the play well and gets our transition offense started.” more

GOLD RUSH: Princeton High running back Tyler Goldberg looks to elude a Lawrence High defender. Last Saturday, PHS fell 35-0 to Riverside in its home opener. The Tigers, now 0-2, play at Haddon Township on September 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After it was over, the players on the Princeton High football team gathered together in the end zone, hanging their heads in dejection.

Entering its home opener against Riverside last Saturday, PHS was determined to bounce back from a frustrating 35-12 loss to Lawrence on August 26 to start the 2022 campaign.

Instead, the Tigers shot themselves in the foot, making a number of miscues on the way to a 35-0 loss to the Rams.

PHS head coach Charlie Gallagher acknowledged that his squad wasn’t sharp.

“Riverside played well and we had so many self-inflicted wounds — interceptions, missed tackles, fumbles, and bad penalties, you name it,” said Gallagher. “It was a big step backwards, that is disappointing. I take responsibility.”

The tide turned in Riverside’s favor when it got a safety late in the first quarter to go up 2-0 and then scored a touchdown on the next possession to extend the lead to 8-0.

“They ran the ball all over us, they run a tricky offense,” said Gallagher of the Rams, who got 175 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Ivan Ramos with John Boston running for 135 yards and a pair of scores. “Our people weren’t doing what they are supposed to do; there are places that defensive players need to look.” more

KICKING OFF: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Joaquin Rodriguez sends the ball upfield in a 2021 game. Senior midfielder and co-captain Rodriguez is primed to trigger the PDS offense this season. The Panthers start their 2022 campaign by playing at Burlington Township High on September 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team made its debut in the Non-Public B tournament last fall, it didn’t appear to be a title contender as it brought an 8-11 record into the competition.

But seventh-seeded PDS produced a stirring run, winning the South Jersey sectional title before falling 3-1 to Gill St. Bernard’s in the Non-Public B state final.

Heading into the 2022 season, Panther head coach Brian Thomsen believes the tournament run had proven to be a confidence builder for his returning players.

“The guys got a little bit of belief in them now that we have been through a year of playing in the South Jersey Non-Public B,” said Thomsen, who guided PDS to a 12-12 record in his debut season at the helm of the program. “They feel a little bit more confident that they can have some success in the postseason.”

Thomsen believes that his squad is primed for a successful fall.

“We have a good group of guys on the field to go to battle,” said Thomsen, whose team plays at Burlington Township High on September 8 in its season opener.”

Senior midfielder and team tri-captain Joaquin Rodriguez figures to be a key guy for the Panthers.

“Joaquin is an awesome kid; he is defining what it is to be a PDS student, everybody looks forward to dealing with him,” said Thomsen. “He been such a great ambassador for the program. He is definitely excited about the year. He is excited to be a leader and not in the shadows of the guys that have been here in the past couple of years. He has really embraced the entire mantra that we might not be the best soccer team out there but we are definitely somebody who is going to work our tails off. We are a group that is going to defend really well and play together which is really important.”

PDS should get some good work in the midfield from senior Michael Zebrowski and sophomore Todd Devin. more

RUF AND TOUGH: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kirsten Ruf, left, battles a Hun player for the ball in action last season. Senior defender Ruf figures to be a pillar of the PDS defense this fall. The Panthers kick off their 2022 season by hosting Peddie on September 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Chris Pettit heads into his second season at the helm of the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team, he believes that increased familiarity will breed success.

“I think personality-wise, there is a greater understanding on both sides and playing-wise as well,” said Pettit, who guided PDS to an 8-8-1 record last fall in his debut campaign. “There is a greater kind of awareness and understanding of how we are going to play this year. It has made it easier because it is more integrated, having them appreciate and understand what we are doing. My hope is that this year we can pick up more or less where we left off.”

Pettit will be depending on his returning players to help integrate a large group of newcomers into the program.

“We have 12 freshmen so none of those players have been through it before; that probably makes up 50 percent of our squad,” said Pettit, whose team kicks off its 2022 season by hosting Peddie on September 8. “We are pretty young and inexperienced so it has definitely been some of the usual learning curves. They just haven’t done anything this intensive before. Club is every other couple of days where this preseason is every day.”

Senior star forward Grace Romano brings experience and skill to the table for the squad, having led PDS in scoring last season with 15 goals and four assists.

“Grace is good, she has stepped up as a senior leader,” said Pettit, noting that junior Abby Weed (3 goals, 2 assists in 2021) will also be seeing time at forward. “She chipped in with quite a few goals last year and will hopefully be a real weapon for us in terms of goals. I would like to see her improve her assists. Going north on both of those numbers would obviously be good for her and the leadership part.”

Another player who figures to pile up some numbers this fall is junior Adriana Salzano (13 goals, 2 assists). more

OFF AND RUNNING: Hun School quarterback Marco Lainez III races upfield in a 2021 game. Last Saturday, senior star and Iowa commit Lainez connected on 8 of 10 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns as Hun rolled to a 48-13 win over Mastery Charter in its season opener. The Raiders will look to keep on the winning track when they host Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada on September 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Logan Howland may have caught his last pass last year unless the Hun School football team uses a tackle-eligible play this fall.

With an eye on the future, the Raider senior will spend his final scholastic season at offensive tackle after playing tight end throughout his prior high school years.

“I think it was kind of inevitable,” said Howland. “When Coach (Todd) Smith reached out to me my junior year at Westfield he asked me if anyone was talking to me about playing offensive line. He’s seen that college coaches would see me as the new prototypical skinny guy that they can turn into an athletic offensive lineman. I think it was only a matter of time after the season to turn me into an offensive lineman. It was December or November he told me, you’re moving to the line and this is what’s going to get you paid a lot of money in college and hopefully in the NFL.”

Last Saturday, Howland and the Raider offensive line cleared the way and the defense was opportunistic as Hun rolled to a 48-13 opening day win over Mastery Charter. Hun led 27-0 after the first quarter on the way to the decisive victory.

“It was good to see a lot of guys on the field that didn’t get a lot of playing time last year,” said Howland, who will be headed to the University of Oklahoma next season to continue his football career. “We have to work on a lot of things and hopefully we’ll be a lot better next week.”

Hun will look to keep on the winning track when it hosts Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada on September 10. The Raiders will be looking for the rebuilt offensive line to continue to come together while finding ways to utilize a bevy of new talent at the skill spots.

“We have a lot of kids and there’s only one football to go around, but we’re going to do our best to spread it around,” said Hun head coach Smith. “We had a lot of people contribute today so that’s exciting. It’s going to keep making us better and harder to defend as the year progresses.”

Iowa commit Marco Lainez III completed 8 of 10 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, JT Goodman rushed for a pair of touchdowns while Kamar Archie scored on a 60-yard run. Six different Raiders had catches with Liam Thorpe and Logan Galletta receiving touchdown tosses. more

RILED UP: Hun School girls’ soccer player Riley Hayes controls the ball in a game last season. Senior midfielder and tri-captain Hayes, the team’s leading scorer last year with 11 goals and three assists as the Raiders won the state Prep A title, figures to be the offensive catalyst again this season for Hun. The Raiders open their 2022 campaign by playing the Hill School (Pa.) on September 9 in the Varsity Soccer Jamboree hosted by Hill. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a winless season in a 2020 campaign abbreviated due to COVID concerns, the Hun School girls’ soccer team snuck up on its foes last year.

Catching fire down the stretch, Hun produced a stirring run in the state Prep A tournament, culminating with a 4-3 overtime win against perennial power Pennington in the final to give the program its first Prep title since 2014.

As the Raiders head into the 2022 campaign, they know they have a bull’s eye on their backs.

“We are using that as motivation, we were the underdogs last year and now we have to defend that Prep title,” said Hun head coach Jenn Barrett, who guided the Raiders to 12-5-2 record last fall after they went 0-4-1 the year before. “We know people are going to bring their competitive greatness to us. We are working every practice and every opportunity that we have to push it so that we are prepared for those moments.”

Based on how preseason training has gone, the Hun players seem prepared for that challenge.

“Things have been going super well, we have a really good group of girls,” said Barrett, whose team is opening its 2022 campaign by playing the Hill School (Pa.) on September 9 in the Varsity Soccer Jamboree hosted by Hill. “The girls are really excited and definitely confident in themselves, their ability and the opportunities.” more

August 31, 2022

STATE OF GRACE: Princeton University women’s soccer player Grace Sherman celebrates after scoring a goal against Fairfield University last Sunday night at Class of 1952 Stadium. The Tigers ended up prevailing 2-0 to improve to 2-0. In upcoming action, Princeton plays at Rhode Island (0-3-1) on September 1 and at No. 3 Rutgers (4-0) on September 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s soccer team knotted in a scoreless draw with visiting Fairfield University last Sunday evening in the first half, Grace Sherman got free in the box and took advantage.

Princeton senior forward Sherman took a pass from Heather MacNab, calmly dribbled past Fairfield goalie and slotted the ball into the net to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead at the 13:22 mark of the contest played at Class of 1952 Stadium.

“I just saw space behind behind their back line so I decided to make a cutting run through,” said Sherman. “Heather [MacNab] played the ball to me and I took a touch and I tried to stay calm. I took a touch around the goalkeeper and I knew I was going to finish it.”

The score felt particularly good since Sherman would have been unable to do that a year ago as she was sidelined for much of the season after suffering a leg injury on the first day of preseason.

“I have been waiting for this moment for so long, I played a little bit last year but was never truly healthy,” said Sherman, who made only nine appearances last season. “I was never truly ready. I had the summer and now I am ready.”

Despite Sherman’s tally, Princeton struggled to find the back of the net, clinging to 1-0 halftime lead even though it had outshot the Stags 10-0.

“We have been working on possession this week in practice, just being able to keep composure and have confidence to keep the ball,” said Sherman. “We were pretty proud of the ability to keep the ball. It is frustrating not to score more but I know that will come.”

With 7:43 left in regulation, Princeton came through as junior midfielder Aria Nagai blasted a volley into the net for her first career goal and the final score of the night as Princeton prevailed 2-0 and improved to 2-0. more

KNIGHT MOVES: Princeton University men’s soccer player Ryan Clare, left, battles for the ball against Rutgers last year. Senior midfielder/forward Clare should help spark the Tiger offense this fall. Princeton starts its 2022 season by facing the Scarlet Knights (1-1) on September 2 in Piscataway. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After rolling to the Ivy League title last year, going 12-6 overall and 7-0 Ivy, the Princeton University men’s soccer team knows it can’t rest on its laurels as it heads into the 2022 campaign.

“I think one of the things that we have been talking about with these guys since the season ended last year is that there has never been a Princeton team that has won back-to-back Ivy titles,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow. “It is such a competitive league and when you win, the target is just on your back so much. I think our guys have tried to think of themselves with the mentality that they had last year that they are the underdogs. They are going into every game, competing like crazy to get better. That is going to be a really important mentality.”

The Tigers face a competitive opening week as they kick off the season by playing at Rutgers (1-1) on September 2 and then host Vermont (1-0) on September 5 in their home opener.

“We are trying to make the most out of every session and take care of our little details,” said Barlow, whose team was picked first in the Ivy preseason media poll. “We know that all of our games come down to a play here or a play there and not taking a break defensively and being alert enough to pounce on a mistake from the other team. All of these things start to come along when you play more games — we are going to learn where we stand.”

Last Saturday, the Princeton players had a good learning opportunity as they traveled to Philadelphia for scrimmages against Swarthmore and Penn.

“I think it was really good for the guys, a third of our team is new so it was good for those guys to get their feet wet in what a college soccer game looks like,” said Barlow. “Our incoming guys have played at really high levels but nothing compares to college soccer with the frenetic place and the competing and the physicality. From that standpoint it was really good.” more

POP STAR: Princeton University field hockey player Sammy Popper controls the ball in a game last season. Senior tri-captain Popper will be looking to shore up the Princeton backline this fall as she is moving to the center back spot. The 13th-ranked Tigers open their 2022 campaign by playing at second-ranked North Carolina on September 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Carla Tagliente has seen a different confidence about her Princeton University field hockey team through its preseason.

Much of it stems from having everyone back from a Tiger squad that had no seniors last year plus adding a freshman class that bring necessary depth as they prepare to open at second-ranked North Carolina on September 2.

“You wouldn’t think on paper it would make much of a difference because they’re the same people, but in terms of experience it’s a huge difference,” said Tagliente, who is starting her sixth season as Princeton head coach. “You look at it last year and we had missed the year as well and it kind of resets things back in terms of where we’re at and what we need to go over. The recency of things is not there because they haven’t played in so long. It’s a way different feel this preseason than last year in terms of the confidence across the board.”

Princeton went 10-7 overall and 6-1 Ivy League a year ago after Ivy teams did not compete in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Harvard to finish second in the league standings and had a couple narrow losses cost them a bid to the NCAA tournament. That season may not have ended the way Princeton wanted it to, but the experience has value as the Tigers prepare to start this season.

“That’s the big difference between this year and last year with so many back,” said Tagliente, whose team is ranked 13th nationally. “The sophomores hadn’t really played a game so we had 10-11 players that were having their first experience with it and we’re going over such basic things. Whereas this year, it’s just the six freshmen that we’re having to bring on board and the older players, they’ve checked those boxes and they’re not taking steps backwards. So I’m really happy in that regard, that we’re not taking a step back collectively and having to go over certain things. I really feel like we can lean on these returners to come back and perform and lead the way.” more

CATCHING ON: Princeton High football player Corey Woodson gets ready to make a catch last Friday against Lawrence High in the season opener for both teams. Sophomore wide receiver Woodson made three receptions for 77 yards in a losing cause as PHS fell 35-12 to the Cardinals. The Tigers host Riverside on September 3 in their home opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Charging onto the field at Lawrence High last Friday evening with some hollering and clapping as it started its 2022 campaign, the Princeton High football team was determined to make an opening statement.

Riding that wave of emotion, PHS stopped Lawrence cold on its first possession, forcing a three-and-out, prompting some whoops on the Tiger sideline.

Later in the quarter, the PHS defense recovered a fumble on the Cardinal 41 and the Tigers cashed in. Sophomore quarterback Brady Collier lofted a pass down the sideline to senior Ryan Friedman who made a leaping grab at the 10-yard line for a gain of 24 yards. Two plays later, Friedman raced for 13 yards on an end reverse for a first down at the 2-yard line. Junior running back Tyler Goldberg capped the drive, bursting into the end zone to make it 6-0 and then rushed over to high five student fans lined up on the fence near the end zone.

Things went downhill from there, however, for the Tigers as Lawrence’s bruising 240-pound running back Kandres Soto took over the contest. He rumbled for touchdown runs of four and 11 yards in the second quarter as Lawrence built a 14-6 halftime lead.

Soto added a third quarter TD on the way to rushing for 188 yards as the Cardinals wore down the Tigers on the way to a 35-12 win. As Lawrence pounded PHS, a number of Tiger players headed to the sidelines with cramps, pulled muscles, and assorted knocks.

In the waning moments of the contest, PHS junior running back Evan Pease sprinted 50 yards up the middle of the field for a touchdown to end the evening with a highlight for the Tigers. more

FANCY FOOTWORK: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Nick Matese looks to make some space near goal in 2021 action. Junior Matese should help spearhead the midfield this fall for PHS. The Tigers kick off the upcoming season by playing at Trenton Central on September 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High boys’ soccer team features some battle-tested seniors, as usual, its group of stellar sophomores may hold the key to success this fall.

“The rising sophomores had an undefeated freshman season for us,” said Sutcliffe, noting that several of the sophomores competed for the Princeton FC Barcelona team that won the 16U final in the US Youth Soccer (USYS) 2022 National Presidents Cup tournament in July. “They are bringing both of those experiences into this season.”

Two of those sophomores who played for the PFC club, Brian Donis and Azaria Breitman, are bringing skill to the striker spot.

“Azaria had a good tournament for the Barca,” said Sutcliffe, who guided the Tigers to a 10-2-5 record last fall and a spot in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. “Brian has good pace, he has the ability to break defenders down. He keeps the ball pretty well.”

Senior Zach Della Rocca, who starred for the PHS track team this past spring, and junior Jamie Reynolds add speed and ability to the PHS attack.

“They are all both working hard and doing their best to find their form,” said Sutcliffe, noting that the team’s leading goal scorer in 2021, senior Richard Wegmann, will not play this season due to injury.

In Sutcliffe’s view, PHS will need to be scoring by committee in the absence of Wegmann. more

FAMILY BUSINESS: Matt McKillop, left, and his father, Bob McKillop, enjoy the moment this June when son succeeded father as the head coach of the Davidson College men’s basketball program. The younger McKillop came to the Hun School for a post-graduate year in 2001-02 and views that experience as pivotal in his path to guiding the Wildcats. (Photo provided courtesy of Davidson College Athletics)

By Bill Alden

During much of his childhood, Matt McKillop’s life centered around the Davidson College men’s basketball program.

McKillop’s father, Bob, started coaching the team in1989 and helped transform the small North Carolina college into a national power, highlighted by coaching future NBA superstar, Steph Curry, and guiding the Wildcats to the NCAA quarterfinals in the 2007-08 campaign.

The younger McKillop hung around the Davidson gym, serving as a ball boy for his father’s teams, and then starring for Charlotte Catholic High.

But, deciding that he needed more seasoning to play at the Division I level, McKillop decided to head north to the Hun School for a post-graduate year in 2001-02.

His buddies in North Carolina questioned McKillop’s move.

“I had to explain to them why I am going to a different high school essentially to pursue my dreams of being a college basketball player,” said McKillop. “I was very confident in it being the right decision. It was not the easiest thing for others to understand.”

That decision proved to be the right move as it turned out to be a key step on a path that ended up with McKillop succeeding his father as the Davidson head coach this June.

Upon arriving at Hun, McKillop made a smooth transition. “It is a smaller school, it was so easy to be comfortable  and to develop relationships quickly,” said McKillop, who established himself as a sharp-shooting guard for the Raiders and served as a team captain.

“I lived in a hall with all postgrads, most were in the same shoes as me. They had a specific goal in mind for why they wanted to spend the year at Hun. We were in the gym every day. I was able to compete every single day with people whose goal was to play at the college level like myself.”

After his year at Hun, McKillop returned home to Davidson where he enjoyed a solid four-year career, averaging 8.2 points a game and helping the Wildcats make the NCAA tournament in his senior season in 2005-06. He ranks seventh in program history in three-pointers with 227 and seventh in three-point percentage at 39.3 percent.

He then had a short stint playing pro ball in the Czech Republic and returned to the U.S. where he got a marketing job with the Charlotte Bobcats. Missing being on a team, McKillop got into coaching, serving as an assistant at Emory University. more

SKILL SET: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Lily Harlan dribbles the ball up the field in game last fall. Senior star and Boston University commit Harlan, who tallied 15 goals and 17 assists in 2021, figures to trigger the Stuart offense again this season. The Tartans host Somerville on September 10 to start regular season play. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Stuart Country Day School field hockey coming off a superb 11-4-2 season last fall that saw it reach the state Prep B final, the squad’s veterans were chomping at the bit to get on the field to start preparing for the 2022 campaign.

“The returners were really excited to get preseason started, there is good energy,” said Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik. “They are kids that just love to play the game. I love when they start talking that they can’t wait for preseason in July.”

Last Friday, Stuart headed south to Bethesda, Md., for a highlight of the preseason as it scrimmaged Stone Ridge and Holton Arms.

“They are two really good programs; I think those two teams were actually in the independent school final in Maryland last year against each other,” said Bruvik, whose team hosts Somerville on September 10 to start regular season play. “It is a great one night away, it was great for bonding. We haven’t been able to scrimmage with around 19 players; we have been doing 7 on 7s and 8 on 8s.”

The Tartans are looking for a great season from senior Lily Harlan, who has committed to attend Boston University and play for its Division I field hockey program.

“Lily looks great, she put in the work over the summer to get herself ready for the season and for the future,” said Bruvik of Harlan who tallied 15 goals and 17 assists last season. “She has done that since she got here. It is going to be the same this year. We are going to look to her to finish the plays and get that assist. She will be a part of our corner plays on both offense and defense.” more

August 24, 2022

GETTING UP TO SPEED: Princeton University women’s soccer player Heather MacNab races upfield in a game last fall. Coming off a superb freshman season which saw her tally three goals and seven assists, MacNab should be a key weapon for the Tigers this fall. Princeton opens its 2022 campaign by hosting Colgate on August 26 at Class of 1952 Stadium. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Youth will be served this fall for the Princeton University women’s soccer team.

“There are a lot of new players, we are really, really young,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll. “We have 17 freshmen and sophomores on the team and we have eight upperclassmen.”

The young players are benefiting from the legacy left by the 2021 squad that went 15-3-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy on the way to making the second round of the NCAA tournament as the program returned to action after the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“The culture of last year’s team has trickled to this year’s team,” said Driscoll, whose team opens the 2022 season by hosting Colgate on August 26 at Class of 1952 Stadium. “When you had COVID going on, there was a down time. The post-COVID year has given us a greater sense of appreciation and gratitude. In terms of culture, we are definitely farther ahead, just moving forward on last year.”

While the Tigers may experience some growing pains this fall, he believes they have the depth to overcome that.

“We are talented attacking-wise but we are different than we have been,” said Driscoll, whose team is looking forward to the opening of the new Roberts Stadium later this fall. “We have different skill sets, it is exciting. We have option A and we have option B. We have got options in certain situations and other options in different situations. We have a lot of pieces who we can play for different reasons. They have very different skill sets. When we make our rotations during the game, we are going to ask different questions of our opponents. It is going to be a different thing that people have to cope with.” more

HANDS-ON TEACHER: Former Princeton University men’s basketball head coach Pete Carril greets well-wishers in February 2009 before a ceremony where the main court at Jadwin Gym was officially renamed “Carril Court” in his honor. Hall of Famer Carril, who passed away at age 92 on August 15, left an indelible legacy on the players he guided.

By Justin Feil

When Pete Carril returned to watch Princeton University men’s basketball games, the former Tigers head coach sat high in the Jadwin Gym rafters.

Seeing the game was important to him. Being seen was not.

“He taught you how to play, how to see, how to think,” said current Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson, who played two seasons for Carril before he retired in 1996. “There are these incredible gifts that you’re being given and you don’t realize it. And how to work – how to come into the gym early, how to stay late. And his presence … that was what he was. He was a teacher.”

Carril, the Hall of Fame coach who spent so much time teaching players how to see the game the right way, died on August 15 at age 92 after complications following a stroke.

Carril’s coaching tree is one of the fullest in college basketball with six former players currently serving as head coaches, and former players continue to pass along his lessons while adding their own wrinkles to what was branded the “Princeton Offense” because of Carril’s success and since has seen its concepts emulated from high schools to the NBA.

“The reign of Coach Carril did not end in 1996 when he retired,” said former Princeton athletic director Gary Walters. “The reign is still going on in the eyes of all those players who played for him and eventually succeeded him at Princeton.”

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ON THE PROWL: Princeton High football player Anthony Famiglietti looks to make a hit last fall. Junior linebacker Famiglietti, who was second on the team in tackles in 2021, figures to be a key performer again this season for the PHS defensive unit. The Tigers kick off their 2022 campaign by playing at Lawrence High on August 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Charlie Gallagher has received his players undivided attention this month as the Princeton High football team has gone through its preseason practices.

With football kicking off earlier than the other fall sports under the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Week 0 scheduling format, the squad has trained in solitude.

“It is great, we are the only team out there; we have already had 12 practices and field hockey and soccer start this Monday,” said PHS head coach Gallagher, whose team opens its 2022 campaign by playing at Lawrence High on August 26. “It is nice, we have a game on Friday and we still have no school. There is a little more flexibility here. I can go home and work on my football. They are going to have their second game and they are still not even in school. I love it.”

Gallagher loves the turnout he has gotten this fall with a roster of 49 players.

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