March 23, 2022

RAM TOUGH: Princeton University men’s basketball player Ethan Wright dribbles upcourt in game this season. Last week, senior guard Wright scored 18 points and had seven rebounds in a losing cause as Princeton fell 90-79 at Virginia Commonwealth University in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The loss to the Rams on March 15 left Princeton with a final record of 23-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

The Princeton University men’s basketball team saw a record-setting season in which it won the Ivy League regular season title end last week in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

The Tigers were eliminated from the NIT with a 90-79 loss at VCU on March 15 to finish the season 23-7 overall.

“They’re a very difficult matchup, especially at their place,” said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson. “They turn you over a lot. We knew going in we needed to have a special night and take care of the ball to win. Some of our turnovers were costly in the second half.”

The Tigers fought back so many times over the last year that it would have been easy to expect another rally against VCU. Princeton had already returned from more than a year without games to win the Ivy regular season and set four school records for offensive proficiency. The Tigers’ 79.8 points per game is the school’s highest scoring average, their 2,395 points the most ever in a single season, their 910 field goals the greatest total and their 327 made three-pointers a new mark.

“They’re not only the best offensive team in history — most 3s made, most points scored, you could argue one of the best if not the best shooting teams — they’re also great people, to each other and to the community,” said Henderson.  more

GLORIOUS WEEKEND: Princeton University wrestling star Patrick Glory, top, battles Vito Arujau of Cornell in a regular season match at 125 pounds. Last weekend, third-seeded Glory defeated second-seeded Arujau 13-5 in the semifinal at the NCAA Championships in Detroit, Mich. The win gave Princeton its first finalist in 20 years, since Greg Parker ’03 made the final at 174 in 2002. Glory was joined by junior teammate Quincy Monday (157) in the finals, giving the Tigers two NCAA finalists for the first time in program history. Both Glory and Monday went on to lose in their finals as Princeton took 16th in the team standings at the competition won by Penn State. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It turned out to be a glorious competition for the Princeton University wrestling team as it sent six stars to the NCAA Championships last weekend in Detroit, Mich.

Princeton made program history as two of those standouts, Patrick Glory (125 pounds) and Quinn Monday (157), advanced championship finals, the first time that has happened for the Tigers. Both ended up losing in the title matches, leaving the late Bradley Glass ’53 as the lone Princeton wrestler to win an NCAA Championship as he took the heavyweight title in 1951.

In reaching the final, junior star and third-seeded Glory started his run with a 16-2 major decision over 30th-seeded Jace Koelzer of Northern Colorado in the round of 32 on Thursday. A day later, he earned 10-2 win over 14th-seeded Jakob Camacho of North Carolina State and then defeated 11th-seeded Brandon Kaylor of Oregon State 7-3 in the quarterfinals. In the semis, he faced an Ivy League rival, second-seeded Vito Arujau of Cornell, who had defeated Glory 19-6 two weeks ago in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) final. Glory turned the tables on Arujau with a 13-5 win. The win gave Princeton its first finalist in 20 years, since Greg Parker ’03 made the final at 174 in 2002.  more

DAN THE MAN: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Daniel Baytin helped PHS go 14-1 as it won the Mercer County Championships, won the Central Jersey Group B sectional, and made the state Group B final along the way. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming into this winter, Daniel Baytin was determined to make a bigger impact for the Princeton High boys’ swimming team in and out of the water.

“I have definitely improved not only just in the pool but with my team,” said junior star Baytin. “These people are looking up to me. I am one of the old guys now, I have to set an example. I have been working my hardest for them.”

Baytin did a lot of good work this winter. After helping PHS post an undefeated regular reason with an 11-0 mark, Baytin starred as the Tigers won the team title at the Mercer County Championships. He placed first in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races at the meet as PHS rolled to the title, winning 265-225 over runner-up and host West Windsor-Plainsboro North.

A week later, Baytin had another big day as PHS defeated WW/P-North 105-65 in the Central Jersey Group B sectional final.

He set the tone with a blazing breaststroke leg as PHS opened the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay.

“I try my best every race but it became very apparent just how much ground we gained when I finished,” said Baytin. “During the race you really can’t tell how much you have won.”

Baytin then took first in the 50 free and second in the 100 free, and then ended the meet by swimming the anchor leg as the Tigers won the 400 free relay. more

FINAL SKATE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Riley Frost controls the puck in a game this season. Senior star forward and co-captain Frost helped Hun go 9-11 this season and reach the semis of both the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference (APAC) and Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) tournaments. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Hun School boys’ hockey team didn’t post a winning record this winter, Ian McNally still views the season in a positive light.

“When you say we were 9-11, it sounds surprising because it seems like we had a successful year and we had a good team,” said Hun head coach McNally. “There hasn’t been too many sub-500 seasons over the years.”

The Raiders did achieve one of the main goals of their season as they played in the semis of both the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference (APAC) and Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) tournaments.

“We back-doored into the MAHL playoffs but that is the point of having them,” said McNally, whose team didn’t qualify initially for the tournament but got a berth when the Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) backed out.

“There has to be something on the line to finish your season. For a while, it was the Independence League and then it was the Mercer County Tournament for us. This is the thing you can try to play for at the end.”

While McNally would have liked to see his team post more wins this season, he enjoyed coming to the rink every day to coach the group.

“The chemistry, camaraderie and all of that, the feel good part of doing the hockey season, was there in a big way so that was great,” said McNally. “We had an older group than usual, they were all friends with each other. There was less of the age gap where maybe there are little cliques in the team. It was an enjoyable group to be around.” more

ENDGAME: Hun School girls’ basketball head coach Bill Holup makes a point in a game last season. This winter, Holup led Hun to the finals of both Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament and state Prep A tourney in what turned out to be his final season at the helm as he has decided to step down. The Raiders went 15-11 this winter and Holup picked up the 300th win in his 23-year tenure at the school when Hun edged the Pingry School 56-53 in the state Prep A semifinal. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Hun School girls’ basketball team edged the Pingry School 56-53 in the state Prep A semifinal, it was a significant win on many levels for the program.

First, Hun avenged a 68-59 regular season defeat to the Big Blue in early February. In addition, the triumph in the February 23 contest meant that Hun advanced to a second championship game this season as it had previously reached the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) final.

The victory also marked the 300th win for Hun head coach Bill Holup in his 23 years guiding the Raiders.

And with Hun going on to fall 87-41 to Blair in the Prep A title game to end the winter with a 15-11 record, it marked the final win for Holup, as he had decided to step down.

“I really thought about it, I had been wavering a little bit here and there over the past couple of years,” said Holup, reflecting on his decision to leave the program. “In December, I thought it was time. I have a 3-year-old son and in basketball season with late practices, I wasn’t getting home until after 8 p.m. We play games that aren’t just local with the MAPL. I had 23 years as the head coach at Hun and prior to that, six years at Stuart. That is 29 years, that is a lifetime.”

Making the title games was a fitting finale for Holup. “For us, beating Pingry to get to the final and beating Lawrenceville in the MAPL semis, those were really important games for us to win,” said Holup, whose team also fell to Blair in the MAPL title game. “To get to both of those championship games was really important for us.” more

THE JACK SHOW: Hun School baseball player Jackson Kraemer takes a swing in a game last spring. Senior outfielder/pitcher Kraemer will be looking to have a big final campaign for Raiders. Hun gets its 2022 season underway by playing at the Lawrenceville School on March 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Hun School baseball team is coming off a dominant 2021 season that saw it go 19-2 and win its fifth straight state Prep A title, it is not taking anything for granted heading into this spring.

“Everybody understands how challenging our schedule is so they are definitely not overconfident,” said Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto, whose team gets its 2022 season underway by playing at the Lawrenceville School on March 24.

“They are for sure confident in their abilities and our abilities as a team but also understand that we respect every opponent.”

Coming off a productive preseason trip to Florida in early March, Monfiletto is confident that he has a strong mound corps at his disposal, led by a quintet of seniors in Carson Applegate, Ryan DiMaggio, Carson Wehner, Brody Pasieka and Jackson Kraemer.

“We have five extremely solid starting pitchers that we are very, very happy about in Applegate, DiMaggio, Wehner, Pasieka, and Kraemer,” said Monfiletto. more

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Hun School softball player Lexi Kobryn gets ready to deliver a pitch in action last season. Sophomore standout Kobryn figures to help Hun this spring with both her arm and her bat. Hun opens its 2022 season by hosting Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on March 26 for a doubleheader. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School softball team is young, it does boast a number of battle-tested players as it heads into the 2022 campaign.

In going 9-4 last season and advancing to the state Prep A semis, such underclassmen as Lexi Kobryn, Jamie Staub, Kat Xiong, and Sammy Kandel emerged as stars.

Away from school, a number of the Hun players are putting in extra time on the diamond to get better and gain experience.

“Out of our 14 girls, 10 of them play travel ball, that is a very, very high number for me,” said Hun head coach Kathy Quirk. “Two of the four that are not playing used to play. We have a pretty good group of kids that has been playing and practicing every Sunday.

The Raiders had a very good experience on a preseason season trip to Florida earlier this month.

“It went well, I saw a lot of good things,” said Quirk, whose team opens its 2022 season by hosting Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on March 26 for a doubleheader.

“We went to a new place in Florida this year, the Jackie Robinson training camp, the old Dodger training camp in Vero Beach. It was real nice for team unity and building. All of our meals were provided there, so we all ate together. We didn’t leave the compound too much.” more

March 16, 2022

Members of the Princeton University women’s basketball team leap to their feet at Jadwin Gym last Sunday night after they learned that they will be facing Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Princeton, now 24-4, is seeded 11th in the Bridgeport Region and will face the sixth-seeded Wildcats (19-11) in a first round contest on March 19 in Bloomington, Ind. See page 26 for more details on the team’s postseason run. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

GRACEFUL MOVE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Grace Stone goes up for a shot in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Stone scored 12 points to help the Tigers defeat Columbia 77-59 in the Ivy League postseason tournament final in Cambridge, Mass., and earn the league’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA tournament. Princeton, now 24-4, is seeded 11th in the Bridgeport Region and will face sixth-seeded Kentucky (19-11) in a first round contest on March 19 in Bloomington, Ind. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the players on the Princeton University women’s basketball team entered Jadwin Gym last Sunday evening to watch the NCAA tournament selection show, they broke into a dance together to the music pounding on the arena sound system.

About a half hour later, they leaped to their feet in unison when they found out their NCAA first around assignment which has them seeded 11th in the Bridgeport Region and facing sixth-seeded Kentucky (19-11) in a first round contest in Bloomington, Ind. on March 19.

For Tiger junior guard Grace Stone, the NCAA assignment evoked a sense of deja vu.

“We played Kentucky the first round my freshman year,” said Stone, referring to an 82-77 setback to the Wildcats on March 23, 2019 in Raleigh, N.C. “Actually it was exactly the same seeding which is interesting. I think that they are a really great team and I am really excited to figure out how we can play them and what things we can do.”

The Tigers had to figure out some things last weekend at the Ivy League postseason tournament in Cambridge, Mass., edging host Harvard 72-67 in the semis on Friday and then pulling away to a 77-59 win over Columbia in the title game a day later. The triumph improved the Tigers to 24-4 and extended their winning streak to 17.

In Stone’s view, Princeton benefited by getting pushed over the weekend.

“A lot of our Ivy League games weren’t really that close,” said Stone of a campaign which saw the Tigers go 14-0 in regular season league play before winning the postseason tournament. “We prepared before the tournament for close games and those type of situations so I think it was a really good challenge for us.” more

IVY SADNESS: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jaelin Llewellyn gets covered closely in recent action. Last Sunday, senior guard Llewellyn tallied 18 points in losing cause as Princeton fell 66-64 to Yale in the final of the Ivy League postseason tournament. The Tigers, who dropped to 23-6 with the defeat to the Bulldogs, earned a bid to the NIT due to winning the Ivy regular season title. They were slated to start play in that tourney by playing at third-seeded Virginia Commonwealth University on March 15 in an opening round contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s basketball team looked ahead to starting its Ivy League campaign in January, Mitch Henderson expected a lot of rock fights along the way in conference play.

Over the course of Ivy play, Princeton found itself in a number of bruising battles as Tiger head coach Henderson had foreseen. Utilizing a high-octane offense and an improving defense, the Tigers rallied in several games to go 12-2 in Ivy action, finishing one game ahead of Yale to win the regular season title.

Last weekend at the Ivy postseason tournament in Cambridge, Mass., the Tigers got involved in two more nail-biters, edging Cornell 77-73 in the semis on Saturday before falling 66-64 to Yale in the final a day later.

In the win over the Big Red, the foes were tied at 73-73 heading into the waning moments of the contest before junior star Tosan Evbuomwan put Princeton ahead on a bucket with 36 seconds left. Ryan Langborg added two free throws to add the finishing touch to the win.

“The last minute of the game, there were just three really special plays,” said Henderson, reflecting on the win over Cornell which is guided by former Princeton star and assistant coach Brian Earl.

“We got three straight offensive rebounds. We were advantaged by having the shot clock at six seconds, so Tosan just had to go and make a play. It was an absolute fight. It was one of the most, if not the most intense, games I have ever been a part of. It felt like an incredible win. It did factor in a small way to the following night, just how physical and tough it was.” more

ERIK THE GREAT: Princeton University men’s lacrosse goalie Erik Peters makes a save last Friday night against Rutgers. Senior star and co-captain Peters made a career-high 21 saves to help Princeton defeat the Scarlet Knights 16-11. He was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance. The Tigers, now 4-1 and up to No. 3 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, host Penn on March 19 in the Ivy opener for both teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Minutes after the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team defeated Rutgers 16-11 last Friday evening to earn the Meistrell Cup, the Tigers made a beeline to claim the trophy and Erik Peters hoisted it over his head to the cheers of his teammates.

It was fitting that senior goalie Peters grabbed the hardware as he produced a brilliant effort with a career-high 21 saves to help the Tigers overcome a Rutgers team that came into the game undefeated and ranked No. 3 nationally in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.

When the Tigers went scoreless in the third quarter, Peters raised the level of his game, making five saves, some point blank to hold off the Scarlet Knights. The Princeton offense got back in rhythm in the fourth, tallying five goals as the Tigers pulled away to a 16-11 win improved to 4-1.

“I just try to focus on the next shot,” said Peters, reflecting on his performance which got him named as the Ivy League Player of the Week for the second straight week.

“Goalie is a position of percentages and you just have to play the percentages. One goes in so it is, ‘all right, move on to the next one.’”

Peters credited his teammates with helping him control the crease.

“I just fall back and trust in our defense,” said Peters. “We have a bunch of dogs. Every single guy out there is someone that I trust and makes plays. They make it easy for me.”

Things weren’t easy for the Princeton defense in the early going last Friday as the local rivals were knotted at 6-6 19 minutes into the game.

“It is two great offenses and two teams that are both into running and gunning,” said Peters. more

RISING FORCE: Princeton High wrestler Blase Mele lifts a foe off his feet in a bout at 126 pounds this season. Earlier this month, Mele made the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Boys Wrestling State Championships, becoming the first freshman in program history to achieve that feat. Mele placed third at 126 at the Region 5 tournament to earn his spot at the state tournament. At the states, Mele lost two close bouts to end the season with a 17-4 record.

By Justin Feil

Blase Mele achieved his goal of reaching the state wrestling championships in Atlantic City, but it was how he got there that made it all the more notable.

Mele overcame a knee injury that required mid-season surgery to make history as the first freshman from Princeton High to reach the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Boys Wrestling State Championships earlier this month.

“It’s a great experience to get to the state tournament,” said Mele. “I’m very thankful because a lot of things had to happen even for me to get the opportunity to compete. This was really a 50-50 chance. There was no guarantee I’d be able to even wrestle at districts.”

Mele went 17-4 in his first season of high school wrestling. He was unbeaten at 126 pounds until reaching the finals of the District 17 tournament. His second-place finish qualified him for the Region 5 tournament in which he placed third to earn one of four spots for the state tournament.

“I think it’s tremendous,” said PHS head coach Jess Monzo. “From 2017, we’ve had at least one guy down there every year, so the fact that Princeton is continuously represented down there only goes to show in smaller areas, it doesn’t always have to be the big-time school, we’re generating a lot of popularity now in the school. We’re hoping to feed off it.” more

BROWN OUT: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Molly Brown looks to pass the ball in a game this season. Senior standout Brown helped PHS post a 10-11 record this winter and advance to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was an up-and-down season this winter for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team but the future looks bright for the program.

“We did a pretty good job, our younger girls stepped up for us,” said PHS head coach Dave Kosa, whose squad posted a 10-11 record and advanced to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals.

“I think we had some really good games. The games that we won, we played really, really well. We beat some teams by a lot. In the other games, it was a learning experience for us.”

For the Tigers topping crosstown rival Princeton Day School 44-23 in the last week of the season was a very positive experience.

“It was Senior Night so we came out really, really strong,” said Kosa, who got 16 points from sophomore guard Riley Devlin in the victory.

“Riley stepped up a lot during the season when she was healthy. She really improved and gave us an offensive spark. She did a good job for us.”

PHS faced some strong foes to end the winter, falling 48-40 to New Egypt in the regular season finale and then playing in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional where the 13th-seeded Tigers lost 63-30 to fourth-seeded Middletown South in a first round contest.

“We hung tough with them, we were actually up one with a couple of minutes to go,” said Kosa, referring to the New Egypt contest.

“It was 33-32 and Nora Devine got her fourth foul and I had to sit her. They scored seven in a row. We actually came back and made it a two-point game and we had a foul and they pulled away. Middletown South is always strong, it is the Shore Conference. They were hitting shots and we didn’t play well.” more

TURNING THE PAIGE: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Paige Gardner lofts a pass in recent action. Junior guard Gardner’s play off the bench was a spark for PDS this winter as it went 5-13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team ended the season on a 10-game losing streak, there were some positive moments in the last week of the season.

“The West Windsor North game was probably the most fun we had as a team,” said PDS head coach Seraphine Hamilton, referring to a 30-28 overtime loss to WW/P-North on February 24.

“We played really well; we missed a couple of shots that we should have knocked down. It was a late night game. We had a team dinner and we had a lot of fun together. That was probably the best culmination of our season. We had everybody there, everybody was healthy. It was great in that sense. West Windsor is fun competition, we are really well matched.”

The Panthers ended the season by competing in the South Jersey Non-Public A state tournament where 13th-seeded PDS fell 85-16 to fourth-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas on March 2.

“It was a different level from what we saw most of the season; it was great for them to see that level and play at that pace and be a part of that,” said Hamilton, whose team ended the winter with a 5-13 record.

“It was a great game in that. It was really obvious that we were trying to do as coaching staff was working. We talked a lot about making short-term measurable goals. In the last couple plays of the game, Ali Surace had some steals. For a few weeks we had been working on finishing lay-ups with pressure and she finished one.”

Reflecting on the season overall, Hamilton believes her players made progress in achieving goals along the way. more

GREAT SCOTT: Hun School boys’ basketball player Jack Scott drives to the basket in a game this season. Senior guard and Princeton University-bound Scott starred as Hun went 14-10, reaching the semifinals of the both Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament and the state Prep A tourney. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Winning eight of 10 games heading into postseason play, the Hun School boys’ basketball team was primed to vie for some titles.

But hampered by injuries to some key players, Hun fell short of a championship run, falling 65-54 to Hill (Pa.) in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) semis and then losing 72-52 to Blair Academy in the state Prep A semis.

In the loss to Hill, Hun didn’t have senior star guard Dan Vessey due to a previous injury and senior standout Jack Scott got hobbled during the contest.

“We competed, it was very physical; we played well enough to win but we didn’t,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone, whose team finished the winter with a 14-10 record.

“We missed Dan and Jack got hurt in that game and wasn’t exactly himself. He could play but he wasn’t his best self for sure.”

Against Blair, a shorthanded Hun squad fought valiantly before the Buccaneers pulled away.

“We knew we didn’t have Jack or Dan for the states but we recognized that we still had enough to win,” said Stone.

“We had time to put guys in different roles that they are not used to and work on that and practice that. We were prepared going into the game for sure. The guys showed that, we were winning at the half. We struggled in the second half, we kind of ran out of gas. A lot of our shots didn’t fall and we were much thinner on the bench than we normally are. They had their full complement of guys so they were shuffling them in and out. We got worn down a little bit.” more

RICH EXPERIENCE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Lauren Richey looks to pass the ball in a game this season. Senior guard Richey’s sharpshooting on the perimeter helped Stuart go 8-8 this winter and advance to the state Prep B semis. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Stuart Country Day School basketball team featured a lineup with a number of new faces this winter, the squad developed a special chemistry.

“They got better during the course of the season,” said Stuart head coach Justin Leith, whose team posted a final record of 8-8 this winter and advanced to the state Prep B semis.

“They played with some grit. They had a lot of fun, they enjoyed each other off the court.”

Leith saw a shining example of how much his players enjoyed each other before a late season game.

“Right before Senior Day, I walked in and they were doing TikTok videos together and having fun,” said Leith. “I was fortunate enough to play professionally and fortunate enough to play in college and high school and I don’t remember one time up and down the court. What I do remember is the locker room and the bus rides. Watching them, they took advantage of that almost as if they had some foresight in understanding that they are going to make the most of the moment. I appreciate that about that team and I thanked them for that.”

Senior guard Gabby Velazquez took advantage of opportunity in her final season with the program.

“For the three years prior, she was playing at an extremely high level and for two of those years she was actually a contributor,” said Leith of Velazquez who ended her career with a bang, scoring 26 points with 11 assists and eight steals to help Stuart defeat the Academy for Urban Leadership Charter 75-18 in its season finale. more

March 9, 2022

RIGHT ON: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan goes up for a shot in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Evbuomwan scored 23 points and had eight rebounds and seven assists to help Princeton defeat Penn 93-70 at the Palestra. The triumph gave the Tigers the outright Ivy League regular season title and clinched the top seed for the upcoming league postseason tournament. Princeton, now 22-5 overall and 12-2 Ivy, will face fourth-seeded Cornell in the league semis on Saturday with the victor advancing to the title game a day later to play for a bid to the NCAA tournament.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s basketball team dribbled out the clock in the waning seconds of a 93-70 win over Penn last Saturday evening at the Palestra, the coaches and players on the bench rose as one to savor the moment.

With the Princeton supporters on hand giving the team a standing ovation and a beaming Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson looking on like a proud father, the players hugged on the court after the buzzer sounded, celebrating the triumph which gave them the outright Ivy League regular season title and clinched the top seed for the upcoming league postseason tournament.

“We had a shot at a share of the title last week but it is nice to have the outright title for these guys,” said Henderson, whose team improved to 22-5 overall and 12-2 Ivy with the victory, finishing one game ahead of Yale in the Ivy standings.

“We are thankful to be able to play in front of fans. We have had two years really waiting to have a moment like this. I am really thankful and really appreciative to be coaching this team and be around these guys. It is a really fun group. We will hopefully keep it going. We have a big week ahead but we are really going to enjoy this.”

Henderson enjoyed the way the Tiger offense executed against Penn as it shot 55.2 percent from the floor (37-67) and made just two turnovers.

“I thought everything came out tonight that we have been seeing all season,” said Henderson. “I have said this many times, there is no tension on this team. They search and seek out shots for each other. Nobody is raising their hand, saying that is me. They genuinely enjoy seeing each other do well. I think the reads were really good. Tosan [Evbuomwan] makes it very difficult to guard us. We put him in some spots and the guys have really learned to play around him. We had two turnovers, none in the first half, I have never seen that.”

Junior star forward Evbuomwan displayed his versatility in the win, tallying 23 points with seven assists and eight rebounds.  more

FINISHING SPRINT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers races upcourt last Friday as Princeton defeated Penn 69-43. Senior guard Meyers scored a game-high 20 points in the win as the Tigers clinched the outright Ivy League regular season title. Two days later, Meyers scored 14 points to help Princeton top Harvard 73-53 and end the regular season at 22-4 overall and 14-0 Ivy. With Princeton having gone 26-1 and 14-0 Ivy in 2019-20, it marked the first time in conference history that a team has posted consecutive 14-0 Ivy seasons. In upcoming action, the Tigers will be facing Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. on Friday in the semis of the Ivy postseason tournament with the victor advancing to the title game a day later to play for a bid to the NCAA tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When Abby Meyers left the court last Friday evening in her final game at Jadwin Gym for the Princeton University women’s basketball team, she proceeded to go down the bench and hug each coach, teammate, manager, and trainer one by one.

“We have a tradition in the locker room where the seniors have to leave for an hour and all the juniors and underclassmen decorate our lockers with pictures and posters,” said senior guard Meyers.

“It is really beautiful, it is a really special day. It is about the seniors but it is really about the team. It is a great atmosphere. We were very happy and excited. We are having fun while we do it.”

Meyers had plenty of reason to be very happy and shower affection on her teammates as the evening was a highlight of a topsy-turvy journey for her. Meyers averaged 9.4 points coming off the bench as a freshman in 2017-18 and then took a year off from school in 2018-19. She returned to help Princeton win the 2019-20 Ivy League title, averaging 6.3 points in a reserve role before the postseason was canceled due to the global pandemic. Meyers was one of the few Tigers on campus last year after the season was canceled.

“With so many ups and downs, I came back to a program where we work our butts off and we win,” said Meyers, a 6’0 native of Potomac, Md. “It is the same result with different people and a different family. We are continuing the winning tradition here.”

Overcoming a slow start against Penn which saw the Tigers trailing 22-20 in the second quarter, Princeton showed that winning mentality, ending the half on a 13-0 run and never looking back on the way to a 69-43 win.

Meyers and her teammates enjoyed an extended post-game celebration as the win clinched the outright league crown for the Tigers. Getting showered with confetti, the Tigers received the Ivy trophy, cut down the net, and posed for a number of group photos. more

FISH STORY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse goalie Sam Fish guards the crease in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star Fish make eight saves, including a stop with six seconds left in regulation, to help Princeton edge Cornell 13-12 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 3-0 and ranked 10th nationally, were slated to play at No. 17 USC on March 8 and at San Diego State on March 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Sam Fish was an eighth grader watching wide-eyed the last time the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team made a West Coast trip. She was in the stands as the Tigers won back-to-back games over USC and San Diego State in 2014. Playing for Princeton wasn’t a thought.

“I was hoping that I could play at any school at any level,” said Fish. “I was really thinking I was going to play club in college.”

Fast forward eight years, and Fish was scheduled to start as the Tigers’ senior goalie, with 3-0 Princeton trying to remain perfect while duplicating the West Coast trip with games Tuesday at USC and Saturday at her hometown San Diego State, which has some of her friends on its roster.

“It means everything to me,” said Fish. “I remember this summer Coach (Chris) Sailer had given me a call and told me about the schedule. She said, ‘We’re going back to your home, we’re going back for you.’ That just meant everything to me. It was so great hearing that the coaches wanted to do that for me.”

Fish knows firsthand that the trip is also important to other budding lacrosse players out west. Princeton’s trip is a big deal to young impressionable players still in middle and high school. more

DOG DAY AFTERNOON: Princeton University women’s hockey player Dominique Cormier fires the puck up the ice in a game this season. Freshman defenseman Cormier picked up an assist in a losing cause as eighth-seeded Princeton fell 3-1 to second-seeded Yale in the ECAC Hockey semifinals last Friday afternoon in New Haven, Conn. The loss to the Bulldogs left the Tigers with a final record of 13-15-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

There was a lot on the line for the Princeton University hockey programs as last Friday dawned.

Coming off a stunning upset of top-seeded Harvard in an ECAC Hockey best-of-three quarterfinal series a week earlier, the eighth-seeded Princeton women’s hockey team was facing second-seeded Yale in the semis at New Haven, Conn. in an afternoon matinee.

Hours later, the 10th-seeded Tigers men’s squad was taking to the ice in Schenectady, N.Y., to play at seventh-seeded Union in the opening game of a best-of-three ECACH first round series.

In the early stages of their semifinal clash, the underdog Princeton women looked to be on the way to another upset, taking a 1-0 lead over the Bulldogs on a first-period goal by Mia Coene. But Yale answered back with two second period goals to forge ahead 2-1.

Over the last 20 minutes of the contest, the Tigers outshot Yale 8-3 but couldn’t break through, yielding an empty net goal in the waning moments of the contest to fall 3-1.

The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 13-15-5 but the future looks bright for the squad. While Princeton is losing four seniors in star goalie Rachel McQuigge along with forwards Shannon Griffin, Sharon Frankel, and Sarah Verbeek, it will return its three top scorers this season (Maggie Connors, Annie Kuehl, and Stef Wallace). In addition, the team should get a huge lift from the return of Sarah Filler, who took a year away from college to compete for the Canadian women’s team at the Beijing 2022 Olympics and starred as it won the gold medal.

As for the Tiger men, they were looking for a fresh start in the playoffs after struggling through a disappointing regular season campaign which saw them deal with COVID issues and injuries to key players. While Princeton came into the playoffs mired in a six-game losing streak, it was heartened by having gone 8-2 in its last 10 ECACH playoff contests, including winning the 2018 championship. more

GOLD STANDARD: Princeton University alum Declan Farmer ’20, who has earned two gold medals at the Paralympics playing for the United States men’s sled hockey team, is honored with a poster on the wall at Hobey Baker Rink. Farmer is currently competing for the U.S. squad at the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing as he goes after a third gold medal.

By Justin Feil

Declan Farmer returned to Princeton University a hero four years ago.

Then just a sophomore at the school, Farmer scored the game-tying goal with 38 seconds left in regulation and the game-winner 3:30 into overtime to help the United States men’s sled hockey team win defeat Canada 2-1 in the gold medal game at the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

“It was really cool,” said Farmer, a 2020 Princeton grad. “All my friends knew what I was doing. Word kind of spread. I had just joined Cottage eating club. A lot of the men’s hockey team is in Cottage, and they had just won their conference championship. They honored both of us at the first Sunday Funday of the year. It was cool. They had me bring my gold medal out. It was nice. It meant a lot.”

Farmer spent his final two years at Princeton beginning to lay the foundation for a return to this year’s Paralympics in Beijing, where he is seeking to win his third career gold medal. Farmer first won gold at Sochi in 2014 as a 16-year-old. Now at 24 he’s part of a veteran group leading the U.S., which is favored to win what would be their fourth straight Paralympics title.

“It’s definitely a lot different,” said Farmer, a native of Tampa, Fla. “The team seems a lot more mature. Everyone is generally older. There’s a big group of us who are all between 23 and 25, which is kind of weird. That’s the age of the ‘old guys’ on the team back in my first years on the team, the Sochi days. Everyone has grown up together in a way.” more

TUNNEL VISION: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey Abby Ashman eyes the puck as she gets ready to make a glove save last Thursday as PDS hosted Summit in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state semifinals. Junior Ashman made 20 saves in the contest to help the second-seeded Panthers edge third-seeded Summit 4-3 in overtime. On Monday, Ashman had 24 saves in a losing cause as PDS fell 7-0 to top-seeded Morristown-Beard in the state final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Before the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team faced Summit in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state semifinals last Thursday afternoon, Abby Ashman stood alone in a corner of McGraw Rink, staring intently at the ice and practicing her goalie moves.

“I am very serious about my play and I am very passionate about it,” said junior netminder Ashman, reflecting on her pregame routine. “I like to make sure that I am ready for every circumstance, any win or loss. I like to keep myself focused, tunnel vision as I call it.”

With second-seeded PDS having lost 2-1 to third-seeded Summit on January 11, Ashman was ready to turn the tables on the Hilltoppers.

“I am going to beat them,” said Ashman. “You may win once but you won’t win a second time. That is how it works with me.”

After yielding two goals in the first period, Ashman produced some very good work the rest of the way as PDS rallied for a 4-3 win in overtime. The victory earned the Panthers a trip to state girls’ title game at the Prudential Center in Newark for a clash on Monday with top-seeded Morristown-Beard.

“I love the intensity, I think that makes it more worthwhile,” said Ashman, who made 20 saves in the win.

“It is more fun to play when you don’t really know what is going to happen. You have to put more into it and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. We got a very good outcome out of this.”

The intensity of the contest, which saw PDS overcome 2-1 and 3-2 deficits, brought out the best in Ashman. more

ROCK AND ROLL: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey players, from left, Lauren Chase, Lily Ryan, and Logan Harrison celebrate a goal last Thursday as second-seeded PDS edged third-seeded Summit 4-3 in overtime in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state semis. The win earned the Panthers a trip to state girls’ title game at the Prudential Center in Newark for a clash on Monday with top-seeded Morristown-Beard. The afternoon at “The Rock” didn’t go as well for PDS as it fell 7-0 to the Crimson to finish the season at 14-6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last Monday, the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team ended the season exactly where it wanted to be.

After having won the state Prep title in early February, second-seeded PDS produced a second stirring tournament run, advancing to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state girls’ title game at the Prudential Center in Newark for a clash on Monday with top-seeded Morristown-Beard.

The Panthers, who had edged Mo-Beard 3-2 in the Prep semis on the way to that title, dug an early 2-0 hole in the rematch with the Crimson.

Although PDS trailed 2-0 heading into the second period, Panther head coach John Ritchie wasn’t fazed.

“I thought the first period, we just played nervous,” said Ritchie, whose program was making its first appearance in the NJSIAA state tourney.

“Looking at the deficit after the first period, it was still very manageable. It was only a two-goal game.”

But Mo-Beard responded with three unanswered goals in the second period and never looked back on the way to a 7-0 win.

“The backbreaker for us was the shorthanded goals that we gave up in the second on the 5-on-3s that we had consecutively,” said Ritchie, whose team ended the season with a 14-6 record.

Crimson star Leah Stecker, who is headed to Penn State, ended up dominating the game, tallying four goals and an assist. more

GRACEFUL EXIT: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Grace Rebak controls the puck in a game this year. Senior star defenseman and team captain Rebak helped PHS go 2-5-1 this winter. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High girls’ hockey team having lost 10-6 to Randolph in December, it looked like a case of déjà vu when the foes met for a rematch in late January.

PHS was trailing 4-1 entering the third period and seemed headed for defeat. Undeterred by the deficit, the Tigers fought back with four unanswered goals and pulled out a dramatic 5-4 victory.

“Coming off the ice, the parents were saying ‘coach, that was amazing,’” said PHS head coach Christian Herzog reflecting on the triumph which saw Cassie Speir score three goals and Cece Gibb add two.

“It was definite high point for the team, a highlight of the season for sure. They were whooping it up like they won the Cup.”

The Tigers brought a determined attitude into the contest.

“I said ladies, we have to play for what it is, you never know,” said Herzog. “A few bounces, they take us for granted and they make a bad move and we take advantage. That is pretty much what happened.”

Senior goalie Jadie Tome handled the bounces well against Randolph, making 31 saves in the victory and stepping up down the stretch of the game.

“That was the best eight minutes I have ever seen her play, she was getting peppered and peppered in the third period,” said Herzog.

“We killed one penalty with six-eight minutes left in the game. They pulled their goalie and we were having trouble getting it out of the zone.”

The victory over the Rams marked the second straight win for PHS as it had rolled to a 12-1 win over Westfield a week earlier.

“It is good to be on the other side for once,” said Herzog, who got four goals and one assist from Gibb in that victory with Speir and Grace Rebak both adding two goals and an assist and Carly Ruzich, Defne Arsoy, Maya Hagt, and Kayla Christopher each chipping in a goal. “It was nice to see some different players get goals.” more

March 2, 2022

By J-TRAIN: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jaelin Llewellyn dribbles upcourt in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, star guard Llewellyn enjoyed a special Senior Night, scoring 29 points to help Princeton defeat Harvard 74-67 in his final regular season game at Jadwin Gym. Two days later, Llewellyn scored 16 points to help the Tigers edge Harvard 74-73 as they improved to 21-5 overall and 11-2, clinching a share of the regular season league title. Princeton plays at Penn on March 5 in its regular season finale, looking to earn an outright league title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was Jaelin Llewellyn’s final home game for the Princeton University men’s basketball team and he was determined to make it an evening to remember.

“It was the last chance to play on this court and this court means lot to me,” said senior guard Llewellyn, a 6’2, 185-pound native of Mississauga, Ontario, reflecting on the ceremony to honor the program’s Class of 2022 at Jadwin Gym before Princeton hosted Harvard last Friday evening.

“I knew we were going to get a big crowd and a good turnout. It was just awesome to be on this court. I just wanted to do the best I could. I finally had an opportunity to have family here. It was a big night, just to have fun.”

Harvard had more fun in the first half of the contest, taking a 38-36 lead into intermission.

Despite the deficit, Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson liked where the Tigers stood.

“They had maybe three turnovers; they had no fouls committed, I haven’t seen that much,” said Henderson. “I came in halftime and said we are all right. Let’s go, we have been down 14 here all season. These games are good for us, we are learning how to win.”

In the second half, Llewellyn carried the Tigers to a 74-67 win, pouring in 20 points in the second half to end the evening with 29.

“When we didn’t have a shot to make, Jaelin made them tonight,” said Henderson of Llewellyn, who chipped in six rebounds and three assists in the victory. “He was just terrific. He put us on his back and he carried us throughout the course of the game. What a performance on Senior Night.” more