November 23, 2022

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Princeton University men’s water polo head coach Dustin Litvak (kneeling) makes a point to his players earlier this fall. Last Sunday, No. 8, Princeton defeated No. 18 St. Francis Brooklyn 13-8 in the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) championship game. The Tigers, now 26-5, will host Fordham on November 26 in the NCAA Opening Round Game 1. The victor will then face Southern California on December 1 in Berkeley, Calif., in the NCAA Opening Round Game 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

The Princeton University men’s water polo team pulled off a historic repeat, but there are bigger goals ahead.

Last Sunday, No. 8 Princeton captured the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) championship with a 13-8 win over No. 18 St. Francis Brooklyn in Providence, R.I. to repeat as conference winners for the first time in program history. The Tigers will open the NCAA tournament play by hosting Fordham in Opening Round Game 1 on Saturday at DeNunzio Pool. The winner will play Southern California on December 1 in Berkeley, Calif., in the NCAA Opening Round Game 2.

The trip to the NCAAs gives the Tigers, now 26-5, a chance to add to their 12-game winning streak that includes a win over once-No. 1 Stanford.

“The biggest thing for us is going to be staying healthy and staying hungry and understanding we have a great opportunity not just to win the conference this year but do something that’s never been done before and compete for a national championship,” said Princeton head coach Dustin Litvak. “That’s really motivating the guys.”

Princeton started the weekend with a 12-7 NWPC semifinal win over host Brown on Saturday followed by the strong performance in the title game against St. Francis.

In the final, Princeton jumped out to a 3-0 first quarter lead on goals by Ryan Neapole, Roko Pozaric and Yurian Quinones. Neapole scored another goal to start the second quarter, and the Tigers used strong goalkeeping from Antonio Knez to sustain their lead while getting goals any time St. Francis started to whittle away at Princeton’s advantage. Vladan Mitrovic, Joan Coloma, George Caras, and Keller Maloney also scored in a balanced attack.

“We knew if we played to our ability, we’d have a really good shot,” said Litvak. “I think we have a really deep team this year and that enabled us to rotate a lot of players in and out of games. And we only had to play two games this weekend instead of some teams having to play three. We’re just a little deeper than St. Francis. I think that paid off in the end. We expected to play well. We’re really happy for the guys that they were able to get it done and keep playing.” more

HEADING HOME: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan drives to the basket in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star Evbuomwan tallied 11 points with six rebounds and five assists to help Princeton defeat Marist 62-55. Evbuomwan, a native of Newcastle, England, is heading home this week as the Tigers, now 2-2, will be competing in the London Basketball Classic. The Tigers will face Army on November 24 in the opener of the tournament with the victor advancing to the final against either Northeastern or Manhattan on November 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While millions of Americans will be headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, the Princeton University men’s basketball team is jetting across the Atlantic Ocean to play in the London Basketball Classic.

After falling to Hofstra (83-77 on November 7) and Navy (74-73 on November 11) to start the season, Princeton will be bringing a two-game winning streak into its battle of Britain, having topped UMBC and then topping Marist 62-55 last Saturday.

Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson likes where his team is at as it goes across the pond to an event which will see it face Army on November 24 in the opener with the victor advancing to the final against either Northeastern or Manhattan on November 26.

“We played really well, we needed a game where we came unstuck on making some shots,” said Henderson, referring to the win over UMBC which saw Princeton shoot 57.8 percent from the floor (37-64) and 63.2 percent from the three-point line (12-19). “We guarded well, that is where we made the difference. We did the same thing on Saturday, we were able to guard. We didn’t play great on Saturday, that is a tough one on the road. John Dunne is a terrific coach. Those are really good wins.”

Princeton sorely needed those wins after the setbacks to Hofstra and Navy. more

NO QUIT: Princeton University men’s hockey player Noah de la Durantaye brings the puck up the ice in recent action. Sophomore defensemen de la Durantaye scored the lone goal for Princeton as it fell 4-1 to No. 4 Quinnipiac last Friday night. A day later, the Tigers lost 4-1 in a rematch with the Bobcats to move to 2-5 overall and 2-5 ECAC Hockey. The Tigers will play a two-game set at RIT this weekend with contests slated for November 25 and 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden 

After losing its first three games of the season, the Princeton University men’s hockey team got on the winning track with a pair of shutout wins over Yale and Brown.

“The first couple of weeks at Harvard and home with Cornell and Colgate, I was trying to find out what the identity was of our players and now I know their identity,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty, whose team blanked Yale 3-0 on November 11 and edged Brown 1-0 a day later. “Now it is just building upon it and getting better. We are tough to play against, not just gritty. Our turnover ratio for full possession turnovers in the defensive zone has dramatically decreased where we are not giving second chances. That was a primary focus coming into the season, being quicker on our outlets and getting out of our zone.”

Princeton displayed its toughness against last Friday evening as it hosted No. 4 Quinnipiac, falling 4-1 to the high-powered Bobcats despite outshooting them 23-18.

“It was just clog the neutral zone, finish checks, and just be back on top of the third guy, they are a heavily skilled team,” said Fogarty, who got a third period goal from sophomore defenseman Noah de la Durantaye in the defeat. “I thought we did a really good job of that. They haven’t been held to 18 shots all year or five in one period. I thought we played well tonight.”

Princeton fought hard to generate shots against Quinnipiac but didn’t get the bounces. more

November 9, 2022

CLOSE SHAVE: Princeton University football player A.J. Barber runs upfield in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore receiver Barber made a career-high seven receptions for 50 yards to help Princeton edge Dartmouth 17-14 to remain undefeated. The No. 16 Tigers, now 8-0 overall and 5-0 Ivy League, play at Yale (6-2 overall, 4-1 Ivy) on November 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As one of the captains for the Princeton University football team, Uche Ndukwe looks to fire up his teammates.

“I am just another cog in the machine; we have a lot of great players on this defense and a lot of guys I respect so much and make me feel so much more confident,” said senior defensive lineman Ndukwe, a 6’4, 270- pound native of Dedham, Mass. “When I am playing, I just try to rally the troops and get everyone excited to come out.”

Sophomore receiver A.J Barber, for his part, has emerged as an important cog for the Princeton offense after stepping in for the injured Jo Jo Hawkins in a 35-19 win over Brown on October 14.

“Jo Jo Hawkins went down and it was that next man up mentality,” said the 5’8, 170-pound Barber, who hails from Old Greenwich, Conn. “When my name was called, I was ready because of all the preparation we do.”

Showing that he was ready to perform, Barber made an 8-yard touchdown catch against the Bears.


KEY PERFORMER: Princeton University men’s basketball player Keeshawn Kellman, right, dribbles the ball last Monday against Hofstra. Senior forward Kellman scored a career-high 21 points on a losing cause as Princeton fell 83-77 to the Pride in its season opener. In upcoming action, the Tigers play at Navy on November 11 in the Veteran’s Classic, at Marist on November 19, and at Army on November 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After being hampered by injury and playing in only eight games last winter for the Princeton University men’s basketball team, Keeshawn Kellman decided to remake his body and his game.

“I focused on a lot of conditioning,” said Kellman, a native of Allentown, Pa., who spent the spring and summer with his nose to the grindstone. “I was very overweight at the end of the season and that was one of the points of emphasis that I had. I thought that just doing that alone would help my overall game along with finishing around the basket. Also just my IQ with watching basketball, things like that.”

Last Monday, as Princeton hosted Hofstra in its season opener, the chiseled 6’9, 240-pound senior forward Kellman showed the fruits of that labor. He scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-9 shooting with five rebounds and two blocked shots in 26 minutes of action.

Kellman’s heroics helped Princeton build a 76-71 lead with 2:43 left in regulation but the Tigers squandered that advantage, falling 83-77 to the Pride.

While the loss stung, Kellman was happy to finally return to the starting lineup for the Tigers.


FAMILY BUSINESS: Princeton University men’s hockey player Liam Gorman controls the puck against Colgate last Saturday. Senior forward and captain Gorman tallied a goal and an assist but it wasn’t enough as Princeton fell 4-3 in overtime to the Raiders. Gorman is filling a family tradition playing the Tigers as his father, Sean ’91, was star and a captain for the Tigers and his younger brother, Brendan, is a freshman forward for Princeton. The Tigers, now 0-3, play at Yale on November 11 and at Brown on November 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Liam Gorman, playing for the Princeton University men’s hockey team is a family affair.

Gorman’s father, Sean ’91, was star and a captain for the Tigers. This winter, Gorman’s younger brother, Brendan, has joined the program as a freshman forward.

Last Saturday as Princeton hosted Colgate and held its annual Senior Night, Gorman’s parents were on hand at Hobey Baker Rink to see their sons in action.

For Gorman, following in his father’s footsteps as one of the captains for the Tigers is particularly meaningful.

“It is a huge honor, especially after my father being a captain here,” said Gorman, a 6’3, 199-pound native of Arlington, Mass. “It is really cool, continuing that legacy is something I am really proud of.”

Having his brother add to the family legacy has also been cool.


November 2, 2022

LOOKING FORWARD: Princeton University women’s basketball player Julia Cunningham looks to pass the ball in a game last season. Senior star Cunningham figures to be a key performer for Princeton his season. The Tigers tip off their 2022-23 campaign by hosting Temple on November 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Julia Cunningham is accustomed to big expectations with the Princeton University women’s basketball team.

The stakes feel even higher for the senior and her Tiger teammates, but maybe it’s only from the outside after they became the first Ivy League team to garner an AP preseason top-25 ranking. Last month, Princeton was selected as No. 24 after returning all but one starter from last year’s 25-5 team that reached the NCAA tournament second round. They face a loaded non-conference schedule that begins with them hosting Temple on November 7.

“Looking at the rankings is great, and we’re making history in that regard, but I think we take that in and appreciate it for the time being, but then we realize it puts a big target on our back going into non-conference play,” said star guard Cunningham, a 5’11 native of Watchung. “It means a lot for teams to beat a Top 25 team. Looking at it from that perspective, I think it also makes us pretty hungry and competitive.”

In the first week of the season, they will host Temple and then Villanova on November 11. They are focusing on a strong start and trying not to look ahead to marquee matchups at Texas on November 27 and at UConn on December 8. Seven of the non-conference games will send Princeton on the road, starting with a test at Seton Hall on November 14.

“It’s another really tough one but that’s what we want to do,” said Princeton coach Carla Berube, who guided the Tigers to a 25-5 overall record and 14-0 Ivy League last winter on the way to winning the Ivy postseason tournament and upsetting Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Indiana in the next round.

“We want to play against the best that we can and really see where we’re at. Through tough games, it shows where your weaknesses are so we can be where we want to be come March. Just starting with Temple and Villanova and Seton Hall, they’re all really strong teams and programs so we’re going to be tested early on. That’s what we want. We want to be battle-tested so we’re ready for the Ivy League and beyond. We’re looking forward to it. I’m sure people are looking at UConn and Texas but we’re looking at Temple and that’s all that matters.” more

OH YES: Princeton University women’s hockey player Emerson O’Leary (No. 10) battles a Colgate player for the puck last Friday night in the season opener for Princeton. The Tigers fell 5-1 to No. 4 Colgate. A night later, freshman forward O’Leary tallied her first career goal as No. 10 Princeton lost 3-1 to Cornell. In upcoming action, the Tigers play at Brown on November 4 and at Yale on November 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The hockey gods didn’t smile on the Princeton University women’s hockey team as it hosted Colgate and Cornell last weekend to start its 2022-23 campaign.

On Friday, 10th-ranked Princeton outshot No. 4 Colgate 28-26 only to fall 5-1 as the Raiders scored three unanswered goals in the third period. A night later, the Tigers built a 34-28 edge in shots against No. 8 Cornell but ended up losing 3-1.

“On both nights we outshot and out chanced opponents that are ranked higher than us and the puck did not bounce the way we needed it to bounce,” said Princeton head coach Cara Morey. “That is the difference in the scores.”

While Morey was disappointed by the results in the two games, she is optimistic going forward.

“The message to the team was be patient and keep buying in,” added Morey. “I thought we outplayed both teams. The offense is going to click. A lot of those scoring chances that didn’t go in the net are going to start going in the net. That will be the difference.”

Princeton’s two star forwards, junior Sarah Fillier and senior Maggie Connors, generated a lot of the shots over the weekend but only had a goal by Fillier, a Canadian Olympian and gold medal winner, on Friday to show for their efforts.

“It is going to happen,” said Morey. “Sarah had a breakaway both days so I am sure that for her, she is probably thinking about those a lot. Those are going to go in. It is just buying in and knowing that we have got to play with the long game.”

Freshman Emerson O’Leary showed some game on Saturday, scoring her first career goal on a breakaway as Princeton made it a 1-1 game in the second period. more

TO THE HOOP: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan looks to get a shot off in the point during a game last season. Senior star Evbuomwan, the Ivy League Player of the Year last winter, is primed to produce a big final campaign for the Tigers. Princeton tips off its 2022-23 campaign by hosting Hofstra on November 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Mitch Henderson, paying attention to detail figures to be a key to success this winter for his Princeton University men’s basketball team.

“We have to be able to play with poise but also there is a focus on the littlest things that make a team go that are rarely obvious when you are playing,” said Princeton head coach Henderson, who guided the Tigers to a 23-7 record last winter as it won the Ivy League regular season title and made the NIT. “The main thing I want to see is can we take that step forward on doing the littlest things — a deflection, a difference in a half step defensively, getting your hands on a ball that maybe you should not have gotten. I think we will be able to make shots and we will be able to score around the rim.”

With Princeton hosting Hofstra on November 7 in its season opener, Henderson believes his squad has been taking steps forward.

“Preseason for us is a really short in one way because we lost a lot of pieces from a year ago so we have to piece together what works in practice,” said Henderson. “We are really itching to get going. I love working with the team, they have been responsive, focused. There is a lot of humility with the group. It is led by Tosan Evbuomwan, Ryan Langborg, and Matt Allocco. They have been around, they have seen it, and they know what to do.”

Princeton will be depending on the one-two punch of senior Langborg (10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds a game in 2021-22) and junior Allocco (4.1 points, 2.8 rebounds) to lead the way at guard.

“Starting with Matt and Ryan in the backcourt, they are two veterans who have played in really significant games,” said Henderson. “It is time for them to take over. Year to year, it is just time for the next group to take a big step.” more

SEEING RED: Princeton University football player Matt Jester shows his intensity last Saturday as the Tigers hosted Cornell. Senior linebacker Jester returned a botched Big Red two-point conversion 100 yards to help Princeton win 35-9. The No. 22 Tigers, now 7-0 overall and 4-0 Ivy League, host Dartmouth (2-5 overall, 1-3 Ivy) on November 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University football team having given up a touchdown to visiting Cornell in the third quarter last Saturday to see its lead shrink to 19-9 and the Big Red going for a two-point conversion, it looked like the tide could be turning against the Tigers.

But Princeton senior linebacker Matt Jester turned the tables on Cornell, picking off a deflected pass on the PAT in the end zone and sprinting 105 yards down the sideline, hurdling a Big Red player in the process, to put Princeton up 21-9.

“Liam [Johnson] tipped that to me, props to him; I caught it in stride and did my best to get as much as I could,” said Jester, whose scoring jaunt made the ESPN College Football Final’s top five plays of the day. “I was able to get the sideline and got two points for our team so that was good feeling. That (hurdling) was just heat of the moment, that is what I decided to do.”

The Tigers never looked back from there, pulling away to a 35-9 win before a homecoming crowd of 7,652 at Princeton Stadium, improving to 7-0 overall and 4-0 Ivy League. Princeton ended the day as the only undefeated Ivy team as Penn fell 34-31 to Brown to stop to 6-1 overall, 3-1 Ivy.

Supplementing Jester’s takeaway, Princeton forced five turnovers on the day with four interceptions and a recovered fumble.

“Turnovers are always the goals, five of them, that was a really awesome feeling,” said Jester, a 6’4, 250-pound native of Spring, Texas. “Half the turnovers don’t happen if the other 10 guys on the team aren’t doing their job. It takes 11 guys to win any game on defense. You like to see that everybody is eating and everybody is making plays. Everybody shares the burden of making plays. I can always count on those guys to do their job and I hope that they can count on me.” more

October 26, 2022

FLYING HAWAIIAN: Princeton University receiver Andrei Iosivas races past a Harvard defender last season. On Friday, senior star Iosivas, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, made nine catches for a career-high 176 yards and one touchdown as Princeton routed Harvard 37-10. The No. 22 Tigers, now 6-0 overall and 3-0 Ivy League, host Cornell (4-2 overall, 1-2 Ivy). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University football team filed on to the field last Friday night at Harvard Stadium, the players had to duck their heads to get through the low doorway at the venerable arena constructed in 1903.

“It is a coliseum. When they built it, the tackles were 5’3,” said Princeton head coach Bob Surace with a chuckle. “It is awesome, it is historic. You go in and you feel like warriors on the field.”

Over the next three hours, Princeton played like warriors against Harvard, leaving the field with their heads held high after they routed the Crimson 37-10 before a crowd of 10,793.

Princeton didn’t waste time showing its intent, going for fourth and one at its own 34 on its first possession and getting the first when freshman running back Ryan Butler gained three yards.

“That has been a pretty consistent approach, we did it at the end of the Monmouth game last year,” said Surace, whose team improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 Ivy League and is now ranked No. 22 nationally in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Coaches’ Poll.

“I want our players knowing that we are going to go after them. It is not just because I think we are going to get it. There are going to be times when you get stopped and you have confidence in your defense. If you don’t have a good defense then you don’t do it.” more

CRIMSON TIDE: Princeton University field hockey player Hannah Davey races up the field last Sunday as No. 10 Princeton defeated 15th-ranked Harvard 4-2 in a duel of Ivy League front-runners. Senior midfielder and co-captain Davey contributed two assists in the victory over the Crimson as Princeton moved to 11-4 overall and 5-0 Ivy. The Tigers host Brown on October 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was a duel of Ivy League front-runners when the 10th-ranked Princeton University field hockey team hosted No. 15 Harvard last Sunday at high noon.

Both squads entered the contest at 4-0 Ivy and with Princeton having lost in a penalty shootout last year to the Crimson to finish second, the Tigers were primed to turn the tables on their rival.

“We went into it with great positivity and energy,” said Princeton senior star midfielder and co-captain Hannah Davey. “We knew exactly what we needed to do.”

The Tigers displayed that energy right away, tallying three unanswered goals in the first quarter as Grace Schulze, Beth Yeager, and Sam Davidson each found the back of the cage in the first quarter as the Tigers built a 3-0 lead.

“To score the first goal was great,” said Davey, a 5’7 native of Derbyshire, England. “To get the next two it was brilliant.”

Davey picked up the assist to Schulze on first goal, slotting the ball to her on the end line. more

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 19, 2022

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

By Justin Feil

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 12, 2022

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 5, 2022

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bill Alden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRAND OPENING: Princeton University women’s soccer player Pietra Tordin races to goal last Sunday as Princeton hosted Dartmouth in the first game played at the new Roberts Stadium. Freshman forward Tordin made history, scoring the first-ever goal in the stadium with a first half tally. Tordin added an assist in the second half as Princeton prevailed 2-0. The Tigers, now 7-4 overall and 1-1 Ivy League, host Brown on October 8. (Photo by Shelley Szwast, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

A windswept downpour pounded the pitch last Sunday as the Princeton University women’s soccer team hosted Dartmouth in the first-ever game played in the new Roberts Stadium.

The inclement weather, though, didn’t dampen the spirits of the Princeton players as they looked to break in their new home.

“It was our first game here, so we were all really hyped for it,” said Tiger freshman forward Pietra Tordin. “We just wanted to give it all we have got and that is what we did.”

Tordin was hyped to make history, tallying the first-ever goal in the new venue, finding the back of the net 6:14 into the contest as the Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

“I saw an opportunity to break through, take the defender and finish it,” said the drenched yet smiling Tordin, a native of Doral, Fla. “It means so much. Coming in as a freshman, it is just insane.”

Later in the game, Tordin seized opportunity again, setting up a goal by Heather MacNab with 2:12 left in regulation for the final tally of the day as Princeton won 2-0, improving to 7-4 overall and 1-1 Ivy League.

“I saw the turn and I saw Lily [Bryant] running through and slipped it in and it went through to Heather [MacNab],” said Tordin.

With the Tigers having lost 1-0 to Yale on September 24 in its Ivy opener, getting the win over the Big Green was critical. more

September 28, 2022

STANDING TALL: Princeton University quarterback Blake Stenstrom gets ready to fire a pass last Saturday against visiting Lehigh. Senior Stenstrom hit 25-of-34 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown as Princeton defeated Lehigh 29-17 in its home opener. The Tigers, now 2-0, open Ivy League action by playing at Columbia (2-0) on October 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last fall, Blake Stenstrom and Liam Johnson were part of the supporting cast as the Princeton University football team rolled to a share of the Ivy League title.

This season, senior quarterback Stenstrom and junior linebacker Johnson have earned leading roles for the Tigers and are emerging as stars.

Last Saturday as Princeton defeated visiting Lehigh 29-17 in its home opener to improve to 2-0, Stenstrom hit on 25-of-34 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown while Johnson made a team-high 10 tackles.

After a bit of a shaky start against the Mountain Hawks, Stenstrom got into a groove.

“There were some challenges that we faced and mistakes we made in the first half,” said Stenstrom who was the backup quarterback in 2021, appearing in five games, completing five passes for 44 yards along with 68 yards rushing and two touchdowns. “Some things didn’t go our way. In the end, we figured it out a little bit and came back with a stronger second half.”

Utilizing Princeton’s crew of skill players, Stenstrom spread the ball around. Senior receiver Andrei Iosivas made seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown while senior Dylan Classi had seven receptions for 110 yards, junior JoJo Hawkins made five catches for 34 yards, and senior tight end Carson Bobo had four receptions for 22 yards.

“We are blessed to have a lot of talent all over the field on this team,” said Stenstrom. “Whether it is tight ends, receivers or running backs, I don’t feel any doubt when I throw the ball to these guys. It is fantastic.” more

BRINGING IT HOME: Princeton University women’s soccer Kamryn Loustau, right, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, Loustau and the Tigers had a tough night in Connecticut as they fell 1-0 at Yale in the Ivy League opener for both teams. Princeton, now 5-4 overall and 0-1 Ivy, will be resuming league play on October 1 when it hosts Dartmouth in the first game to be held at the new Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

If Extreme Makeover: Stadium Edition existed, the Princeton University women’s soccer team would be the perfect subject.

The Tigers have been intentionally avoiding even looking toward Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium as Princeton completes a rebuild of the team’s new home that it will share with the men’s team.

“We’ll get on the bus and we’ll drive by it and everyone will look the opposite direction,” said Princeton head coach Sean Driscoll. “No one has actually really seen what it looks like to my knowledge and they’ve all been steadfast with that. I think come Wednesday or Thursday when we unveil it for our first session they’re going to be buzzing and that’s what I want. There are so few surprises in life, I want this to be something really memorable for the team.”

The Tigers will get the big reveal in their first practice at the new stadium this week. They are hoping they can jumpstart the second half of their season when they host Dartmouth on October 1 at 1 p.m. in their first game at the new venue.

“Not getting the result we wanted, I do think it’s perfect timing to find a new home, to establish a new identity potentially and take very seriously the opportunity to start brand new because the stadium has no results in it,” said Driscoll. “It has no wins, has no losses, has no draws, has nothing. That’s for us to create.”

Princeton dropped its Ivy League opener at Yale, 1-0, last Saturday to fall to 5-4 overall. The Tigers have lost four of their last six games going into Tuesday’s scheduled non-conference game at Bucknell as they face a short turnaround.  more

CAT FIGHT: Princeton University field hockey player Beth Yeager, left, battles for the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, sophomore star Yeager picked up an assist as the seventh-ranked Tigers fell 3-2 in overtime to Lafayette. The loss to the Leopards moved Princeton to 5-4 overall. The Tigers, who had started the weekend by edging Penn 2-1 on Friday in their Ivy League opener, play at Yale on September 30 and at Connecticut on October 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After it was over, the Lafayette College field hockey players bounded across Bedford Field to soak in the cheers of their supporters.

Meanwhile, the seventh-ranked Princeton University squad trudged back to their bench, heads down as they processed falling 3-2 in overtime to a Lafayette team that brought a 2-7 record into the contest.

While the weekend had started on a high note for the Tigers as they had edged Penn 2-1 on Friday in their Ivy League opener, Princeton head coach Carla Tagliente sensed trouble on the horizon.

“We had some carry over from Friday, we didn’t come out and play our best,” said Tagliente, whose club fell to 5-4 overall with the setback to the Leopards. “We weren’t connecting, there was little bit of low energy and not executing. I think that was a byproduct of Friday. We Band-Aided it up with a win. I think this was bound to happen at some point here.”

In the loss to Lafayette, the Tigers generated enough opportunities to win, outshooting the Leopards 21-7 in regulation. Princeton took a 1-0 lead late in the first quarter on a goal by Zoe Shepard and then forged ahead 2-1 with 2:47 left in regulation on a penalty stroke by Sam Davidson. Lafayette, though, responded, with a goal 15 seconds later to force overtime and got the game-winner 4:42 into the extra session.

“There was a flukey play, they threw an overhead,” said Tagliente, referring to Lafayette’s second tally. “Overtime is a crapshoot with seven versus seven. You can have a lucky break, or one person’s individual skill can make the difference, it is what it is. You don’t want to put it to that point where you are rolling the dice.” more

September 21, 2022

OPEN THROTTLE: Princeton University football player John Volker races upfield in a 2021 game. Last Saturday, sophomore running back Volker rushed for 32 yards and a touchdown as Princeton defeated Stetson 39-14 in its season opener. Princeton is hosting Lehigh (1-2) on September 24 in its home opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is a tried-and-true principle of football that a team makes its biggest improvement from game one to game two.

As the Princeton University football team opened its 2022 season at Stetson last Saturday in DeLand, Fla., it sped up the process, displaying improvement within the contest.

After a sloppy start which saw the Tigers fall behind 14-7 on a rain-soaked field at Spec Martin Municipal Stadium, the Tigers tightened up on defense and the offense got rolling as they pulled away to a 39-14 win.

Princeton head coach Bob Surace acknowledged that his squad struggled at the outset with the damp conditions.

“It was pouring, there were so many mishandled balls on both sides where they made an error,” said Surace.

“It is Florida, you have to be prepared. They had towels for the balls and you rotate four balls in the first half. By the second half, you are catching medicine balls.”

The emotions of opening day led to some jumpy play by the Tigers with some false starts.  more

BEN THERE, DONE THAT: Princeton University men’s soccer player Ben Bograd controls the ball in recent action. Senior Bograd has helped anchor the backline for the Tigers this fall as they have gotten off to a 1-2-1 start. Princeton, which fell 3-1 at Fairfield last Saturday, hosts Rider on September 23 before playing at St. John’s on September 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

All the analytics said that the Princeton University men’s soccer team had the upper hand on Fairfield last Saturday evening.

The scoreboard said otherwise. The Tigers suffered a 3-1 loss at Fairfield to follow up an incredible team effort that led to a 2-1 win at Penn State the week earlier.

“I think we’ve been pretty inconsistent through the first four games,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow after falling to 1-2-1 heading into Tuesday’s scheduled game against Loyola.

“There are certain parts of our game that haven’t progressed enough, especially defending the restarts.”

The first two goals by Fairfield came off restarts and their third came on a counterattack after a Princeton corner kick, one of numerous scoring chances that the Tigers created. Princeton has gotten better through the early season at creating chances, and is hoping to finish more of them in the upcoming stretch. Princeton fired seven more shots than did Fairfield and held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.

“When you look at the stats of the Fairfield game, it was arguably our best game in terms of time of possession in their end and chances created,” said Barlow.

“When you look at the data analytics from that game, the expected goals were two goals more than Fairfield, but we still ended up losing. From that standpoint, it’s been a little bit frustrating.”

Princeton opened the season with a 1-1 tie against Rutgers, then fell to Vermont, 2-0, despite outshooting the Catamounts, 16-8.

“In both of our losses, we outshot our opponent pretty significantly and conceded goals that we felt like you just can’t concede if you expect to win a college soccer game,” said Barlow.  more

September 14, 2022

POINTING AHEAD: Princeton University football head coach Bob Surace directs things in a game last fall. Surace guided Princeton to 9-1 overall record and 6-1 Ivy League last fall to tie Dartmouth for the league title and earn its fourth Ivy crown in the last eight seasons. The Tigers kick off their 2022 campaign by playing at Stetson (2-0) on September 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The analytics from practice tells Bob Surace that his Princeton University football team is getting up to speed as it prepares for the 2022 campaign.

“We are doing a lot of measurements, we wear these straps that show our speed and distances,” said Princeton head coach Surace, whose team kicks off the season by heading south to play at Stetson (2-0) on September 17. “When I look at numbers and data, it is whoa, we have this many guys running over 20 miles per hour. We have had some really good teams, but we have not been that athletic that way which is good.”

Along with that speed, the Tigers are bringing intensity to their preseason camp.

“Our running to the ball, our pursuit, our effort, they are doing a great job with that and that is a good sign,” said Surace, whose team went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy League last fall to tie Dartmouth for the league title and earn its fourth Ivy crown in the last eight seasons.

“We are putting more plays in as we are doing more scheme. The fact that their effort level is there and they are doing a good job sticking together with things is really nice. I think we are coming around really well. We had a true spring ball this year, we missed it last year. Both of our skill groups are really running well. We are deep on the lines, the competitiveness on the lines has been really good.”

While there is plenty to be optimistic about, Surace acknowledges that there are areas of concern. more

HAWAIIAN PUNCH: Andrei Iosivas displays his form as a multi-event star for the Princeton University track team, left, and as a standout wide receiver for the Tiger football squad. Senior Iosivas, a 6’3, 200-pound native of Honolulu, Hawaii, is looking to get his final college campaign on the gridiron off to a good start as the Tigers play at Stetson on September 17 in their season opener. (Track photo provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics, football photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Joining the Princeton University football team in 2018, wide receiver Andrei Iosivas soaked up lessons from such veteran stars as Jesper Horsted and Stephen Carlson.

“When I was a freshmen, those were the guys I looked up to a lot,” said Iosivas, a 6’3, 200-pound native of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Following in their footsteps, Iosivas has emerged as a go-to receiver for the Tigers. After playing on the junior varsity on 2018 as a freshman, Iosivas moved up to the varsity the next year and made 18 receptions for 263 yards and four touchdowns. Iosivas took a gap year when the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID concerns. Last fall, Iosivas produced a breakout season, making 41 catches for 703 yards and five touchdowns, earning second-team All-Ivy League honors as the Tigers went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy, tying Dartmouth for the league title.

With Princeton opening its 2022 season by playing at Stetson on September 17, Iosivas has assumed a leadership role similar to what he experienced with Horsted and Carlson.

“Those guys have made me want to be who I am today,” said Iosivas, who is one of seven team captains for the Tigers this fall along with Carson Bobo, Henry Byrd, Dylan Classi, Matthew Jester, Uche Ndukwe, and Michael Ruttlen Jr.

“Now that I see me where they were, it is nice to see how some of the younger guys look at me and what I do. They ask me questions and it is nice to see that I am in that role. Me and Dylan are in that role; we always try to help out the younger guys.”

A key step in his development came when Iosivas spent much of his year away from Princeton concentrating on honing the fine points of playing wide receiver. more