May 18, 2022

TOURNAMENT TOUGH: Hun School baseball player Ryan DiMaggio fires a pitch in a game last season. Last Wednesday, senior star DiMaggio struck out 14 and allowed only one earned run to help second-seeded Hun defeat 10th-seeded Lawrenceville 3-2 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. The Raiders were slated to face sixth-seeded WW/P-South in the MCT semis on May 17 with the victor advancing to the final on May 19. In addition, Hun, who improved to 18-2 with an 8-2 win over St. Joseph (Metuchen) last Sunday, will be competing in the state Prep A tournament where they are hosting Pingry in an opening round game on May 18. The final rounds of the double-elimination tourney are slated for May 21-22 at Lawrenceville. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Ryan DiMaggio impressed early in a scrimmage to set the bar high for the season and the Hun School senior lefty pitcher has lived up to those expectations.

Last Wednesday, DiMaggio struck out 14 and allowed only one earned run to keep the Raiders in striking distance before they manufactured a seventh-inning three-run rally to pull out a 3-2 win over rival Lawrenceville in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals to keep their title shot alive.

“I think it means a ton,” said Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto, reflecting on the team’s quest to win the county tournament.

“It’s something we’ve never been able to do at our school. Peers at our school — other teams — have been able to accomplish it and we’ve never been able to. There are things that make it a little more difficult for prep teams. Our state tournament is always sandwiched in the middle of this and we’re not able to play any of our fifth-year guys. Those are things that make it a little bit more difficult for us. No excuses, we’ve never been able to get it done. So I think this means a ton to our guys. It’s something they really, really, really want. It’s something that we talk about in the beginning of the year, it’s something we talk about as the year goes on. Our guys have friends on all the different teams in the county. We want to win this as much as we want to win anything.”

Hun has not had to produce a late rally this year like it did against Lawrenceville, a team it defeated 14-2 and 4-1 in previous meetings this season. The Raiders had to battle back when they were trailing 2-0 entering the seventh inning and down to their final three outs.

“I think one of the things that helped us win that game was the fact that I don’t think anybody in our dugout believed that we weren’t going to win that game,” said Monfiletto. more

May 11, 2022

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) recently unveiled its latest community mural on the corner of Spring and Witherspoon streets. Designed and painted by Fiona Chinkan, the colorful work celebrating spring is the ACP’s sixth public art piece at that location. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

As discussion and debate over the question of retail cannabis in Princeton continue in the public and private spheres of the community, Princeton Council is preparing to host a virtual special meeting on the subject on Tuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. 

Council will be in listening mode again at the session. Members of the public who had their hands raised but did not have a chance to speak at the last cannabis meeting on March 29 will have the first opportunity to speak. There were about 345 in attendance on March 29, with about 35 still waiting to speak when the four-hour meeting finally ended at about 11 p.m.

Mayor Mark Freda and Council members have been enthusiastic about the level of community participation and engagement, as they attempt to process the wide range of input and perspectives before beginning deliberations over whether to create an ordinance to allow a cannabis dispensary in Princeton.

If time permits, additional participants will have an opportunity to speak at the May 17 meeting, but only those members of the public who had their hands up when the March 29 meeting ended are guaranteed that opportunity. A Zoom link for the meeting will be provided at

New Jersey voted in a November 2020 referendum to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis in the state. Under the subsequent legalization law, municipalities were empowered to make the decision whether to allow retail sales and to control the cannabis businesses in their towns.

Princeton Council initially opted not to allow dispensaries in town pending further study and discussion, and it created an ad hoc advisory body, the Cannabis Task Force (CTF), which, in November 2021, recommended that Council pass an ordinance allowing up to three cannabis retail establishments. more

By Anne Levin and Don Gilpin

As of Monday, landscapers and homeowners will have to care for their lawns without the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. May 16 marks the end of a 90-day grace period allowing residents and landscapers time to adapt to new regulations established by an ordinance Princeton Council adopted last fall.

The ordinance bans usage of the equipment from now until October, when it is lifted for two months during peak fall season. The ban resumes in mid-December and runs through the following March, when the cycle begins again.

Council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance after nearly a year of deliberations by Sustainable Princeton, Quiet Princeton, the Princeton Environmental Commission, and the Board of Health. The goal is not only to protect the environment, but also the health of landscaping workers.

“It went into effect in October, but this is the first time people will really be forced to change,” said Councilwoman Eve Niedergang, who led the effort. “The dates we decided on were determined with the input of the landscaping community — when they absolutely need the gas leaf blowers, and when can they manage without them. We tried to do this in an equitable way, bringing in all the parties involved.”

While gas-powered leaf blowers are subject to the changes, gas-powered and battery-powered mowers can be used year-round. The rules allow them Mondays-Fridays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.; and Sundays and named holidays from 1-6 p.m.

The ordinance encourages landscapers to replace gas-powered with battery-powered equipment. A Landscape Equipment Transition Fund established by Sustainable Princeton provides up to $500 in financial assistance for qualified small landscaping companies. “There is still money left in the fund for landscapers who want to take advantage of this,” said Niedergang. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University professors and their peers at five historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will be undertaking research collaborations funded by Princeton University through its new Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation (PACRI).

Announced last week, the groundbreaking program, in partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), will link up Princeton researchers with researchers from Howard University, Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with teams of Princeton-HBCU researchers invited to submit proposals by June 30, 2022.

“We highly value partnerships at Princeton, whether they are with other academic institutions, industry, governments, or nonprofits,” said Princeton University Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Vice Dean for Innovation and PACRI Co-Leader Rodney Priestley, as quoted in a Princeton University press release. “We believe that these collaborations enable Princeton researchers and innovators to achieve things that we cannot achieve alone.”

Princeton’s Dean for Research and Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and Chemical and Biological Engineering Pablo Debenedetti noted, “Collaboration is a powerful force for new ideas and creativity in research and scholarship. By creating a mechanism that encourages faculty from Princeton and HBCUs to work together, we hope to spark the creation of new teams of researchers that bring together people with different perspectives, experiences, and expertise. The potential to generate new knowledge and discoveries across a wide range of disciplines is very exciting.” more

MAGNIFICENT CREATURES: While less in peril than in the past, sharks are still endangered, said Wendy Benchley during a talk last week at the Present Day Club.

By Anne Levin

Former Boudinot Street resident Wendy Benchley came back to Princeton last week to talk about her unceasing efforts to save sharks, conserve the oceans, and advocate for a cleaner, safer environment.

Speaking May 4 to members of the Present Day Club, Benchley charmed the packed audience with some memories from the set of the 1975 movie Jaws, based on the best-selling book by her late husband Peter Benchley, before sharing sobering evidence about the treatment of sharks and the state of the world’s oceans.

Ultimately, though, Benchley left her listeners with hope for the future. “All of these issues take a long time to solve, but I am more hopeful than I’ve been in 40 years,” she said. “Funding for ocean conservation has tripled in the last 10 years. And we’ve quadrupled the number of MPAs (marine protected areas).”

The Benchleys were prominent residents of Princeton, where they moved from Pennington Borough after the success of Jaws. Peter Benchley died in 2006. Wendy Benchley served three terms on the former Princeton Borough Council starting in 2000. She now lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband John Jeppson III, whom she married in 2011. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Public Schools (PPS) community was abuzz with rumors, social media posts, and two widely-circulated petitions in the week leading up to last night’s anticipated Princeton Board of Education (BOE) vote, after press time, to renew more than 600 employee contracts for next year. The renewal vote was expected to include Princeton High School (PHS) first-year principal Frank Chmiel.

The first petition “In Support of Principal Chmiel,” initiated by PHS seniors Kyara Torres-Olivares and Joycelyn Brobbey and sent to PPS Superintendent Carol Kelley and the BOE, claimed that Kelley had recommended that Chmiel’s contract not be renewed for next year. The petition, which had almost 1,200 signatures as of May 9, went on for two pages, praising Chmiel’s many contributions to PHS and closing with the “hope he remains principal of PHS for years to come to allow all students to experience the inclusivity we have felt this year.”

Apparently the rumor of his proposed termination was a product of misinformed social media. The question of Chmiel’s nonrenewal never came before the Board of Education, according to an anonymous district official. Chmiel’s name was on the list to be approved for renewals at last night’s meeting.

By law the district must keep all personnel discussions confidential, and could not comment on the rumor in advance of last night’s decision.  more

By Anne Levin

A report on a recent Community Mobility Study was presented to Princeton Council at its meeting Monday night. Based on surveys conducted with two separate groups — Princeton High School (PHS) students and all residents and visitors — the study was launched to understand the town’s transportation needs and plan for its future.

“As Princeton’s population is set to grow significantly in the next few years, the town must accommodate the transportation needs of more residents while also curbing traffic congestion and keeping pedestrian and bicycle riders safe,” reads the introduction to the study. “At the same time, Princeton’s Climate Action Plan calls for an overall reduction of carbon emissions, including those related to transportation.”

Jessica Wilson and Tineke Thio, among those who have worked on the survey for over a year, made the presentation. Their goal, said Wilson, was to discover what is working well, what is difficult and dangerous, and how public transit can be improved.

The PHS survey was responded to by 75 percent of the student body. The general survey received 470 responses. Over a third of the students said they use a bike to get to school once a week or more.

Use of the town’s free municipal bus and Princeton University’s free Tiger Transit network are not widely patronized. Asked what would encourage more usage, respondents said more stops and a more regular schedule would provide incentive. “The key is that the downtown shuttle buses need an extensive network and be regular,” wrote one respondent cited in the report. “I’d really love to ditch my car if I could.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

“A cage went in search of a bird.”

  —Franz Kafka, Aphorism 16

In his introduction to The Aphorisms of Franz Kafka (Princeton University Press $24.95), Reiner Stach tells readers they may “wind up in unfamiliar, sometimes inhospitable territory, which can then turn terribly beautiful.” Stach quotes the aphorism designated number 17 as one that Kafka might well have placed at the beginning “as the motto for the entire collection” —  “I have never been in this place before: breathing works differently, and a star shines next to the sun, more dazzlingly still.”

Words and Music

In the terminology of the recording studio, “A cage went in search of a bird,” Aphorism 16 (A16), is the master take “recorded on November 6, 1917,” with “A cage went to catch a bird” as the unused alternate. Discussing why “search” prevailed over “catch,” Stach suggests that rather than depriving “the bird of its freedom,” an “act of overpowering, with the cage as perpetrator and the bird as victim,” Kafka reworded the sentence so that the premise of a search “could be projected onto any number of social relationships.”

Recordings, master takes, alternate takes, words and music are on my mind after weeks reading Kafka’s Aphorisms and listening to Charlie Parker, the alto saxophonist the jazz world knows as Bird. The recording studio analogy to choosing “search” over “catch” doesn’t quite hold, since the commercial object is to both find and capture an audience. In the case of a player who brings you into the studio the way Parker does when he cuts a take short with a shout or a whistle, you save the alternate take as an example of the artist in the living moment, so that future listeners can compare it to the soaring and searching of the master take that has an effect comparable to Kafka’s A17 —  you’ve “never been in this place before,” your “breathing works differently, and a star shines next to the sun.”  more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra closed the 2021-22 season this past weekend with a classical violinist who is making his mark worldwide. Led by PSO Music Director Rossen Milanov, the Orchestra and guest violinist Stefan Jackiw performed a lesser-known and somewhat underrated 20th-century concerto, bracketed by a very contemporary work and a symphonic classic.

American violinist Jackiw began playing violin at age 4, eventually earning concurrent degrees from Harvard University and New England Conservatory of Music. In Saturday night’s performance (the concert was repeated Sunday afternoon), Jackiw showed himself from the opening measures of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major to be a very physical player, leaning into solo lines with a youthful and fresh sound. Korngold’s Concerto (nicknamed the Hollywood Concerto when it first premiered) was definitely cinematic, full of lush music designed to pull at listeners’ emotions. Korngold’s colorful orchestration provided numerous solo opportunities for the wind and brass players, including oboist Lillian Copeland and hornist Gabrielle Pho.

The solo violin part in Korngold’s Concerto was continuous, and Jackiw showed impassioned violin playing throughout the piece. In the second movement “romance,” he was joined in an elegant duet by English horn player Gilles Cheng, with the solo line well complemented by flutists Armir Farsi and Mary Schmidt. Jackiw’s solo line immediately took off in the third movement “finale,” for which Korngold borrowed heavily from his own film scores. The principal theme of this song-like movement sounded as though it should be familiar, but as it was passed around among the players, the tune was jazzed up and altered (especially by the brass), leading to a spirited conclusion to the Concerto. more

“RIDE THE CYCLONE”: Performances are underway for “Ride the Cyclone.” Produced by McCarter Theatre and Arena Stage, and directed by McCarter’s Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen, the musical runs through May 29 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Above, from left, are Constance (Princess Sasha Victomé), Noel (Nick Martinez), Ocean (Katerina McCrimmon), Jane Doe (Ashlyn Maddox), Ricky (yannick-robin eike), and Mischa (Eli Mayer). (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

In the musical Ride the Cyclone, six teenagers are killed in an accident while riding the titular amusement park ride. In an otherworldly warehouse they meet The Amazing Karnak, a mechanical fortune teller that is about to be destroyed by a bass-playing rat who is chewing on his power cord.  The fortune teller offers to send one of the teenagers back from the dead, instigating a literal fight for their lives.

It must have been entertaining to listen to early pitches for the show, whose book, music, and lyrics are by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond. But within the eccentric, morbid plot are engaging, uplifting character arcs, conveyed by songs that are by turns eerie and exuberant. Ride the Cyclone is both offbeat and upbeat.

Ride the Cyclone is being presented at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre (in a co-production by McCarter and Arena Stage). In a program note, Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen — who directs the production — recalls a quote from Our Town: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it … every minute?”

Both Our Town and Ride the Cyclone acknowledge the fragility of life; lyrics in the song “Jawbreaker/Sugarcloud” echo the line quoted by Rasmussen. Karnak fulfills a role similar to that of Our Town’s Stage Manager: an emcee to guide the characters.

Any similarity between the two shows generally ends there. In Wilder’s play, the dead characters are confined to chairs. In the musical, the characters sing, dance, and even spin in midair. Our Town usually is performed with no scenery and few props. Ride the Cyclone rejects this aesthetic, reveling in lavish production elements. more

WORLD PREMIERE: A work by composer Rollo Dilworth is on the program when the Princeton Boychoir performs on Saturday, May 14 at Trinity Church.

Princeton Boychoir’s fifth anniversary season will culminate with a gala concert, “Brothers, Sing On!” on Saturday, May 14, 7 p.m. at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street. Audiences will hear selections from all three choirs that make up the training and performance choir for boys.

The highlight of the evening will be the world premiere of a newly commissioned choral work by conductor and composer Rollo Dilworth. A new arrangement of the spiritual “Ev’rything’s Gonna Be Alright,” the piece captures the feelings of hope the choir feels moving forward out of the pandemic and into the future. more

WILLY WONKA AND FRIENDS: The cast of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” on stage at the State Theatre New Jersey May 13-15.

State Theatre New Jersey presents Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory for four performances on Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 14 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m.

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory tells the story of Willy Wonka, world-famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, who has just made an astonishing announcement. His mysterious factory is opening its gates, to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a life-changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination.  more

STOPPING AT THE STATE: Kenny Wayne Shepherd brings his Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band to the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick on May 20.

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band will stop at State Theatre New Jersey on Friday, May 20 at 8 p.m. as part of their U.S. tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of Trouble Is… with special guest Samantha Fish. The band will perform Trouble Is… in its entirety. Tickets range from $34.50-$100.  more

Ballets set to music of Igor Stravinsky are a highlight of the New York City Ballet’s current season at the David Koch Theatre in Lincoln Center. George Balanchine’s “Symphony in Three Movements,” created during the original Stravinsky Festival 50 years ago, is among the works through May 15. Additional works by Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are being performed, along with premieres by Justin Peck, Silas Farley, Pam Tanowitz, and Jamar Roberts. The season ends with a week of Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” May 21-29. Visit for tickets.

“BASKET OF DAHLIAS: This oil painting by Elizabeth Robbins is featured in “A Brush Above the Rest,” on view May 14 through June 30 at Highlands Art Gallery in Lambertville. The opening reception weekend is May 14 and 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Highlands Art Gallery, located at 41 North Union Street in Lambertville, is hosting its first art show opening in over a year due to COVID-19. The opening reception weekend for “A Brush Above The Rest” is May 14 and 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit is on view through June 30.

“A Brush Above the Rest”  features a wide variety of subject matter from many gallery artists, including Tina Garrett, Michael Godfrey, Cindy Baron, Paula Holtzclaw, Joseph Orr, John Pototschnik, Jason Tako, Lili Anne Laurin, Elizabeth Robbins, Susan Blackwood, Howard Friedland, and Kenn Backhaus.

Backhaus and Baron will be painting informally during the weekend. For more information, call (908) 766-2720, email at, or visit

ACP BOWL PROJECT: The fundraiser on Saturday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will offer one-of-a-kind handmade bowls created by artists in the Arts Council of Princeton’s Ceramic Studio. The first 50 buyers will receive a free scoop of ice cream from the bent spoon.

Join the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) for The ACP Bowl Project on Saturday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and purchase one-of-a-kind handmade bowls. Artists in the ACP Ceramic Studio have created unique ceramic bowls, available for $30 each. All proceeds benefit the Arts Council of Princeton, helping to support year-round outreach programs and community events.

The first 50 buyers will receive a voucher for a free scoop of ice cream from the bent spoon. Bowls are first-come, first-served while supplies last.

This outdoor sale will take place on the Arts Council of Princeton’s terrace at 102 Witherspoon Street. For more information, visit

“CANAL MULE”: This photograph by Alina Marin-Bliach is featured in “Exploring the World in Black and White,” her dual exhibit with Joel Blum, on view May 14 through June 12 at Gallery 14 in Hopewell.

New Jersey artists Joel Blum and Alina Marin-Bliach each take their own approach to exploring the world of monochrome images in “Exploring the World in Black and White,” on view May 14 through June 12 at Gallery 14 in Hopewell. While color images have their own realm of interest and beauty, black and white images allow the photographer to emphasize texture and details that may not be readily seen in color. Using the natural textures and contrast the photographer is able to create special feelings about the scene and the world captured in the image.

Gallery member Blum of East Windsor looks back to the work of the early photographers who, sometimes using the most basic of equipment, influenced the future artists with monochrome images that reached a level of perfection not matched today. Think artists such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, the master of candid images; the magnificence of Brassai in Paris at Night; or more modern artists like Richard Avedon or Michael Kenna, and a list or others too long to include here. This show is Blum’s tribute to these early “influencers” of the art world. The exhibit has no unifying theme, rather it simply searches out his thoughts in the monochrome paradigm. more

CHALK ART: Princeton Makes will host its inaugural Chalk Festival on Saturday, May 14 from 12 to 4 p.m. Shown is a work created for Communiversity, which formerly featured the event.

The Inaugural Princeton Makes Chalk Festival will take place on Saturday, May 14 from 12 to 4 p.m. outside the Princeton Makes store at the Princeton Shopping Center.

The Chalk Festival will feature local middle and high school students making large chalk drawings in the courtyard.  These drawings will be either reproductions or original art of the students. There will also be a chalk area specifically for younger children who want to create their own works.

The Chalk Festival continues a 25-year tradition of public chalk drawings which had been done by local students at Communiversity. The founders of the event, Lisa and Jim Levine, had been looking for another venue for the event, and the Princeton Shopping Center made space available for it to continue the tradition.  more

“FLOATING THOUGHT 13”: This work from the series “A Natural Thickening of Thought” is part of  “Body Matters / Martha Friedman,” on view May 20 to July 10 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge on Nassau Street.

The Princeton University Art Museum presents new mixed-media works by the artist Martha Friedman in “Body Matters / Martha Friedman,” on view May 20 to July 10 at Art@Bainbridge. Friedman, a senior lecturer in Princeton’s program in visual arts, integrates elements of choreography, printmaking, drawing, poured and cast rubber, mold-blown glass, plaster, wax and concrete in her complex multimedia practice.

Highlighting Friedman’s interest in historical practices for preserving, representing and studying the body, the exhibition brings together two new series of sculptures — Mummy Wheat (2021) and A Natural Thickening of Thought (2022) — that draw on influences as diverse as ancient Egyptian mummification, Greco-Roman portrait busts and the early 20th-century drawings of neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Shown together for the first time, these works highlight Friedman’s interest in bodies as site and subject for scientific exploration as well as for conceptualizing a spiritual realm.

“‘Body Matters / Martha Friedman’ continues Princeton University Art Museum’s commitment to activating Art@Bainbridge with powerful works created by today’s most exciting practitioners,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director. “Through her provocative and compelling use of widely divergent materials, Friedman’s sculptures and paintings challenge the boundaries of these disciplines even as they invite us to reconsider our ideas about the human body and brain.”

In the exhibit, rubber — the artist’s primary medium — serves as a metaphor for the body. A liquid that becomes a malleable solid, both stretchy and resistant, its texture mimics flesh. Friedman collaborated with dancer and choreographer Silas Riener, a member of the Princeton class of 2006, in casting his head and shoulders to create the mold-blown sculptures for the exhibition. This process pushed the limits of Riener’s physical training as a dancer; he held his posture for 90 minutes as Friedman covered his eyes, ears, nose, head, and torso in rubber, withstanding heat and breathing through a small slit at his mouth. Friedman suspends his animation in sculpture, freezing his body in time. more

ONE-OF-A-KIND SPECIALTIES: “At Oakgem, we are constantly striving to provide our clients with stunning jewelry at the best prices. We specialize in fine, previously owned jewelry from the 1950s. We offer the best designers from the top quality jewelry houses in the world, and our name Oakgem signifies one-of-a-kind gems.” Sasha Krivitsky, retail manager of Oakgem Fine Estate and Designer Jewelry in Lambertville, is shown by one of the display cases filled with unique pieces.

By Jean Stratton

People have always enjoyed adorning themselves. From ancient times to the modern day, jewelry in some form has been a constant.

The creations have evolved over the centuries, but whether colorful, shiny, delicate, dramatic, beautiful or bling, jewelry is always eye-catching. To the wearer, it can finish the fashion statement, or in some cases, “be” the fashion statement.

It can also have meaning beyond its surface beauty. Passed down as an heirloom in the family from one generation to the next, it offers continuity and connection.

“Jewelry is a memento in time; it signifies a time, a special meaning as an heirloom,” says Sasha Krivitsky, retail manager of Oakgem Fine Estate and Designer Jewelry. more

QUICK DRAW: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Marge Donovan races upfield against Yale in regular season action. Last Sunday, senior star defender Donovan had a single-game record 12 draw controls, adding two caused turnovers and two ground balls and an assist to help Princeton defeat Yale 19-9 in the final of the Ivy League women’s lax tournament. Donovan, who also had seven draw controls in 13-6 win over Harvard in in the Ivy semis on Friday to move into No. 1 all-time (192) in program history and No. 1 in a season (90) in that category, earned tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Princeton, now 14-3, will host Massachusetts (16-3) in an NCAA tournament first round contest on May 13. The victor will play the winner of the first round matchup between fifth-seeded Syracuse and Fairfield in the second round on May 15 at Class of 1952 Stadium. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Marge Donovan seemed stunned, shrugging her shoulders and striking a “who, me?” pose upon learning last Sunday that she had been chosen as the Most Outstanding Player of the Ivy League women’s lacrosse tournament.

“I was pleasantly surprised, I am so blessed,” said Princeton University senior star defender Donovan, reflecting on the honor.

“Kyla [Sears] said it a couple of seconds ago, it is such a team effort. That award goes to every single person.”

Donovan, though, should not have been taken aback, having produced a memorable weekend. On Friday, she had seven draw controls in top-seeded Princeton’s 13-6 win over fourth-seeded Harvard in the Ivy semis to move into No. 1 all-time (192) in program history and No. 1 in a season (90).

Two days later, Donovan had a single-game team record 12 draw controls, adding two caused turnovers, two ground balls, and an assist to help Princeton defeat second-seeded Yale 19-9 in the final.

Princeton, now 14-3, will be staying at home this weekend to start action in the NCAA tournament as it will face Massachusetts (16-3) in a first round contest. The victor will play the winner of the first round matchup between fifth-seeded Syracuse and Fairfield in the second round on May 15 at Class of 1952 Stadium. more

ALL IN: Princeton University softball pitcher Ali Blanchard fires a pitch in a game earlier this spring. Junior star Blanchard has excelled with her arm and bat, helping Princeton win the Ivy League regular season title. The Tigers, 25-14-2 overall and 17-4 Ivy, will be hosting Harvard (21-18 overall, 15-6 Ivy) in a best-of-three Ivy Playoff Series this weekend which will determine the league’s automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA tournament. Game one is scheduled for May 13 with game two and game three, if necessary, slated for May 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for Ali Blanchard to sense that the Princeton University softball team could be special this year.

Upon returning to Princeton last fall after a gap year, junior Blanchard was impressed by the work ethic she saw across the board.

“I was super excited to get back, a few of us took the year off and it made us more appreciative of things,” said Blanchard. “Everyone was super excited to get working. I think from the fall everyone had a feeling that his Ivy League season was going to be a pretty good one, based on our practices and how everyone showed up ready to get better every day. As soon as we set foot on campus, everyone was willing to put in the extra work.”

After a rough start in Florida where the Tigers went 1-4, Princeton started picking up wins when it went 4-1 in the UCSB Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., from March 11-13.

“I think everyone started to get their feet under them there,” said Blanchard, a 5’10 native of Lincoln, R.I. “We really started taking it game by game. Once we started to figure things out, I think everybody started to settle down.”

The Tigers got off to a big start in its Ivy campaign in mid-March, sweeping Brown in a three-game series as it posted 4-2, 2-0, and 7-0 wins.

“It was a good confidence booster for sure,” said Blanchard. “That was something that made us realize we can do it this year because I don’t think anyone saw that as our best softball. We wanted to peak at the right time. Every weekend, we keep trying to get better, even if it is one percent better.” more

WILLPOWER: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse attacker Will Doran heads to goal in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Doran tallied nine goals and four assists to help fifth-seeded PHS defeat 12th-seeded Hightstown 16-9 in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament. On Monday, Doran had another big game with two goals and seven assists but PHS fell 18-13 at fourth-seeded Allentown in the MCT quarterfinals to move to 8-6. The Tigers play at Pennington on May 12 and host Princeton Day School on May 14 before starting play in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Will Doran got an uneasy feeling when the fifth-seeded Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team found itself knotted in an 8-8 tie with 12th-seeded Hightstown in the third quarter last Thursday in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament.

“They had momentum, we had a few scary ones at the beginning of the season,” said PHS senior star attacker Doran. “Ones that we ended up on the wrong side because of slow starts.”

Doran, though, singlehandedly changed momentum in favor of the Tigers, tallying five goals in the next eight minutes of action as PHS pulled away to a 16-9 victory.

“In the first half we were definitely struggling, their goalie made a lot of great saves so I have to give credit to him,” said Doran, who tallied 13 points in the contest on nine goals and four assists.

“I got into my rhythm. A lot of credit has to be given to Brendan Beatty and Patrick Kenah for giving me passes right on my ear. That makes the job of catching and finishing a lot easier.”

With Doran and his classmates playing in their last MCT, the win over Hightstown was sweet.

“This is something Will [Erickson], Andrew [Koehler], John [O’Donnell] and I have talked about for a really long time,” said Doran. “I remember when we were freshmen, coach had us put all of our goals up on our locker. Our captain freshman year, Carson Giles, said his goal was to win a Mercer County championship. We have kept that paper, he passed it on to us. It is something that has been on our mind since early preseason. Coach (Chip Casto) always says he wants us to peak in May, not play our best games in April.” more

G-FORCE: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse goalie Gigi Peloso makes a save in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, senior star and Colby College-bound Peloso made 11 saves to help third-seeded PHS defeat sixth-seeded Princeton Day School 13-7 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. The Tigers, now 12-4, will play at second-seeded Allentown in the MCT semis on May 11 with the victor advancing to the final on May 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team edged Princeton Day School 14-13 in late April, Gigi Peloso was not at her sharpest.

“I had a frustrating game myself,” said PHS senior goalie Peloso, who had three saves in the win. “I wasn’t too happy with how I played.”

When the local rivals met in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Monday, Peloso and the third-seeded Tigers tightened things up in the rematch with sixth-seeded PDS, jumping out to a 6-2 halftime lead on the way to a 13-7 victory.

PHS, now 12-4, will play at second-seeded Allentown in the MCT semis on May 11 with the victor advancing to the final on May 13.

“We just came out with so much more hype, we came together as a team more,” said Peloso.

“That is so important and goes miles with our team. We just really learned to talk it through and we talked more on the field and off the field.”

Peloso made some noise, coming up with 11 saves in the win with several coming on point blank shots.

“Today, I was meshing with the defense more,” said Peloso. “They are always huge helps for me. I felt the hype in my body 100 percent. It was a lot more than before.” more