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PHS Boys’ Lax Struggled Down the Stretch, Hampered by Injuries, Inexperienced Lineup

FILLING IN: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Evan Filion heads to goal in a game this spring. Junior midfielder Filion was a bright spot for PHS this season, tallying 21 points on 14 goals and seven assists. The Little Tigers posted a final record of 5-12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team edged Allentown 6-5 in late April, it reached the .500 mark for the first time this spring as it improved to 5-5.

That win turned out to be the high water mark for PHS as it ended the season on a tailspin, losing its last seven games to finish with a 5-12 record.

“Losing Ian Jacobs, probably our best player overall, to injury puts your team out of sorts,” said PHS head coach Chip Casto.

“You ask people to shift positions and play a little different than they are used to and play a little better kid that they are used to so I think injuries hurt us a little.”

Jacobs along with his twin brother, Patrick, and fellow seniors Max Garlock and Ryan Farrell tried their best to keep the team together as the defeats mounted.

“The four guys leading the team were all defensemen,” said Casto. “Ian’s injury makes those guy shift. Max played above himself. Ryan had a great year. Patrick had to play the No. 1 attack men and he held his own. I think continually losing wears on you and the guys tried to keep us together. There were a few losses in there to teams of our caliber that we had the potential to win.

While PHS is returning its five leading scorers in rising senior Alex Park (24 goals, 8 assists in 2018), rising junior Dylan Westerman (17 goals, 7 assists), rising senior Evan Filion (14 goals, 7 assists), rising senior Ben Drezner (14 goals, 4 assists), and rising sophomore Patrick McDonald (7 goals, 2 assists), it will need to rebuild its defense.

“We have the entire offense back,” said Casto, who said that rising senior Carson Giles, Park, and Westerman will be serving as captains next year.

“We are basically losing the starting defense and starting longstick. We will have a whole reload on the defense, so hopefully the goalies (rising senior Joe O’Donnell, rising junior Sam Brandt) are a year better.”

In order to get better, the PHS players will be putting in more time over the offseason in sharpening their skills.

“We have got more guys playing summer lacrosse than we have ever had, so that should help,” said Casto, noting that the team was playing in the Jersey Strong tournament this month. “We are all kind of down. We are not pointing fingers or blaming anybody.”

With PHS boasting a strong core of young talent, Casto believes the program will be on the upswing next spring.

“We are excited about the rising sophomores, they are 14 kids strong,” said Casto. “They were the JV team and they got a chance to play some higher level competition. I am excited about the future so it is all good.”

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