By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
ROBBINSVILLE — The Princeton High field hockey team didn’t have to wait long to face a big test.
The Little Tigers opened their season on Monday at Robbinsville, facing a team that is expected to be among the best in the Colonial Valley Conference. Princeton also considers itself to be in that mix as well. In an evenly played game, the two teams battled to a scoreless tie.
“I think we’re looking really good,” Princeton senior defender Jamaica Ponder said. “Robbinsville is not an easy match. We’re really cohesive as a group, which is great. Our on the field communication is the main thing that gets us through games. We’re always talking to each other. We have great chemistry. I think it helps that we have nine seniors because we’re older, which is always a good thing.”
Both teams had opportunities to score, but in the end defense prevailed as neither team was able to find the back of the cage.
“It was very, very exhausting,” Ponder said. “I love our defensive line. And Kate (Rogers), our goalie, her saves are just ridiculous. You think the ball went in but Kate is there to make the saves.”
The Little Tigers know their offense needs some work. But some of the struggled could have come from playing a rare game on grass instead of their usual turf field.
“We didn’t execute this game but that comes with getting further into the season and knowing how each person operates,” Ponder said. “I think as we get further into the season and know each other better it will turn into goals and better execution.
“We have known each other for so long and I think that is a big part of it. We have a long season ahead of us and I think it is going to be a great one.”
With nine seniors and a solid cast of returning veterans, Princeton has the ingredients in place to make this season a special one.
“That is probably one of the best aspects of our team right now,” said Princeton coach Heather Serverson, whose team picked up its first win of the season when it topped Hopewell Valley, 3-0, on Wednesday. “They’re starting to work well together and their communication is very solid. Hopefully we can build from there. We have some seasoned players. I think what comes with that is, they know they don’t have to get quite so worked up about these earlier games. I think that helped with their mindset.”
Avery Peterson, Georgia McLean and Mariana Lopez-Ona scored goals in the win over Hopewell. Rogers made eight saves to record the shutout.
Opening with a scoreless tie isn’t the greatest way to start to the season. But for Princeton, it was an opportunity to see just where it stands against another premier team.
“We were excited to start the season and see what we were capable of and what we need to work on,” Serverson said. “I liked the way we came out with intensity and played smart and composed in the overtime.”
And that carried over to the Little Tigers’ second game, where they picked up their first win of the season.
PRINCETON: PHS field hockey passing tests
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor