Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 15
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
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DEFENSE MECHANISM: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Mason O’Brien gets defensive in a game earlier this spring. Sophomore attacker O’Brien’s improved offensive production has helped PHS get off to a 2-2 start. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers host Hightstown on April 16 before playing at WW/P-S on April 20.

Sophomore O’Brien Making Impact as PHS Girls’ Lax Is Showing Balance

Bill Alden

Mason O’Brien and her teammates on the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team found themselves in a dogfight last Wednesday against visiting Allentown.

When Allentown scored two early second half goals to knot the game at 8-8, sophomore attacker O’Brien had a clear idea of what the Little Tigers needed to do to come out on top.

“We expected it to be tough; we knew they were going to come in strong and we had to play our A-game,” said O’Brien. “I think it was whoever wanted it the most was going to win.”

O’Brien showed her desire, scoring PHS’s ninth goal to help spark an 8-3 run by the Little Tigers as they went on to a 17-13 victory.

“I think we just worked really hard,” said O’Brien, reflecting on PHS’s second half surge. “We worked on our catching and throwing and we cleaned it up.”

With one varsity season under her belt, O’Brien has worked hard to become a bigger factor for the Little Tigers.

“I worked on my confidence and basic stick skills,” said O’Brien, who also starts for the PHS girls’ soccer team.

“I think we all just work together and we look for the openings and do what we can with them.”

With last year’s main offensive weapons, Mie Graham and Lizzy Price, having graduated and gone onto college lax at Duke and Penn, respectively, O’Brien believes this year’s squad has to be more balanced.

“I feel like there are fewer star players,” added O’Brien, who scored two goals in the win over Allentown. “Everyone has to contribute and do their part for us to win every game.”

PHS head coach Christie Cooper was happy to see her team come through with the win against a pesky Allentown team.

“They had a lot of speed and we don’t have the fastest defense,” said Cooper, who got four goals from Taylor Blair in the victory with Mia Haughton, Meg Reilly, Kate Bechler, Mackenzie Henderson, and Ginny Rogers each scoring two.

“It’s always hard when you play against a team with a lot of speed; it changes up the game a little more. It was a good game; we need have to good games all throughout the season. It’s fun to have a contest.”

Cooper wasn’t having fun when the game was tied at 8-8 and the momentum seemed to be slipping away from PHS.

“I wanted us to get more into the flow of the game,” recalled Cooper, whose team didn’t get into a rhythm last Monday as they fell 15-10 at Stuart Country Day to move to 2-2 on the season with Haughton tallying five goals.

“I was not nervous but a little frustrated that we weren’t letting that happen. I was very happy with the way we turned it on and came up with those draws and came up with that patient attack. We got the goals that we needed.”

PHS has certainly been getting the goals it needs from O’Brien and classmate Haughton.

“I would say my sophomores are really doing well just because of their pure aggressiveness on the field,” asserted Cooper.

“They are really doing everything they can to get the ball. They are being seen on the field. They want the ball and they are finding a way to get it. It’s nice.”

In Cooper’s view, PHS is getting a nice contribution from its more experienced players.

“Meg Reilly is our senior and she’s leading the juniors,” said Cooper, whose team hosts Hightstown on April 16 before playing at WW/P-S on April 20.

“The juniors are that core group of skilled players that we need; they are all such good friends with each other and they are trying to find that balance between being constructive with each other on the field and not wanting to hurt each other’s feelings. I am really encouraging them to cheer each other on. It’s nice to have all those different levels making an impact.”

O’Brien, for her part, believes PHS can make an impact as the spring unfolds.

“I feel like we are just going to keep working hard in practice,” said O’Brien.

“We have to keep our spirits up and keep the enthusiasm up. I feel like we have a lot more chemistry and we are just starting to play really well together. That’s what we need in order to have a good season.”

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