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Vol. LXIII, No. 49
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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HERRING HARVEST: Princeton High girls’ ice hockey star forward Keely Herring controls the puck in a game last winter. Herring, who scored 19 points on 15 goals and four assists in 2008-09 as a freshman, figures to be a key scoring threat for the Little Tigers this winter.

With New Coach Herzog Bringing Toughness, PHS Girls’ Hockey Shooting for Big Winter

Bill Alden

As Christian Herzog takes the helm of the Princeton High girls’ ice hockey team this winter, he is taking a hard-line approach.

“I work them hard and they respond to that; they appreciate that,” said Herzog, who served as an assistant coach with the program last year and is taking over for Jeff Schneider.

“I am up front; I am blatantly honest. If a player asks me what she needs to do to play more, I will give her a laundry list of things to do.”

PHS senior forward and co-captain Gabby Vukasin brings a laundry list of attributes to the table in her role as a go-to scorer.

“Gabby has great hockey sense,” said Herzog of Vukasin who had a team-high 32 points last winter on 23 goals and nine assists.

“She is a special player; she stands out when you watch our team. I am trying not to rely on her so much this year.”

Herzog hopes that putting two seniors, co-captain Olivia Ray (8 goals and 18 assists in 2008-09) and Stephanie Miezin (3 goals and 11 assists), on the same line with Vukasin will help spread out the scoring.

“Olivia is a nice player; she scored a lot of goals for us last year and she can also be a playmaker,” said Herzog, whose team starts the season by playing at powerful Morristown-Beard on December 9. “Steph has been playing for a while.”

The Little Tigers should also get plenty of punch from its second line which features sophomores Keely Herring (15 goals and four assists), Phoebe Rea, and Abby Hunter (10 goals and nine assists).

“Keely has one of the strongest shots on the team and some of the best placement,” said Herzog. “Phoebe’s speed is there; she just needs to work on her stick skills. Hunter is a ball of fire.”

Senior defenseman Fiona Mahon is a ball of fire for the Little Tigers along the blue line. “Pound for pound, Fiona is the toughest girl on our team,” said Herzog of the feisty Mahon who battled injury last winter. “She is 100 percent good to go physically. She is a tough little cookie.”

PHS gets a tough brand of leadership from senior defender Haley Andres.

“Haley is our main motivator verbally,” said Herzog, whose group of defenseman should also include juniors Neta Nekash and Kelly O’Grady. She is the one that says ‘come on girls, step it up.’”

Herzog is looking for senior goalie Rachel Bozich to step it up this winter as she returns to the team after not playing last season.

“All things considered, Rachel is probably our No. 1 goalie,” said Herzog, whose backup goalies are senior Allegra Bianchini and sophomore Tobi Afran.

“She has a good blocker and a good sense of angles. She is a good communicator on the ice and directs the defensemen around the crease. She is always asking what she can do to be better.”

With the Little Tigers coming off a solid 12-10 season in 2008-09, Herzog believes the team can be even better this winter.

“I think we can win a lot more games this year,” asserted Herzog, whose team will take part in the Princeton Day School Invitational on December 12 and 13. “We want to be in the top four in our WIHLMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) league.”

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