Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 4
 
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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(Photo Courtesy of Williams College Sports Information)

MAKING IT IN MASSACHUSETTS: Sarah Herr is all smiles in a shot for the Williams College (Mass.) women’s hockey team. Herr, a Princeton resident and former star for Lawrenceville School and for the Princeton Tiger Lilies club team, is enjoying a fine freshman season for the Ephs. The 5’2 defenseman has four points on a goal and three assists as Williams has gotten off to a 6-9-1 start.

Herr Living Out Childhood Dream as She Plays for Williams Hockey

Bill Alden

As a grade-schooler, Sarah Herr spent an afternoon at Princeton University’s Baker Rink that changed the course of her life.

“I remember seeing a Princeton University women’s hockey practice when I was in second or third grade,” recalled Herr.

“We met with the team after practice and they signed programs for us. I thought it was so cool. I decided that I wanted to be a college hockey player someday.”

Herr, a Princeton native who went on to star at the Lawrenceville School and for the Princeton Tiger Lilies club team, achieved her dream this past November when she took the ice for the Williams College (Mass.) women’s ice hockey team as it hosted Middlebury College (Vt.).

Understandably, Herr’s college debut triggered some deep emotions. “I had such an adrenaline rush; I was shaking at times on the ice,” said Herr. “I was still hyped up after the game; I have been waiting to play college hockey for years.”

While Herr is thrilled to be playing in college, it didn’t take long for her to realize that she was dealing with a higher level of intensity.

“The preseason practices were tough; we had two-a-day,” said Herr. “It was welcome to college hockey. It was tough for everybody not just the freshmen.”

Once the season started, Williams had a rough time of things, going 1-7-1 in its first nine games.

“We started the season playing some of the best teams in the country like Middlebury, Amherst (Mass.), and Plattsburgh State (N.Y),” said Herr, a defenseman.

“Some of the scores were misleading; the games were closer than the scores indicated. It takes a while for the players to get used to each other.”

Lately, Herr and the Ephs have found a rhythm as they have gone 5-2 in their last seven games.

“We are finally playing hockey; we are finally playing as a team not a bunch of individuals,” said Herr, who recorded her first career assist in a 3-1 loss to Manhattanville on January 4 and then notched her first goal in a 4-2 loss to Neumann (Pa.) on January 16.

“Our goalie Sara Plunkett has been good; she has really helped us stay in games. We are knowing where we are on the ice a lot better; we are reading each other better.”

Williams head coach Shannon Bryant likes the way Herr knows the game. “Sarah is a player we could use in a lot of situations right away,” said Bryant, a former Brown standout who is in her second year guiding Williams.

“She has developed a lot in the last couple of months. She is a great skater who really gets the game. She has a good hockey mentality, she doesn’t ride the highs too high or the lows too low. She handles the puck well.”

In Bryant’s view, Herr has the potential to be a special player if she maintains her steely mentality.

“Clearly as an impact kid as a freshman, having her play a regular shift, helping on the penalty kill and the power play, I worry about the ego thing,” asserted Bryant.

“We need to keep that in check. She needs to be passionate and always have that curiosity to learn about the game. If she keeps that up, she should help us a lot over the next three years and be a real nice NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) player.”

Herr, for her part, believes the Ephs can do some nice things over the rest of the season.

“I think the Castleton (Vt.) game (a 7-0 win on January 6) gave us confidence; it wasn’t a good game but we needed to show that we could finish,” said Herr, who has enjoyed skating on the college level against such former Lawrenceville teammates as Kendra Sweet at Bowdoin and Payson Sword at Trinity.

“We are a very talented group; we can do good things. We have some tough games coming up like Middlebury and Amherst but we have proved to ourselves that we can win.”

And Herr is proving that she can cut it as she lives out her dream of playing college hockey.

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