Vol. LXII, No. 5
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
GOOD NEIGHBOR: Lawrenceville School senior girls hockey star Sarah Herr races up the ice in recent action. Princeton resident Herr and her neighbor, Becky Mantell, share the same birthday and a desire for excellence in leading the Big Red. They will both be playing college hockey in New England next year with Herr headed to Williams College and Mantell matriculating to Yale.
The two girls were born hours apart on June 11, 1990 and they grew up around the corner from each other in Princeton.
The neighbors, Sarah Herr and Becky Mantell, started playing youth hockey as grade schoolers with both of them competing on boys teams to hone their skills.
While never playing on the same club team, the two joined forces in high school as they both became members of the Lawrenceville School girls hockey team.
Now seniors, Herr and Mantell have another thing in common as they will both be playing college hockey in New England next year with Herr headed to Williams College and Mantell matriculating to Yale.
Despite all the striking similarities in their backgrounds, the two didnt really know each other until they got to Lawrenceville.
I remember Becky at some hockey camps but I didnt really know her, said Herr. Its been fun getting to know her at Lawrenceville; we have gotten much closer.
Herr has gotten a lot out of her Lawrenceville experience, both on the ice and in the classroom.
Its helped a lot, Nicole [Uliasz] is one of the best coaches Ive had or ever will have, asserted Herr.
Its different than club teams where players tend to come and go; the Lawrenceville team has stayed the same. I enjoy the group of girls. Off the ice, its changed me tremendously, Ive met a ton of people from different places. Ive got friends from Connecticut, Maryland, California, and Canada.
Mantell, for her part, nearly didnt become one of Herrs friends as she considered going elsewhere.
Tammy Shewchuck was the girls hockey coach at Lawrenceville and Ive done a ton of camps with her, said Mantell.
She encouraged me to come to Lawrenceville. The day before I had to decide, she left the program. I was thinking of some other prep schools in New England but I decided to stick with Lawrenceville.
Mantell knows that she made the right decision. Lawrenceville is a fantastic school, maintained Mantell.
I have a lot of friends who attend prestigious schools and they were ready for that. The level and quality of work is high at Lawrenceville.
Lawrenceville coach Uliasz believes that Herr and Mantel have raised the teams competitive level. Sarah is the heart of our team; she is one of our hardest workers, said Uliasz.
She is a smaller player and sometimes players with longer legs will beat her to the puck. But she will keep battling and get it in the corner. She has improved tremendously. Becky has natural talent; things come easy to her. She has Division I skills in terms of shooting and stickhandling.
Uliasz sees both Herr and Mantell succeeding at the college level. I think Williams is a great fit for Sarah, said Uliasz.
Shell play a lot and shell end up as one of the teams top players. Becky should fit right in at Yale. It will be a step up for her but thats always the case when someone goes to D-I hockey.
While Lawrenceville has struggled a bit this winter, Uliasz credits Herr, Mantell, and their classmates with holding things together.
The seniors havent let us down, said Uliasz, whose team improved to 3-11-1 with a 5-0 win over Suffolk last Saturday.
They are encouraging and they keep working hard. Sarah was out with a concussion and Becky was out with a shoulder injury and they were both on the bench cheering on their teammates.
Mantell, for her part, sees plenty of positives despite the record. Im really happy with the season, said Mantell, who also plays for the Connecticut Polar Bears club team.
We are playing better teams than in the past and weve had a lot of close games. Id rather play better teams and lose than beat bad teams.
The competitive Herr is optimistic that the Big Red can end things on a high note.
I think the record is deceiving, said Herr, who also stars for the Princeton Tiger Lilies 19-and-under club team. Just about all the games were close; a couple went into overtime. We need to keep working hard, our best hockey is ahead of us.
Mantell is looking ahead to some big things at Yale. I looked a lot of the Ivies, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, said Mantell.
I like the Yale coaching staff and the girls on the team. They are committed to hockey and academics.
Herr, for her part, believes that Williams offers her similar attributes. I want to continue to improve and work hard, said Herr, who also considered Colgate, Bowdoin, and Middlebury.
I have a lot of potential and I want to reach that potential. I work really hard. Im not the fastest skater or the best shooter but I get a lot of points from working hard.
Its safe to say that Lawrenceville is going to miss the good work it has gotten from its Princeton neighbors.
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