Vol. LXIV, No. 10
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)caption:
HECK OF AN EFFORT: Princeton Day School girls hockey star Savannah Hecker, center, battles for the puck in a game earlier this season. Senior defenseman and tri-captain Hecker stepped up her scoring and leadership in producing a stellar final campaign with the program.
Kat Smithson was a bit uneasy about her Princeton Day School girls hockey team before the season started.
It was nerve-wracking at the beginning because we didnt have a goalie, said PDS head coach Smithson. We had the players but I didnt know if we were going to put up the wins.
Sophomore Lucy Marquez stepped up to the challenge of playing goalie and emerged as an inspiration to the team.
Lucy did a tremendous job; she knew the responsibility she had and she owned it, said Smithson of Marquez, who had played goalie in field hockey but hadnt skated before this winter.
She lit a fire under the team; she was so hardheaded about it. The other players realized they had an opportunity to do some great things. I couldnt be more proud of the girls; they overcame a lot of challenges.
The Panthers ended the season on a proud note, topping Pingry 5-0 in a WIHLMA consolation game and then edging Lansdale Catholic 2-1 in the season finale to end the winter with a 12-7 record.
They realized that they wanted to redeem themselves, said Smithson, referring to the Pingry game which came a day after PDS had fallen 6-0 to Princeton High in its opening WIHLMA consolation contest.
They worked really hard on Sunday morning; it was their last chance to show the WIHLMA teams what they can do. The Lansdale game was good. It was the team that gave us the first loss of the season. It gave us an opportunity to reflect as to how we played them the first time and strategize. We peppered the goalie with shots. At one point, we made had 13 shots in 40 seconds.
Smithson was happy to see her trio of seniors, Savannah Hecker (19 points on the season), Stephanie Sydlo (24 points), and Courtland Lackey (22 points), end things on a high note.
I think they showed dedication; they led by example, asserted Smithson, who was thrilled that Lackey tallied the game-winning goal in the victory over Lansdale.
Savannah was one of the top five defensemen in WIHLMA in scoring; she stepped up big time in the back line. Sydlo showed excellent leadership qualities; she proved her worth by how much she worked. Courtland wasnt a captain but she made her presence felt. She became somebody that the other teams had to mark. She has really come so far. She was tentative in the past; this year she was looking to go to goal. She couldnt wait to challenge the goalie and use her deke moves. All three seniors were dedicated, driven, passionate, and motivated.
In Smithsons view, her returning players are driven to help the program stay on the upswing.
We have a good core group coming back; they are real solid players, said Smithson, who got good work this winter from such younger players as juniors Courtney Klein and Kaleigh McLaughlin, sophomore Megan Ofner (a team-high 41 points), and freshmen Zeeza Cole (21 points) and Kat So (19 points).
They are bummed that the season is over; they are eager for next year. They have been coming up to me asking what they can do to get better and what camps they should go to. I think the program has turned over a new leaf; there is a dedication and drive to get better. I think our girls are prepared to get better and come back with a vengeance.
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