Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 40
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
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>HAPPY RETURN: Princeton High field hockey star Taylor Blair tracks the ball down in recent action. After being sidelined last year due to a knee injury, Blair has returned to the PHS lineup this fall and has provided offensive punch for the Little Tigers. Last Friday, she scored two goals as PHS topped Ewing 4-1. The Little Tigers, who improved to 4-4 with a 3-0 win over Hamilton last Saturday, host WW/P-N on October 7 before playing at Stuart Country Day School on October 12.

With Senior Star Blair Back at Full Speed, PHS Field Hockey Gets on Winning Track

Bill Alden

Taylor Blair is savoring every moment she spends on the field this fall for the Princeton High field hockey team.

Two years ago, Blair emerged as a potent offensive force for PHS in her sophomore campaign.

In 2009, Blair was unable to build on her progress as her season was wiped out due to an ACL injury.

After an arduous rehab program, Blair is back in the starting lineup for the Little Tigers this fall and has picked up where she left off.

“It has been very exciting,” said Blair, reflecting on her return to the action.

“I feel like my skills are equal to what they were sophomore year so it is real easy coming back. The knee is definitely 100 percent. I did a lot of extra therapy. Taking the season off last year was a benefit for this year.”

Blair showed her skills last week as she helped PHS top Allentown 3-2 in a game that started on September 16 only to get halted due to bad weather and was then picked up in progress last Wednesday.

Noting that PHS brought a 3-0 lead into resumption of the contest, Blair acknowledged that the Little Tigers were ready to weather a storm from the Redbirds.

“We knew that they were going to come in and be really intense; we had to not let the game get to a head,” said Blair, who got an assist in the triumph.

“We couldn’t assume that we were going to win with the 3-0 lead. We haven’t won against Allentown in a long time. I can’t remember the last time we won against Allentown so it is a really big game. I think this game was a very big win and will give us another boost to our ego. It will allow us to really be confident in ourselves.”

Blair draws confidence on the field from her connection with classmate and fellow forward Kim Palagyi.

“Kim and me have a very good connection,” asserted Blair. “We just know where we are on the field. We trust each other’s stick skills so it is really easy to pass to her.”

The team’s seniors are determined to leave it on the field this season. “We have 10 seniors; it is good because you have a lot of leadership on the team,” said Blair.

“We want to make it a good season because a lot of those players will be leaving. We really want to have a good senior year.”

PHS head coach Heather Serverson is glad to have Blair back in the mix with her fellow seniors.

“They all started together and now they are going to finish together,” said Serverson.

“With Taylor out last year because of the knee injury; we suffered a little bit. I think now that they are back together on the line at the same time, it is really starting to work out nicely.”

In Serverson’s view, three of her seniors, defenders Ali Ryan and Emma Kostenbader along with goalie Carly Rossman, have formed the backbone of the Little Tigers.

“Ali is definitely a leader for us back there,” asserted Serverson. “She anchors the defense but she also really distributes the ball very well on the way out and I think the girls are getting used to her. Emma Kostenbader has definitely stepped up for us. She is right behind Ali at sweeper. Those two have really anchored the defense and Carly has the experience at goalie. We have a nice line going back there.”

Acknowledging that PHS had been inconsistent in losing four of five games before Wednesday, Serverson is confident the win over Allentown will get her team on the right track.

“This was huge for us; I don’t know the last time we have beaten them,” said Serverson, whose club did build on the win as it topped Ewing 4-1 on Friday and then posted a 3-0 victory over Hamilton last Saturday to move to 4-4.

“It is a huge confidence booster for us. I hope we can take that and going into Hamilton, Steinert, and the other teams we have left. Hopefully we will change around our record from this point forward.”

Blair, for her part, sees a lot of good moments ahead for the Little Tigers. “I feel as if we need to practice on our stick skills a little more and have a little more focus,” said Blair, who scored two goals in the win over Ewing.

“Otherwise, our team spirit is really good, we all trust each other. We think we can win all of our games; I think with that mentality we can start winning more games.”

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