Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
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Vol. LXV, No. 38
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
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(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

LIFE OF REILLY: Princeton High girls’ soccer star Katie Reilly controls the ball in recent action. Senior defender Reilly has helped the Little Tigers produce a 2-0-1 start which has seen them hold the opposition scoreless on the season. In upcoming action, PHS plays at Trenton Central on September 22 before hosting Robbinsville on September 26.

Lifted by Reilly’s Tenacity, Leadership, PHS Girls’ Soccer Produces 2-0-1 Start

Bill Alden

Since Katie Reilly’s athletic future lies in college lacrosse, she is bringing an extra intensity this fall as she plays in her final campaign with the Princeton High girls’ soccer team.

“It is my last soccer season and I want to go out with a bang,” said Reilly, a senior defender for the PHS in soccer in the fall and a star midfielder in the spring for a Little Tiger lax program that won the 2011 county crown.

“I like the switch from lacrosse to soccer. There is no contact in lacrosse so in soccer I like it when I get to go shoulder to shoulder on defense.”

Last Thursday, Reilly displayed her physical brand of defense as the Little Tigers tied Allentown 0-0 in two overtimes.

Using her aggressiveness and fitness, Reilly broke up plays, forced Allentown players off the ball, and booted some nice volleys in sparking the PHS attack.

Reilly’s work on the wing came in tandem with classmate and longtime friend Mia Haughton.

“Mia and I have been playing sports together since fourth grade, both soccer and lacrosse,” said Reilly.

“We can almost read each other’s minds on plays; we work together on the wings. We are both used to being middies so we like to go up the field too.”

In Reilly’s view, there is good chemistry coursing through the team collectively.

“The preseason always helps us; we bonded early,” said Reilly. “We all get along really well, freshman, senior, it doesn’t matter. We are vocal and no one is scared to speak their mind. It is a really good environment at practice. I think everyone brings something to the table at practice or on the field in games.”

That togetherness has translated into a superb start to the 2011 campaign, which saw PHS post 1-0 victories over Notre Dame and Hopewell Valley before the scoreless draw against Allentown.

“I am really excited about our team” asserted Reilly. “I think we are really going to surprise people. Last year, we had a building year and this year is our year.”

PHS head coach Greg Hand likes the way this year has started for his squad.

“We have done a good job of committing ourselves to win the first ball and working on the fundamentals defensively,” said Hand. “It is not just about scoring goals, it is about preventing goals.

Hand credits the pair of Reilly and Haughton with taking a big role in thwarting the opposition.

“They both played a really tenacious game today,” said Hand. “They did some responsible marking and then were participating in the attack when that was on. It was great work.”

While the Little Tigers haven’t exploded offensively, Hand believes that his team is on the verge of a breakthrough.

“It is definitely going to come,” maintained Hand. “You could see numerous times when we were able to play the ball into our forwards. When we get them involved, they were able to turn with it or give it up. We have the understanding of wanting to do that and being able to execute it.”

In Hand’s view, his players have to keep up the intensity in training in order to sharpen their finishing.

“We have to keep pressing each other in practice so we are used to creating those opportunities under the kind of pressure we are going to see in the games coming up,” said Hand.

“They do battle in practice. They love trying to beat each other to the ball and deny the others when they don’t have it.”

Hand likes his team’s prospects in the battles ahead. “The kids are working so hard and their tactical awareness is coming along so well,” said Hand, whose club plays at Trenton Central on September 22 before hosting Robbinsville on September 26. “You see special things in every game.”

Reilly and her teammates believe they can achieve some special things this fall if they keep working hard.

“At our preseason meeting, we were saying don’t be afraid to dream big,” said Reilly.

“We are trying to work as hard as we can to reach our goals in the counties and the states. Everyone is all in, all the time. It is awesome to be at a practice where everyone is sweating and working their hardest.”

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