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Vol. LXV, No. 38
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
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(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
PIN BALL: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer star Rui Pinheiro boots the ball in recent action. Last Monday, Senior midfielder Pinheiro scored a goal but it wasn’t enough as PDS fell 2-1 to Germantown Academy. The Panthers, now 1-2-2, host Lawrenceville on September 22 before playing at Blair Academy on September 27.

PDS Boys’ Soccer Undergoing Growing Pains As Younger Players Gain Valuable Experience

Bill Alden

With the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team locked in a scoreless tie in overtime last Wednesday at Peddie, the squad’s veterans tried to will the team to victory.

Senior midfielder Rui Pinheiro showed touch and intensity, sliding after several loose balls, while his classmate, goalie Jacob Eisenberg, hit the deck to turn away several Peddie shots.

Despite the efforts of those battle-tested performers, who helped PDS to the Mercer County Tournament and state Prep B titles last fall, the Panthers left Peddie with 0-0 tie.

PDS head coach Malcolm Murphy acknowledged that the stalemate was another step in the learning process of a young team, which is trying to fill the void left by the graduation of nine players.

“We tried a couple of different tactics; we went with a 4-4-2 today which was pretty good,” said Murphy.

“At the end of the day, it’s a much younger squad; we are three games in playing together for the first time. These are younger guys and they don’t recognize the discipline and hard work yet that is required in this conference where you play the Peddies and the Lawrencevilles. There is no easy game.”

As a result of the poor weather in the preseason, it hasn’t been easy for Murphy to get his young players into a rhythm.

“We have had some good training sessions where we had great work but it was not enough with the weather,” said Murphy, whose team battled to a scoreless draw against crosstown rival Princeton High last Saturday and then fell 2-1 to Germantown Academy on Monday in moving to 1-2-2 on the season.

“We had two scrimmages called off so we are a little bit down. I think we are feeling a little sorry for ourselves because we have not had a lot of training under our belts. We are not sharp.”

That lack of sharpness has been most evident in PDS’s lack of finishing around the goal.

“We just don’t have anybody who is prepared to go out and take risks and just fire it on the goal,” said Murphy, whose team hosts Lawrenceville on September 22 before playing at Blair Academy on September 27.

“We are punishing people getting in there but we need to be more aggressive. You have to take five or six efforts on goal to one so we are working on that.”

The Panthers have been getting some good work on the defensive end of the field.

“They have not been bad all season,” said Murphy of his defensive unit, which features defenders Paul Zetterberg, Connor Gibson, Zach Golden, and Taran Auslander together with goalie Eisenberg. “They have played hard, they have played tough.”

In Murphy’s view, the tie with Peddie was a step forward for the team. “It was a good response coming back from a loss to Trenton Catholic,” said Murphy, referring to a 1-0 defeat to the powerful Iron Mikes on September 12.

“I think we had the better of both halves; I thought we had more of the opportunities. It is just getting them to believe in themselves.”

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