Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 38
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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UNDER CONTROL: Princeton High boys’ soccer senior defender Scott Schwarz controls the ball in recent action. Schwarz’s leadership and savvy along the back line has helped PHS produce a 3-0-1 start this season. Schwarz and the Little Tigers will look to stay on the winning track when they play at Allentown on September 24 and at Hightstown on September 29.

Senior Defender Schwarz Taking Leading Role as PHS Boys’ Soccer Stymies the Opposition

Bill Alden

Scott Schwarz knows that it is his turn to step up as a leader of the defense on the Princeton High boys’ soccer team.

With last season’s defensive stalwarts Will Slade and Chris Bechler having graduated, senior Schwarz feels the responsibility to lead from the back.

“I think Wilson [Urias] and me are the only two on defense who have been on the team for a while,” said Schwarz, who helped PHS win its second straight Mercer County Tournament title last year.

“We are the veterans on the defense so we are the most well-rounded defenders, you could say. It helps when you have leaders to help you out and let you know that you are doing stuff well and so we all are trying to do that.”

In PHS’s game last week against Nottingham, Schwarz and the back line had to hold the fort as the Little Tiger offense struggled to find a rhythm, clinging to a 1-0 lead at half.

“We played yesterday so I am sure everyone was a little fatigued,” said Schwarz.

“We played on grass and it was just a matter of getting back on turf and getting our game together.”

At halftime, PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe called on Schwarz and his classmates to keep things together for the Little Tigers.

“The coach talked to the seniors and told us to keep everyone fired up and lead the team because we need to stay strong in the second half,” recalled Schwarz.

PHS produced a strong second half, coming up with goals from Peter Marchetta, Aidan Passannante, Thatcher Foster, and Pat Furlong and some airtight defense as it cruised to a 5-0 win over Nottingham.

“We started to jell a lot better,” said Schwarz, reflecting on the team’ second half performance. “We started playing our game and just everything was clicking in the second half.”

Schwarz has been clicking with goalie and classmate Steve Hellstern, for some time.

“It is always a help to have Steve in the goal,” said Schwarz with a grin. “I went to middle school with Steve in Cranbury so I have known him for a while. We have been playing together for school for a while.”

The team’s seniors have been winning for a while and don’t want to stop.

“There are so many of us,” said Schwarz, referring to the team’s senior group. “We know what it feels like to win and do well so we want to continue that feeling this year.”

PHS head coach Sutcliffe had a good feeling about how his team performed in the second half against Nottingham.

“In the second half, we really put some stuff together,” said Sutcliffe, whose team moved to 3-0-1 on the year with a 0-0 tie against Notre Dame last Thursday.

“We moved the ball pretty well and just put some pressure on them and got behind their defense more. Between Peter Marchetta and Aidan, we were able to find those two and get in behind their defenders. Those two did a good job of finishing.”

PHS has been getting a consistently good job from its defense so far this season.

“Our guys in the back, starting with Steven [Hellstern] and the four backs have done real well,” asserted Sutcliffe, whose back line also includes Max Reid and Allen Bryant.

“They are going to get better. It’s just a matter of them becoming more familiar with each other and the midfielders and strikers checking back in and helping out. I can’t say enough about the way they have played.”

Sutcliffe credits Schwarz with providing savvy along the back line. “Scott has played a good role; he was a starter last year so he has a lot of experience,” said Sutcliffe, whose team plays at Allentown on September 24 and at Hightstown on September 29.

“He’s asserting himself. Hopefully, he will continue to refine his touch and his tactical decisions just like everybody else. He has had a good season so far.”

Schwarz, for his part, thinks the Little Tigers could be headed to a very good fall.

“Before the season, we were kind of iffy on how were going to be,” said Schwarz.

“We lost so many good players like Sam [Kotowski] and Corey [Marsh]. With the way that everyone is working together; we are doing a lot better than anyone expected. We are really filling the shoes of last year.”

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