Vol. LXI, No. 39
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
POWER MOVE: Princeton High boys’ soccer star Kyle DeBlois races up the field in PHS’ 1-0 win over Notre Dame last Thursday at Mercer County Community College. DeBlois, who moved to striker this year from midfield, tallied the game’s lone goal on a sweet volley in the first half.
Kyle DeBlois made life miserable last fall for opponents of the Princeton High boys’ soccer team with his dashing play in the midfield.
Racing up and down the field, the aggressive DeBlois helped set the tone for a PHS squad that went 17-4 on the way to a Central Jersey Group III sectional title.
This fall, DeBlois has taken his act up the field, moving to striker where his killer instinct has sparked the Little Tigers to a sizzling start.
Last Thursday against Notre Dame, DeBlois displayed his finishing touch as he volleyed home a feed from Chris Bechler to account for the only goal in a 1-0 win which lifted PHS to a 5-0 mark.
DeBlois is enjoying getting his shot at forward. “I was used to making those runs back and forth in the midfield and then not get the ball,” said DeBlois, who also stars for the PHS boys’ ice hockey team. “I love playing forward. That’s what I play for my club team so it’s my natural spot.”
In order to prepare himself to be a force up front, DeBlois put in some extra time on his conditioning.
“During the spring, Peter McInerney and a couple of other kids would go into the weight room a couple of days every week,” said DeBlois, who has scored three goals and has two assists so far this season for the Little Tigers.
“Our assistant coach Carlos Salazar would give us routines to do. We did abs, upper body work, leg work, the whole routine. I have a bigger body mass, it makes it easier to muscle guys off the ball.”
DeBlois’ physical presence complements the speed and flashiness of his partner up front, junior star Sam Kotowski
“It takes a little time but I think we are getting there,” said DeBlois of his partnership with Kotowski, who leads PHS with eight goals.
“We are communicating with each other, telling each other what we need to do. It’s a good bond; he’s a great player.”
PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe feels great with DeBlois up front. “Kyle’s pace is great; he pressures defenders and goes to goal,” said Sutcliffe. “He’s a quality finisher, he finishes in big games. Tonight he had a big goal for us.”
Sutcliffe likes the bond that is developing between DeBlois and Kotowski.
“They are getting there everyday,” said Sutcliffe. “It’s a matter of getting to understand each other, verbally and non verbally. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
While playing without leader McInerney, who was sidelined with a leg injury, PHS produced a defensive effort to be proud of as they blanked the Irish.
“Notre Dame has been a county finalist the last two years, what you see is what you get,” said Sutcliffe.
“They put on a lot of pressure and they never quit. Chris Bechler, Ari Silver, Will Slade and Nick Hughes played well. Notre Dame has a couple of threatening forwards and our plan was to neutralize them. Without Peter out there, that was a big adjustment.”
Sutcliffe feared that the program faced a big adjustment in the wake of some key losses to graduation but the Little Tigers seemed to have picked up right where they left off last season.
“You never know what you’re going to get, every year is different,” said Sutcliffe, who is in his 11th season guiding the Little Tigers.
“You lose seven seniors and six starters from last year’s team so what do you think, you don’t know. We just came in where we left off. They are really a team; our guys are on the same page.”
DeBlois, for his part, believes this year’s team has enjoyed rising to the challenge of building on last season’s accomplishments.
“It’s big shoes to fill but I think we’re doing a great job,” said DeBlois, who will look to keep PHS on the winning track when it plays at Allentown on September 27 before hosting WW/P-N on October 2.
“We’re definitely well-trained, everyone is in the shape they need to be. We are staying positive at practice; everyone is pushing each other to go to the next level. It’s a really fun experience right now. We’re just riding the train; hopefully we stay on it.”
And with DeBlois providing muscle and quality finishing up front, PHS looks primed to go on another special ride this fall.
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