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Vol. LXV, No. 39
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
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LAMB STEW: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Colin Lamb heads the ball in recent action. Junior striker Lamb notched game-winning goals in victories over Hightstown and Trenton Central last week. The Little Tigers, now 4-0-2, host Lawrence High on September 28, Hamilton on October 1, and Steinert on October 4.

Sparked by Lamb’s Clutch Goal Scoring, PHS Boys’ Soccer on Winning Track Again

Bill Alden

Colin Lamb may have earned a new nickname after his clutch play last week for the Princeton High boys’ soccer team.

On September 20, Lamb tallied a golden goal to give PHS a 2-1 overtime win at Hightstown. Two days later, Lamb notched the lone score in the Little Tigers’ 1-0 victory over a stubborn Trenton Central squad.

After the Trenton game, Lamb’s teammates were proclaiming that he should be called Colin “Goal Scorer” Lamb.

Smiling at the suggestion, Lamb explained that the name is part of some inside banter among the Little Tigers.

“It is a little joke that we have on the team, whoever starts scoring, we put their middle name as ‘goal scorer,’” said Lamb, whose tally helped PHS improve to 3-0-2 on the season.

Lamb’s critical goal last Thursday against the Tornadoes was no joking matter.

“The ball came across and there was a whole mess of defenders in there,” recalled Lamb.

“Zach [Halliday] went up for it and everyone surrounded him. I came on the backside and the ball was just right there and I chested it in. The assist was from Aidan [Passannante] and Zach had a part in the set up.”

Lamb feels that he is becoming a bigger part of the PHS attack with his recent finishing prowess.

“It is nice when you get started and then you keep it going,” said Lamb. “It is easy getting into a rhythm, when you get out there.”

Playing with Passannante and Halliday has helped Lamb get into that rhythm. “We have been playing for a while now with the preseason and the time we have had together,” said Lamb.

“It is easy to get a connection between everyone. I try to possess the ball and distribute and just play my role on the soccer team.”

While the Little Tigers have relied on a stingy defense to produce their solid start, Lamb believes the attack can be more explosive.

“Coach [Wayne] Sutcliffe likes to shape a really nice defense around our team and it builds from there,” said Lamb.

“We are always working on our offense and getting better everyday. We are trying new things up top with Aidan and Jordan [Phelps]. We keep looking for new opportunities and new ways to score.”

PHS head coach Sutcliffe, for his part, likes the work he has gotten from his squad so far this fall.

“We are fine; it is nice,” said Sutcliffe, whose club topped Robbinsville 4-2 last Monday to improve to 4-0-2 on the season and a combined 41-2-7 since the start of the 2009 campaign.

“The way we are looking at it, our winning percentage is still where we want it to be. We have taken some good teachable things from those draws; that helped us win the Hightstown game in overtime. We have only given up two goals in five games; that is most important to us.”

Lamb’s play on attack is becoming increasingly important for the Little Tigers.

“That was a quality finish from Colin today,” said Sutcliffe. “He has been busy; he was on the other end of several goals this season. He is threatening around the net so it is great to see him get the game winner today and on Tuesday.”

Those clutch goals, however, weren’t one-man efforts. “It has to be said that it was the work of 11 that gave us that,” said Sutcliffe. “Aidan and Zach always look for the others.”

Senior defender Ben Davis and the PHS defense have been looking formidable.

“Davis has really been sharp since the beginning of the preseason,” asserted Sutcliffe, who also cited the superb work of senior goalie George Kusserow and senior defender Bruce Robertson as keys in the team’s play along the back line.

“He helps us keep our shape and his decision-making is phenomenal. He has touch and ability in the air. I can’t say enough about him, he has been fantastic.”

The Little Tigers do need to display a better finishing touch collectively. “We need to work on the connection between the midfield and getting into the front third with quality and combining,” said Sutcliffe.

“We need to get a little sharper. We have only given up two but we haven’t scored enough goals either.”

On balance, Sutcliffe believes his squad is on the right track as it looks to again be a title contender on the county and state level.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with where we are at,” added Sutcliffe, whose team hosts Lawrence High on September 28, Hamilton on October 1, and Steinert on October 4. “We have great spirit in the group. We are in a good place.”

In Lamb’s view, that team chemistry could help PHS end up in a very good place this fall.

“It is a very tightly knit group,” said Lamb. “We hang out on the pitch and off of it. We are a pretty experienced team in the postseason and we are looking forward to it. Our prime objective is to do really well in the postseason.”

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