This past spring, Hannah Levy proved to be a superb finisher for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team, piling up 94 points on 69 goals and 25 assists.
Last Friday, Levy showed that her scoring knack translates to the soccer field as well. The senior star tallied a goal and added an assist as PDS battled Germantown Academy to a thrilling 2-2 overtime tie in its season opener.
In reflecting on her performance on the soccer pitch, Levy said she drew on her lacrosse skills.
“The sports are similar in a lot of ways,” said Levy. “They are both field sports; they both have a possession aspect and you see the field in the same way.”
Levy’s goal came with 25:15 left in the first half as she converted a feed from sophomore Alex Soltesz.
“That was a great cross,” recalled Levy, noting that her finish wasn’t a thing of beauty.
“I think the crosses were definitely open today. I kind of ran through it. I don’t even know where it hit off of me; it might have been my abs. It was a little too low for my head. I just went with it; it is a goal.”
Germantown tied the game late in the first half and then Levy hit a cross of her own with 13:18 left in regulation on a corner kick which led to a Kelsey Scarlett score.
“That was definitely good; we always focus on having it in the target zone,” said Levy.
“We did a kick called ‘the USA’ that is into the six; there are a lot of touches that can happen on that.”
The Panthers lost their lead less than 30 seconds later as Germantown scored on a run right after the kickoff.
PDS, though, didn’t lose its focus as the team held together and put plenty of pressure on the Patriots as the contest ended in a draw.
“We are lifting each other up on the field, we are out there for each other and playing as one unit,” said Levy. “I definitely think our possession work is much better than it was earlier. We are building off what we did in preseason and coming out really strong.”
“I don’t really know what position I am playing,” said Levy. “I got some minutes on attack. I really like that; it is new to me. I feel with Jane [Smukler] gone, I can pose a threat up there and push some people over and get some shots off. I am also very comfortable at center mid.”
PDS assistant coach Howie Powers is comfortable with Levy’s versatility. “We are asking Hannah to play a couple of things for us, mostly in the middle,” said Powers.
“We want her to use her strength on the ball. She goes after the ball and she shields so she plays a lot of withdrawn striker for us. Alex is there to run fast and hard while Hannah can strike the ball with her left or right foot. We are probably not going to get too many goals down low. We are going to get goals on crosses and shots outside and that’s where we got our goals today.”
Powers liked the way PDS didn’t get down even after Germantown knotted the game at 2-2.
“I think for the first game, to go 100 minutes was huge for us,” asserted Powers. “GA is always a very competitive team. They came right back in a minute and the nice thing was that we could have collapsed on that. I think we had more energy in the overtime; both teams could have won this game.”
In Powers’ view, junior goalie Rory Finnegan deserves a lot of credit for keeping PDS in the game.
“I think our most improved spot on the team is Rory Finnegan out of the goal,” maintained Powers.
“She made some phenomenal saves and her distribution was great. She really worked on her game over the summer. It’s coming out hard on the field and that is giving everybody else confidence.”
Showing its confidence, PDS is playing a more competitive slate this year, taking on teams like Germantown, Pennington, and the Shipley School (Pa.) as it aims to make a big postseason run.
“We upped our schedule, we changed three games where we may have been the favorite and we put in three games where we are the underdogs,” said Powers, whose team plays at Shipley School (Pa.) on September 14 and at Hamilton High on September 15.
“When we are playing the right size schools, it should make us much more competitive and that’s obviously where we are steering for this season. We play a very competitive regular season schedule which might hurt us in seeding and home games but it preps us a little more. It gets us a little more ready.”
Levy, for her part, believes the Panthers are ready to play some good soccer. “We need to look for the easy pass, sometimes we are trying to kick it down the field and we are not really a kick and run team,” said Levy.
“We have a lot of soccer players; we need to play to feet. We need to spread the field with outside midfielders on the end line calling for the ball and doing all the simple stuff.”