For much of its game against visiting Hill School (Pa.) last Wednesday, the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team controlled possession of the ball.
But letting its guard down for a five-minute stretch in the first half, PDS’s good work went for naught as it fell 5-2 to the Blues.
PDS head coach Pat Trombetta acknowledged that the Panthers wasted that possession, committing miscues at the wrong time.
“If you look at the possession, we possessed the ball most of the game,” said Trombetta, whose team trailed 4-0 at intermission, surrendering three goals in a decisive five-minute stretch midway through the first half.
“We made a lot of mistakes, we turned the ball over in the back. That hurt us today.”
PDS did fight back in the second half, displaying some sharper soccer. “We played better in the second half; we showed more composure in the second half and we put two away,” said Trombetta, who got goals from Kylie Kieffer and Britt Murray.
“We had a couple of golden opportunities that we didn’t cash in on in the first half. If you get on the board first, you have a little momentum and things can happen from there. Unfortunately we didn’t convert on the chances that we had and they cashed in on our mistakes.”
In Trombetta’s view, his club has been snakebitten in a recent stretch which has seen it go 0-5-1.
“I knew the schedule was competitive,” said Trombetta, whose team fell 2-1 in overtime to Lawrence High on Friday before tying Hopewell Valley 1-1 on Saturday.
“The Peddie game (a 1-0 loss on October 2) was an unbelievable game. It went to double overtime; we had chances and they converted on a corner kick. The Blair game (a 1-0 loss on September 29) was a tough game. The Lawrenceville game (a 4-2 loss on October 5) was really a 3-2 game. We gave up an easy goal at the end of the game when we were knocking on the door. I don’t look at it as being outplayed; I look at it as making mistakes. You can’t make mistakes at this level because good teams are going to convert on them and beat you.”
In order for the Panthers to get back on the right track, Trombetta believes his team needs to fine-tune things around the goal at both ends of the field.
“Our distribution in the back needs to improve,” said Trombetta, whose team entered this week with a 3-7-3 record.
“We have been speaking a lot about playing better defensively and offensively in the box. We are getting opportunities but we have been inconsistent. We put three on the board against Hun, we had two on the board against Lawrenceville so we are scoring against good teams. But then we come up with a couple of goose eggs against Blair and Peddie.”
Despite the team’s recent struggles, Trombetta is confident that his players can still produce a good postseason run.
“Today is not a good feeling but overall I have been very pleased,” said Trombetta, whose team plays at Abington Friends School (Pa.) in October 17 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on October 20.
“Coming into today, this is one of the teams that probably had been the most consistent since I have been here. We fell flat today but we can definitely make noise come tournament time.”