Coming into the winter, Christian Herzog knew that his Princeton High girls’ hockey team was going to take some lumps as it embarked on a youth movement.
With a lineup containing a number of underclassmen and newcomers to the game, PHS has struggled to a 0-9 start, losing several games by lopsided margins.
But head coach Herzog isn’t discouraged, crediting his players with hanging in there.
“They go into every game with a low percentage of winning but that doesn’t deter them,” said Herzog, who got goals from Merritt Peck and Bea Greenberg as PHS fell 6-2 at Shady Side Academy (Pa.) last Sunday for its ninth straight loss this season.
“That comes from our mantra of head, heart, and hustle. We have made good strides, considering where we have started. I have seen good individual progress.”
Herzog points to a number of players who have made strides as the season has unfolded.
“Hanna Kostenbader has been stepping up on defense; she has been solid,” said Herzog.
“Isabelle Sohn is a finisher; she goes for it on every shift. Kate Sohn is taking more initiative; she is rushing up the puck more this year. Brittney Coniglione has been our most physical player; she gives a hard effort on every shift. She takes the attitude that they are not going to score on my watch. I have had to use Lucy Herring on defense and she has made strides at playing a new position. She did score two goals against Princeton Day School when I put her at forward.”
PHS is going with two new goalies, freshman Callie Urisko and junior Breanna Hegarty-Thorne, and Herzog is proud of how they have handled the pressure of playing between the pipes.
“I like that they are not giving up despite the scores of the games,” said Herzog, noting that his defense has been weakened by injuries to sophomore standout Julia DiTosto and promising freshman Allie Callaway.
“I see potential in both of them, they just need more ice time. We need to give up fewer shots; it is tough on them when we are getting outshot 30-10 every game.”
Herzog likes the way his senior players, Dana Barry, KC Read-Fisher, Brooke Solomon, and Kostenbader, have helped the team through some tough times.
“They have played an integral part in keeping spirits high,” asserted Herzog. “They went through last year so they know how to deal with things.”
Herzog is confident his team can produce a spirited finish to the season. “The one thing I can say about this team is that they have a good attitude and a willingness to work hard and get better even when the odds are against them,” said Herzog, whose team plays at the Portledge School (N.Y.) on January 31.
“We tend to play our best at the end of the season in the WIHLMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) tournament.”