While Zeeza Cole enjoyed contributing two goals for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team as it topped Princeton High 10-0 last Wednesday, she was happier for her teammates who also found the back of the net.
“In this game, we were able to focus on some things that we were working on in practice, like getting everyone playing and getting everyone shooting,” said PDS senior forward Cole, who was joined on the scoring sheet by Robin Linzmayer, Carly King, Anna Williams, Colby Triolo, Lexie Fairman, Daisy Mase, and Louise Hutter. “That obviously boosts everyone’s morale.”
Serving as a tri-captain this winter for the Panthers along with classmates Hutter and Mase, Cole has focused on getting everybody in the act.
“You are not always the leader on the scoreboard,” said Cole, who has helped PDS produce a 9-6 record. “It is not really important to me as long as everyone is playing well and everyone is happy. I think that is a really big thing.”
The Panthers have achieved a big thing for the program this season as they will be making their first appearance in the ‘A’ bracket of the upcoming Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic (WIHLMA) tournament, which includes the top four finishers in the league standings.
“Ever since my freshman year, that is what we have been working towards each year,” said Cole.
“We have been getting closer and closer so this year we just want to go as hard as we can and not leave anything back. I am really hoping to make some memories and just know that we put everything on the ice.”
As an added bonus, PDS will be hosting the tournament. “That is awesome,” said Cole. “We can have a crowd and all of our parents can come. It is really nice having that support from the school and our parents.”
PDS head coach Lorna Cook was happy to see Cole have a nice game in the win over PHS.
“Zeeza started out so strong this season,” said Cook of Cole who has 16 points this season on nine goals and seven assists.
“In the middle of the season, she was not putting as many in the net but she never stopped working to set up her teammates. I am hoping the PHS game will give her confidence.”
With PDS hosting Summit on February 13 in its regular season finale before competing in the WIHLMA tourney from February 16-17, Cook is looking for the team to focus on keeping the pressure on in the offensive zone.
“I think at the beginning of the year, we were doing a good job of putting the pucks in the net,” said Cook, who got a shutout from sophomore goalie Katie Alden in the win over PHS as she handled duties between the pipes with senior star netminder Mase playing out.
“As of late, we have not been getting as many shots. I am hoping for more of the same on Wednesday against Summit and in the WIHLMA tournament.”
In Cook’s view, making the ‘A’ bracket in the WIHLMA tournament shows strong progress.
“That is a huge confidence boost for the program beyond this year,” said Cook. “Hopefully it is somewhere we will be year after year.”
Cook is hoping her team can come up huge as it faces Portledge (N.Y.) in the WIHLMA semis on February 16. Even though PDS fell 8-0 and 6-1 to the New York school earlier this month, Cook isn’t daunted by the matchup.
“We improved between the two games with them and we are looking to improve even more in the third game,” said Cook.
“We are looking at this as our championship. If we win it, then we will be in the title game for the first time and we can take it from there.”
In Cook’s view, showing improvement against Portledge will come down to work ethic and execution.
“Our biggest strength is the effort that we put out there,” said Cook, whose strongest offensive player has been junior defenseman Linzmayer with 22 points on 17 goals and five assists. “Our best players have to play well.”
With Cole heading across town to Princeton University this fall, where she isn’t planning to play any sports, she is ready to make a big effort in the final days of her hockey career.
“It definitely happened pretty quickly,” said Cole, who has also starred in field hockey and lacrosse for PDS.
“I am definitely trying to make the most of it, trying to enjoy every practice, every game. I am really sad. It is one thing on the ice, it is another just being with everyone. We are trying to get in some team dinners, we are trying to hang out with everyone. I am pretty sad that my hockey career is ending, but I am also sad to leave the team.”