After a superb four-year stretch that saw the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team go 49-23-3 with two state Prep B titles, the program hit some hard times last fall.
Dealing with key injuries and struggling to find a rhythm, the Panthers slipped to a 4-9-4 record in 2012.
As the squad looks ahead to the 2013 campaign, there is a hunger to resume its winning ways.
“The girls are definitely anxious to come back,” said PDS head coach Pat Trombetta, who is entering his sixth season at the helm of the program.
“The record was not a good indication of how we played. We were in every game; there were a lot of one-goal games. We want to turn those games around. I expect us to improve.”
The partnership of junior stars Kirsten Kuzmicz and Erin Hogan in the midfield could be a key to triggering a PDS revival.
“Kirsten and Erin have been playing really well in the central midfield,” asserted Trombetta, whose team opens regular season play with a game at Wardlaw Hartridge on September 7.
“Kuzmicz has matured; she has gone to a lot of college camps. She is our most passionate player about playing at the next level. Erin has definitely improved, she is ready to roll.”
The PDS midfield will also feature a pair of veterans in Eloise Stanton and Lilly Razzaghi along with promising freshman Allison Klei.
“The two seniors, Stanton and Razzaghi, will be the outside mids,” added Trombetta. “They had some good moments last year. Klei should give us a lot of good minutes.”
Trombetta is hoping that the combination of juniors Alexa Soltesz and Erin Murray will be productive at forward.
“We will be turning to Alexa for scoring,” said Trombetta. “We have to find a second forward to complement Alexa. Erin Murray will get the first shot to be the second forward, she has improved a lot.”
On defense, the Panthers will be relying on senior star Britt Murray and junior standout Stef Soltesz to stifle the opposition.
“Britt will have a different role,” said Trombetta. “We are going to move her to outside back; we want to get her involved more in the attack. Stef is unbelievable, the amount of ground she covers is amazing. She could play anywhere on the field.”
At goalie, the Panthers feature battle-tested senior Rory Finnegan. “Rory is still developing; it is her third year as a starter,” said Trombetta. “She is a mature player. She knows that game; she has started to become more vocal on the field.”
In the team’s opening preseason scrimmage against Nottingham, Trombetta was pleased with the game displayed by his players.
“I liked the way we moved the ball around,” said Trombetta. “We switched fields and got everyone involved. The girls off the bench played well; we are deeper than last year.”
In Trombetta’s view, how well his squad does this fall could come down to having everyone on the same page.
“It is very positive; the chemistry early on is a lot better than it was last year,” said Trombetta.
“We have a very strong junior class, they tried to carry the team last year and they are more mature this year as upperclassmen.”