Tracey Arndt possesses extensive experience with Pennsylvania field hockey, having starred at Pennsbury High and then going on to Penn State where she earned All-American honors.
Last week, Arndt’s Princeton Day School field hockey team got a double dose of the Keystone State, topping Penn Charter 5-2 in a scrimmage on September 10 before falling to Germantown Academy 5-1 last Friday in the regular season opener.
“Any of the private schools or public schools in that Pennsylvania area are very good and I am actually glad that we got to play them,” said Arndt, who is in her second season as the PDS head coach.
“We played a great game against Penn Charter, which is another private school over there the other day. They are great competition for us. I think we are going to see teams just as strong. It really got us going. To me, you have to play some of the best teams to know where you are standing.”
Against Germantown, the Panthers were trailing 2-1 at half but couldn’t find a rhythm in the second half.
“I think we did really well the other day, so build on the strengths that we had in the other game and come out firing,” said Arndt.
“I think we had so many opportunities; our finishing wasn’t there. The first shot was going but the second and third shots weren’t going. They were pretty tenacious defensively and their goalie certainly stepped up to make some saves.”
With PDS trailing 4-1 with 15:28 remaining, Arndt took a timeout to urge her team to battle to the final whistle.
“I told them at the timeout that it was a gut check; it doesn’t matter if the score is 1-0 or 7-0, you have to pretend it’s a tie game or you are down one and keep fighting and don’t get down on yourself,” said Arndt, who got a goal from junior Morgan Foster in the game as she notched the first goal of her PDS field hockey career.
“I thought this was a great lead-up for the rest of the season. The result is not what we wanted but we have tough games the whole season and with such a low number of players, we have to rely on every single person. We have two sophomores and they need to step up just as much as the seniors are stepping up. It is a hard lesson to learn but hopefully they are competitors and will step up and be motivated by this.”
Arndt believes that her players will benefit from the lessons learned against Germantown.
“As we got tired, we got too individual,” said Arndt. “The more tired we are, the more we have to rely on each other instead of just relying on one person. We have to put the same effort into the game, no matter what the score is. They came out after halftime with a really great fire under them. They knew that was their time to shine but they needed to do that the whole time. In college, I always played tough teams in the beginning and I think it is a great lesson, helping us know what we need to build on, what we need to do tactically, and as a team.”
With PDS slated to host Northern Burlington on September 12 before playing at Peddie on September 16, Arndt wants her team to focus on sticking together at both ends of the field.
“I think we need to work on our communication, our finishing skills as a team, and our recovery defense as a team,” asserted Arndt.
“To me, it is all a team thing. We have some great individual players but that means nothing if you don’t play as a team.”