Over the last decade, the annual showdown between the Hun School and Princeton Day School girls’ soccer teams has featured a number of tight games.
As Hun took the field last Thursday at PDS, it looked like the cross-town rivals could be headed for another nailbiter with the teams knotted in a scoreless tie eight minutes into the contest.
But the Panthers broke the ice on a goal by Brit Murray with 31:15 remaining in the half and then broke the game open with two more tallies as they took a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Hun’s first-year head coach Joanna Hallac acknowledged that her squad found itself on its heels early in the contest.
“The first few minutes I thought we looked OK but then they settled down and really took control and didn’t look back.”
PDS ended up pulling away to a 4-0 victory, a rare lopsided game in the series.
In assessing her team’s effort, Hallac acknowledged that it turned into a long day for the Raiders.
“We were under pressure the whole 80 minutes and we didn’t respond well to it,” said Hallac.
“There were maybe one or two sequences where we possessed the ball for more than two passes. You are not going to generate a lot of offense that way. We just didn’t put our defenders and especially our goaltender in a very good position today so it was tough.”
In order to get into a winning position, Hallac believes that her players need to work harder on the practice field.
“It is going to be tough competition every game,” said Hallac, whose team fell 1-0 to Mount St. Mary Academy last Saturday and has now been outscored 10-0 on the season.
“There are not going to be any easy games and we have to train harder. The training needs to be better because the competition we are facing is intense and they are physical.”
Things were made harder for Hun in the PDS game as all three of its co-captains, Olivia Braender-Carr, Ashley Maziarz, and Jess Sacco, were sidelined by injury. Although that was a disadvantage against PDS, Hallac believes it will help the squad in the long run.
“The oldest players we had out there were three sophomores,” said Hallac. “It was tough not having any veteran players that can help calm things down and control the game. The freshmen are nervous. They have been working hard and this is going to give them great experience going forward. It is hard right now.”
Hun needs to be tougher at both ends of the field going forward. “I want to see possession; we can’t seem to possess the ball very well,” said Hallac, whose team hosts the George School (Pa.) on September 27 and Pennington on October 1.
“We need possession with intent to go forward and be offensive. We need better defending as a team. We get pulled out of shape really quickly and easily. They are just not showing the potential I have seen and that they showed in preseason. I think that has to do a little bit with injuries. It is a work in progress.”