It has been mix-and-match for the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team this fall as it has dealt with a series of injuries.
Last Friday as PDS hosted Lawrence High for its Senior Day, two of the honorees, Culver Duquette and Tom Hagan, were sidelined by injury while junior Oscar Vik was in a sling due to a shoulder problem.
During the second half on Friday, the Panthers dealt with some more misfortune as goalie Aaron Gold left the contest due to a knock and Christian Vik had to move from midfield to the keeper spot. Undeterred by the upheaval, PDS battled the Cardinals tooth-and-nail, dropping a 1-0 decision.
PDS head coach Malcolm Murphy was proud of his team’s resilience. “I thought the first half, I thought we did very well, considering that we have so many injuries,” said Murphy, whose team fell to 3-7-3 with the loss.
“I thought they played well, composed and kept the ball like we like them to do.”
Murphy acknowledged that his team didn’t do enough with the ball, getting held scoreless for a fifth straight game.
“We didn’t do enough in the final third; that’s what we struggle with even when we have a full team out,” said Murphy.
“We can get the ball up there, we just can’t manage to keep it up there with enough effort on goal.”
The change at goalie didn’t faze the Panthers as they pressed forward until the final whistle.
“With the injury we had to switch the midfield around but by now they should be used to it,” said Murphy.
“They never know who they are playing next to. We overcame what happened and they have finally become immune to it. It is just a case of going out and seeing what they could get. I think the last 10 minutes, they put something together.”
PDS got some good play from several individuals, including junior midfielder Marco Pinheiro, senior Sean Hudson, and senior Gabriel Vazquez.
“There is always Marco, he is out there playing well, “added Murphy. “Sean Hudson at the back was excellent again. Vazquez did a lot of work up top and it is not easy for a forward in this type of game. When you are looking to keep possession like this you look for more technical players, but they work hard for us.”
With the Panthers entering postseason play next week as it plays at Newark Academy on October 30 in the opening round of the Prep B tourney and then travels to Allentown on Saturday for a first round contest in the Mercer County Tournament, Murphy is looking for more flexibility from his squad.
“We’ll just have to look at the tactics, especially the Prep B, to see if there is anything where we can take a little bit maybe from the back four and give to the forwards,” said Murphy, whose team is seeded sixth in the Prep B tourney and 14th in the MCT.
“Each game is a one-off and you have to go out and play to win. We have just got to make sure and see if we can switch a couple of players around and out them higher up the field.”