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Sparked by Gibbons’ Production, Versatility, PHS Girls’ Lax Advances to Sectional Final

GIFT OF GAB: Princeton High girls‘ lacrosse player Gabby ­Gibbons, left, gets by a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, junior star Gibbons and senior standout Emilia ­Lopez-Ona each had five goals as third-seeded PHS topped second-seeded Clearview 17-11 in the Group III South sectional semis to improve to 17-3 and book a spot in the title game on May 28 at No. 1 Moorestown (22-0).(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

GIFT OF GAB: Princeton High girls‘ lacrosse player Gabby ­Gibbons, left, gets by a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, junior star Gibbons and senior standout Emilia ­Lopez-Ona each had five goals as third-seeded PHS topped second-seeded Clearview 17-11 in the Group III South sectional semis to improve to 17-3 and book a spot in the title game on May 28 at No. 1 Moorestown (22-0). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Even though the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team trailed Kingsway 2-0 early in the Group III South sectional quarters last week, Gabby Gibbons wasn’t worried.

“I knew that we would come together, we usually do,” said PHS junior star Gibbons.

“It was a slow start but once we got going, I think we just overpowered them.”

Indeed, the third-seeded Little Tigers went on an 8-1 run that turned a 4-3 deficit into an 11-5 halftime lead over No. 6 Kingsway in the May 20 contest.

Gibbons, for her part, scored three goals in that run, including the 100th of her career.

“It was really exciting,” said Gibbons, reflecting on her milestone goals, which prompted her teammates to wave posters honoring Gibbons for her achievement.

“I couldn’t do it without my teammates obviously, they play a huge role in everything.”

Everything went well for PHS in the second half as it rolled to a 16-10 triumph.

“I like the way we ended and how everyone stepped up and contributed,” said Gibbons.

“We had a lot of our sophomores, like Allie Callaway and Julia Ryan, who really stepped up and did a good job. We had the usual contributors like Liz [Jacobs] and Emilia [Lopez-Ona].”

Two days later, the Little Tigers stepped up again, posting a 17-11 win at second-seeded Clearview in the sectional semis to book a spot in the title game on May 28 at No. 1 Moorestown.

In Gibbons’ view, strength at both ends of the field has helped make PHS a title contender.

“I think it is really good because we don’t have one person scoring all the goals,” asserted Gibbons.

“We have a bunch of people who can contribute to the offense. The defense played awesome as well, they have come together so much. Mira [Shane] is fabulous in goal.”

Gibbons has gone out of her way to contribute more all over the field.

“I have been trying to do a little bit of everything,” said Gibbons, who has committed to join the Virginia Commonwealth University women’s lacrosse program and has been playing on two club teams over the last few years to hone her skills.

“I feed a lot. I have been trying to go to goal but also ride and trying to play defense.”

PHS head coach Kelsey O’Gorman appreciates Gibbons’ growth as a player. “Gabby has really been a huge asset in our offense this year,” said O’Gorman,

“She is a triple threat. She is a feeder, she can dodge well and she can shoot phenomenally. She has really matured throughout the years and especially this season. She is going more on defense this year now too. She is a well rounded player.”

Another player who made history for PHS in the win over Kingsbury was senior star and Dartmouth-bound Liz Jacobs.

“Liz also had her 200th goal so it was a milestone game,” said O’Gorman. “Liz’s shot is just unstoppable; she has more power than any high school player I have seen. She is a powerhouse attacker, she is able to execute and she is able to find the open space in the net today.”

With PHS having learned from the experience of falling to Mendham in the sectional final last year, O’Gorman believes her squad, now 17-3, has what it takes to give perennial powerhouse Moorestown (22-0) a battle.

“I think each game we have shown that we can rise to the level of the other team,” said O’Gorman.

“Kingsway was a great opponent today. It just shows you the level of intensity that each team is bringing to the state tournament. It is what we expected and it is a great ride so far for Princeton.”

In Gibbons’ view, that ride could end with a sectional title. “I think we can go one step further,” said Gibbons. “I think we are really playing as a team and I think everyone is just doing terrific.”

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