Heather Serverson doesn’t have to wait for the season to begin to know that her Princeton High field hockey team is on the same page.
PHS features a battle-tested core of veterans who played key roles last year as the Little Tigers advanced to the Mercer County Tournament semis and the sectional quarterfinals.
“The seniors have been providing a spark, they are the glue that holds the team together,” said PHS head coach Serverson, who guided the Little Tigers to a 13-4-2 record in 2013.
“This group has experienced some key games with the MCT against HoVal and the states against Warren Hills. They are a close group, that is one thing I always focus on and I don’t have to put a lot of work into that with this team. They blend well together on and off the field and that is something that can’t be forced.”
The one-two punch of seniors Lucy Herring and Campbell McDonald should be a force on the front line this fall.
“They are looking really good, their experience is paying off,” said Serverson of Herring and McDonald, who will be joined by senior Elisa Kostenbader, sophomore Avery Peterson, and senior Cara Straus on the front line.
“They play year round together with their club. I am noticing composure and calm in them around the cage.”
Senior Julia DiTosto provides composure all over the field as a top defender who can trigger the offense through the midfield.
“If I had to sum it up, she has great game knowledge and she is a great ball distributor,” said Serverson of the Stanford-bound DiTosto.
“She can score and she can shut down the other team from scoring, you can’t ask for much more than that from a player.”
The Little Tigers boast a blend of veteran players and new faces in the midfield with the return of junior Trish Reilly, sophomore Jordyn Cane and junior Lucia Matteo and the addition of junior Natalie Campisi and sophomore Anna Cincotta.
“Trish complements Julia well,” said Serverson. “I have her on the right side but I am also putting her at center mid once in a while for the future. Cane and Matteo are back. We have two newcomers, Natalie Campisi and Anna Cincotta, and they are looking good.”
Along the back line, junior Julia Snyder and sophomore Georgia McLean are looking good.
“Julia Snyder is solid; she has really improved from last year,” asserted Serverson, who also has junior Allison Spann on defense.
“Her confidence level has increased from last year, it is catching up with her skills. I see McLean getting a lot of time back there. She will help us out. She moved from midfield to defense on her club team and she is really feisty back there.”
At goalie, junior Maggie Welch and freshman Kate Rogers will be vying for playing time.
“Right now we are looking at a rotation,” said Serverson. “They have different strengths and weaknesses, it will be a game-by-game situation.”
In Serverson’s view, PHS’s ability to win a lot of games this fall will be enhanced by its special team chemistry.
“I think they have the potential like last year’s team; the real strength is that a lot of them have been playing together for two or three years,” said Serverson, whose team opens the season by playing at Allentown on September 5.
“The experience they have gotten from those games is so valuable. The MCT game may have been more valuable, it showed what we are capable of. The skill, experience, and tightness as a group are the things that will pull us through.”