With Kinney Emerging as Scoring Threat, PHS Field Hockey Gaining Momentum
By Bill Alden
Isabel Kinney and her teammates on the Princeton High field hockey team were determined to produce a strong start when they hosted WW/P-North last Wednesday.
“Before every game, we say we want to come out with intensity right off the bat there, and I think that really helps us set the tone,” said junior forward Kinney.
Kinney set the tone for PHS against the Northern Knights, scoring a goal in the opening moments of the contest.
“We moved it right down the field, we were talking, and we passed,” said Kinney, reflecting on the tally. “It was just field hockey.”
Keeping things moving in the right direction for the Little Tigers, Kinney scored again with 23:53 left in the half, doubling the PHS lead to 2-0. Adding two more unanswered goals, the Little Tigers led 4-0 at halftime and never looked back on the way to a 7-0 victory.
“We are all friends on the team and we treat it like a family so we can all communicate really well,” said Kinney, who tallied another goal in the second half to notch the first hat trick of her PHS career.
“We know where each other is, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
With PHS topping Hamilton 4-0 last Monday to post its fourth win in its last five games and improve to 5-4-1, Kinney believes the team is gaining strength.
“It has been a really good season so far,” said Kinney. “We lost a lot of seniors so there are a lot of new faces and it has been a lot of fun.”
Kinney is a new face in the starting lineup, having getting called up from the JV team midway through the 2016 season.
“Coming from JV, I got to see how varsity works,” said Kinney. “It is a much faster game. Coming from getting moved up and then playing this year and being one of the top scorers with my friends is really cool.”
PHS head coach Heather Serverson liked seeing her squad get off to a fast start in the win over WW/P-North.
“That has been one of our issues, we haven’t been playing with intensity; we need to be starting with intensity and maintaining it throughout,” said Serverson.
“We had a lengthy conversation about that today and they went out and they executed. It was awesome.”
Kinney’s execution at the offensive end has been a bright spot for PHS. “Isabel has definitely been stepping up, filling the shoes of some of those seniors we lost on the front line,” said Serverson.
“She is a scrappy player. She is in the right spot and she wants to get goals. She is demonstrating that very clearly on the field.”
The Little Tigers demonstrated some good scoring balance against the Northern Knights as Mariana Lopez-Ona, Lisette Dubow, and Renee Hoevers also tallied goals in the win.
“It is always nice to have multiple people put the ball into the net,” said Serverson. “I was also happy that everyone got to contribute in some way on the field.”
Serverson has been happy with the play of her defensive unit, which is led by senior goalie Kate Rogers along with senior defender Lily Leonard and sophomore defender Lila Doran.
“Kate, Lila, and Lily have saved us on defense; they are solid,” said Serverson.
“Lily and Kate have been back there for years together and they have pulled Lila into that fold. They make a really nice solid group. I really like the way they play back there; it makes me feel good.”
With PHS having bounced back from a shaky 1-3-1 start, Serverson feels good about the squad’s prospects coming down the stretch.
“We are more focused all around, in practice and games; I think they are finally just learning how each other play and finally just getting it,” said Serverson, whose team hosts Allentown on October 4, Steinert on October 6, and Lawrence on October 9.
“It is really starting to click well. We have figured out who works best in what position. They are just learning how the other one plays so we are playing more like a team as opposed to individuals with good skills.”
In Kinney’s view, PHS has developed a hunger to score which will make it a tough team to beat.
“We always go hard in practice; we play like we practice,” said Kinney.
“We have been talking a lot about intensity and going right out on the field and wanting that goal.”