December 27, 2017

Sophomore Star Zammit Showing Maturity, Stepping Up as PHS Girls’ Hockey Starts 1-2

DEVELOPING SITUATION: Princeton High girls’ ice hockey player Victoria Zammit brings the puck up the ice last week against the Pingry School at Baker Rink. Sophomore forward and assistant captain Zammit tallied three goals and an assist in a losing cause as PHS fell 11-6 to Pingry in the December 19 contest. The Little Tigers, who moved to 1-2 with an 11-4 loss at Summit last Wednesday, return to action when they play at Princeton Day School on January 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Victoria Zammit has hit the ice for her sophomore season with the Princeton High girls’ hockey team, she is showing a maturity as a player and a leader.

The forward has five goals and four assists through three games while shouldering extra responsibility as an assistant captain.

In assessing her progress, Zammit believes she is a faster and sharper player on the ice.

“It has been big jump for me from freshman year to sophomore year,” said Zammit.

“My speed has been much better this year. I am definitely focusing on puck control and just making smart plays with my sister [Alexa] on defense.”

Zammit has also focused on developing her leadership skills. “Being an assistant captain is the biggest honor, it makes me value the team a lot more,” said Zammit. “I have to put in 110 percent all the time and prioritize this team over any other team.”

In an 11-6 loss to Pingry last week, Zammit displayed skill and leadership as PHS kept fighting despite an 8-1 second period deficit. She tallied three goals in the third period as the Little Tigers put the Big Blue on their heels in the December 19 contest.

“Something clicked in the third period, “ said Zammit. “I think it is just playing for the girl next to you, to keep pushing and don’t let up.”

Things are clicking for Zammit in terms of playing with her older sister, senior Alexa, the PHS captain and the team’s top defenseman.

“We have argued in the past but we have moved past that,” said Zammit. “We work on calling for the puck and making crisp passes. That is a difference maker, moving the puck fast. “

Zammit is enjoying working with freshman forward Maddie Samaan, the daughter of Princeton University Athletics Director and former Tigers women’s hockey star Molly Marcoux Samaan.

“Maddie is very good,” said Zammit of Samaan, who scored four goals in her debut as PHS defeated Westfield 11-1 in its season opener on December 15.

“She is definitely someone I want to build chemistry with because if we figure out how to pass together, we could definitely score a lot.”

PHS head coach Christian Herzog likes how the younger Zammit has figured out things this year.

“Victoria played well tonight, she is a lot more mature than she was last year,” said Herzog.

The older Zammit, senior defenseman Alexa, is giving the Little Tigers a lot every night.

“Alexa is our rock back there on defense, she is going to log a ton of minutes,” added Herzog.

While Herzog was happy to see his team keep battling in the loss to Pingry, he was disappointed by the result.

“We were down 8-1, we could have thrown in the towel,” said Herzog. “The final score was definitely not what I expected; I thought we would have clicked a little better.”

Looking ahead, Herzog believes his team has to click better at the defensive end. “We have to stay away from silly transitions by our defense, especially in the zone,” said Herzog, whose team fell 11-4 to Summit last Wednesday to drop to 1-2 and returns to action when it plays at Princeton Day School on January 3. “We can’t make it easy for the other teams with blind passes.”

Zammit, for her part, echoes Herzog’s sentiments.“We need to work on moving the puck with more efficiency and looking for open ice and recognizing open players,” said Zammit.