PHS Girls’ Volleyball Looking Formidable As Hauschild Assumes New Playmaking Role
SET POINT: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Gillian Hauschild sets the ball last Thursday as PHS defeated Hopewell Valley 2-0. Junior star Hauschild contributed three kills, four assists, two blocks, and one dig to help the Little Tigers prevail 25-10, 25-12. PHS, which moved to 13-4 with a 2-0 loss to Montgomery last Friday, is hosting Fairfield Prep (Conn.) on October 13 before playing at Florence on October 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Gillian Hauschild is displaying her versatility this fall in her junior season for the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team.
After dominating on the front row in her first two seasons, Hauschild has added a playmaking role to her portfolio.
“We are running a 6-2 this year, which is a lot different than last year,” said Hauschild.
“I am setting from the back row which is a new position for me. I have enjoyed learning to play it; I have set before but it is new for me on the high school team.”
Last Thursday, Hauschild produced an all-around performance, contributing three kills, four assists, two blocks, and one dig as PHS defeated Hopewell Valley 2-0 (25-10, 25-12).
Coming off a disappointing 2-0 loss to Lawrenceville on October 1, the Little Tigers were primed to defeat the Bulldogs.
“We really worked hard the last two practices; we focused on the fundamentals to come back and we worked on our mentality to stay tough throughout the whole game,” said Hauschild. “We need to keep pushing if we want to progress as a team.”
In Hauschild’s view, an all-for-one, one-for-all mentality has been a key to PHS’s success this fall.
“Our team chemistry this year is outstanding; we really work on team bonding and making sure that everyone feels a part of the team,” said Hauschild. “It has really been great.”
As a battle-tested veteran, Hauschild has done her part to help develop that chemistry.
“This season, I am stepping into more of a leadership role as a junior,” said Hauschild.
“Viva [Bell] and Natalie [Drobnjak] are doing a great job being captain. On the court, I really think the three of us have stepped up into leadership roles and we know when to push. We have a lot of new JV players and we are teaching them the winning mentality.”
PHS head coach Patty Manhart liked the way her squad pushed to the win over Hopewell, riding some strong serving from juniors Kim Cheng and Emily Dobler to take control of the contest.
“Those little momentum moments open it up, sometimes we are a team that just needs the confidence to go out and play well,” said Manhart.
“It takes one service run like from Kimmy today to open it up and play loose and play better. It was good to see. Then it was Emily Dobler’s service run in the second game, she has been really good for us.”
Hauschild has been really good for the Little Tigers all over the court.
“Gillian is always consistent,” said Manhart. “She is the back row, she can dig, she can serve. She does it all. She is also
a junior, which is nice.”
PHS got some nice contributions from other juniors in the win over the Bulldogs.
“Julia Brown just came back from an ankle injury and she did well; Nina Bergman does well in the middle,” said Manhart.
“Cosette Hansen came in a sub and played well. What I really like seeing is all those juniors step up in different positions.”
With postseason play around the corner, Manhart is looking for her squad to step up its efficiency.
“We need to be working hitting productivity; we didn’t need to do as much of that tonight,” said Manhart, whose team moved to 13-4 with a 2-0 loss to Montgomery last Friday and is hosting Fairfield Prep (Conn.) on October 13 before playing at Florence on October 16.
“We changed our serve receive. We went from a four person receive to a three person, so I am hoping that is going to help us.”
Hauschild and her teammates are hoping to build on the program’s winning ways as PHS is coming off a 31-2 campaign in 2017.
“We knew that we were missing some really key players due to graduation,” said Hauschild, noting that the Little Tigers lost Anna Cao, Rachel Cheng, and Sara Vigiano from the Class of 2018.
“We want this to be a winning season and make even make more history than we did last year. We are going to have to work hard. I really think we can do it; the potential in this team is great.”