January 2, 2019

Junior Star Zammit Carrying the Load As PHS Girls’ Hockey Taking its Lumps

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Victoria Zammit heads up the ice in a game last season. Junior forward and assistant captain Zammit has been a bright spot for PHS as it has started 0-5. Zammit scored all three goals for the Little Tigers in a 9-3 loss at Rye Country Day (N.Y.) on December 20 in their last game before the holiday break. PHS resumes action when it plays at Princeton Day School on January 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Standing in a corner of Hobey Baker Rink after the Princeton High girls’ hockey team fell to Immaculate Heart in recent action, Victoria Zammit’s face was red and she was winded.

The PHS junior forward and assistant captain was all over the ice in the 12-1 loss on December 19, making a number of end-to-end forays up the ice.

“I definitely feel tired, even after the first period. It is a mental game for me to not get frustrated,” said Zammit.

“That is the biggest part, keeping my head cool. The hardest part for me is reserving my energy. I want to be smart about when I burst with speed and go coast to coast. I don’t want to do that every shift.”

With the graduation of her older sister Alexa, a four-year start for the Little Tigers and the transfer of Maddie Samaan, a freshman standout last winter, to Lawrenceville, Zammit has been carrying the load for the Little Tigers.

“The most difficult thing is the loss of Alexa on defense and Maddie Samaan,” said Zammit

“Those were our two strongest defense and center support and we lost both of them. It is really tough to work defensively in the zone.”

In the game against Immaculate Heart, Zammit kept working as one of her rushes yielded a late goal by senior Megan Mavoides, a field hockey standout in the fall.

“That was a very good play, we are fortunate to have some field hockey players on the team,” said Zammit.

“That was a power play goal. I tried circling some and taking as many shots as possible and it bounced off the goalie. She hit in with a hard shot. It did feel good to get one at least for sure.”

The PHS squad is fortunate to have Zammit, as she has been exuding leadership, on and off the ice.

“More than half of our players are new so I actually had to get sets of full equipment for 11 people—skates, helmets, and everything in between,” said Zammit. “I went to Princeton Day School. I got donations from the boys’ team. I pulled some stuff out of my basement. It is all recycled equipment.”

The team’s neophytes have been pulling things together. “The new players work hard in practice,” said Zammit.

“Whenever we have free time on the ice, they work on shooting against the boards or passing to each other.”

Despite taking some lumps this winter, the players are maintaining
an upbeat approach.

“Everybody’s attitude overall has been great, we cheer each other on, which is good,” said Zammit, who scored all three goals for the Little Tigers in a 9-3 loss at Rye Country Day (N.Y.) on December 20 in their last game before the holiday break as they moved to 0-5.

“Positivity on the bench is the biggest part. We are also keeping our practices in tempo and at as high a speed as possible, so they are used to the game-level speed.”

With PHS resuming action by playing at PDS on January 8, Zammit sees positive things on the horizon.

“We definitely want to improve as a team and improve as a whole,” said Zammit.

“I can work a little better with Olivia Corrodi on defense, she is the captain. We have a freshman, Grace Rebak, who used to play club and now she is coming back. So it is getting her more comfortable on the ice and jelling with me and Corrodi. We need the three of us to work together to build leadership for the team.”