March 20, 2019

With Focus on Individual Development, PHS Girls’ Hockey Displayed Progress

MAKING IT HAPPEN: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Victoria Zammit goes after the puck in a game this winter. Junior star defenseman and assistant captain Zammit produced a superb campaign, spearheading the Tiger defense and leading the team in scoring with 33 points on 26 goals and seven assists. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Christian Herzog emphasized development this winter as he guided his Princeton High girls’ hockey team.

“I knew in terms of talent, I was going to deal with a difficult year in terms of the wins,” said PHS head coach Herzog.

“I was looking for individual players to shine when given their moment.”

While the Tigers went 3-13, with all three wins coming against the Lawrenceville ‘B’ team, Herzog saw progress.

“We are trying to make those baby steps; when you get a bunch of new players into a program, it is very hard to turn the wheel 100 percent left or 100 percent right and make those changes,” said Herzog.

“I think of it as more trying to steer that cruise ship, going a little slower on the changes. I know which direction I want to head in the long term.”

PHS got 100 percent effort from junior star defenseman and assistant captain Victoria Zammit, the team’s MVP and leading scorer with 33 points on 26 goals and seven assists.

“You can’t ask for a better ice hockey player,” said Herzog of Zammit, who was named to the WIHLMA Miran Division All-Star team.

“You talk about a coachable athlete and somebody who has bought into the program. She gives her all every shift and every game. Her mood is the same; she never says I don’t feel well or I can’t do this. She made it very clear at the beginning of the season that she was going to put this team first. She never loafs.”

The squad’s other assistant captain, senior Catherine Liu, along with senior captain Olivia Corrodi, helped Zammit keep things together.

“Cathy Liu was more of a quiet leader; she is not the in-your-face type,” said Herzog.

“Olivia is more vocal, more Xs and Os. She is intense when it comes to saying we need to do this, we need to do that and talking about what the goals are. Collectively, from a captain’s standpoint, they brought good leadership together.”

Herzog credited his other seniors, the Mavoides twins, Morgan and Megan; Sarah Pagano; and Angelique Bencivenga with showing intensity.

“Our Rookie of the Year went to a field hockey player, Morgan Mavoides, who came out this year,” said Herzog.

“She had three goals and three assists. Megan was on a tear at the start of the season but got sidelined by illness. Our Head, Heart, Hustle award went to Sarah Pagano. She has played a little defense, a little forward, depending on what we need or who is missing. She is a great kid. She works hard all of the time, makes all of the practices, and never makes an excuse. The Coaches award went to Angelique Bencivenga.”

Such returning players as junior Lydia Cohen, freshman Grace Rebak, and freshman Emma Traylor had some shining moments this winter.

“Lydia Cohen did well, she has a chance of coming back in a leadership role next year,” said Herzog, who will also be welcoming back junior goalie Ella Chauder.

“Grace Rebak is a field hockey player who had played some hockey before. I had a few girls who never had skated that did well. Emma Traylor in the long term can be a strong player. It will depend on how much effort she puts into it outside.”

Heartened by the effort he got from his players despite the paucity of wins, Herzog sees good things ahead for the program.

“I am optimistic about next year; I was surprised by the gains that some of the field hockey girls made in a short duration,” said Herzog.

“This year we had the least amount of practices in compared to previous years, I want to increase those numbers next year. They need the ice time.”