With Swanke Emerging as Offensive Force, PHS Field Hockey Rolls to a 2-0 Start
By Bill Alden
Over her first three years with the Princeton High field hockey team, Morgan Swanke played mainly in the midfield.
This fall, Swanke has been moved to forward and has quickly found a home in her new spot on the field.
“I was really excited to play for my senior year,” said Swanke. “I usually play midfield but since I have started on forward this year, it has been a lot of fun.”
Swanke got off to a sizzling start in the first week of her senior campaign, tallying four goals in a season-opening 8-0 win over Nottingham last Wednesday and then adding two more in a 3-0 victory at crosstown rival Princeton Day School last Friday.
In the win over PDS, Swanke got the Tigers on the board, scoring off of a penalty corner with 11:26 left in the first half.
“I think we have really good transitions from defense to midfield to forward,” said Swanke, reflecting on her tally.
“Our midfielders do a really good job of clearing it into the space around the goal and then the forwards can tap it in. We have a really good dynamic and that is how we get goals in.”
Early in the second half, Swanke struck again on a penalty stroke, firing the ball into the top corner of the goal over and past PDS goalkeeper Lexie Hausheer.
“I love strokes but I always get really nervous when I am chosen to do it,” said Swanke.
“I always have a technique where I look the other way and just take a stroke. It is really fun to do it, I think it is one of my favorite parts of field hockey.”
PHS head coach Heather Serverson is having fun seeing Swanke’s development into an offensive force this fall.
“I have been moving Morgan around a lot and she is clicking at forward,” said Serverson.
“It is fantastic and all of a sudden, she has this amazing stroke. She has been doing a great job and her defensive game has also picked up. Everything is coming together for her.”
It was fantastic for PHS to break through against star goalie Hausheer. “I am just so happy that we could score three goals against that goalkeeper,” said Serverson
“That girl is good, she is amazing. I am pleased with our ability to score against her. I think we just really figured out the what they were playing defensively and took advantage of it.”
The Tiger defense, on the other hand, stifled the Panthers, led by sophomore back Grace Rebak and senior goalie Grace Cooke.
“G-Bak is really solid on the back line, she is so calm and poised all of the time,” said Serverson.
“It is unique for her age; she provides a calm for the rest of the defenders back there. Her consistency and her communication, along with Cookie’s, just keeps everything even-keeled.”
Having dealt with some turbulence in August, Serverson believes her team is calming down collectively.
“We had to make some adjustments in the preseason, we had quite a few obstacles to overcome,” said Serverson, whose team hosts Steinert on September 12 before playing at Lawrenceville on September 14.
“It has been tricky, we just had to settle in. People are finally settling in their area on the field; they are learning how their teammates around them play and reading that better. That is the key.”
Swanke, for her part, believes that PHS can get better and better as the season unfolds.
“What we are doing right now is really good, we have had a really good start,” said Swanke.
“In the future, it is just working on the team dynamics and making better passes. Our team is fairly new, we lost a lot of seniors from last year.”