March 25, 2020

Sparked by Senior Zammit’s Skill, Leadership, PHS Girls’ Hockey Earned Some Memorable Wins

VICTOR VICTORIA: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Victoria Zammit brings the puck up the ice in a game this past winter. Senior star Zammit ended her PHS career on a high note, scoring three goals as the Tigers defeated Holton Arms (Md.) 3-1 in a consolation contest of the Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic (WIHLMA) Miran Division playoffs. Zammit tallied 45 points on 34 goals and 11 assists this winter as she earned First-Team All-Miran honors and was named team MVP. After going winless in 2018-19, PHS posted a final record of 4-14 this winter. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High girls’ hockey team took its lumps this winter, it produced a game to remember in its finale.

Playing in the consolation contest of the Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic (WIHLMA) Miran Division playoffs, PHS defeated Holton Arms (Md.) 3-1 on February 16 as senior star Victoria Zammit scored three goals and senior goalie Ella Chauder made 11 saves.

“It was a good game; Victoria wanted to go out on a high note, she wanted to get those goals,” said Tiger head coach Christian Herzog, whose team posted a final record of 4-14. “The girls were very excited.”

With PHS having gone winless in the 2018-19 season, Herzog was excited by the fighting spirit he saw from his players this winter.

“They don’t take an excuse, it is let’s be relentless,” said Herzog, whose team defeated Holton Arms twice on the season and also earned wins over Randolph High and Newark East Side. “We are down four goals, we have to be relentless.”

Senior captain Zammit’s relentless play and inspirational leadership set the tone as she tallied 45 points on 34 goals and 11 assists this winter on the way to earning First-Team All-Miran honors.

“She is a Type A personality; it is I have got to get this, I have got to get that,” said Herzog of Zammit, who also made the WIHLMA All-Academic Team, was selected as the PHS team MVP, and ended her high school career with 158 points (112 goals, 46 assists).

“I have got to put it all on my shoulders, which is why she wears the ‘C’ on her chest. Honestly, she is the best captain I have ever had as far as leadership, especially in those games like Randolph and East Side. She doesn’t need to get nine goals against those teams; to me that shows her level of character.”

Goalie Chauder showed character as she took up the challenging position as a freshman and ended up making 1,135 career saves with a save percentage of .756.

“Four years ago we had no goalie and this girl had zero experience as far as goalie,” said Herzog, noting that Chauder made 202 saves this winter with a save percentage of .774.

“She had zero experience in ice hockey, other than saying her dad was from Canada. She was definitely a personality; I am glad that she stuck through.”

The calming personality of senior Lydia Cohen helped keep PHS on an even keel.

“Cohen was an assistant captain, she is a voice of reason,” said Herzog of Cohen, who was the team’s recipient of the league’s Harry Rulon-Miller Sportsmanship Award.

“She is all smiles all of the time and is consistently there. She doesn’t miss a beat as far as practice. She is dedicated.”

Showing dedication, two other seniors, Morgan Swanke and Grace Cooke, made an impact in their final campaign with the program.

“Swanke came on strong at the end,” said Herzog. “Against East Side, Victoria wins the face-off, goes to Swanke and boom she put it right in. She also got a goal after that. Our Captains’ Award went to Grace.”

Herzog believes he has a strong foundation in place with a core of young performers.

“I have like 10, 11 sophomores and I had one freshman in Catie Samaan,” said Herzog, pointing out that sophomore newcomer goalie Jadie Tome got the team’s Rookie of the Year Award, sophomore Emma Traylor was named as the Most Improved Player, and junior Olivia Benevento earned the Head, Heart, Hustle award.

“I like where I am at, I would like to draw in some more talent.”

With the program having a history of welcoming a range of skill levels, Herzog focuses on pushing his players to get the most of their talent.

“I always feel like I have to be the guy to say ‘girls, it is all right. I am not going to yell at you for falling. But if you are not willing to try, now I have a problem,’” said Herzog. “They have always aspired to that kind of attitude.”