October 7, 2020

Midfielder Romano Making the Most of Senior Season, Showing Finishing Touch as PDS Girls’ Soccer Starts 1-1

SCORING TOUCH: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Jules Romano advances the ball last Thursday as PDS hosted Monroe High in its season opener. Senior midfielder Romano scored a goal as the Panthers fell 3-2 to Monroe. PDS, which defeated Hillsborough 2-0 last Saturday as Romano and classmate Kelly Beal both scored, plays at the Hun School on October 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jules Romano managed a smile despite the fact that her Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team had just lost 3-2 to visiting Monroe last Thursday in its season opener.

“I think it was just good for the team to get out there,” said PDS senior midfielder Romano, reflecting on getting the 2020 campaign underway in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had to go a five-week preseason, usually it is only about two-three weeks so it was just keeping our composure and making sure that we stay focused. It was good for the seniors to get out there in our first home game. It didn’t really matter about the result. Honestly, we were just glad to be out there again.”

PDS displayed composure, falling behind 1-0 early in the first half and then battling back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in the second half before ultimately succumbing.

“We knew we were playing well, we had all of the pressure in their half,” said Romano.

“We had to keep going with it. I know everyone just kept pushing and pushing.”

Trailing 2-0, PDS broke through with 9:44 left in regulation when freshman Adriana Salvano directed the ball into the net through a traffic jam in the box.

“I know Adriana scored that first goal to get us back on the board,” said Romano. “It was good.”

After the Panthers fell behind 3-1, Romano got PDS back on the board, curling a free kick over the Monroe goalie with 3:24 remaining in the game.

“I tried that in a scrimmage a few days ago and it worked out the same way,” recalled Romano.

“I got up there and saw the far corner and I just chipped it in there, figuring she wouldn’t be back there.”

Notwithstanding the final score, Romano saw positives in the Panther offensive effort.

“We were down the field the whole time,” said Romano. “We had good passing patterns, our wing backs were getting up the field. It was just that final shot, that final pass that let us down.”

Looking forward, Romano acknowledged that PDS needs to be sharper at both ends of the field.

“What we can take away from this game is get out on the front foot early and make sure that we stay compact defensively so we don’t give up that early goal,” said Romano, who scored a goal along with classmate Kelly Beal as PDS defeated
Hillsborough 2-0 last Saturday with junior goalie Veronica Vogelman earning the shutout.

“We need to minimize mistakes in the backfield and capitalize on all the opportunities. I know we could have been up at least 3-0 in the first half.”

In reflecting on the opener, PDS head coach Pat Trombetta was pleased with his team’s fighting spirit.

“I was happy with the energy level and I was happy with how we fought back from a deficit, twice in the game,” said Trombetta. “We were down 2-0 and 3-1.”

That energy was wasted at times as the Panthers squandered some scoring chances in the early going.

“I thought in the first half we were a little bit unlucky,” said Trombetta.

“I thought we controlled play well in the first half and had some chances that we didn’t finish. They capitalized on a couple of mistakes defensively for us. That is the nature of the game, sometimes you are not too fortunate.”

Having Salvano capitalize for her first career goal was a highlight.

“That was nice, seeing Adriana, a freshman, getting that first goal,” said Trombetta. “It is always the toughest one, it is good to get that out of the way. It was a scrum there, there were a couple of different players involved there.”

Romano’s nice work on the free kick could add a different element to the PDS attack when it comes to set pieces.

“Jules is starting to turn into our free kick specialist, she did that in a scrimmage too from the same location on the field which was nice to see,” said Romano.

“It was good because that was something we lacked in the past on finishing free kicks. She gives us that extra weapon on those plays.”

Just getting to play in a hard-fought contest was good for the Panthers in a season that has been shortened due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I told the girls these are the type of teams that we put in the schedule, we want to be challenged,” said Trombetta, whose team plays at the Hun School on October 10.

“We want to have exciting games because I told them when you step on the field it might be your last game of the season. You never know when the plug is going to be pulled on us. I told them that before the game, play this game like it is the last game of the season because who knows what is going to happen.”

Romano and her teammates, for their part, are bringing a sense of urgency every time they take the field this fall.

“We have been told treat every game like it is the last game you are ever going to play,” said Romano.

“Even if we take all of the safety precautions, we could be playing against them and they could have one player not taking it seriously. So every day it is get out here and make the most of it, even in practice, because we could be shut down any second.”