October 14, 2020

Sedgley Enjoys Memorable Senior Day, Helping PDS Boys’ Soccer Edge Hun in OT

IMPOSING HIS WILL: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Will Sedgley controls the ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior defender/midfielder Sedgley tallied a goal to help PDS defeat Hun School 2-1 in overtime. The Panthers, now 1-2-1, are slated to host Pennington on October 17 and then play at Moorestown Friends on October 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Will Sedgley skinned both of his knees but that didn’t stop him from stepping up as the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team hosted the Hun School last Friday.

With the local rivals knotted in a scoreless tie in the second half, Sedgley battled to tally the first goal of the contest, blasting a shot off of Hun goalie Alex Donahue and then slotting the rebound into the back of the net with 19:43 remaining in regulation.

“My goal came from pressing the guy who had the ball; I had the run to the line and I tried to pull it back but no one was there,” said Sedgley.

“I was a little upset about that, I used it to drive me on. I should have scored on the first shot but I got the rebound. It was the first goal for me in a while. I have to score more. I was playing center back in the first half. I wanted to get more attacking so I moved to the midfield.”

The game went into overtime as Hun got a goal by Hector Suriel with 2:05 remaining in the half to force the extra session. PDS, though, pulled out the win as senior defender Aidan McChesney scored on a header with 3:55 left in the first overtime to give the Panthers a 2-1 victory.

Heading into overtime, Sedgley and his teammates were determined to come through.

“We are all a little deflated, we had a talk in the huddle before that got us going,” recalled Sedgley as he unraveled the tape covering both of his knees.

“We had a game against Hillsborough that went to OT (a 0-0 tie on October 5). We had a lot of chances, we thought we should have won in OT so we wanted to not let that happen again. We fought and we get the goal ultimately.”

Breaking through with the victory was important for the Panthers, who improved to 1-2-1.

“It is the first win of the season, we thought we should have beat Hillsborough,” said Sedgley.

“In the other two games, against Monroe we didn’t play well (a 7-1 loss on October 1) and then against Gill St. Bernard’s (a 4-2 loss on October 7) we fought but we couldn’t win. They are a good team, they are ranked No. 3 in the state. We were happy with how we fought in that game but it was good to get the first win of the season, especially with some tough games coming up.”

PDS was fired up for the fight with Hun as it was honoring its Class of 2021.

“It is important that we won on Senior Day; last year we lost on Senior Day and the seniors were unhappy with that and we didn’t want that to happen to our class this year,” said Sedgley, whose fellow seniors on the squad include Trevor Kunkle, Anthony Cucchi, Jacques Hughes, Fabio Yales, Alexander Liu Nowakoski, Mark Santamaria, Stephen Chukumba, Hector Capeilleres, and McChesney.

“We have a big class and we wanted to celebrate
everyone. We have all been together since freshman year. Most of us were on the JV team that was undefeated and then most of us went to varsity sophomore year so we have grown up together. We are all really happy to get this win together.”

PDS head coach Ollie Hilliker knew that his squad was in for an intense encounter against its local rival.

“Every season it is back and forth, real close games; it is usually a one-goal game, it is always very close,” said Hilliker. “It is a good rivalry when both teams get up for the game.”

Overcoming a flat start, PDS got going down the stretch of the game. “We started poorly, we were disappointed with how we started,” said Hilliker.

“We only started playing once we scored. They made a mistake and Will capitalized and got the goal and then we started to play the game. We started to put the intensity up, we had four more chances to score real quick. On a different day, we should have scored four goals there and been clear and finished but we weren’t and they battled back.”

Hillier credited Sedgley with giving the Panthers a spark. “Will was very good; he is a solid player on the team,” said Hilliker.

“He was actually playing at the back. We moved him back up the field to have his creativity in there. It was a game-changing play from him to make the difference. Stepping up to make that goal but also before and after that, constantly getting the ball and creating opportunities.”

As the contest went into overtime, Hilliker was looking for his team to generate scoring opportunities.

“It was just go and get the game; it is golden goal so there is no plan of making this last 20 minutes,” said Hilliker.

“Let’s get in, get it done and make an all-out attack on the game and don’t hold anything back. Fortunately they did. We put pressure on them straight away which I think was really good and we finished the game off.”

Focusing on the rest of the season, Hilliker wants his players to show that attacking mentality every time they step on the field.

“Normally you try to work to peak into the postseason, there is no postseason to peak for so it is right now,” said Hilliker, whose team is slated to host Pennington on October 17 and then play at Moorestown Friends on October 19.

“It is every day, and I think that is something these guys really have to get into. They need to play each game like it is the last. You never know when stuff could get shut down and turned off at any point. You have to treat every game like you might not get another one in the season. It is about being competitive and bringing everything from the start of the game and treating it like it is your last game. If they get that, then the performances will come with it.”

Sedgley, for his part, is primed for more big performances this fall.

“After our bad record last year (5-12), we just want to have a winning record,” said Sedgley.

“We are happy that we are having a season, I know that Lawrenceville isn’t having a season, they are our big rival. Obviously we would prefer a tournament but we are just happy that we are able to play some games. We have 11 games, which is a lot more than I was expecting. I think Hun is only playing five or six games, so it is good that we are playing so many games.”