Freshman Hogshire Comes Up Big in Prep B Semis as PDS Boys’ Lacrosse Defeats Mo-Beard 10-6
GOING HOG WILD: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Charlie Hogshire, right, looks to get past a defender last Monday as PDS hosted Morristown-Beard in the state Prep B semifinals. Freshman attacker Hogshire tallied three goals and an assist to help the top-seeded Panthers defeat fourth-seeded Mo-Beard 10-6. PDS will host second-seeded Montclair Kimberley in the Prep B title game on May 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Although the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team was mired in a three-game losing streak as it hosted Morristown-Beard in the state Prep B semifinals last Monday, the Panthers were determined to maintain the program’s tradition of postseason success.
“It is a playoff game, we don’t want to be the first team in the program that doesn’t win a championship in like four years,” said PDS freshman attackman Charlie Hogshire.
The Panthers showed some championship mettle early in the contest, jumping out to a 3-0 lead.
“We just punched them in the mouth in the middle of the field,” said Hogshire.
“It just got it going. The face-off guy [Nick Somogyi] and the middies were creating tons of fast breaks. It is real easy to finish those on the offensive end.”
After Mo-Beard answered with a three-goal run of its own in the second quarter, PDS finished the first half with two unanswered goals in the last two minutes of the second quarter and never looked back on the way to a 10-6 triumph.
“That was the momentum shift,” said Hogshire of the Panther surge right before halftime. “I feel like going into the second half, the momentum was in our favor and then we finished it off from there.”
Hogshire finished with three goals and an assist in the win as PDS improved to 3-6 and will now host second-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in the Prep B title game on May 12.
“It was super exciting, I am really glad that I had the opportunity to play as a freshman,” said Hogshire, reflecting on his first state tournament game. “I think it has helped me a lot as a player.”
Two other freshmen came up big for the Panthers against Mo-Beard as Logan Herrmann contributed two goals and Sebastian Rzeczycki chipped in a goal and two assists.
The trio of newcomers came into the season already on the same page.
“It is really fun, I have been playing ball with them for four years,” said Hogshire.
“There is no connection that needs to be developed, it is already there.”
PDS head coach Joe Moore said that some soul searching helped pave the way for the win over Mo-Beard.
“For the last two weeks, we have kind of looked at ourselves in the mirror as a unit,” said Moore.
“We spent last Wednesday defining why each of us, everybody in the program, is here practicing and playing and is a member of the team. I think that exercise has turned the entire season around for us internally. We are playing with a purpose.”
That purpose was reflected in some aggressive play at the attacking end.
“Our offense is starting to play with some rhythm, you saw that today,” said Moore.
“This was our best offensive game. What we have been talking about for the last couple of weeks is starting on the first whistle and ending on the last whistle.”
Moore credited his freshman standouts with coming of age under tournament pressure.
“Our young guys are starting to figure it out,” said Moore.
“Charlie turned a corner today, his confidence is through the roof. Logan, a freshman middie, easily had his best game of the year. Sebastian is a quarterback out there as a freshman; I am really impressed with what he is doing.”
The team’s intensity as it outfought the Crimson also impressed Moore.
“The ground balls, that is what I was really proud of,” said Moore.
“There was a lot of unsettled play today and we were scrappy. We were playing with a chip on their shoulder and we don’t forget what has happened already this season. They are angry about it.”
The PDS defense held the fort, allowing just one goal in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
“Our defense has been solid all year; one thing we have talked to then about is figuring it out from the get-go and not having to wake up after the first half,” said Moore.
“[Eric] Gellasch has been lights out all year in goal. Bruno [Cucchi] has been playing really well, playing their best guy. I can’t say enough about our defensive unit from the whole season.”
With PDS having won four Mercer County Tournament titles and three Prep B crowns in the last decade, the Panthers had special motivation to come through against Mo-Beard.
“They understand the history of this program now and they are keeping that in perspective,” said Moore.
“We had alumni come talk to us before the game today and I think that sent a message to our guys. They are playing with that in mind and they are playing for each other more than anything else.”
In Moore’s view, his squad is poised to make more history when it hosts MKA in the title game.
“We are going to build on what happened today and continue to play for ourselves and focus on ourselves, no matter who we play,” said Moore.
“We are playing for us at the end of the day; I think that will be enough to get us through whoever we play. That is the new theme – we are playing for us, we are playing for each other.”
Hogshire, for his part, is confident that PDS will battle hard to the final whistle with a championship on the line.
“This is awesome, going into the championship, this is probably the best game we have played all year so we feel pretty good,” said Hogshire.
“The focus is the same thing as today, just play smart and play hard. I think that has been the biggest shift in the trajectory of our season. Coming off that three-game losing streak shifted our effort.”