Kosa Taking the Helm of PHS Girls’ Soccer, Determined to Maintain Program’s Winning Ways
SO READY: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis boots the ball in a game last fall. Senior star forward Lis, who has committed to attend Lehigh University and play for its women’s soccer team, is primed for a big final campaign for PHS. The Tigers start the 2021 season by playing at Robbinsville on September 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Dave Kosa has been exposed to a lot of outstanding high school girls’ soccer squads over the years.
Growing up, Kosa sent a lot of time in the stands as his late father, Louis Kosa, enjoyed a legendary career coaching the East Brunswick High girls’ soccer team, guiding the program to a 527-63-22 record, capturing eight state championships, and a No. 1 ranking in the nation in 1992.
Over the last six years, Kosa has served as an assistant coach for the successful Princeton High girls’ soccer program, also leading the JV squad in five of those seasons.
This fall, Kosa will look to help PHS continue its winning ways, taking the helm of the program, succeeding Val Rodriguez, who stepped down last fall after coaching the Tigers to a 9-3-1 record in 2020.
“I am really excited and happy to continue the tradition of the girls’ soccer program that Greg [Hand] had and passed on to Val,” said Kosa, who also serves as the head coach of the PHS girls’ basketball team.
“It is a really good bunch. They are really good kids and good people; that is the most important thing. They have taken to working hard and just trying to get better. We want to play the best soccer at the end of the season. We have a lot of great talent. It is my job to mesh then and work them hard. We are really looking forward to that.”
The Tigers boast some talented players at forward in senior co-captains Sophia Lis and Megan Rougas along with sophomore Holly Howes.
“Sophia is going to Lehigh on a soccer scholarship; she is very talented and has shown that in the scrimmages that we have played so far,” said Kosa, whose team kicks off its 2021 campaign by playing at Robbinsville on September 8.
“Megan is very fast, she is very tough. She has a knack for being around the ball. We have Holly who can also play there. She is actually the fastest one of the bunch; she just sped past people in scrimmages.”
In the midfield, the trio of sophomore Casey Serxner, senior Naomi Bazar, and sophomore Brielle Moran has been playing well.
“Casey is such a competitor and she is also very tough,” said Kosa.
“She will be one of our inside mids. The other inside mid is Naomi. On the outside, it will probably be Holly [Howes] and Brielle starting.”
Sophomore Alysse Kiesewetter, senior Annie Kosa, junior Rowan Gilmore, and freshman Annabella Weidmann will look to provide some tough play along the back line for PHS.
“Alysse played a lot of outside mid last year; in the first couple of scrimmages, she was going back and forth between midfield and defense,” said Kosa.
“After that third scrimmage, I was thinking she looks really good back there so she is going to be playing our left outside back. My daughter, Annie, is our sweeper. She was a stopper as a freshman and then played sweeper as a sophomore on the JV team and did a great job back there. She is very familiar with that role. Rowan is going to be our stopper. We have a freshman, Annabella, who came in from Germany. I was penciling people in before the season and I realized I really need a right outside back and that is what she plays. She will have a lot to learn but she is really tough back there and has some soccer skill.”
At goalie, senior Moji Ayodele is showing her skill as she aims to produce a big final campaign after being hampered a bit by injury as a junior.
“Moji is looking really good, she is very athletic,” said Kosa.
“Last year in the games that she played, we didn’t lose a game; we tied one against Steinert with her playing.”
In Kosa’s view, doing well in the first week of the season could set the tone for the Tigers this fall.
“We are going to have to come together defensively, being that we have first-year starters back there,” said Kosa.
“The scrimmages have given us really good experience; we have played some good competition to get us ready. I think we will score goals and having Moji in goal is going to help us. Our first two games are Robbinsville and Steinert so that is two good ones right off the bat. Coming out of the gate strong could really propel us but we will have to work really hard to earn those wins.”