A major goal for the Princeton High girls’ hockey team this winter was to play hard until the final buzzer of the season.
Wrapping up the season at the WIHLMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) tournament, PHS achieved that goal with aplomb, topping Holton Arms (Md.) 6-3 and Pingry 5-3 in its finale to win the league’s ‘B’ bracket.
PHS head coach Christian Herzog was proud of how his team ended the season on a high note.
“That was a productive final weekend,” said Herzog, whose team ended with a final record of 7-8.
“We really wanted to play Holton again; we thought we could have beaten them in the regular season if we had the Herrings (Lucy and Maggie) there. People stepped up and played well. We had confidence going into that Pingry game; we had beaten them twice.”
In the win over Pingry for the B title, the Little Tigers featured a balanced attack with sophomore Maggie Herring tallying two goals and an assist with older sister, senior star Lucy, senior Campbell McDonald, and junior Isabelle Sohn each chipping in a goal and an assist.
“They were psyched,” said Herzog. “We wanted to get a few goals so we would have a little leeway to get some of the others in and we wanted the seniors to end with a win.”
The players were psyched to help the program more than triple its win total from 2013-14 when PHS went 2-11.
“We won as many games this year as in the last three years combined,” said Herzog.
“They are a team that is not going to roll over, even when we are outmatched. No matter the record, what most coaches want is a team that wants to win and puts out their best effort to do so.”
The team’s core of seniors put in a great effort this season, on and off the ice.
“The senior class collectively is an eclectic group; each one contributes to the team dynamic in a positive way,” said Herzog, whose Class of 2015 includes Lucy Herring (10 goals and 15 assists this season), Brittney Coniglione (4 assists), Anne Daly (2 goals, 3 assists), Julia DiTosto (1 assist), Marian Hancock-Cerutti (1 assist), Campbell McDonald (3 goals, 6 assists), and Stephanie Ren.
“Some have more grit and tenacity while some are better communicators, and some are better at leadership. It makes it easier on captains, I don’t have to lean on the captains as much.”
Herzog acknowledges that the graduation of star forward and team captain Lucy Herring will leave a big void for his squad.
“Losing Lucy is going to be a big hit,” said Herzog, noting that she and younger sister Maggie were the high scorers this winter for PHS with 25 points apiece and were named team MVPs “Even when she is not scoring, she is keeping the puck in the offensive zone or defending.”
The seniors earned other honors as Ren and junior Sophie Corrodi were named to the WIHLMA All-Academic first team. DiTosto was the recipient of the program’s Head, Heart and Hustle award while Corrodi got the captain’s award for stepping up and being a leader and improving so much from the year before. Conglione won the team’s sportsmanship award.
Junior goalie Callie Urisko was cited as the program’s most improved player while junior forward Sohn was a WIHLMA All-Academic honorable mention choice and received the Harry Rulon-Miller WIHLMA sportsmanship award. Junior defenseman Allie Callaway was an All-WIHLMA honorable mention choice and the recipient of the program coach’s award.
In Herzog’s view, his veteran players have helped perpetuate the special spirit around the program.
“One thing I like is they see the value in recurrent things; the head, heart, and hustle cheer started before they got here but they keep it alive,” added Herzog.
“They are into maintaining program traditions like the second to last practice where they all dress funny. The team camaraderie doesn’t happen without the seniors. Most of the coaches and the refs say we have the most boisterous team with girls cheering on their teammates. It is a real positive environment.”
Things look positive going forward as PHS returns such standouts as Maggie Herring (15 goals, 10 assists), Sohn (4 goals, 3 assists), Callaway (7 goals, 7 assists), Urisko (.850 save percentage), Corrodi (3 goals, 1 assist), and freshman defenseman Alexa Zammit (4 goals, 1 assist).
“We have a good foundation,” said Herzog. “We have 11 players returning. We need a little more balance between offense and defense.”