Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 41
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
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ABOVE THE COMPETITION: Princeton High boys’ soccer senior star Ari Silver rises high to head the ball in recent action. With Silver contributing on defense and in the midfield, PHS has gotten off to a 9-0 start. The Little Tigers will look to keep rolling when they host Hamilton on October 11 and Ewing on October 16.

Helped by Silver’s Versatility and Quality, PHS Boys’ Soccer Produces Hot 9-0 Start

Bill Alden

Ari Silver isn’t the flashiest player on the Princeton High boys’ soccer team.

While PHS strikers Sam Kotowski and Kyle DeBlois turn heads with their gaudy goal-scoring numbers and sweeper Peter McInerney controls the back line with flair, the workmanlike Silver quietly goes about his business.

But when the Little Tigers needed to shore things up in the center of the field, the coaches moved Silver up to midfield from his customary defensive spot.

The move paid dividends last week against WW/P-N as Silver used his defensive skills, sharp passing, and ability in the air to help PHS build a 4-0 lead on the way to a 4-2 win over the Knights.

The solidly-built Silver was happy to pitch in up the field for PHS. “I usually play a sweeper or stopper,” said Silver.

“They decided to push me up. We were just trying to pass and get it to the feet of the forwards and let them do their thing. It’s fun going back and forth. It’s easier for me to get up for the headers. I don’t get to do that from the back.”

With PHS at 9-0 after its come-from-behind 2-1 win at Steinert last Thursday, Silver believes the Little Tigers are building on their superb season last fall which saw them go 17-4 and win a Central Jersey sectional title.

“We definitely picked up where we left off,” asserted Silver, who also stars at doubles for the PHS boys’ tennis team.

“I think we may have stepped up a little bit right now because we’re not giving up many chances. Everyone is stepping up. We lost a lot of guys from last year but we are still doing really well.”

After helping his Princeton Soccer Association Union 90 club team to the New Jersey Cup in the Under-16 boys’ class, Silver is working at continuing to sharpen his skills.

“I think I’m playing alright at the moment but I need to improve,” said Silver.

“The coaching I got at Union 90 always helps, and that makes me better. I’m more of a defensive guy but right now I’m trying to improve on my offense and ball skills.”

PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe is happy with the variety of skills that Silver brings to the table.

“Ari is such a solid player,” said Sutcliffe. “He’s a great one-versus-one defender and he’s great in the air. He gives us another dimension offensively because he has a quick mind and sees the game well. He has the technique to give a good ball to another player.”

PHS is getting some good technique up front from its striker partnership of junior Sam Kotowski and senior Kyle DeBlois. The two combined for three scores in the win over WW/P-N with DeBlois getting two goals and an assist and Kotowski scoring one and getting two assists.

“It’s a goal to get them on the same page with the other four or five guys that are constantly around them,” said Sutcliffe.

“It’s working out pretty good. It’s a matter of getting in and training. We have them do two-versus-two drills all the time. They are looking for one another, using verbal and non-verbal communication.”

Sutcliffe thought that PHS looked pretty good in the win over WW/P-N. “It was a great first 20 or 30 minutes,” asserted Sutcliffe.

“I was really pleased with how we came out and absorbed some of the pressure they were putting on us in the first 10 minutes. We adjusted well and found a way to get a really solid goal and then played some solid soccer after that.”

The Little Tigers faced a big adjustment earlier in the season when defensive star McInerney was sidelined due to injury.

“It’s huge, we were without Mac for three weeks,” said Sutcliffe. “His presence, his leadership, his experience, and his calmness in the back are really helping us. We really needed him a few times today.”

Sutcliffe likes the way his team is showing attention to detail on a daily basis.

“We are taking care of the simple things everyday in practice,” added Sutcliffe, whose team hosts Hamilton on October 11 and Ewing on October 16.

“They have a workmanlike attitude and approach and that’s what you need in soccer. We’re getting better at the things you need to get better at when you enter into tournaments.”

Silver, for his part, think the team is poised to do some damage at tournament time.

“Every game we are getting better and better,” said Silver. “Everyone is just playing amazing. Even the bench players are giving all they’ve got when they come in. Every game we are getting more and more motivated and have more desire to win.”

And with a solid player like Silver showing a desire to succeed wherever he plays on the field, PHS figures to win a lot more games this fall.

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