Fueled by Senior Star Bodden’s Tenacity in Midfield, PHS Girls’ Soccer Routs Sayreville 8-2 in State Opener
HAIL STORM: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Haley -Bodden boots the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, senior midfielder Bodden contributed a goal and an assist as fifth-seeded PHS routed No. 12 Sayreville 8-2 in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional. PHS, now 10-4-1, is slated to play at fourth-seeded Monroe in the sectional quarterfinals on November 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Haley Bodden was ready to leave it all on the field as the Princeton High girls’ soccer team faced Sayreville in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional last Monday.
“Definitely as a senior I wanted to put my all into this game,” said Bodden.
“We didn’t know much about Sayreville; we knew what seed they were and we knew their record but we didn’t know what types of teams they were playing before. Coming into this game, we just had a strong mindset. We knew not to underestimate them and not to overestimate them and come in strong. Technically that could have been our last game and if it was, we definitely wanted to play our hearts out.”
Bodden showed heart early in the first half, blasting a shot that hit the post and spinned away agonizingly only to head in a Devon Lis feed into the back of the net moments later to give PHS a 1-0 lead.
“Devon sent me a ball over the top and I didn’t know if I could take a touch around the goalie; I didn’t and it hit the post,” recalled Bodden.
“I was so upset with myself. I was thinking I need to score, I need to do this. Devon sent a perfect ball and she got the assist and I got a great header on it. It felt great.”
Leading just 2-1 at halftime, the Little Tigers got on a great run in the second half, scoring five unanswered goals in the first 20 minutes as they pulled away to an 8-2 triumph.
“We definitely could have been up way more in the first half so we had to put the gas on in the second half,” said Bodden.
“I think we were determined to win so that set us up for the sequences that we made and the plays. We could play a lot of through balls because they played a high line. There were some offsides but we figured out how to make diagonal runs instead of vertical runs. We had a lot of good shots, it was one of our best shooting games.”
PHS, now 10-4-1, is slated to play at fourth-seeded Monroe in the sectional quarterfinals on November 5.
“We definitely want to go into Monroe with the confidence that we came with into this game,” said Bodden.
“We need to have the right mindset, we can’t overestimate them because that will set us back. We need to stay strong and stay as a team. Sometimes we get scrambled so we definitely need to stay together for the game on Thursday because it is going to be a tougher matchup.”
PHS head coach Val Rodriguez was pleased with her team’s second half outburst.
“We talked about some of the keys things we really want to do; we talked about end line crosses, you can get the corner off of it so it is the best of both worlds situation,” said Rodriguez, who got two goals apiece from seniors Taylor Lis and Serena DiBianco with sophomore Devon Lis, sophomore Colette Marciano, and senior Sasha Ryder adding one each and senior Gabrielle Deitch triggering the attack with three assists.
“We were looking to see how we could attack on our corners a little better. I am very happy that we got corner goals today. We started right away in the second half. I said to them before the game, build that momentum and don’t let the train stop. Let the train roll.”
Rodriguez credited her senior players with helping the team roll to the rout. “All of our seniors absolutely had a great game, they put together some great passes, great finishes, and great follow-up goals,” said Rodriguez. “That is just hard work and heart.”
In Rodriguez’s view, Bodden’s goal exemplified the team’s work ethic around goal.
“That is the type of attitude, that is the type of leadership that we need during this tournament,” said Rodriguez. “They have had it all year; it just shows in spurts.”
As PHS heads into its sectional quarterfinal clash at Monroe, Rodriguez is looking for her team to build on the effort against Sayreville.
“We have got the belief behind us again, it is one game at a time,” said Rodriguez.
“It is just play our game. We are certainly not looking to go in with a different mentality or a different structure. We keep to our system, we keep to our plan and stay disciplined on marking, stay disciplined on finishing. We have watched games on film and it was like why are we only going to the left, why are we not switching the field, why are we not playing feet? We have got to do those things. You have to play with 11 people on the field, not six. That is the theme that has to continue for the tournament.”
Bodden, for her part, wants her senior season to continue for a while.
“It was scary thinking that this could be our last game and not knowing how they were going to play,” said Bodden, who will be playing at the next level as she has committed to The College of New Jersey and will be competing for its women’s soccer program.
“I am really excited for Thursday; we need to come in with the same mentality and put it away soon and early.”