October 11, 2017

Senior Star Beamer Growing Into Top Scorer As PHS Boys’ Soccer Gets Off to 8-2-1 Start

HEAD FIRST: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Drew Beamer (No. 23) heads the ball last week as PHS hosted WW/P-North. Senior midfielder Beamer scored two goals in the contest as PHS prevailed 4-0. The Little Tigers, who moved to 8-2-1 with a 2-1 loss at Ewing last Friday, are slated to play at Trenton High on October 12 and at Hopewell Valley on October 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Drew Beamer has grown into a top scorer for the Princeton High boys’ soccer team.

Having broken into the lineup as a defender in his freshman season in the fall of 2014, Beamer eventually moved into the midfield due to his athleticism and versatility.

This fall, the lanky Beamer has assumed an attacking midfielder role right behind the team’s forward line and has emerged as one of the top finishers in the area.

Last Wednesday against visiting WW/P-North, Beamer displayed his finishing touch, scoring two goals to help PHS prevail 4-0.

“I think it is lot of that (being moved up) and I think it is a lot of better endurance.  I can make more runs,” said Beamer reflecting on his hot start which has seen him tally a team-high 12 goals so far this season. “I have gotten a bit taller.”

WW/P-North had PHS on the run in the early stages of the contest. “We came into this game knowing that they were a good team; they played really well with one-two touch passes,” said Beamer. “At the end of the day, we could just put the ball in.”

Beamer put in the first goal of the contest, heading in a pass from classmate Dean Patel with 13:37 left in first half.

“I saw Dean’s ball coming near post so I collapsed on it and flicked it on,” said Beamer.

“I think that is a general rule with our team. We get one and we will put a bunch in the back of the net. We will go from there.”

With 14 seniors on the roster, PHS has developed a special unity on and off the field.

“Our team chemistry is great,” said Beamer. “We are all from the same group of friends. We all joke around every day.”

While he may share a lot of laughs with his teammates, Beamer is taking a serious approach in his final campaign. “This is my last year; I know what I need to do on the field,” said Beamer.

PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe is thrilled with what Beamer has been doing this fall.

“We are playing him a little higher up the field; he is attacking center mid,” said Sutcliffe.

“We try to play him underneath the striker, he is getting into the attack. He is incredibly mobile so he covers a lot of ground. Beamer can get himself into good spots in the box, which not every guy can do.”

The Little Tigers found themselves in a tough spot against WW/P-North before taking the lead.

“North had only dropped one game prior; they are having a good season and and have a lot of quality,” said Sutcliffe.

“They were knocking it and had us chasing a little but I think we adjusted well and hung in there. Then the first goal was great; that is what one goal can do for you. We settled in.”

Senior midfielder Patel showed his quality in the win, picking up two assists.

“Dean has found his form in his partnership with Drew and Noam [Davidov] underneath,” said Sutcliffe.

“We couldn’t be happier with his season so far. Last year he was a forward and we are finding he is better facing the goal and he doesn’t have to have his back to the goal as a striker.”

Sutcliffe is very happy with the play of junior midfielder Sebastian Ratzan, who tallied two goals and an assist against the Northern Knights.

“Sebastian’s speed brings another dimension to his game and our team; with his versatility where he can play either wide or up front as a striker,” said Sutcliffe.

“He can find the goal. He is not afraid to fail when he goes to goal; that is an asset in his characteristics as a player. He is finding the back of the net.”

The defensive unit proved to be an asset for the Little Tiger, keeping WW/P-North from finding the back of the net.

“I am so happy, they were knocking it early, so that is credit to Ian Jacobs, Jasper Scott, and Noah Middlekauff in the center,” said Sutcliffe.

“I have to say the other two, Tom Reid on the left and Jun Hasegawa on the right, did well too; there was a lot of quality. Pat [senior goalie Patrick Jacobs] had to face a couple of tests today but not a lot. We want to keep him out of trouble.”

Although PHS stubbed its toe with a 2-1 loss to Ewing last Friday, the Little Tigers have been passing most tests, going 4-1 in their last five games to get off to an 8-2-1 start.

“Since the Westfield game [a 3-0 loss on September 20], we have gotten better and better,” said Sutcliffe, whose team is slated to play at Trenton High on October 12 and at Hopewell Valley on October 16.

“We have had some challenges too so I am happy about that. I like where we are, our best soccer is ahead of us. I am not satisfied but we are making adequate progress.”

Beamer, for his part, believes PHS can progress into something special. “We had a slow start to the season but we have been cruising ever since,” said Beamer.

“As the postseason comes around, hopefully we will be getting stronger and peak at the right time.”