April 10, 2019

Sophomore Henderson Shows Finishing Touch As Cohesive PHS Girls’ Lax Tops Notre Dame

SHOWTIME: Princeton Hugh girls’ lacrosse player Shoshi Henderson heads to goal in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, sophomore attacker henderson tallied three goals to help PHS defeat Notre Dame 12-6. The Tigers, now 3-1, plays at Allentown on April 11, hosts Columbia on April 13, and then plays at Princeton Day School on April 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Shoshi Henderson didn’t have to rack her brain to know the game plan for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team as it hosted Notre Dame last Monday.

The words “cohesive” and “unit” were scrawled in black magic marker on her hands.

“We just had to work together,” said Henderson, noting that all of her teammates had the message written on their hands. “We had to spread out everything and we did a great job of doing that.”

PHS got off to a great start against the normally stingy Notre Dame defense, jumping out to a 3-0 lead 13 minutes into the contest and extended that advantage to 8-2 by halftime.

“We came in with a lot of intensity and they called the two timeouts early,” said Henderson.

“We needed to keep going and never let up. We were ready to keep pushing.”

The Tigers fought off a second half push from the Irish to secure a sweet 12-6 triumph and improve to 3-1.

“We never wanted to let up,” said Henderson, who tallied two goals down the stretch and ended up with three on the afternoon. “We wanted to keep scoring. It is always great to beat a rival.”

For Henderson, it has been great to play at the attacking end with PHS senior star Mariana Lopez-Ona and junior standout Shaylah Marciano.

“I have always looked up to them,” said Henderson of Lopez-Ona, who had three goals and two assists against Notre Dame while Marciano added a goal and four assists. “They always teach me; it is so amazing to play with them.”

After a solid freshman season last spring, Henderson has learned those lessons well, emerging as a key scoring threat in her sophomore campaign.

“Last year, I was new; over the winter I worked so hard,” said Henderson, who also competes for the Ultimate Lacrosse club program.

“I think the biggest change is my confidence. I just came in knowing I could make a difference and have a role on this team. I have been able to do that and it is really great.”

PHS head coach Meg Reilly was proud of the way her players executed the game plan.

“The attack is so balanced and unselfish; they set each other up so well and they anticipate the first, second, and third cutters,” said Reilly.

“They are always aware of where everybody is. It was absolutely the cohesive unit of the players today, just playing together and supporting each other the entire time. They all trust each other. They are not afraid to take risks and make mistakes; they support each other in that.”

Reilly is gaining trust in Henderson’s ability.“Shoshi is starting to take her own opportunities,” added Reilly. “She has always been such an unselfish player. She is realizing with her confidence this year how much she is capable of as well.”

PHS got confident play from freshman goalie Gigi Peloso in the cage, as she made 12 saves against the Irish.

“Gigi is such a humble, fierce goalie; she has no idea yet how good she is,” said Reilly.

“I just tell her to stay as fearless as she always is. She is fearless in practice, she never steps out of the cage no matter how hard she gets hit. I told her to just trust herself and be more vocal. We are having her work on directing the defense more because she can see it. It is just a matter of her vocalizing it. I also told her to let loose with the clears because she can clear it really far and can also find the close girls.”

The girls in front of Peloso also played very well. “I really have to give it to the defense,” said Reilly. “Morgan Mavoides was really the leader on defense today as well as Serena Bolitho.”

In Reilly’s view, the biggest positive of the win may have been how PHS kept the pedal to the medal all the way to the final whistle.

“I am happiest about how we kept the intensity and the momentum for a full game,” said Reilly, whose team was coming off a tough 15-12 loss at Pingry last Thursday.

“This team has always been capable of that, but I think when we play together and we play in a united way, we are capable of so much more. We were able to put two halves together. Even when we were tired, we were able to persevere through it.”

The Tigers were also able to show a physical edge to their game in the win over the Irish.

“Princeton has always been a smart, finesse team,” said Reilly, whose squad will look to keep on the winning track as it plays at Allentown on April 11, hosts Columbia on April 13, and then plays at Princeton Day School on April 16.

“I wanted us to be athletic, physical and aggressive as a team like Notre Dame is. Our finesse is there, they are brilliant lacrosse players. Now we are showing ourselves that we are just as aggressive as teams like Notre Dame.”

Henderson, for her part, is confident that PHS can build on its brilliant start.

“We can do amazing things, I think we can definitely win another sectional title and go further,” said Henderson. “Our team has so much chemistry, we play so well together. If we keep it up, we can really win a lot.”