October 21, 2020

With Senior Star Beal Producing Late Tally, PDS Girls’ Soccer Edges Bishop Eustace 3-2

LATE SALVO: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kelly Beal kicks the ball up the field in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Beal scored the game-winning goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation as PDS edged Bishop Eustace 3-2. The Panthers, who defeated Moorestown Friends 3-0 last Monday in improving to 4-1, host Montgomery on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kelly Beal struggled to get herself free around goal as the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team hosted Bishop Eustace last Thursday.

For much of the contest, speedy PDS senior forward Beal got stymied on runs from the flank.

“It was kind of difficult to get me the ball this game but it is just how it happened,” said Beal.

It came as no surprise to Beal and her teammates that they got a difficult game as they faced Bishop Eustace.

“Coming into the game we knew that they were going to be tough competitors,” said Beal.

“Maybe that rattled us a little bit coming in because this whole season matters so much to us because we never know when it is going to end.”

PDS jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by junior Ali Surace with 33:39 left in the first half but the Crusaders answered back with a tally four minutes later to knot the game at 1-1. The Panthers went ahead 2-1 on a goal by freshman Adriana Salzano late in the first half.

Just after halftime, Bishop Eustace found the back of the net to make to 2-2, putting the Panthers on their heels. But in the waning moments of the contest the Panthers started to find a rhythm.

“I think as the game went on, we started to gain a lot of momentum,” said Beal.

With the game on the line, Beal knifed into the box and deftly dribbled past a defender and slotted the ball past the Crusader goalie with 51 seconds left to give the Panthers a 3-2 win.

“It started with Tochi [Owunna], our freshman, she is really, really good and has been stepping it up,”

“She played a ball out wide to Ava [Mattson] and Ava passed the ball inside and I made a quick move and I played it in the closest corner.”

With PDS posting its third straight win since a 3-2 opening day loss to Monroe, Beal believes that the Panthers are starting to get in synch.

“We are gaining a lot of momentum,” said Beal, who picked up an assist on Monday as PDS extended its winning streak by defeating Moorestown Friends 3-0.

“We are going to have a pretty tough schedule and we want to make sure that we make the best of every game.”

Beal and her classmates are looking to make the best of their final campaign.

“I am taking it game by game; it is my senior year and it is the same with the other seniors,” said Beal. “We are especially looking forward to giving it our all each game.”

PDS head coach Pat Trombetta wasn’t surprised to see Beal produce the game-winning tally against Bishop Eustace.

“At the end, we moved Kelly around a little bit and it paid off,” said Trombetta.

“We moved her from the outside to up top. She gives us that ability to find the net when we need a goal. We rely on her heavily for that.”

In reflecting on the matchup against Bishop Eustace, Trombetta knew his players would need to play hard to the final whistle.

“They are in a tough conference down there, this is the first time we had played them,” said Trombetta.

“This is exactly what we expected when we put them on the schedule, to have a game that was going to be hard-fought and go back and forth. It could have went either way.”

While Trombetta was relieved to see the Panthers pull out the win, he believes that the team has plenty of room for improvement.

“I don’t think we are playing at our potential yet,” said Trombetta, whose side is next in action when it hosts Montgomery on October 23.

“We missed a few practices this week so I expected things to be a little bit sloppy today. They haven’t been on the field since Saturday so it is a little tricky not knowing what to expect out here. The bottom line is that the girls played well and persevered in the end.”

In Trombetta’s view, the squad’s mix of veterans and talented newcomers should help it keep playing well.

“The seniors are carrying the load for a good part but we have also got the younger players contributing,” said Trombetta, noting that freshmen Salzano and Owunna have been excelling.

“The junior class is strong; Ali had the first one. It is a big win for us because we knew it was going to be a competitive game. It is good to play these new teams, especially the stronger teams.”

Beal, for her part, is determined to compete as hard as possible every time she steps on the pitch this fall.

“Even in our practices, everybody just gives it their all,” said Beal. “Coach T and our coaches push us to be our best.”