May 26, 2021

With Freshman Devlin Stepping Up Offensively, PHS Girls’ Lacrosse Primed for Stretch Drive

LIFE OF RILEY: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Riley Devlin heads to goal against WW/P-North last Wednesday. Freshman Devlin scored three goals in the contest to help PHS prevail 14-3. On Monday, the third-seeded Tigers fell 7-6 to second-seeded Notre Dame in the CVC Pod semis. PHS, now 6-5, will host Hopewell Valley on May 26 and then start play in the South Jersey Group 4 sectional where it is seeded fourth and slated to host 13th-seeded Monroe on June 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As usual this spring, the one-two punch of Kate Becker and Shoshi Henderson got things started for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team as it hosted WW/P-North last Wednesday.

The prolific pair of junior Becker and senior Henderson tallied two and three goals, respectively, as PHS jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

But freshman Riley Devlin was fired up to make her presence felt as well.

“The game against Notre Dame really pushed me,” said Devlin, referring to a 13-8 loss to the Irish on May 17. “Losing really got me upset and this game really fixed that.”

Fueled by that disappointment, Devlin tallied three straight goals in first half, establishing a new career high as the Tigers built a 13-1 lead by intermission and never looked back on the way to a 14-3 win.

“It was just to push it as much as we could,” said Devlin, reflecting on the team’s sizzling start.

“I think we did a good job with different people playing different positions. Everyone was sharing the ball and everyone was scoring.”

Devlin and her classmates are doing a better job offensively as the season goes on.

“At first a lot of us freshmen weren’t really scoring but we were there, we were in the game,” said Devlin.

“Now with so many games and so many practices, we just work with each other well. A lot of us have played with each other since middle school and elementary school. We are comfortable with each other and this season is making it stronger. We have so many more years to come, it is really exciting.”

It is exciting for Devlin to be playing alongside senior star Henderson and junior standout Becker.

“They are just so inspirational and amazing,” said Devlin. “I look up to them a lot. They just got it started in the beginning, they set a really good example for us younger people.”

PHS head coach Meg Dunleavy liked the way her younger players stepped up after Henderson and Becker got things going against WW/P-North.

“This was very fun. We had our dynamic duo start us off and then we saw some really standout games from some of our freshmen” said Dunleavy.

Dunleavy credited Devlin with producing a dynamic performance.

“She is the kind of player who is always open and is so quick,” said Dunleavy, who also got goals from freshmen Theona Hsu and Sylvie LeBouef in the win.

“Putting her on midfield gave her the ability to be in the action consistently. She usually plays low attack but today she played midfield. She got a lot of draw controls and a lot of ground balls. She has a beautiful shot.”

The Tigers dominated the action at the other end of the field as well.

“I was very proud of our defensive front, Sarah Glenn is such a strong defender,” said Dunleavy.

“I feel like she doesn’t get as much recognition as she deserves. She is the mouthpiece, she is the glue of our defense. Grace [Rebak] will also take it up into attack. We see her all over the field. Sarah is the one keeping the defense together the entire time.”

With postseason play starting this week, Dunleavy is confident that her squad will play some strong lacrosse.

“I think it is coming at the perfect time because now we have confidence,” said Dunleavy, whose team lost 7-6 to Notre Dame last Monday in the CVC pod play to fall to 6-5 and will start play in the South Jersey Group 4 sectional, where it is seeded fourth, and slated to host 13th-seeded Monroe on June 1.

“As long as we put everything together, it will be very evenly matched.”

In Devlin’s view, the performance against WW/P-North is a harbinger of some big things to come.

“Today we just played really good defense and really good offense, spacing out,” said Devlin.

“I think this game really prepared us for the CVC and all of that stuff. The competition won’t be the same but we played really well today. We were really strong.”