Weir Continues Brilliant Start to Senior Campaign, Scoring 5 Goals as PHS Field Hockey Tops WW/P-South
HIGH FIVE: Princeton High field hockey player Olivia Weir controls the ball against WW/P-South last Friday. Senior star and Rutgers-bound Weir tallied five goals in the contest to help PHS prevail 7-0 and improve to 3-0. The Tigers host Steinert on September 22 before playing at Hamilton West on September 24 and at Hightstown on September 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Olivia Weir and her teammates on the Princeton High field hockey team were determined to set the tone early as they hosted WW/P-South last Friday.
“We made it a pact from the beginning that we were going to come out with intensity and we wanted to be first to every ball,” said senior star and Rutgers-bound Weir, a native of South Africa.
“We wanted to put goals on the scoreboard soon on and we did that. We played well as a team. We were working together, we came together and we executed our goals.”
PHS achieved that goal as Weir and fellow senior Erin Cooke each found the back of the cage in the first 10 minutes of the contest and PHS never looked back, rolling to a 7-0 win and improving to 3-0.
“We are trying to do a lot of passing and working together because that is how we are able to beat defenders,” said Weir.
“It is also just talking. That is what we have really been focusing on, communicating and just building that team chemistry.”
In Weir’s view, PHS has developed that special chemistry. “We have been playing throughout the summer which has been great,” said Weir. “I think we are really a strong-knit group of girls.”
While Weir is the squad’s go-to finisher, having tallied 12 goals in the Tigers’ first three outings, she sees her scoring prowess as a group effort.
“I try to be first to every ball and listen to my teammates,” said Weir.
“They are often helping me to see if there is someone in front of the goal and should I look for a shot. I couldn’t do it without them. They are the ones that get the ball to me. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them, they are amazing.”
As Weir looks to produce a big senior season and get ready for the rigors of Division I college field hockey at Rutgers, she has fine-tuned her conditioning.
“I have worked on speed and being quick,” added Weir. “Agility has been a big thing. Last year I played center mid, this year I am playing center forward so that is definitely a change. Delaney [Keegan] is feeding me the balls and we work really well together.”
With PHS playing so well in the early going, Weir believes it could be a banner season for the Tigers.
“We definitely have high hopes,” said Weir. “We have been working so well together and we are excited to see where it goes. We have so much potential, it is looking really good.”
PHS head coach Heather Serverson liked the way her squad got off to a good start against WW/P-S.
“That was one of our main goals, control the game, set the tone and score two goals right away,” said Serverson.
“That was specifically the number we had in mind. We had the nice passing game going. We got in behind the defense and we were ready to score.”
The Tiger forward line has been making life tough for opposing defenses as PHS has outscored its foes by a total of 23-0 in its first three games.
“There is a lot of familiarity because they play together most of the year now,” said Serverson.
“It is just really coming into its own right now, it is even better than it was at the start of preseason. If we continue playing like that, we are going to be unstoppable.”
Serverson credits Weir with making her teammates better, the hallmark of a superior performer.
“Olivia is a great player but she is also a great teammate, she will be the first to pass the ball to somebody else,” asserted Serverson of Weir, who also had an asset in the win over the Pirates.
“It is just so nice because it is really helping the other girls. They are watching her but then also contributing too beside her which means a lot to them because they are playing with such a good player who is going to play D-1. It is ‘I can do this too’; it is bringing up the confidence level of the whole team.”
The other girls are contributing as senior star defender Grace Rebak chipped in a goal and two assists against WW/P-S to get on the scoresheet along with Weir and Cooke.
“It is definitely a team effort,” said Serverson.“Players all over the field have the ability to score and they haven’t really stepped up to do that yet because we really haven’t had the need. We don’t have to depend on one or two players.”
The PHS defense has also stepped up, not yielding a goal yet this fall.
“They are solid, they have done a great job of communicating,” said Serverson
“They have really helped overall with the team press, communicating from behind. So hopefully just a lot fewer balls get through. We have been working on that a lot on that press. They have done a good job from behind, making sure that everyone is on the same page and the play developing down towards them is easier to manage.”
In Serverson’s view, starting the season with an 8-0 win over perennial power Allentown on September 9 was a harbinger of great things to come.
“That was amazing for everybody, we just clicked,” said Serverson.
“They are typically one of our rivals so we were really up for that game too. It means a lot, scoring eight goals on Allentown and keeping them from scoring any. As long as we stay consistent, keep improving, moving forward, and jelling as a unit, I don’t see any reason why we can’t have a very successful season.”
Weir, for her part, is confident that PHS will continue tasting success as her final high school campaign unfolds.
“We are just taking it one day at a time; we know we have so much potential and if we just keep on working hard, the future looks really good,” said Weir.
“It is so weird to have one more year left, it is bittersweet. It is such a great group of girls and I am just so excited to continue to play with them one last time.”