September 29, 2021

Senior Star Vasquez Steps Up Offensive Production As PDS Boys’ Soccer Tops Lawrenceville, WW/P-S

WILLING TO FIGHT: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player William Vasquez, right, battles a WW/P-South player for the ball last Friday. Senior forward Vasquez tallied a goal and an assist to help PDS prevail 4-1. The Panthers, who fell 3-2 to WW/P-North last Monday to drop to 3-4, hosts Peddie School on September 29, Blair Academy on October 2, and Pingry School on October 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

William Vasquez ran to the sidelines with a bloody nose last Friday as the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team hosted WW/P-South.

But the PDS senior star cracked a smile as he got treated, having just scored a goal to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

“I got a bloody nose when I was celebrating over there,” said Vasquez.

After nosing ahead of the Pirates, PDS never looked back on the way to a 4-1 win.

The Panthers controlled the second half, getting goals from Theo Capeilleries and Joaquin Rodriguez as they closed the deal.

“We had them on our half and once we scored that third goal, we kept going,” said Vasquez.

“We learned from past experiences that we can’t let up, even if it is 3-1 up or 4-1 up. We have to play like it is 0-0 every time.”

It did take a while for PDS to get going as it fell behind 1-0 three minutes into the contest.

“When we were down one-nil, we just had to keep our heads up and keep going,” said Vasquez. “Once we got that first goal, we started playing well.”

Vasquez helped the Panthers get that first goal, sending a ball into the box that Todd Devin headed into the back of the net with 19:11 left in the half.

“I think Milan [Shah] had a great play on that,” said Vasquez. “He fed it to me and I saw Todd on the far post. I had to give it to him.”

With just under four minutes left in the half, Vasquez dribbled past WW/P-South defenders and fired a low volley past the Pirate keeper.

“I beat him and then I beat him again,” said Vasquez of the Pirate defender.

“I knew I had to put it on my right foot because that is my strong foot and I just put it in the bottom left to finish it off. It was a great moment.”

The tally gave Vasquez his second straight big game as he also tallied a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Lawrenceville on September 22.

“I think it is just switching where I am at,” said Vasquez, reflecting on his recent surge.

“At the start I was on the left side and then he put me at striker. I think just switching me up, that is what is working for me at the moment.”

PDS first-year head coach Brian Thomsen likes what he is seeing from Vasquez.

“He is having a good week, he dinged one off the post in the first two minutes against Lawrenceville,” said Thomsen.

“Then he got fouled in the box, took a penalty and you could see his energy change. A confident player is a confident player.”

The team’s confident play collectively against the Pirates was a product of hard work.

“We have been talking about that all week, just changing the mentality a little bit,” said Thomsen.

“If we don’t have a good mentality and we don’t want to work hard and we don’t want to win 50/50 balls and we don’t what to do all of the small things that win games then we are not going to have success.”

PDS showed that mentality in pulling away to the win. “We talked about that at halftime, that we have to play with confidence,” said Thomsen. “We have to get the third goal so that we open the game up a little bit.”

In addition to Vasquez, junior goalie John Mazzarisi, senior defender Connor Topping, and junior midfielder Rodriguez also had big games in the win.

“John played unbelievable in goal, Connor played fantastic,” said Thomsen.

“I thought with Joaquin, once we moved him back to center defensive mid, he really controlled the tempo of the game, which is incredible.”

Thomsen likes the spirit he is seeing from his players in his first year at the helm of the program.

“The boys are enjoying the season so it is going to be good,” said Thomsen, whose team fell 3-2 to WW/P-North last Monday to drop to 3-4 and will host Peddie School on September 29, Blair Academy on October 2, and Pingry School on October 5.

Vasquez, for his part, is enjoying playing for Thomsen. “I love coach BT, he talks to us and tells us what we are supposed to do and he is smart with his decisions, what side we should be on and everything,” said Vasquez.

“I feel like we are communicating better, there is better chemistry by far. I am excited.”