September 7, 2022

PHS Field Hockey Has Plenty of Talent on Hand, Needs to Come Together as a Unit to Excel Again

SMASH HIT: Princeton High field hockey player Delaney Keegan gets ready for a big hit last fall. Junior Keegan is the leading returning scorer for PHS, having tallied seven goals and 17 assists last fall. The Tigers are slated to open their 2022 season by playing at Lawrence High on September 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High field hockey team has plenty of talent on hand, the challenge for Heather Serverson is to mix and match those pieces into a cohesive unit.

“It is an overall positive feeling around the team; we did a lot of work over the summer and a lot of girls have committed to playing year round,” said PHS head coach Serverson, who led PHS to a 15-2 record last fall on the way to the Mercer County Tournament semifinal. “We are in our usual situation where we just need to figure out who we have, what our strengths are, and how they best fit together.”

One of the squad’s strengths figures to be the play of junior Delaney Keegan, the leading returning scorer for PHS, having tallied seven goals and 17 assists last fall to help trigger the Tiger attack.

“Delaney is playing well, she has been doing a great job defensively and offensively,” said Serverson, whose team is playing at Lawrence High on September 12 in its season opener.  “She really reads the play and the field well, I can’t say enough about her.”

Senior co-captains and sisters Hannah Christopher and Kayla Christopher along with junior Reva Doshi, sophomore Mia Ramirez, junior Leah Rose-Seiden, senior Anna Terry, and junior Erin Liggio have the ability to attack all over the field.

“I have Hannah at forward and Kayla is a midfielder,” said Serverson. “Reva also plays midfield; she plays a little bit higher so she can do great things offensively for us. Mia has good stickwork and some really good poise for her age, which really pays off for us in the circle. She is coming into her own right now. Leah has been playing at forward, we have been seeing some great stuff from her as well. She has a great shot on goal, she also has some good poise. Annie had to sit out part of the season last year because she was a transfer. We are looking forward to her getting a full season in. She has been a really good feisty player for us in the midfield, doing some great things. Erin is my filler, I know I can put her any place and she will get the job done.”

Senior tri-captain Gianna DiGioacchino is getting things done for PHS on the back line.

“Gianna has been doing a great job,” said Serverson. “She is really coming into her own this year, especially as a captain. She is vocal on the field. She anticipates the play well and gets our transition offense started.”

As for the rest of the Tiger defense, junior Annie Callahan will be starting at goalie with sophomore Sophie Gono, junior Sally Flanagan, and senior Aisling Odell playing at back.

“We have to replace everybody so the others are all new,” said Serverson.

“Annie is going to be stepping to goal for us, she is starting to communicate better. The other defenders will be Sophie, Sally, and Aisling. They have been doing a better job than other segments of the field working together because they have to. They have no choice. Gianna has been the main vocal leader followed by Annie.”

In Serverson’s view, getting her squad to work together will be the key to success this fall.

“We just need to get that on-field familiarity going,” said Serverson. “We need to make sure that we know how our teammates are playing and that we know where they are going to be for any given pass or any given cut. Once we start connecting, I think we will have a successful season.”