Boasting Its Largest Turnout of Players in Years, PHS Girls’ Hockey Building for Future Success
STICKING WITH IT: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Annie Terry, left, goes after the puck in a game last season. Senior defenseman and assistant captain Terry is looking to have a big final campaign for the Tigers. PHS, which fell 10-2 to Randolph last Friday to move to 0-3, faces Chatham on December 21 at the Mennen Arena in Morristown. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Christian Herzog ran into an equipment issue with his Princeton High girls’ hockey team due to the turnout for preseason practice.
“It is the most girls I have had in a few years — I used up all of our jerseys and I had to get a few extra ones,” said PHS head coach Herzog, who is carrying 26 players on his roster. “I have some significant numbers this year, something was in the water.”
Since many of the players are newcomers to the sport, Herzog is looking to build a solid foundation for success down the road.
“We are skating our way to the future; the reason I am keeping so many players is that I am laying the groundwork for the future,” said Herzog, whose team lost 10-2 to Randolph High last Friday to move to 0-3. “I have a ton of freshmen and sophomores. There are already girls who are asking about ‘what can I do over the summer?’ There are some people who are invested.”
PHS features two experienced sophomores, Cassie Speir and Maya Hagt, who are very invested in the program.
“Cassie is a workhorse, she is extremely hard working; I have her on defense,” said Herzog of assistant captain Speir, who has scored all four of PHS’s goals this season. “Cassie has speed, she has a shot, and she has grit. She is not easy to push over. Maya has got some skill. It is good to have them both on the ice at the same time. Maya is the head captain, she is in a big leadership role. She follows through — she was essential in getting all of these girls to play.”
Senior Annie Terry is providing leadership and production on the blue line as the team’s other assistant captain.
“Annie is working hard, I have a lot of respect for her,” said Herzog, who has two other seniors, Hannah Christopher and Kayla Christopher, seeing a lot of time at forward. “She is really trying to fill a void and there is a big void with Cece [Gibb] gone, that is a lot of goals right there.”
Junior newcomer Logan Hollingsworth is filling a void at goalie.
“She has zero experience, she works hard in practice,” said Herzog of Hollingsworth, who had 13 saves in the loss to Randolph. “She has got a ways to go, but she is willing to work hard. She has got the right attitude. She is competitive, but she doesn’t put that extra pressure on herself.”
Three other new faces — senior Ash O’Dell, freshman Sophia Lee, and freshman Maggie Tang — have been putting in some good work for the Tigers.
“Ash is a field hockey player — she should have come out as a freshman because she has a mind for the game without having any experience,” said Herzog. “Sophia is a figure skater, she has these super long strides. Maggie has really good skating skills. She has got some size. She is on defense, she is going to be a player.”
With PHS facing Chatham on December 21 at the Mennen Arena in Morristown, Herzog is looking for his players to keep developing their game.
“I tell the girls, ‘we are trying to build your strength and skills for next season; I will get you into games if I can so you can get acclimated to some game time,’” said Herzog. “We are playing to develop, we are playing everybody. It is about having a good time and developing passion for the sport.”