Knox Showing Maturity in Sophomore Season As PDS Girls’ Hockey Gets Off to 3-0-1 Start
SPEED SKATER: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Eibhleann Knox brings the puck up the ice last Monday against Randolph High. Sophomore star forward Knox scored a goal to help PDS prevail 9-1. The Panthers, now 3-0-1, are next in action when they host Summit on January 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
As the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team hosted Randolph High last Monday, Eibhleann Knox didn’t waste any time setting the tone for the home squad.
Getting the puck off the opening face-off, sophomore forward Knox raced down the ice to goal and fired the puck into the back of the net to give PDS a 1-0 lead 14 seconds into the contest.
“I wasn’t really expecting to skate through them,” said Knox. “I got the puck, it was a pass from Nora [Appleby]. I just skated through and shot and it went in.”
With PDS coming off a 0-0 tie against Oak Knoll on December 15, that tally opened the floodgates as the Panthers built a 6-0 lead after one period and went on to a 9-1 triumph in improving to 3-0-1.
“We wanted to get a few goals at the start and start rotating some new players in and not have to worry about them coming back,” said Knox.
The Panthers had a number of players score in the win as Lauren Chase tallied two goals and two assists with Brynn Dandy and Claire Meehan adding two goals apiece and Emily McCann and Madison Trend each chipping in a goal.
“We were trying to incorporate everyone and pass the puck before we shoot,” said Knox.
In reflecting on the team’s undefeated start, Knox believes that PDS is in a good groove.
“I think it is good because last year we started off a little slower, we had some losses in the beginning,” said Knox. “We are going pretty strong right now.”
With one season under her belt, Knox has become a stronger voice on the ice.
“I am just a little more confident in myself and more willing to talk and stuff,” said Knox. “Last year I was more quiet.”
Knox is also more willing to take the puck to goal this winter.
“I have worked on having more confidence with the puck,” said Knox, who plays club hockey for the New Jersey Colonials. “Last year I was more timid, wanting to pass the puck off. I am becoming more confident to skate it this year.”
PDS head coach Julie DeSimone liked the way her team came out of the gate against Randolph.
“It is always nice to get one early because you never know, we don’t take any games for granted,” said DeSimone. “We always want to come out working hard from the start; it is always nice to set the tone early.”
PDS is getting good work from Knox. “We have seen Eibhleann really maturing in her play this year,” said DeSimone of Knox who scored both goals for the Panthers in a 2-1 win over Pingry on December 13.
“She is just really integrating well into the team and just hit the ground running this year.”
The team’s scoring balance against Randolph was a sign of growth for PDS.
“We have a really supportive team,” said DeSimone. “We like to make sure that all of our players get as many chances as we are able to get them. We like to see the scoresheet diversified for sure.”
In assessing the Panthers’ 3-0-1 start, DeSimone is happy with the intensity she is seeing from her players.
“I like the effort, I think we have been playing hard every game,” said DeSimone. “We have had some close games. Being able to play hard right up until the end in the third period has really got us through those games. I like to see the girls communicating with each other on the ice, so we are doing some better playmaking. We have a lot of work to do as far as getting scoring chances. It is early, so I think we are happy with where we are at right now.”
A pair of newcomers, freshman forward Dandy and junior transfer goalie Brigid Milligan have been playing very well for PDS.
“Brynn is really on fire so we like to see that,” said DeSimone. “We knew she would be a great asset to the team, but it has been nice to see her doing really well and playing hard. We had the 0-0 game against Oak Knoll and Brigid kept us in the Pingry game as well. She has been a plus.”
The team’s core of veterans — which includes Logan Harrison, Grace Ulrich, and Lily Ryan in addition to Chase, Meehan, McCann, and Knox — has been producing.
“The core group of our team are all working really hard and impacting the game in the way we would want them to be,” said DeSimone.
With PDS going on holiday break and returning to action by hosting Summit on January 5, DeSimone knows that the Panthers have to raise their game.
“We have a lot of work to do; in January we will jump right back into it,” said DeSimone. “We have some practices over break and some practices before our first game against Summit in the new year. Remembering those two games that we had last week, it is being able to stick with that level of competition the whole time.”
Knox, for her part, believes that PDS will be primed to compete against any foe.
“We are going to try to get ready,” said Knox. “We have a lot of better opponents, like Mo Beard, so we need to win those games.”