March 8, 2023

Sticking Together Through Frustrating Campaign, PHS Girls’ Hockey Laid Groundwork for the Future

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Princeton High girls’ hockey head coach Christian Herzog addresses his players during a stoppage of play in a game at Hobey Baker Rink this season. The Tigers stuck together as they posted a 0-15 record this winter. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ hockey team didn’t taste victory this winter, Christian Herzog had a positive message for his players at their year-end banquet.

“I was, ‘Look ladies, I appreciate you sticking with it — the season is what it is,’” said PHS head coach Herzog, whose squad ended up with a final record of 0-15. “‘You could tell that your hockey skills got better from the first practice to the last game; 99 percent of the girls on this team are still new to ice hockey. We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen.’”

One of those sophomores, Cassie Speir, emerged as the go-to scorer for PHS, tallying 18 of the team’s 20 goals this season.

“Cassie got our MVP award, she is a workhorse,” said Herzog, noting that Speir earned second-team All-NJIHL honors. “She is putting goals in the net and she is the player all of the kids want to be.”

Another workhorse for PHS was junior goalie Logan Hollingsworth, who made 247 saves in her first season between the pipes.

“Logan definitely made progress from where she started at the beginning of the year,” said Herzog of Hollingsworth, who earned the team’s Head, Heart, Hustle award. “She was always smiling, she never got down.”

Senior star and assistant captain Annie Terry set a positive tone.

“Annie ended up getting the Coaches Award,” said Herzog, whose senior class also included Chiara Lavino, Kayla Christopher, Hannah Christopher, Ash O’Dell, Sofia Mauger, Jessica Zimet, and Natalya Caime. “In the room, she was a great captain, always getting them all together.”

Another senior, O’Dell, got things together in her first year with the program.

“Ash ended up with Rookie of the Year award,” said Herzog, adding that sophomore Maddie
Merritt was tabbed for the
Captains’ award. “She wasn’t a goal scorer, but she started playing defense and really helped us.”

Looking ahead, Herzog believes that weathering through tough times this winter will yield dividends down the road.

“Everybody wants to win, it is incremental for us,” said Herzog, whose roster this season included seven freshman and nine sophomores. “We have got a lot of new players. We have to focus on the future. We are looking more for our standout year to be in two years. We have got good numbers, we are building for the future.”