Ending the State tournament with an upsetting 4–1 loss to Hightstown in the second sectionals, the Princeton High School girls soccer team finished its season on Thursday, November 7.
Throughout the entire season, the girls had been preparing for the Mercer County and state tournaments. Their hard training helped them throughout their season up until the very end.
“Everyone has played very well all year and we have only improved. We’ve really gotten to know how everyone plays and it’s really helped us. Everyone gives 100 percent every game and every practice,” said Co-Captain Eva Reyes ’14.
After their loss against Princeton Day School later in the Mercer County tournament, the girls were not proud of the results, but knew that there was not much they could have done after losing Emily Pawlak ’15, a key player, on such short notice. “In the semifinals we were missing Emily due to an ankle injury, which messed up our lineup and we were unable to ‘click’ and get things going,” said Reyes about their 2–1 loss.
Many girls on the team also believe that they could have performed better than they had that night. Haley Bodden ’16 said, “Unfortunately we didn’t play our best game that night; we didn’t possess or control the midfield well.” Although Princeton was winning 1–0 at halftime, the team lost its lead as the game progressed. “Scoring the first goal we were pumped,” added Bodden. “But as [PDS] came into the second half, [the team] came out stronger than us and happened to score two easy goals that we could have prevented.”
“We could have just come out stronger. We played a very defensive game and if we had connected with our outside players more, it really could have helped our attack and our chance of scoring,” said Reyes.
Pawlak, along with many of her teammates, thought that this year’s team was capable of going far in the state tournament. “I think that last year’s success … was a goal for us with the team only having one new player.”
The Hightstown game was one that the girls felt confident about, but did not go as well as they had hoped. After Hightstown put in two goals in the first half, the girls were mad and ready to make a comeback. However, the girls’ one goal in the second half was not enough to overcome Hightstown. “Our whole team knows we could have beaten them, it was just a matter of how much we wanted it,” said Bodden.
“Our motto for the season was if we worked on our possession and technical work, then the titles or big wins would come as the outcome,” said Pawlak.
“Hightstown’s strive for success peaked through higher than ours, giving them the result they wanted,” said Bodden. The PHS girls soccer team did not make it all the way as it did last year when it won sectionals for the first time in history, but had a successful season.
“I couldn’t be happier with this season and I am so lucky and proud to have played alongside the seniors that are leaving and everyone else as well,” said Pawlak. They ended the season 14–4.