With a new assistant coach, a few skilled newcomers, and some returning talent, the girls ice hockey team is looking for an improvement from its recent trend of low records. As the last two years featured 0–16 and 1–12 seasons for the team, its record has nowhere to go but up.
While the team is usually led by Christian Herzog and Sarah Hibbert, the PHS tennis team and ice hockey leadership duo, they have been split up this winter season due to Hibbert’s newborn child. Hibbert’s position has been taken over by PHS Special Education teacher Bill Finn.
“It’s interesting because we’ve always been used to having Coach Hibbert [as our assistant coach], and she’s always been a significant figure for us,” said second-line forward Merritt Peck ’14. “[Coach Finn is] really working hard to get to know us and to get to know the game.”
The team comes into the season with a greater base talent level than what they had to work with last year. Defensively, Julia DiTosto ’15, a past Princeton Tiger Lilies Ice Hockey Club member, returns to the ice after sitting out last season due to a concussion. Joining her on the goalie’s end of the ice are Head Captain Kate Sohn ’14, Brittney Coniglione ’15, and new recruit and figure skater Sophie Corrodi ’16.
Although this is Corrodi’s first time playing ice hockey, she has immersed herself in the sport completely and has already signed up for a travel recreational league. Corrodi will continue to figure skate through the ice hockey season, ensuring her plenty of time on the ice.
“She’s an amazing skater; the defense shows a lot of promise,” said Coniglione.
According to Coniglione and Peck, perhaps the strongest newcomer is Maggie Herring ’17, sister of the team’s current Co-Captain Lucy Herring and 2010–2012 two-time Captain Keely Herring ’12. Maggie comes to the team with a couple of years of hockey experience and will join her sister, Lucy, on the first offensive line.
“Scoring-wise, the first line is really looking good,” said Herzog. “I expect them to put up some significant points this season.”
In past years, a number of girls have joined the team with absolutely no hockey or even skating experience. This year, the team has adopted only two players completely unfamiliar with the sport, boasting a number of ex-club team members and three- or four-year varsity skaters. “We have less of a drop-off from our top player to our bottom player [this year],” said Herzog.
With a more experienced lineup than past seasons, the girls are looking to use their past record as a motivator. “Last year after our first couple of games we all felt like there was no point [in playing],” said Peck. “This year, we’re taking it a lot more seriously [and are] not messing around at practice because there’s a lot more potential, so we want to grab that while we can.”
“We’re motivated in the morning. Everyone’s ready to go and working,” said Co-Captain Erin Forden ’14.
Coniglione felt in terms of skill, the team had suffered no regressions. “One thing we’re missing is the spirit that KC [Read-Fisher ’13] brought,” she said. “Besides that, we’re able to fill up all the gaps that actually matter to hockey.”
The girls lost their first game against Star Ledger NJ No. 1 Morristown-Beard 1–9, but were happy to have scored the first goal of the game. The game was just another experience for the girls to learn from. As Herzog said, “[The game] lets us know how much harder we need to work to get ready for [the rest of] the season.”