A 3-4 loss to Hunterdon Central High School in the state group 4, section 2 semifinals ended the field hockey team’s season on November 2. The girls finished their season with an overall record of 14–6–2. The captains of this year’s team were forward Avery Peterson ’17, midfielder Georgia McLean ’17 and midfielder Jordyn Cane ’17. All three captains have played in the state tournament since they were freshmen.
Before its loss to Hunterdon Central, the field hockey team defeated Piscataway High School in the quarterfinal round. The team was trailing in the first half of the game; however, it scored two goals after halftime to win 3–2.
“The most important factor was at half-time,” McLean said. “We were able to pull together and think about what we needed to fix, like our defense markings and corners.”
The team also had a bye in the first round of the state tournament.
“It’s a benefit to have a bye just because we didn’t have to play that first round, and we were able to practice more in order to be able to win the quarter-finals,” McLean said. However, McLean felt that in order to really excel during the state tournament, there were a few things the team could have done better. “Our team needs to work on our offensive corners the most just because that’s when you get a penalty; they’re giving you an opportunity to score. I think we need to capitalize on that more,” McLean said.
“I [felt] the pressure, but I know that Jordyn, Avery, and I have been on the team playing in the state finals since we were freshmen, and so we’ve always kind of felt the pressure,” McLean said. “I knew our team was definitely ready for it.”
The game with Hunterdon Central was close, with Princeton leading 3–2 in the first half. The first goal was scored by Peterson, the second by Kennedy Corrado ’17 with an assist from Mariana Lopez-Ona ’19, and the third by Peterson with an assist from Cane. However, Hunterdon Central scored two goals late in the first half to lead 3-4 at halftime. The team played a scoreless second half, with Kate Rogers ’18 in goal for the Little Tigers.
Despite losing to Hunterdon Central, Peterson felt that it was a great game.
“The last game was one of the best games we played all season, and I am really proud of where we have come,” Peterson said.
Head Coach Heather Serverson agreed that the team played well in that tournament loss.
“When you’re playing in a semifinal game, it’s the little mistakes that add up,” Serverson said. “Hunterdon Central did a great job taking advantage of those moments where we had little mess-ups.”
Peterson believes they had a great season, and that the team worked really hard throughout.
“We definitely had a lot of ups and downs, but working together as a team was always something that has been really important for us, and when we did do that [it] was when we excelled in our games and that was when we played our best,” Peterson said. “Working together, passing a lot, keeping a high level of energy and positivity are probably the most important things [for our success this season].”
The team’s chemistry is one of its keys to success.
“[We’re] a group of friends who love field hockey. We work hard, but we also love to laugh and have fun together,” McLean said.
The team reached semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament with victories over Stuart Country Day School and Ewing High School until suffering a loss to the Lawrenceville School.
“Our lowest point of the season was losing 6–0 in the Mercer County Tournament semifinal round to Lawrence High School,” Cane said.
Even though the team was disappointed in its loss, thus ending its Mercer County run, the girls recovered and reached the semifinal round of the state tournament days later.
“The high point was how well we played against Hunterdon Central in the semifinals of the state tournament. We played the best game of our lives and battled back from being down 2–0,” McLean said.
Serverson added that they had an impressive overall season.
“I am very proud of all of them. We had a great season. Over the course of it, we learned a lot of lessons about being positive with one another on the field [and] about never giving up.” She is also anticipating next year’s season and the new challenges that it will bring. “I am looking forward to a whole new team because we have nine seniors graduating, so we are going to have a lot of work to do. Hopefully, a lot of players will be playing [during their] off-season and improving their game.”