Step up: Princeton High girls soccer player Holly House had the ball in the season opener against Trenton High last Thursday. Junior striker House scored a goal and assisted twice in a 7-0 victory for PHS. House scored another goal two days later when the Tigers beat WW/P-North 2-0. In the upcoming action, PHS will race at Ewing on September 15th, Hamilton West on September 17th and Hightstown on September 20th. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
It’s a tough move, but Holly House and her teammates on the Princeton High School girls’ soccer team are up to the challenge.
With PHS going through a historic slump that saw it go 21-3 to reach the Group 3 state championship game for the first time in program history, the 2022 team may feel the pressure to match such a hero
Instead, the Tigers are using last year’s success as a blueprint.
“The key word this season is ‘repeat,'” PHS junior forward House said. “We are doing everything we can to repeat last year’s season through our communication and style of play.”
For her part, House hopes to follow in the footsteps of Sophia Liss, who scored 38 goals for the Tigers last fall and is now starting for Lehigh University women’s soccer.
“The biggest influence on me is Sofia, she always takes her chances,” said House, who had 14 goals and 10 assists last season. “She’s always working her hardest on the court, she’s always looking for open spaces. Because of her, I feel more confident in my game to take chances and shoot.”
House took advantage of her shot last Thursday, scoring a goal and assisting two as PHS beat Trenton High 7-0 in the two-team season opener.
“It’s definitely a good thing to start the season with a goal,” House said. “I shoot first, and then someone else grabs the rebound. She saves it again, and I shoot it in.”
With many new faces in the PHS starting lineup, House knew she had to play a key role at the top.
“We’re playing a 4-4-2 offense, which means I’m playing forward with everyone else,” said House, who added as PHS beat WW/P-North 2-0 on Saturday to improve to 2-0 scored a goal. “We’ve been practicing a lot with the ball and moving into a space so everyone is moving and someone is always open.”
In the win over Trenton, sophomore Marina Zaldarriaga scored two goals, seniors Rowan Gilmore, juniors Brielle Moran, seniors Lucia Salvatore and Three Alysse Kiesewetter scored a goal each.
“We’re always trying to get everyone involved,” House said. “We’re just practicing to play in unity.”
Following in the team’s footsteps last year, PHS has developed a chemistry and brought it to the game.
“We’re all friends and we do a lot of teamwork,” House said. “My first year was COVID, so we didn’t have a lot of team connections. We did a lot last year, so we wanted to carry it over into our season. We had team overnights and spaghetti dinners. Since we They’re all such good friends, and it’s natural to play on the court together.”
PHS head coach Dave Corsa believes last year’s team’s success left a legacy.
“It’s a different group, a different season, but our chemistry and solidarity is a strength,” Xhosa said. “Last year’s experience helped the girls who took part in the program. The newcomers saw success too. They knew they had to work hard to make it happen. This year we’re going to have to work even harder, especially for the new girls. Everyone knows what to expect. , they’re working on it.”
In the win over Trenton, the Tigers lived up to expectations.
“We’re excited, we just want to get off to a good start,” Xhosa said. “Looks like we did. I saw a lot of good stuff there. We just want to keep getting better every game.”
Xhosa saw some good things from House. “Holly brings scoring potential,” Xhosa said. “She has some great moves on the ball. She hits her mark. We hope she continues to show and really flash to the ball so we can get her to get more touches.”
The newcomers to the team also showed their skills. “The freshmen are stepping up; Casey House is doing a good job, Romy Johnson is doing a good job defensively, and our freshman goalie Olivia De Luca is playing well,” Khosa said.
“Marina worked really, really hard and we told her as an outside centre you have to make sure you get to the far post. We did a good job with our crosses today and we got some insight into that. She came to the right place. .”
Senior captains Salvato and Gilmore and junior captain Kiesewetter set a positive tone for the team.
“We got some really good solid leadership from our seniors,” Xhosa said.
“The captains are doing a great job. The atmosphere around is really good. It’s coming back; we’ve had it since we left last year.”
With PHS heading into a busy week with games at Ewing on September 15th, Hamilton West on September 17th and Hightstown on September 20th, Kosa is looking for his players to keep that winning vibe going.
“It’s just playing well every day and the game,” Xhosa said. “We’ll keep trying.”
For her part, House believes the Tigers will continue to do a great job.
“We’re going to have some tough games, so we’re going to do our best to play together as a team,” House said. “We’re going to have to maintain a positive attitude and communication.”