STANDING TALL: Princeton Excessive women’ soccer participant Sophia Lis, left, celebrates after scoring a objective in opposition to Hopewell Valley in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional remaining final Friday. Senior star and Lehigh-bound Lis scored two targets in the competition as top-seeded PHS prevailed 2-0 over the second-seeded Bulldogs. The Tigers, who improved to 20-2 with the triumph, will now play at South champion Lacey (15-6-1) in the Group 3 semis on November 17 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 remaining on November 21 at Kean College. (Picture by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Invoice Alden
For the Princeton Excessive women’ soccer group, the third time proved to be the attraction because it hosted Hopewell Valley in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional remaining final Friday.
With PHS having misplaced 3-2 to HoVal in the common season after which dropping a 3-1 choice in the Mercer County Event semis, the top-seeded Tigers turned the tables on the second-seeded Bulldogs, profitable 2-0 in the sectional remaining.
PHS, which improved to 20-2 with the triumph, now play at South champion Lacey (15-6-1) in the Group 3 semis on November 17 with the victor advancing to the state Group 3 remaining on November 21 at Kean College.
Coming into spherical three with Hopewell, Tiger head coach Dave Kosa fine-tuned his recreation plan.
“We had been undoubtedly making an attempt to be the aggressor and get on the assault first,” mentioned Kosa, who’s in his first season guiding this system.
“We taped the primary two video games; it was studying what we didn’t so good and simply making an attempt to remove some of the issues that they do effectively. We restricted their corners, we didn’t allow them to behind us. They acquired behind us in the primary two video games and in this case they didn’t in order that took away a lot of their set items and a lot of their nook kicks. Second of all, we had been trying to win all of the 50/50 balls. We scouted them in opposition to Brick in the sectional semis and Brick managed most of the play. They had been throughout them too, they had been actually, actually aggressive, marking carefully. We took that and used that to our benefit.”
Having the house subject benefit in the sectional remaining was a massive plus for the Tigers.
“The followers had been wonderful; we had the Tiger Cage going, the coed part, that was nice,” mentioned Kosa.
“Our subject is just not as huge as theirs, it’s simply snug. We haven’t misplaced at residence this yr. We had a lot of motivation with them beating us twice, we had been so pumped up.”
PHS senior star and Lehigh-bound Sophia Lis acquired the gang pumped up, tallying a objective 20 minutes into the competition to place the Tigers up 1-0.
“We talked about that, regardless of whether or not we go up one or down one or whoever scores first, we simply must ensure that we keep poised collectively and that’s one thing that we did,” mentioned Kosa, noting that PHS jumped out to a 1-0 lead over HoVal in the MCT semis and failed to shut the deal
“After we scored that first one, Moji [goalkeeper Moji Ayodele] went down and mentioned let’s ensure that we keep targeted and concentrating on our objective right here. Let’s not get too excessive as a result of there may be a lot of recreation to play. We discovered from recreation two and that helped us.”
Early in the second half, Lis struck once more, tallying on the 51st minute to supply the ultimate margin of victory for PHS.
“When the stakes are raised, she raises her recreation,” mentioned Kosa of Lis, who has 36 targets and 21 assists this yr, together with seven targets in sectional play.
“She is a nice child and a nice participant. She is simply so gifted, there have been a couple of different ones the place she was so shut as effectively. It doesn’t appear to be strain bothers her.”
The Tiger protection held the fort the remaining of the way in which. “That they had one or two that went off the put up,” mentioned Kosa.
“Moji performed nice, regardless that she didn’t must make that many clutch saves. She was controlling us again there.”
The coach’s daughter, senior sweeper Annie Kosa, additionally helped management issues alongside the again line as she performed by means of a calf damage.
“We didn’t assume she was going to play in any respect when it was Thursday night time and even Friday,” mentioned Kosa.
“Up till 12 after our group lunch, she was happening to see the coach. So going from that to play, she was rocking it again there. She performed magnificent, clearing every little thing out. There have been a couple of instances the place somebody acquired by the primary line of protection and he or she is there doing slide tackles. It was wonderful to see, right here is a child who you don’t assume goes to play and he or she shines in a remaining recreation like that. I used to be amazed.”
It was an incredible feat for PHS to win the sectional crown, this system’s first since 2012.
“We stored on speaking about it, it was past our wildest goals after which it was actually have a shot,” mentioned Kosa.
“We’re taking part in rather well, we’ve a nice document, we win our division, we’re in search of the highest seed and we get that. All people goes to have to return to Princeton. It simply meant every little thing, profitable it in entrance of all people right here was so particular.”
The Tigers have been saving their finest for final. “I used to be simply trying again on the state match video games,” mentioned Kosa.
“Robbinsville gave us a good run (a 1-0 in the quarterfinals on November 5). Colts Neck is a actually sturdy Shore group, 3-1 there was a nice win for us (on November 9 in the sectional semis). As for Hopewell, in the 2 video games that they beat us, that they had extra of the play. For us to have extra of the play, it simply reveals us how far we’ve come. We’re taking part in our greatest soccer now.”
In peaking on the proper time, it has a been a whole group effort for PHS.
“All people understands their position, we simply play off of one another’s strengths,” mentioned Kosa.
“We all know who we have to rating; who we have to defend, to do that or that to close down the opposing gamers. All people simply backs each other up. Most likely essentially the most wonderful factor to see because the season has gone on is how shut they’ve grow to be.”
As a way to beat Lacey, the Tigers might want to produce a very sturdy effort.
“They’re taking part in actually good soccer additionally, they’ve overwhelmed some good groups, they play good competitors in the Shore Convention,” mentioned Kosa.
“Their losses are in opposition to some actually sturdy groups as effectively. All of their losses are one-goal losses, both 2-1 or 1-0 so they’re in each recreation. They’re additionally very gifted, we scouted them and we learn about them. We had been capable of see the sphere, we had been capable of see who their high gamers are and what they’re all about. We’re going to be prepared for them.”
Whereas the Tigers have carried out their preparation, Kosa is aware of that the sport will come all the way down to PHS sticking with what has gotten it so far.
“We simply must go down there and play our recreation,” mentioned Kosa.
“It’s simply going to be a matter of who executes the most effective soccer. We have now simply acquired to exit, work our butts off, and take care of enterprise. We have to maintain taking part in higher and play our greatest soccer on Wednesday.”