Improvements propel PHS girls to lax win

Second-half effort eases Little Tigers by MHS

By: Bob Nuse
   As one of the veterans on an otherwise young Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team, Cheryl Lau knows the team is going to get better from game to game.
   In fact, the senior captain thinks the improvement could even be seen from half to half.
   That was the case Wednesday when Princeton broke open a close game with seven straight second-half goals to beat Montgomery High, 11-3. The win was the first of the season for Princeton, which is now 1-1. The game was the first of the season for Montgomery.
   "I think we were really nervous (Tuesday) for our game against Lawrenceville," Lau said in reference to the Little Tigers’ season-opening 18-1 loss to the Big Red. "We were a lot more relaxed today. I think we got a lot of the jitters out in the first half and then we played much better in the second half. We have a lot of new people on the team this year and I think we’ll get better each game."
   Princeton was beginning to hit its stride during the pre-season, then spring break came and the team has had to start over this week. The opener didn’t go well against Lawrenceville, but the Little Tigers played much better against the Cougars.
   "I thought our passes were so much better in the second half," said Lau, who finished with a game-high three goals. "We were starting to make the right connections. And the defense played much better in the second half. In the first half we were a little sloppy with fouls.
   "We have a pretty young team with a lot of new sophomores. I think when we had break and a lot of people were missing that hurt us. But now everyone is back and we’re starting to get back to where we were. We lost a little bit, but now we’re starting to get it back."
   In addition to the three goals from Lau, the Little Tigers received two from Lisa Hayes and one apiece from Casey LaMarche, Amanda Sustak, Sarahjon Kerins, Joyce Driscoll, Liz Harvey and Becky O’Neill. It was the kind of balanced offense Princeton hopes it continues to get.
   "I want to see us get back to where we were before the break," said Princeton coach Joyce Jones, whose team will host Hun 4 p.m. Tuesday. "We have a lot of young kids, even seniors and juniors who are inexperienced. I think we need to get together as a unit. Hopefully we’ll continue to improve with each game."
   Montgomery coach Jeremy Beardsley expects to see his team improve each game as well. The Cougars, who are beginning their second year as a varsity program, were short-handed on Wednesday due to their own spring break.
   "We had seven of our players missing today, which hurt us," said Beardsley, whose team received a pair of goals from Mackenzie Mapes. "We didn’t play over spring break last year and I don’t think some of the girls thought we would this year, so they had plans to go away. I think when we get everyone back we’ll be better.
   "We had two or three JV kids playing today and they did pretty well. I thought we played well in the first half, which was huge. But we need to get everyone back."
   Princeton led just 4-3 at the half and it stayed that way through the opening moments of the second half. But then the Little Tigers got on a roll and the inexperienced Cougars couldn’t keep up.
   Aurora McCray-Crerar made eight saves on goal for Princeton. Montgomery will be back in action 4:15 today at home against Princeton Day School, a 12-11 loser to Peddie on Wednesday.