Fueled by Senior Romano’s production and leadership, PDS women’s soccer defeats Mount St. Mary 4-2
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Grace Romano controls the ball during a 2020 game. Senior standout Romano scored a goal and an assist to help the PDS overcome Mount St. Mary 4-2 last Saturday. The Panthers, who beat Lenape 2-1 last Monday to improve to 4-1, will play Jonathan Dayton on September 22 and Blair Academy on September 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Grace Romano became a senior leader of Princeton’s day school girls’ soccer team and enjoys passing on her wisdom to her younger teammates.
“It’s been really great, it’s been great preparation for college,” said senior forward and co-captain Romano who is committed to attending Vassar College and playing for its women’s soccer team.
“It’s nice to sit down and give the players a chance to see where they were when I was in their shoes. It’s really building them up, it’s great to be able to set them up. .
Last Saturday, Romano set a good example for the team’s young players, registering a goal and an assist to help the PDS recover from a 1-0 first-half deficit against Mount St. Mary to win a 4-2 victory.
“It was really just digging in and playing our game, just playing the whole game,” said Romano, who scored with 4:20 left in the first half on an Adriana Salzano assist to tie the knot. game at 1-1 heading into intermission.
“That’s what we talked about at half time. We just needed to be first to the ball, that was really a priority. I think you could see that in the second half. Every goal was a different player. We really wanted to play for each other and I think we did that very well.
Playing with junior teammate Salzano is a joy for Romano.
“Dre and I play together at club level, I feel like we have that chemistry on the pitch,” said Romano, who competes for the club’s PDA South team with Salzano.
“She and I love playing together. If I roll over that ball, she sees me. It’s not said at this stage.
Early in the second half, Romano helped PDS go ahead 2-1 by taking a corner kick into the box and it was converted into a goal by rookie Juliana Hartman.
“We’re talking about setting up kids and trying to get them to the goal,” Romano said.
“I just wanted to do it fast and it was either Kirsten [Ruf] and Adriana raised their hands. I knew where I wanted it to go and it ended up going to Jules. We talked about it in training, just capitalizing on it. It was having that hunger and wanting that ball, that’s what really got him in.
With Ruf and Sophia Zhou scoring the other goals in the win, the Panthers showed their poise and selflessness.
“We have a really strong squad, I think that just reflects our chemistry,” Romano said.
“We really trust each other. I think we have a very strong bond this year, we want to give it to other players. We want to give players a chance to score. It’s not a question of statistics, it’s just a question of program. »
According to Romano, this confidence has helped PDS get off to a good start this season.
“I’m extremely happy, I think our only loss was a very well fought battle,” Romano said, referring to a 4-0 loss to Springside Chestnut Hill on September 10.
“The score was not representative of how well we played and how well we fought. It was a very early test. It was a mental test, it was a mental test. I think it will benefit us once we start getting into more difficult tournaments and matches.
PDS head coach Chris Pettit appreciated the quality of his side’s play in the early stages of the second half as they dominated possession, generating several chances and advancing 3-1.
“I thought the first 15-20 minutes of the second half was really, really good,” Pettit said.
“The pressing was relentless, the positional sense was really good. We had four or five options off the ball, they couldn’t really stay with us. We scored some good goals and we had some other good chances that really would have killed the game.
To their credit, Mount St. Mary fought back with a goal midway through the second half to close the lead at 3-2. Minutes later, PDS responded as senior star Ruf fired a long free kick over the goalkeeper’s head into the back of the net.
“We got caught with another long ball and then it was an OK game, how’s it going, are we going to get back to it,” Pettit said.
“Fortunately for us, Kirsten hit that ranged rocket that killed the match. It was a bit messy from then on.
Pettit credits Romano for improving his game this fall. “Grace is doing everything we hoped she would do; she is a leader who leads by example,” said Pettit de Romano who provided an assist as the PDS beat Lenape 2-1 last Monday to improve to 4-1.
“We moved her to the center and she scored a nice goal and got an assist. She has already got quite a few goals and assists. She probably got more assists this season than she did all of last season. She did it from the corners and also on the wing, lifting her head and trying to play a difference-making pass rather than just throwing it into the box.
The team’s young players also made the difference
“We had minutes today from probably four or five freshmen,” Pettit noted.
“Jules scored his first goal, it was a great goal. His ball touches were very good. she [McLaren] at his side is doing very well. It’s building and we have to maintain that kind of momentum.
With PDS planning to play Jonathan Dayton on September 22 and Blair Academy on September 24, Pettit wants his players to show more consistency.
“We’re starting to show the potential, like in the first 15 minutes of the second half,” Pettit said.
“We can watch that on video and compare it to the last 15 minutes of the first half and say this is what it is. We did that for 15 minutes and it’s probably the best we’ve done all season. Hopefully we can do it for 20 or 25 minutes and get more and more people involved and good things happen. There are a lot of positives to build on.
Romano, for his part, believes the Panthers can produce some really good football as the season progresses.
“We have a very young team, I’m really proud of the way we play,” said Romano.
“It definitely continues to build that chemistry and increase that football IQ, knowing where the passes need to go. I think we are unique in that we circulate it. I think in that last third there are more players in the box and it gets aggressive. We focus a lot on making it look really pretty and sometimes the coach says just hit it, you’re not going to score if you don’t shoot.