By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
As the temperature dropped, the score rose on the Princeton side of the scoreboard Tuesday night at Everette K. Bailey Field.
Princeton Senior High got back-to-back scores less than a minute apart from junior Amanda Barrett, and Danielle Hall’s header into the goal put the icing on the cake as the Tigers (7-6-2) put away an undermanned Capital High squad 3-0 on a chilly autumn night.
“We played as a team,” said Princeton head coach Michelle Dye. “It wasn’t a lot of that kick-and-run that we’ve had (in) several games ... They really passed the ball and worked as a team.”
“I was very well pleased with the girls. We dominated with possession.”
Barrett said, “They’re more like the ‘kick it up the field and run.’ We tried to get it down and possess it and pass it around. That definitely helped.”
Capital (5-10-1) coach Riley Gibson said, “We are just the walking wounded. We’ve been depleted with injuries. I had three starters out. But you’ve got to give credit — Princeton came out and played hard.”
Princeton had six shots and held the Cougars without a shot in a scoreless first 40 minutes.
Dye said, “They (Capital) did a good job defensively, holding them off. We just couldn’t score.”
The game-changing adjustment occurred when senior Tori Billips moved to forward for Princeton and Danielle Hall took her place on defense at sweeper.
“That kind of created a few more options,” Dye said. “I put Sarah Cole up top, so we had a few more stronger players on the attack.”
“Danielle, back there at sweeper, she’s just as fast as Tori, so either way they’re both good. But I don’t think they expected it when we put Tori up, so that helped things.”
“Amanda, Tori and Laken (Autrey), the three of them were really working the ball well together. It opened up space and Amanda was able to get the shots off.”
Billips launched a couple of near-misses in the first four minutes of the second half. The multiple threats opened up occasional holes in the Cougars defense.
Barrett weaved through the opposition and crushed a shot into the right side of the net with 34:01 left. Her next score came soon after, on a cross from Billips with 33:10 on the clock.
Capital tried a 30-yard shot soon after, and the ball shot up and away from the front corner of the goal. The Cougars had only three shots on the night.
With 28:31 remaining, Barrett sent a corner kick into the box, and Hall’s header sped by the goalkeeper for the final score.
Meredith Putorek only had to produce one save for Princeton, when Capital freshman Mikuela Aguero launched a 25-yard direct kick about 10 minutes later.
Dye said, “It seems that our defense is finally starting to gel a little bit. No matter who I have back there, Danielle or Tori at sweeper, they both do a good job.
“Aly Hollins has been consistent for us all year on that wing mid. And of course, Madi Boggess is back there. It’s hard to get through her. She’s going to put a body on them, or she’s going to challenge them, every time.”
Putorek’s return from injury to play goalkeeper has “helped boost morale back there,” Dye said. It also allowed Haley Coburn to return to the wing on defense. Dye said, “That’s made a world of difference.”
The defense was tested by swift Capital sophomore Ally Reeves. Gibson said, “Ally’s just unreal. She’s a gift. And she plays with all of her heart. She just won’t give up.”
Dye said, “He had some really good quality players, and they’re young. They’re going to be good.”
Gibson said, “We’re teaching them how to play.”
Dye said about the win, “We needed that. This was our last regular-season MSAC game.”
Barrett said, “It’s been really hard this season. We’ve had quite a few losses here recently, so this win definitely helped us, and boosted our self-esteem up a little bit.”
The Tigers are scheduled to play at James Monroe today and will compete in an MSAC tournament game on Thursday at Riverside.
“Three games are really tough in one week, especially back-to-back,” Dye said. “I’m just praying there are no injuries (with) the luck we’ve had this year.”
— Contact Tom Bone at firstname.lastname@example.org