Princeton High boys soccer is looking to consistency for the 2019 season

Princeton High Schoo boy's soccer head coach Wayne Sutcliffe (center) instructing his team during practice in Princeton on Aug.15.
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Princeton High Schoo boy's soccer head coach Wayne Sutcliffe (center) instructing his team during practice in Princeton on Aug.15.

The Princeton High School boys soccer team is working on improving its consistency for the upcoming 2019 scholastic high school season.

Coaches and players said they believe that this will be one of the keys to success this season.

“Consistency is going to be one of the areas being improved upon from last season,” said Princeton Head Coach Wayne Sutcliffe. “This year I want our guys to have clean sheets, chemistry and communication for the 2019 season.”

The team comes off a 2018 season that produced an 8-6-3 overall record and a 2-3-1 record in the Colonial Valley Conference.

The Little Tigers went to the quarterfinal round in the Mercer County Tournament and were defeated by the Pennington School, 2-0. Pennington would then go on to win the Mercer County Tournament title by defeating West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, 2-0.

Princeton in 2018 entered the NJSIAA Central Group 4 first round as a 13-seed. The team was defeated by West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, 3-0. West Windsor-Plainsboro North would go on to lose in the semifinal to Hunterdon Central Regional High School, 2-1.

“Right now it is too early to tell who the key returners and newcomers will be for this season. We are a young team with very few seniors this year,” Sutcliffe said.

Junior Nick Petruso led the offense in 2018 with eight goals.

“The offense this year will need a lot of communication and partnership between the guys for us to be successful. Knowing each other will be key to getting goals in the net,” Petruso said. “For myself personally, I have been working on my strength and conditioning, shooting, my passing –  basically, pretty much everything – to be prepared for the upcoming season.”

He said the team is still working on it’s chemistry for the upcoming season.

“Preseason this year is pretty much going to build our team,” Petruso said.

Junior goalkeeper Jared Bell is returning to the net for the Little Tigers after a 2018 season where he collected 40 saves.

“This year, our defense is pretty solid compared to last year. We lost a couple seniors, but I think we have a lot of good young players that are stepping up and rising to the occasion,” Bell said.

He said he worked on a lot of strength, conditioning and footwork for the upcoming season.

“Communication will be very important for this season and that all begins this preseason. We have to play with intensity and be very vocal,” Bell said. “A strong mid-field will help this team.”

Junior Will Novak is coming off an injury and is excited to get the season started.

“Getting things back together for me has been important this offseason. I have been working on my touch as much as I could,” Novak said.

Novak had three assists last season for the team’s offense in 2018.

“We have a lot of talented and young players offensively and defensively. I believe once we start getting together we can be really strong,” he said. “I am really excited for this season and I think these guys are too.”

Sutcliffe, like his team, reiterated that this preseason will be an important one for the Little Tigers.

“Preseason is huge. To get off to a good start and off on the right foot is important. It also helps build a feel good factor for the team,” he said. “We are really excited for this season. Last year was a year that presented some different challenges that we were used too, specifically being a really young team. We are excited to see how the team grows, adapts and improves.”

The Princeton High School boys soccer team with face off against Chatham High School for the first scrimmage of preseason on Aug. 21 at the Princeton High School turf field. Kick-off is slated for 11 a.m.