SO READY: Princeton High girls soccer player Sophia Lis throws the ball during a game last fall. Senior star forward Lis, who has committed to attend Lehigh University and play for its women’s soccer team, is ready for a big finals campaign for PHS. The Tigers begin the 2021 season by playing at Robbinsville on September 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Dave Kosa has been exposed to many outstanding high school football teams over the years.
Growing up, Kosa spent a lot of time in the stands as his late father, Louis Kosa, enjoyed a legendary career as coach of the East Brunswick High girls soccer team, guiding the program to a record of 527-63-22, winning eight state championships. , and a No. 1 ranking in the country in 1992.
For the past six years, Kosa has served as an assistant coach for the Princeton High girls soccer program, also leading the JV team in five of those seasons.
This fall, Kosa will look to help PHS continue its winning path, taking the helm of the program, succeeding Val Rodriguez, who resigned last fall after coaching the Tigers to a 9-3-1 record in 2020 .
“I’m really excited and happy to continue the tradition of the girls soccer program that Greg (Hand) passed down to Val,” said Kosa, who is also head coach of the PHS girls basketball team.
“It’s a very good group. They are very good children and good people; that’s the most important thing. They started working hard and trying to improve. We want to play the best football at the end of the season. We have a lot of great talent. It’s my job to mesh them and work them hard. We’re really looking forward to it.
The Tigers have some talented players up front, including senior co-captains Sophia Lis and Megan Rougas and sophomore Holly Howes.
“Sophia goes to Lehigh on a football scholarship; she is very talented and has shown it in the scrimmages we have played so far,” said Kosa, whose team begins its 2021 campaign by playing at Robbinsville on September 8.
“Megan is very fast, she is very tough. She has a knack for being around the ball. We have Holly who can play it too. She’s actually the fastest of the group; she just passed people in scrimmages.
In the midfield, the trio of sophomore Casey Serxner, senior Naomi Bazar and sophomore Brielle Moran played well.
“Casey is a great competitor and she’s also very tough,” Kosa said.
“She will be one of our inner intermediaries. The other inner middle is Naomi. On the outside, it will probably be Holly (Howes) and Brielle who start.
Sophomore Alysse Kiesewetter, senior Annie Kosa, junior Rowan Gilmore and freshman Annabella Weidmann will look to provide tough play along the PHS back line.
“Alysse played away a lot in the middle of last year; in the first two scrimmages she was going back and forth between midfield and defense,” Kosa said.
“After that third scrum, I thought she looked really good there, so she was going to play our left back. My daughter, Annie, is our sweeper. She was a stopper as a freshman, then played as a sweeper as a sophomore on the JV team and did a great job there. She knows this role very well. Rowan is going to be our stopper. We have a first year student, Annabella, who is from Germany. I was recruiting people before the season and I realized I really needed a right back and that’s what she plays. She’ll have a lot to learn, but she’s really tough out there and has some soccer skills.
At goalkeeper, senior Moji Ayodele shows off her talent as she aims to produce a big finals campaign after being hampered a bit by injury in juniors.
“Moji looks really good, she’s very athletic,” Kosa said.
“Last year, in the games she played, we didn’t lose a game; we tied it one up against Steinert with his play.”
According to Kosa, doing well in the first week of the season could set the tone for the Tigers this fall.
“We’re going to have to come together defensively, being that we have some first-year starters there,” Kosa said.
“The scrimmages gave us very good experience; we played good competition to prepare ourselves. I think we will score goals and having Moji in goal will help us. Our first two games are Robbinsville and Steinert, so those are two good ones right off the bat. Coming out of the gate strong could really propel us forward, but we’ll have to work really hard to get those wins.