2020 Results: 12-2-1 (8-1-1 in M8) Lost to Duluth Denfeld in Section 7A Championship
Last year was a historic season for the Princeton boys soccer team. The Tigers were able to make it to their first Section Championship game in program history before falling just short of obtaining their first section title.
This year, the Tigers have their eyes set on advancing back to that game and even further if they are able to grow as a team.
“Our program goal is to always be in that section championship game. We talked about it last year and obviously we reached it sooner than I anticipated we would. They wanted to be there last year and now they know what it takes now to get to that game and they know what it will take to get beyond that game,” said Princeton Head Coach Jason Senne, who will come into the season in his second year at the helm for the Tigers.
Coinciding with that goal is the return of a loaded roster that features 10 out of 11 starters as well as the return of Cooper Nowak, the reigning Mississippi 8 Player of the year. “We have a great core group of guys that are excited about this season and we are going to be ready to play,” said Senne.
With all of that talent returning, the Tigers will not assume they will be able to take it easy achieve their goals, as highly competitive play will be emphasized regardless setting for Princeton.
That high level play starts with practice as Ben Hallberg, senior goalkeeper looks to keep intensity high and continue to get better during the time they have to improve. “We are going to practice hard; we encourage hard practices. We don’t want to see people taking it lazily, we want people really improving throughout the year,” said Hallberg.
Having the expectations and the high intensity level practices, there will be a tougher schedule to prepare Princeton for a deep post season run.
Playing in those tougher match ups will ensure that the Tigers are ready for whatever the season throws at them believes senior midfielder Beck Wogen. “We do have a tougher schedule so we will get more challenges before we get into sections,” he said.
“We are going to be a little bit more battle tested this year, we have a tough schedule and that’s what we want,” added Senne.
Added with that tougher schedule is a different section and class for Princeton as the Tigers will have to adjust to the new possible postseason opponents than they have faced in years past. Princeton will move to Class AA, and join Section 6AA for the upcoming season.
One of the new comers standing in the way of a return to the section championship game will be familiar foe, Monticello.
With the Magic just barely edging out the Tigers for a Mississippi 8 crown last season, Princeton knows the conference and section foe will be a team to beat this year. “They are really the team to beat this year, that is not only a conference opponent but that’s going to be a section opponent this year. We can definitely play with them, we just have to make that next step now,” said Senne.
Being able to take that next step will hinge greatly on Princeton ability to generate on the offensive side of the field.
Though returning Nowak, who led the team with 23 goals last season, scoring balance would be huge to the team said Hallberg. “We want to work on more even goal distribution. We want to work the ball and not just rely on Cooper (Nowak).”
If Princeton is able to show that improvement in creating more scoring chances, the squad should be right where they would hope to become sections. “If we can get that to happen, we could be a very dangerous team going into playoffs,” said Senne.
The Tigers kicked off their campaign to make it back to the section championship game starting Aug. 28, tying with Grand Rapids at 5-5 before winning 7-0 over Hibbing later that day.