【N.J】 Senior defender Tooni Olaleye helping Hun girls soccer navigate challenging schedule – – – New Jersey News

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PRINCETON — Hun School girls soccer coach Jennifer Barrett had quite the compliment for senior defender Tooni Olaleye.

“Tooni is my favorite person in the whole world,” Barrett said. “She is absolutely amazing.”

It’s not hard to see why Barrett thinks that after watching the Raiders play.

Olaleye has all the intangibles you look for in a soccer play. She’s smart, strong, fast and can do anything asked of her on the pitch.

Those qualities showed on Monday even though Hun fell, 4-1, to a very strong Pingry side. Olaleye put out fires defensively as she’s asked do for the Raiders, but also nearly scored an equalizing goal in the first half when she made a run forward with the ball and took it around the goalkeeper, but just couldn’t finish it off in traffic.

“What I love about Toni is that she leaves everything on the field and she gives 100% every single second,” Barrett said. “Those intangibles are what she has. I can but her anywhere. She plays defense for us and forward for other teams.”

Hun is coming off a 12-5-2 campaign in which it captured the Prep A championship with a thrilling overtime victory over Pennington. With Olaleye among a talented cast of returners — a group that also includes Co-Prep Player of the Year Riley Hayes, midfielder Olivia Spektor and goalkeeper Zoey Palmer — the Raiders not only have a target on their back, but are being challenged by a tough schedule.

After a 3-0 start, they’ve had a bit of a reality check in a 6-0 deficit and Episcopal Academy of Pennsylvania and then Monday’s 4-1 setback at the hands of Pingry.

“We thrive off of playing tough teams,” Olaleye said. “That’s what we want to do, it’s how we get better. We have a really strong team. We’re really strong everywhere on the field. The losses are … sometimes another team is better, but we have a strong team and I believe in us the rest of the season.”

On Monday, Hun couldn’t cope with talented freshman Casy Phair, a forward who been part of U15 National Team set up has nine goals in her first five high school games after a hat trick on the grass at Wilf Field.

“It’s defensive things we need to work on,” Olaleye said. “We’ll just pick it up from here.”

Barrett wants this to be a learning experience ahead of tournament play because Hun wasn’t without chances against Pingry. Hayes, a Bucknell commit, pulled a goal back in the second half to make it 3-1 after she won and converted a penalty.

The Raiders can right the ship with games against Germantown Academy and Mercersburg to round out the week before a very angry Pennington comes to town next Tuesday.

“What I want them to take is they are amazing players individually and as a team,” Barrett said. “They need to connect that and believe in themselves and we got this moving forward. We want to play the best teams, we want to be tested and learn from everything.

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