April 17, 2019

Sparked by Schofield’s Speed, Savvy PDS Girls’ Lax Getting into Rhythm

FIELD DAY: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Ellie Schofield races up the field in a game last year. Last Friday, junior star Schofield tallied four goals and an assist to help PDS defeat Hopewell Valley 19-14. The Panthers, who improved to 5-3 with the win, host Hun on April 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team tied with Pennington 5-5 late in the first half last Wednesday, Ellie Schofield took matters into her own hands.

The PDS junior attacker/midfielder scored twice in the last five minutes of the half to help spark a 4-1 run as the Panthers built a 9-6 lead at halftime.

“We were really controlling the draw,” said Schofield. “Once we got the draw that led to our offense and scoring off the fast break.”

In the second half, the Panthers maintained control of the contest, pulling away to an 18-8 win.

“It was really great that everyone got the ball,” said Schofield, reflecting on the team’s balanced attack which saw Zoe Cook and Lyla Allen each score four goals with Elle Anhut adding two goals and three assists, Maggie Zarrish tallying two goals and an assist, and Maddy Birch chipping in one goal and two assists.

“We just have a good transition with passing the ball so that everybody can get a chance if they are in the right place at the right time. Everyone has those stick skills.”

Schofield displayed her stick skills, ending up with five goals and an assist in the victory.

“I just wanted to keep going for the team because it is a prep game and we wanted to get this win,” said Schofield.

“I am just trying to run it down the field as much as possible; making sure to get some other kids some goals as well and that I make good choices.”

Playing with seniors Cook and Birch has helped Schofield get her game going.

“It is fantastic to have Zoe with the goals and draws,” said Schofield, who tallied four goals and an assist to help PDS defeat Hopewell Valley 19-14 last Friday as Panthers improved to 5-3.

“It makes it tough on the defense because Zoe can get in there and score. Maddy knows the game well and knows feeding in the middle.”

PDS head coach Jill Thomas was proud of the way her team raised its game against Pennington.

“We came to play, we knew it was a big one, we are in the preps,” said Thomas.

“The attack was moving, different people were stepping up. We have been waiting for them to have breakthrough games.”

Thomas credited Schofield with stepping up all season. “Ellie gives us speed, the draw possession, the draw itself, and the knowing of where to go,” said Thomas. “She said to me before the game, ‘I love playing at Pennington,’ so there you go, you can’t beat speed.”

With PDS having won four of its last five games, Thomas likes the way things are going for her squad.

“We talked about team chemistry at the beginning of the season and we have some early good team chemistry,” said Thomas.

“You have got great senior leadership, you have Zoe, Maddy Birch, and Val [Radvany] back there.”

Junior goalie Maggie Madani gave the Panthers some good work at the back of the PDS defense, recording eight saves against Pennington.

“Maggie had made progress,” said Thomas, noting that former Loyola University star goalie and PDS assistant coach Molly Wolf helped Madani hone her skills. “Maggie has really stepped up to the challenge and it has really been great.”

With PDS having played a challenging schedule, suffering losses to the Hill School (Pa.), Blair, and Lawrenceville in the first few weeks of the season, Thomas believes that her squad will benefit from that experience.

“We are young and we keep getting better every day and we got better today,” asserted Thomas, whose team hosts Hun on April 18.

“It is just putting it all together. I think those tough games are going to help us down the stretch.”

In Schofield’s view, the win over Pennington is a harbinger of good things to come for the Panthers.

“This was a really big one for us,” said Schofield. “We want to continue this throughout the season and that should get us where we want to be.”