Sparked by Sullivan’s Finishing Touch, PDS Field Hockey Defeats Hun 4-1
GOING TO GOAL: Princeton Day School field hockey player Haley Sullivan dribbles the ball up the field in recent action. Last Saturday, junior forward Sullivan scored two goals to help PDS defeat Hun School 4-1. The Panthers, now 2-5, host Stuart Country Day on November 4 and then play at Bordentown on November 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
It was chilly last Saturday morning with the temperature hovering in the high 30s but Haley Sullivan kept warm by repeatedly charging to goal for the Princeton Day School field hockey team as it hosted Hun.
“That is my thing; I like getting those big open breaks and trying to get it in,” said PDS junior forward Sullivan.
Sparking the Panthers, Sullivan fired in two goals for PDS as the Panthers pulled away to a 4-1 win over the Raiders, improving to 2-5.
Sullivan and her teammates were determined to turn the table on Hun, having lost 2-1 to their local foes on October 23.
“We just had the energy back up, we were missing a few players last week so it was good to get everyone back,” said Sullivan. “It is good to come out and get a win.”
PDS displayed energy from the start, jumping out to a 1-0 lead with 9:27 left in the first quarter on a goal by Tessa Caputo. Early in the second period, Sullivan doubled the lead with her first tally of the day. A goal by junior Ally Antonacci increased the PDS margin to 3-0 midway through the quarter.
“We started off strong, we just wanted to get out and get a goal,” said Sullivan.
“We were defending much better, we were talking a lot more, connecting our passes and then getting those corners and getting them in goal.”
Hun narrowed the gap to 3-1 just before halftime but then Sullivan gave PDS an insurance goal early in the third quarter, converting a nice feed from sophomore Lily Ryan.
“I saw that Lily was coming down the field and I waited to see if she wanted to pass because I could be there,” recalled Sullivan.
“I am glad that I was able to get around the goalie and I was able to tap it in. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Having transferred to PDS from Stuart Country Day in the fall of 2019, Sullivan believes she is in the right place.
“It was good, this is my second year,” said Sullivan. “The teams are at the same kind of level. They were so welcoming to me here. I am glad I am able to be a help to the team this year and last year.”
PDS head coach Heather Farlow is glad to have Sullivan on board sparking the Panther offense.
“Haley has this desire to score and loves to score,” said Farlow. “You can’t teach that, you either have it or you don’t and she has got it. We want to take advantage of that and that is why we are playing her in the center.”
Noting that PDS was missing some key players in the first meeting with Hun, Farlow believed her squad was ready for a strong performance in the rematch.
“We were glad that we were full strength,” said Farlow. “We have been emphasizing possession. We have been working on it all season but we really emphasized it this past week. We really wanted to maintain possession and play that kind of hockey.”
Star forward Antonacci and junior midfielder Maggie Zarish-Yasuna helped PDS maintain possession against the Raiders.
“Ally is phenomenal, she hits the pocket and has got a great first touch,” said Farlow.
“Maggie has done a great job playing that attacking center mid position. She had never played there before until this year.”
The Panthers also played well at the defensive end. “We have been working on defense as well; we emphasized two things this past week- possession and defensive positioning,” said Farlow.
“It was having your stick down and doing things like stepping to ball and challenging 50/50 balls. It is one of those wonderful fall days when you see them execute what you are practicing. It was beautiful.”
With a week left in the season, Farlow is looking for some more good execution down the stretch.
“We are just really proud of how they played; we told them to have fun and enjoy it,” said Farlow, whose team hosts Stuart on November 4 and then plays at Bordentown on November 10.
“I do think it is a step forward. We only have two more games left and we are just trying to make the most of this season.”
Sullivan, for her part, believes the Panthers will build on the performance against Hun.
“We needed this, it is going to carry well through our games next week,” said Sullivan. “Hopefully we can finish the season out strong with two more wins.”