October 6, 2021

Sophomore Star Caputo Comes Through in the Clutch, Getting Game-Winner as PDS Field Hockey Tops Notre Dame

COMING THROUGH: Princeton Day School field hockey player Tessa Caputo, right, goes after the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, sophomore standout Caputo tallied the winning goal as PDS overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat Notre Dame 2-1. The Panthers, who fell 3-2 to Blair Academy last Saturday to move to 7-3, host Morristown-Beard on October 5 and Springside-Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on October 8 before playing at Hopewell Valley on October 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tessa Caputo felt lost at times last fall in her freshman season for the Princeton Day School field hockey team.

“Last year was my second year playing field hockey, lacrosse is my main sport,” said Caputo, who led the PDS girls’ lax team in goals (42) and points (59) this past spring. “I honestly had no idea what I was doing last year.”

Caputo utilized some of her lax skills to develop a comfort level in field hockey.

“It is definitely hard to balance lacrosse and field hockey,” said Caputo.

“I really can see myself transferring some skills from lacrosse onto the field.”

Last Wednesday, Caputo displayed her finishing skill in scoring the winning goal early in the fourth quarter as PDS rallied from a 1-0 deficit against Notre Dame to pull out a 2-1 win.

“It is stressful being in that situation, it is kind of scary,” said Caputo, who got loose in the circle and was one-on-one with the Irish goalie as she fired her clutch shot.

“I have been in that situation multiple times and I have learned from a few awful shots. I felt it was a good placement and having my team cheering me from the back helped.”

The Panthers were under stress against Notre Dame, falling behind 1-0 early in the second period and still trailing by that margin entering the fourth.

“Both of us are really strong teams; we knew that coming in and we knew that we really had to play our game,” said Caputo.

“There was a lot of back and forth in the first half but we  really did have most of the possession. We realized that we needed to control that more and really just get it in the back of the net.”

Heading into the fourth quarter, PDS showed a sense of urgency to come through.

“We had 15 minutes left, that really got us going,” said Caputo. “We really wanted this win.”

Sophomore Kelly Christie broke the ice for the Panthers, scoring with 11:33 left in regulation to knot the game at 1-1.

“That gave us some hope,” said Caputo. “Once Kelly got that awesome goal, we were just really hyped up and got that motivation going.”

A 4-3 win over powerhouse Lawrence High on September 24 had the Panthers hyped as they looked forward to the clash with Notre Dame.

“We came into it knowing they were a really good team and we had that mentality that ‘we need to win this,’” said Caputo

“This is a good game, this is our game. It was away, under the lights, and their homecoming game. The energy was really good.”

PDS head coach Heather Farlow liked the energy her squad displayed as it rallied against Notre Dame.

“It was just to play our game, control possession and just be first to the ball,” said Farlow.

“We talked about outside, inside passing and just really working the ball from left to right. When we did that, we started to play more of our game.”

Heading into the final period, Farlow sensed that the Panthers were going to break through.

“I told them you are right there, we have just got to turn it on,” said Farlow.

“We just have to step to it and make it happen because it is not going to be given to you. After the third quarter we said once you get one, it is going to open up and we are going to be fine. We will change the momentum with another one and we would just keep going.”

Farlow wasn’t surprised to see Caputo get the game-winning tally.

“That was a really nice, we practiced that yesterday where we took a pass, they were above the ball and made a lead and then they were one-on-one with the goalie,” said Farlow.

“She is a phenomenal athlete. I can show her something, I can tell her something and within one or two tries she has got it. She is just that caliber of an athlete. She is very much a finisher and very much a competitor.”

Forwards Jadyn Huff and Ally Antonacci, along with goalie Frances Bobbitt, competed hard against the Irish.

“Jadyn stood out, she had a lot of possession for us,” said Farlow.

“Ally and her combine very, very nicely. Frances made some very big saves when we needed them. She was really talking on defense and I am so proud of her for that.”

Another source of pride for Farlow is her squad’s ability to make adjustments on the fly during games.

“They listen and they know that they want to make a change,” said Farlow.

“They don’t get down on themselves, they just work to make the change.”

Farlow is confident that her team will keep working hard. “We are still focused on one game at a time to continue to elevate our hockey from one game to the next,” said Farlow, whose team fell 3-2 to Blair Academy last Saturday to move to 7-3 and will host Morristown-Beard on October 5 and Springside-Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on October 8 before playing at Hopewell Valley on October 11.

“I was a little nervous today in the first half but I think we are turning in the right direction.”

In Caputo’s view, the squad’s seniors have played a key role in getting the Panthers moving in the right direction.

“We just have to stay positive,” said Caputo. “At halftime, everyone came together and the seniors really hyped us up to feel like we can do this. We have a really good group of seniors, they are all super supportive. They really bring great energy.”