October 27, 2021

Playing Hard to the Final Second in Overtime Thriller, PDS Field Hockey Falls 5-4 to Lawrence in MCT Final

THRILLING FINALE: Princeton Day School field hockey player Ally Antonacci, right, battles a Lawrence High player for the ball in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Thursday night. Senior star Antonacci tallied a goal and an assist in the contest as third-seeded PDS fell 5-4 in overtime to fourth-seeded Lawrence. The Panthers, who fell to 13-4 with the defeat, are next in action when they compete in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public North sectional where they are seeded fourth and will host fifth-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in quarterfinal contest on November 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton Day School field hockey team played at Lawrence High in late September, it turned out to be one of the most dramatic games of the fall.

Playing under the lights, a scrappy PDS squad upset previously undefeated Lawrence 4-3 on a fourth quarter goal by Lily Ryan in the September 24 contest.

Last Thursday night, the foes met again on the same field in the Mercer County Tournament final and they outdid themselves, producing a championship game for the ages.

The third-seeded Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the fourth-seeded Cardinals on goals by Jadyn Huff and Tessa Caputo. After Lawrence responded with a goal from Princeton University-bound superstar Talia Schenck, who recently set the state record for goals in a season as she passed the 100 mark, the Panthers took to a 3-1 lead at halftime on a second goal by Caputo with eight seconds left in the second quarter.

“It was a good start,” said Farlow. “It was come out aggressive, play possession and play our game, that is the whole game plan.”

In the third quarter, Schenck scored two goals to even the game at 3-3. With 21 seconds left in the fourth, Schenck found the back of the cage to make it 4-3, seemingly closing the deal.

But rushing down the field en masse, PDS got the ball in the circle and Panther senior star Ally Antonacci pushed the ball into the goal with :00.1 left just before the final horn went off to knot the contest at 4-4 and force overtime.

In OT, PDS had some chances but Schenck came through, getting an assist as Caroline Rotteveel slipped the ball into goal to give Lawrence a 5-4 win.

In Farlow’s view, a key sequence in the contest when a Panther player was carded for 10 minutes midway through the third quarter, putting the Panthers on their heels as the Cardinals had a one-player advantage.

“Being down a player for 10 minutes in a championship game puts you at such a disadvantage,” said Farlow. “I thought that our kids did great despite that.”

Farlow liked the way her players dealt with the challenge of containing Schenck.

“She is tough, we know that but our whole game plan was to keep our feet moving and keep our stick in it,” said Farlow. “I think we played as well as we could.”

Antonacci played very well in the defeat, ending up with a goal and two assists.

“Ally was all over the field tonight, she is an amazing player,” said Farlow. “She is an underrated player, she has been great.”

PDS also got good efforts from goalie Frances Bobbitt, midfielder/forward Huff, and defender Franny Gallagher.

“I was happy with Frances in goal, I thought she played tremendously well,” said Farlow of Bobbitt, who made 11 saves in the game.

“We have a new goalie coach this year, Tia Brown, she has done a tremendous job with Frances. Jadyn Huff had a great game. I was very happy with Franny Gallagher on defense.”

With the Panthers slated to play in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public North sectional where they are seeded fourth and will host fifth-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in a quarterfinal contest on November 3, Farlow is confident that her players will keep doing a good job.

“We have won with no time left on the clock; we play until the end of the game until the ball goes in and the whistle blows,” said Farlow. “Our girls have battled this year, we play the full 60 minutes.”