October 27, 2021

With Junior Star Huff Hustling All Over the Field, PDS Field Hockey Stunned PHS in MCT Semis

ON THE BALL: Princeton Day School field hockey player Jadyn Huff hits the ball in action last week in the Mercer County Tournament. Junior star Huff contributed an assist as third-seeded PDS upset previously undefeated and second-seeded Princeton High 2-0 in the MCT semifinals on October 19. Two days later, Huff contributed a goal as the Panthers fell 5-4 to fourth-seeded Lawrence in overtime in the county final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jadyn Huff and her teammates on the Princeton Day School field hockey team weren’t intimidated as they faced undefeated Princeton High in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals last week.

“We came with same mentality that we had at Lawrence because they had also been undefeated for a long time,” said PDS junior star Huff, referring to the Panthers’ 4-3 win over Lawrence on September 24.

“We just really pushed and we really wanted to take them out just as we did Lawrence. It is just living in that moment.”

Huff provided a big moment with 6:32 left in the first quarter, firing a blast off a penalty corner that was tipped into the goal by Ally Antonacci to give PDS a 1-0 lead.

“We practice a lot with our corners and I know she will be there and she could just touch it,” said Huff.

“That is exactly what happened, our chemistry is on the next level.”

Taking the 1-0 lead into the second half, the Panthers had to hold off an onslaught from a determined PHS squad that controlled possession in the third quarter.

“It was a little nerve-wracking at times but we kept our composure,” said Huff.

“We didn’t get frantic or anything. We played our game, we controlled the controllables.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, PDS took control of the contest as sophomore Tessa Caputo found the back of the cage and the Panthers never looked back on the way to a 2-0 triumph.

“It was a great feeling of relief,” said Huff, referring to Caputo’s goal. “We have to keep playing and pushing hard but we know it will be over soon.”

For Huff and her teammates, making the MCT final for the first time since 2018 was a special moment.

“We haven’t been there in a while it is a great accomplishment,” said Huff. “I am just so happy that I can play with these guys.”

Emerging as a go-to player for PDS this fall, Huff has been looking to give more to her teammates.

“I would say stepping up, talking to my coach about what we need to work on to be better,” said Huff.

“I play with Princeton Field Hockey Club. It is helping a lot. Being around the coaches there and the players, it is amazing.”

PDS head coach Heather Farlow credits Huff with making an impact all over the field for the Panthers.

“Jadyn is our catalyst for offense and she gets us out of trouble on defense,” said Farlow. “She had phenomenal play just all around.”

Coming into the clash with the high-powered Tigers, PDS was ready to push PHS.

“The mindset was that we were the underdog and we had nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Farlow.

“The pressure was on them, they were the ones with the undefeated record. We figured we would score early and try to test them.”

Seeing her squad pass that test meant a lot for Farlow.

“It is so exciting, we didn’t have any expectations coming out of COVID,” said Farlow, whose team went on to fall 5-4 in overtime to fourth-seeded Lawrence in the final.

“You just don’t know what to expect. We were just hoping to have a winning season, and this is just icing on the cake.”

In reflecting on her squad’s run to the county final, Farlow credited her players with showing a battling spirit.

“It is confidence, just one game to the next feeling like we can compete with anybody,” said Farlow.

“You have to respect every opponent, and we have played some tough opponents this year. We have definitely been tested.”

In Huff’s view, the late surge by the Panthers is the product of a total team effort.

“I would say trust, it is let everybody play their part,” said Huff.

“Whatever they need to practice on, they practice on it and progress will make perfection.”