With Senior Star Huff Providing Leadership, Playmaking, PDS Field Hockey Made Prep B Final, Non-Public Quarters
ON THE BALL: Princeton Day School field hockey player Jadyn Huff, left, controls the ball in a game last season. Last Wednesday, senior star midfielder and co-captain Huff contributed two assists to help seventh-seeded PDS edge 10th-seeded Mount St. Mary 3-0 in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public North sectional. The Panthers went on to fall 6-0 at second-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in the sectional quarterfinals last Saturday to end for season with an 8-9 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
As the lone senior on the Princeton Day School field hockey team this fall, Jadyn Huff has focused on helping her younger teammates succeed.
“I definitely say trusting them and giving them the ability to do what they need to do,” said star midfielder and team captain Huff. “The only way for them to get better is to give them that opportunity. Being a captain, I always have to give everyone the opportunity to use their abilities.”
Coming down the home stretch of her PDS career, Huff has been pushing her teammates to translate those opportunities into victories.
“I definitely want to win and am definitely pressing that among them,” said Huff.
Last Wednesday, Huff helped PDS pick up a big win, contributing two assists as the seventh-seeded Panthers defeated 10th-seeded Mount St. Mary 3-0 in the first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public North sectional.
Coming off a 5-2 loss to Montclair Kimberley Academy on October 27 in the Prep B state final, the Panthers were determined to be sharper at the offensive end in the sectional opener.
“We just wanted to win possession and keep the ball because we can only control what we do when we have the ball,” said Huff. “We mainly just focused on keeping possession.”
PDS dominated possession but the teams were knotted in a scoreless tie heading into the second period. Huff helped break the ice, assisting on a goal by freshman Amelia Lach as PDS took a 1-0 lead.
“I kind of hit and hoped someone was there and she was there,” recalled Huff with a smile.
In the second half, Huff picked up another assist as Lily Ryan scored early in the third quarter. PDS got a second goal from Lach in the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on the win.
On Saturday, the tournament run by the Panthers came to a halt as they fell 6-0 in rematch with second-seeded MKA in the sectional quarterfinals to end the season with an 8-9 record.
Huff had hoped that the experience of playing Cougars days earlier would help in round two.
“The challenge is definitely going to be harder so we are going against harder competition,” said Huff. “We have to step it up. We have played them before. I think coming out with more energy and being confident in ourselves will definitely change the game.”
PDS head coach Heather Farlow liked the way her team competed in the win over Mount St. Mary.
“We worked on possession the last two days,” said Farlow. “We worked on that a lot and we were just trying to turn around and be positive. We are always excited to play at home, so that is always nice.”
Farlow is excited by the way Lach has been stepping up over the last month of the season.
“She has been getting little touches here or there,” said Farlow. “I tell her to go right to the post and she goes to the post. When she got the goal against Robbinsville (a 4-3 win in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals) that gave her the confidence to keep going. It was a big one and it gave her that confidence we have been hoping for.”
Junior Ryan has been showing more and more confidence in the circle.
“Lily is really an ice hockey player; this summer she really committed to working on her skills,” said Farlow. “She has been working with Melissa Meccage in Pennington on that and she went to some summer camps. She is really committed to improving and it shows. She is very strong.”
The Panther defense produced a strong effort against Mount St. Mary.
“We have been working on our press and stepping into those lanes,” said Farlow. “If they go to receive the ball and they receive it in front of them and it bobbles and hits their shin guards, I would rather have that than it get behind them. They have that mentality of keeping it in front of you.”
Huff has helped bring a winning mentality to PDS this fall.
“Jadyn has been a wonderful leader, she is very encouraging and compassionate,” said Farlow. “She holds people accountable, but she does it in way where she is not asking them to do anything she wouldn’t do. She can get on them when they need to step up but she can also encourage them. It has been really good.”
Exemplifying that leadership, Huff has played out of position to help give the Panthers the best chance to win.
“She is probably truly a forward but for our team we need her to play as a mid and be the playmaker,” said Farlow. “She has stepped into that role for us this year.”
Like Huff, Farlow was hoping that PDS could push MKA in the sectional quarterfinal.
“Now we have seen them and now we know if we just play our game we can hang with them,” said Farlow, noting that she was going to be missing some key players for that game due to other commitments.
Huff has enjoyed hanging in there as the only senior in the squad.
“Being the only representation for field hockey in my class is a lot of pressure,” said Huff, who is headed to The College of New Jersey where she will be playing for its field hockey program. “It is fun though.”