When Eli Antonachi goes out on the ice, there’s a pretty good chance that a lot of positive things will happen.
Antonachi is one of those gifted athletes who always finds a way to do good things for his team.
Arrive Monday at the Prudential Center at 11 a.m., Antonachi and her Princeton Day School teammates will be looking to capture NJSIAA’s first school championship when it encounters the Marine Beard.
The Panthers (14-5) and Mo-Baard (16-3-1) have met twice this season and shared both games. But the PDS victory made a little more sense as it took place in the Prep B tournament, which was won by the Panthers.
“I can’t wait to play Monday against Mo-Beard because it’s going to be an intense but interesting game,” Antonachi said. “Going to the state finals as a senior is very interesting, especially since we are in the states for the first time.”
Ever since PDS lost to Morristown Beard in a regular season game, it has gone 10-1, including a win over Kent Place and an overtime thriller over Summit in a state tournament.
“After winning the Prep B championship, our team knows how well we can play together if we are focused and committed to this team,” said Antonochi. “Our team has worked very hard to reach where we are, and as a senior, I can no longer be proud of our team’s performance in the states.”
Coach John Richie can’t be proud of Antonachi’s efforts every time on the ice.
“Eli has been a big boost for the team since she entered sophomore year,” Richie said. “Her role has evolved over the last three years, and this year she has helped us a lot as a defensive striker. She is also a quiet leader, but she knows how to score big goals in important moments. “
Antonachi has nine goals and five assists for the Panthers, led by Logan Harrison with 18 goals and 13 assists, Lauren Chase has 11 and 16, and Ablen Knox, who won the game against Summit, has 14 and 11.
This is a very young team of Panthers, and Antonachi, who headed to Babson to play field hockey in the fall, loves to be one of the senior leaders.
“I enjoyed being the senior leader on this team this year,” Antonachi said. “All our teammates have so much fun on and off the ice, and it was nice to see everyone create memories and get along. I think our team’s chemistry plays a big role when it comes to how we play during our tournaments, and as a leader I couldn’t ask for a better team and season. ”
When Princeton Day lost to Mo-Beard on January 21, his record was 4-4.
“Our team is a completely different team than what people saw at the beginning of the season,” said Antonachi. “Once we started focusing and increasing our energy and impetus, we started winning many games. I think our turning point as a team was when we all started believing in ourselves and came to realize that our team is more than capable of success if we worked hard for it, which we did. ” ‘
Antonachi, Richie and the rest of the PDS team know that Morristown Beard will be looking for a little revenge.
“The state final will be extremely difficult,” Richie said. “Mo beard has always been the standard for girls in the state and they are a model of consistency. After defeating them earlier this year, I know that Bruce (the driver) will prepare his team for the competition. I expect we will give up some skills, but our group is making an effort. We need to be strong in defense and do our best to limit Leah (Stacker). In general, we will have to rework them if we want to stay in the game and take advantage when we get our chances.
MB is led by Jessica Sperling with 28 goals, Leah Stacker – 15, and Brooklyn Chen – 28 assists.
“I think the key to the game against Mo-Beard is to get closer to that game, just like we did for our Prep B game against Oak Knoll,” said Antonochi. “Maintaining energy and remembering the basics of our game are some of the important things our team needs to think about when we’re on the ice. We realize that Monday’s game will be tough, but we also know we deserve to be in the state championship and we will do our best to have fun to bring this trophy home. ”