Morris Not Taking It Easy This Summer; Honing Skills for Lawrenceville Girls' Lax
By Bill Alden
Nellie Morris is in the middle of summer vacation but that doesn't mean she is taking it easy.
Coming off a stellar sophomore season for the Lawrenceville School girls' lacrosse team in which she scored 83 points on 58 goals and 25 assists, the Princeton resident will be taking part in eight lacrosse camps and a "speed" camp this summer.
This weekend, Morris will be on familiar territory as she hones her skills at the Princeton University Elite Camp under the tutelage of Tiger head coach Chris Sailer and more than a dozen other college coaches.
"I'm really looking forward to the Princeton camp," said Morris, who is also playing with the Tri-State club program and working out at the New York Sports Club. "I'm going to get to play again with Katie Lewis-Lamonica (current Princeton star and former Lawrenceville standout). I know a lot of the girls that will be there."
For Morris, taking part in the camps is an integral step in her effort to get the most out of her potential.
"Camps are a great way to improve especially when you see the level of play of girls from other parts of the country," said Morris, who moved to Princeton in third grade and attended Littlebrook and John Witherspoon schools.
"The Triple Threat Camp in Alexandria in mid-June was great because of the caliber of girls there. I got to work with some great players. I worked on stickwork, shot, and shot selection."
Morris got to work with some great players this spring as she helped Lawrenceville go 15-3 and advance to the state prep A championship game.
"We had a new coach (Katherine Creedon) who brought in some great things," said Morris, who had scored 21 points on 14 goals and seven assists as a freshman when Lawrenceville went 16-0 and won the Prep A crown. "It was a great season. I blended in better with the offense; I got to know the players better. Katherine Chiusano was back on the team and I worked well with her."
Creedon enjoyed working with the precocious Morris. "Nellie has wonderful stick skills," said Creedon, a former lacrosse star for Division III power Middlebury College.
"I'm confident when the ball is on her stick, she has the skill to maintain possession and she knows when to go to goal and when to pass off. She made tremendous progress. She worked well with our older players like Sara Flood, Jen Werden, and Catherine Calvert. She is extremely coachable, I'm glad we have her for two more years."
In Creedon's view, the effort Morris is putting in this summer should pay off on several levels.
"She is going non-stop, she is putting her heart and soul into lacrosse and perfecting her skills," said Creedon. "It's not just about learning about skills. She is learning about hard work and dedication. I think she has the potential to be a Division I player. She is a versatile player, smart with a lot of skill. That makes for a wonderful player."
For Morris, the deep affection she has for lacrosse is a family affair sparked by her father, John Morris, who was a lacrosse star at Princeton High and Bucknell University.
"My dad has been a huge influence on my love of the sport," asserted Morris, who got her start in the game by playing with the Princeton YMCA program under the tutelage of Meredith Elwell. "He is one of the founders of the Bobby Campbell Lacrosse Foundation. My two younger sisters also play the game."
From her vantage point, Morris believes that keeping busy is the surest route to achieve her goals in lacrosse.
"I love having so much to do," said Morris, who also plays midfield for the Lawrenceville soccer team and point guard for the Big Red basketball team. "It helps me focus and learn time management. I'd love to specialize in lacrosse at the Division I level."
With the effort that Morris has displayed this summer, it seems likely that some college lacrosse program will be happy to keep her busy after she finishes her Lawrenceville career.