Vol. LXIII, No. 12
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)caption:
BUCKLING DOWN: Stuart Country Day lacrosse star Elizabeth Bucklee races down the field in a game last spring. Senior attacker Bucklee, who fired in 82 goals last spring, will be a pivotal figure for Stuart as it goes after a fifth straight state Prep B title. The Tartans start their 2009 campaign by hosting Notre Dame on March 31.
Over the past three seasons, Elizabeth Bucklee and Caroline Passano have provided plenty of offensive firepower for the Stuart Country Day lacrosse team.
Last spring, Bucklee fired in 82 goals while Passano piled up 103 points on 57 goals and 46 assists as the Tartans went 13-5 on the way to winning their fourth consecutive state Prep B title.
Heading into the 2009 campaign, Stuart head coach Sara Wagner is looking for more than scoring from her prolific one-two punch.
They have the burden of being senior leaders but they want to be leaders, said Wagner, whose team also advanced to the Mercer County semifinals last spring.
The younger kids are coming to them and asking them what to do. There is no fooling around when they are on the field.
The high-flying pair should continue to fool Stuarts foes this spring. They have a good on-field chemistry, said Wagner, referring to Bucklee and Passano. They look for each other; they set up plays.
Wagner is looking for better play from junior Kara Weeks this season, particularly with classmate Amanda Curnan sidelined with a leg injury.
Kara has really improved her stickwork, said Wagner, whose team opens the 2009 season by hosting Notre Dame on March 31.
She had some decent games last year. She is more mature. She was hurt last year at the beginning and she is in really good shape now.
Stuart is hoping its midfield will be in good shape. The teams midfield unit should include Liz Cross, Whitney Charbonneau, Marielle Mahan, Kristi Hollowell, and Maddie Copeland.
They all work hard, they are more than willing to come back on defense, added Wagner.
Liz is a transfer from Hun and she is going to be an asset for us. Maddie can go from defense to attack; she gives us an offensive mentality in the midfield.
The Stuart defense will be spearheaded by 61 junior Sarah Schulte. Sarah is good; she is hard to get around, said Wagner, noting that freshman Ani Hollowell has stood out in the early going. She has good stick skills. Sarah is a director on defense.
Junior goalie Sarah Dewey Caswell gives Stuart plenty of skill in their last line of defense.
Its nice going into the season knowing that we have Dewey back there, said Wagner of Caswell, who has been a starter since her freshman season.
She has really improved. Her clears are fantastic. She is making more saves; she is a little faster with her stick. She has always directed traffic, she is calling where the ball is now.
Based on the teams play so far in preseason, Wagner believes the Tartans should be formidable again this spring.
Watching them play in the scrimmages, they already look good, said Wagner, who is in her sixth season guiding the Tartans.
I think we should be solid on attack. Teams cant key on Caroline; she is so unpredictable. I would like them to be more patient on offense but that isnt going to happen; they are scorers. I hope our defense will jell a little bit; we need to work on that.
In Wagners view, her players are showing the attitude that could help them jell into a title contender.
This team has a good chemistry; they are fun to work with, said Wagner.
The freshmen are quiet and know their place; they are fitting in really well. This group works hard and works together.
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