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Vol. LXV, No. 42
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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(Photo Courtesy of Stuart Country Day School)
caption:
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: Members of the Stuart Country Day School soccer team are all smiles as they pose before starting the program’s first season. Head coach Megan Lipski, far left, and assistant Lynn Scott have seen the squad make marked progress in its first campaign.

Lipski Enjoying Rare Soccer Opportunity In Getting Stuart Program Up and Running

Bill Alden

Megan Lipski has spent most of her life in and around the game of soccer.

Lipski started playing the game at age 7 with the Ewing recreational program and has coached, served as a league administrator, and worked as a referee over the last 23 years.

But earlier this year, Lipski learned of an opportunity to get involved in a different side of the game, hearing that the Stuart Country Day School was looking for a coach to head its new upper school soccer program.

Throwing her hat into the ring, Lipski, 30, was thrilled to get the job and the chance to get the squad up and running.

“I am excited to be part of the start of the program,” said Lipski. “I have done a lot of things in soccer but I have never been in that position to make it your own and put a personal touch on it. The girls and I are starting at the same point.”

While things were somewhat ragtag when the team started preseason practice in August, Lipski and assistant coach Lynn Scott had no qualms with the attitude of the players.

“They were all over the charts,” said Lipski, whose squad includes 22 players and one manager.

“Some girls have been playing travel soccer the last year or two while some haven’t touched the ball for five years. They showed lots of heart and desire from day one. They showed lots of improvement from the first day to the end of preseason.”

A major highlight of the preseason came when Stuart scrimmaged Princeton Day School on September 14.

“It was exciting,” recalled Lipski, who works for an insurance office when she is not on the soccer pitch. “It was a day of firsts. It was the first time putting on the uniform. It was the first time we played someone else. It was our first goal.”

Five days later, the Tartans faced Trenton Central in its first official game, acquitting themselves well in a 2-1 loss. “It was a close game, we showed a lot of heart,” said Lipski, noting that her team has been playing mainly junior varsity foes.

On September 22, Stuart made history, notching its first win with a 2-0 victory over Hun.

“You would have thought we had won the lottery,” said Lipski, who got goals from senior stars Lexus Rodriguez and Amethyst Carey in the win with goalie Harlyn Bell getting the shutout. “There was so much excitement through the team and coaches.”

Last Wednesday, the team showed further progress, playing superbly in a narrow 1-0 loss at Hopewell Valley.

“That was amazing; we held them to 0-0 in the first half,” said Lipski. “The girls played their hearts out, especially coming off a tough game against Notre Dame.”

The players have put their heart and soul into the game. “The girls want to get better, they are always asking what can we do,” said Lipski.

“They are receptive to instruction. They have taken an interest in working off the field and doing things on their own time.”

Lipski credits senior co-captains Rodriguez and Carey with doing a lot of good things for the Tartans.

“Lexus Rodriguez is always on the ball; she is a big standout,” said Lipski, noting that seniors Jennifer Dias, Christy Chun, Kenza Qermane, Yvonne Taylor, Nicole Andrzejczyk, and manager Neisha Jones have also made strong contributions.

“Amethyst Carey has been a strong defensive player for us. They have both been good leaders for us as captains.”

Noting that the program will likely stay at the JV level for the next two or three seasons, Lipski has plans to help the players build on the foundation they have put in place this fall.

“We will work on conditioning and do off-season clinics and camps,” added Lipski, whose team posted its second win with a 5-2 victory over Villa Victoria last Monday and was slated to wrap up its inaugural campaign by hosting Hun on October 18.

For Lipski, guiding the Tartans has been a labor of love. “I am having the time of my life,” said Lipski, who also coaches with the Pennington-based Phenoms summer soccer camp.

“When I see the kids out there I get the biggest grin on my face. I have dreamed of coaching at this level; I feel like a kid in a candy shop.”

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