For the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team, its season-ending win over Hamilton exemplified the program’s improvement this spring.
Displaying skill and poise, Stuart prevailed 15-11 to end the season on a four-game winning streak and post a final record of 8-6.
“We lost to Hamilton last year and we knew it would be a tough game,” said Stuart head coach Caitlin Grant.
“We have a different team this year. We fought the whole time. It was close. We never said we had it. We had to hold on to the ball in the last two minutes.”
A key factor that helped the Tartans hold off the Hornets in the May 15 contest was scoring balance.
“I loved the fact that a freshman, Mary O’Boyle, who just started playing this year, scored the first goal for us,” said Grant.
“The goals were spread out. Julia [Maser] had seven, Amy [Hallowell] had three. Tori [Hannah] had two and the freshmen had three.”
The team’s trio of seniors, Hallowell, Meghan Shannon, and Victoria Orellana, saved their best for last, coming with big efforts in the win over Hamilton.
“Amy really stepped up; she wanted to make it worth it for her last game,” said Grant.
“She went after every single ball and didn’t drop one pass. She left it all on the field. Meghan was talking and sliding on defense. She was looking to help people, she was really in the defensive mindset. Vicky made an impact. She fought to the restraining line and really played hard.”
The team’s hard work helped it make a bigger impact in local lacrosse circles.
“We went from three wins to eight wins, it was our first winning season in seven years,” said Grant.
“Last year we struggled, we were so young. We had a lot of freshmen playing. We didn’t have the game sense that you need on the varsity level. The teams in the area are very competitive.”
The one-two punch of sophomores Maser and Hannah impacted many games.
“Julia started stepping up at the end of last season; she was much more confident this season,” asserted Grant.
“She and Tori know how to run a two-person play and can score 90 percent of the time. They are confident at holding the ball when we need to do that. Tori’s shot is really on point.”
The squad’s three seniors kept the Tartans on point all spring long. “What I am most grateful for is how they were role models and leaders for the girls,” said Grant.
“They would take girls to the side and help them learn to catch, things like that. They are always positive. When I would come down hard on the team, they would bring the players back up.”
Looking ahead, Grant is confident that Stuart can keep on the upswing.
“The goalie, Harlyn Bell, will be a senior and she is going to be captain,” added Grant.
“She is good at keeping the team together. Most of the returning players will be sophomores and juniors and I am really excited about them.”