April 26, 2017

Led by Hannah’s Emergence as Top Scorer, Stuart Lacrosse Heading in Right Direction

GOAL ORIENTED: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Ali Hannah heads upfield in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior star Hannah tallied nine goals to help Stuart defeat Trinity Hall 15-10 and improve 5-3. The Tartans host Hightstown on April 27 before starting play in the state Prep B tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Ali Hannah decided that she had to be ready to go the distance in order to make a greater impact this season for the Stuart Country Day lacrosse team.

“I struggled with my stamina before so I worked in the offseason and I was running every day,” said junior attacker Hannah. “I still run a couple of times a week during the season.”

Last Wednesday, Hannah’s conditioning and aggressiveness was on display as she scored nine goals to help Stuart top Trinity Hall 15-10.

“I like to put it in and finish and go hard the whole time; I don’t like to slack off,” said Hannah, reflecting on her performance.

“I am an upperclassman now; I am more of a leader this year than I was in previous years. I really think that gives me more scoring opportunities.”

The Tartans worked together to generate scoring opportunities in the win over Trinity Hall, jumping out to a 4-0 lead four minutes into the contest.

“We were working on connecting passes in our previous games and really got that fluid today,” said Hannah.

“We started off really strong, the passes were fluid and there was a team effort. I think because of that we won the game.”

With Stuart having won four of its last five games, Hannah believes the team is benefitting from a stronger chemistry.

“We are probably more of a unified team; definitely during our Florida trip we became a lot closer  because there was a bonding opportunity for us,” said Hannah. “I feel like communication is at a higher level than it was in the past.”

Following in the footsteps of her older sister Tori, a field hockey and lacrosse star for Stuart, has helped Hannah reach a higher level.

“We are definitely competitive; she and I were always competing over who gets the most goals,” said Hannah of her older sister, who is playing field hockey at UMass-Lowell.

Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik likes the way Hannah is competing this spring.

“Ali is fearless, she is going to go to goal but she has also learned when to back out and is looking for her teammates,” said Bruvik, noting that Hannah had eight goals to help Stuart to an 11-5 win over Ranney School on April 18.

“She has two or three different kinds of shots. She has really worked hard on her conditioning and her strength. She is in the weight room all the time.”

The Tartans are also getting good work from sophomore Grace Sheppard and senior Caitlyn Delaney.

“Grace did a great job on the draws; she fights and does well on the ground balls,” said Bruvik of Sheppard, who tallied three goals and an assist in the victory over Trinity Hall.

“Caitlyn Delaney is on the ball in most all of the plays; she has a nose for the ball, whether she is playing offense or defense. She is constantly around the ball and that just tells you she is on the move the whole game and she has been doing that all season.”

The Stuart defense fought harder as the Trinity Hall game went on.

“They were better in the second half, it was about stopping the ball,” said Bruvik.

“Maria McBride hustles; we put her at midfield at some point today to see if she could help us in that transition. She is quick and she played the whole game. We ask a lot of her.”

In Bruvik’s view, her squad is getting better and better. “We have got some depth and the kids are feeding off of each other,” added Bruvik.

“I definitely think the trip to Florida gave us a little edge in terms of being more ready than in the last few years. We really need to work on game management when we have possession of the ball and using the clock. We are going to start working on that a little more intently in practice.”

Hannah, for her part, believes talking more on the field will help the Tartans gain more of an edge offensively going forward.

“Our communication is good but I feel that if it was one step further, it could be even better, like in transition passes,” said Hannah.

“The passes are better than they were but there are times that we can improve.”