Persistence Paid Off for Stuart Lacrosse, Ending Spring With Big Win Over Steinert
GINNED UP: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Gin Gin Plehn looks for an opening in a game this season. Senior star Plehn enjoyed a productive senior campaign as Stuart went 5-11-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Over the course of the spring, the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team proved to be a study in persistence.
“It really became about everybody doing their part to contribute,” said Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik, whose squad posted a final record of 5-11-1. “Nobody ever gave up all season long. Every day was a positive atmosphere.”
Stuart ended the season on a positive note, defeating Steinert 16-7 in its finale in mid-May.
“When it was all said and done, it was a great win,” said Bruvik, reflecting on the victory which saw seniors Ali Hannah and Gin Gin Plehn end on a high note as Hannah tallied eight goals against the Spartans with Plehn chipping in three.
“Winning that game tells you we had progress with every kid in terms of her skills and knowledge of the game and just team camaraderie. Every kid was there, they knew it was a varsity and a JV game and needed to be there to really contribute and to show what she learned.”
The manner in which the Tartans played against Steinert also provided a blueprint going forward.
“Turnovers certainly hurt us in several games; it was just decision-making on our own turnovers and they would counter with a goal,” said Bruvik.
“We minimized that, especially in that Steinert game. We had possession, we did a great job of ball control off the draw. We controlled the ball on attack and we were patient. Those were lessons learned that hopefully we take into next year.”
The team’s two seniors, Hannah and Plehn, taught some valuable lessons to their younger teammates.
“We have 12 underclassmen who wished those two girls were going to be back one more year,” said Bruvik.
“That is a tribute to them because when you hear the kids say that that means they appreciate their leadership and their effort. Sometimes they were in awe of their skill level, like I hope I can do that and play this many positions. They were great.”
Hannah, who is headed to Rider University where she will be joining its Division I field hockey program, showed a lot of skill this season, as did Plehn.
“Ali was upbeat and positive; she still had that passion to play and she wanted to be a leader for the team,” said Bruvik of Hannah who tallied a team-high 70 points on 62 goals and eight assists with Plehn contributing 29 points on 23 goals and six assists.
“Gin Gin has a nose for the goal but when we don’t have the ball, she was super aggressive in terms of ‘let’s get this ball back.’ She understands how important it is to get that ball back.”
The Tartans will be welcoming back some key performers in rising junior Caroline Mullen (13 goals, 5 assists in 2018), rising senior Grace Sheppard (27 goals, 16 assists), rising sophomore Catherine Martin (12 goals, 7 assists) and rising sophomore goalies Anna Dawson and Morgan John.
“Caroline is a key player all around; you can put her pretty much any where on the field,” added Bruvik.
“Grace had a wonderful year. Probably the most improved younger player was Catherine Martin. She did it at both ends; she was able to transition the ball. If we started her back on defense, it didn’t matter; she still made her way up to the attack. The goalies are both great kids and they had a great attitude.”
In Bruvik’s view, the foundation is in place for Stuart to do some great things going forward.
“We had a lot of juniors and a lot of freshmen this year,” said Bruvik. “We are looking forward to 10 more freshmen coming in.”