October 30, 2019

Stuart Field Hockey Falls in Prep B Semis, But Defeat Doesn’t Diminish Special Run

FINAL PUSH: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Caroline Mullen pushes the ball upfield in recent action. Senior star and co-captain Mullen enjoyed a big final campaign, helping Stuart go 11-4-1 and reach both the Mercer County Tournament final and the state Prep B semis. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When it was over, the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team didn’t want to leave the field.

Long after falling 1-0 to Princeton Day School last Wednesday in the state Prep B semis to end its season, the Stuart players sat in a circle on the ground near the bench talking things over.

Surveying the scene, Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik wasn’t surprised to see her players lingering together for one last chat with the squad’s senior group of Caroline Mullen, Aditi Mehndiratta, and Caroline Letrent.

“I am looking at them now and seeing the leadership that they have shown and what they have taught the younger kids,” said Bruvik, who guided her team to an 11-4-1 record and a spot in the Mercer County Tournament final in addition to the Prep semis.

“I think for some of our kids today this is high pressure; they have to perform. It is an intense game and they are going to be better off for it next year because they are going to have this experience. They will remember it and how they felt, what is needed to win and be successful in games like this.”

While Stuart brought plenty of intensity to the contest against PDS, it struggled to find a rhythm offensively.

“Sometimes in sports, things don’t click as a team; it wasn’t a lack of everybody wanting it, everybody wanted it,” said Bruvik.

“We had some corners, we generated some good attack there at the end. Sometimes it just doesn’t click and today was one of those days. I thought PDS played very well, they beat us to the ball.”

In reflecting on the defeat, Bruvik acknowledged that it was tough to remain sharp through two tournament runs.

“We were peaking at the MCT time and then to keep that level of play up is a challenge,” said Bruvik.

“You are up and you have to get back up and do it again for another run. We wouldn’t change anything, we wouldn’t not want to have that opportunity in the counties or the states. They are great kids.”

Senior standout midfielder and co-captain Mullen peaked in her final campaign for the Tartans.

“Caroline is just special; her passion for the game shows in her play, on her face, and in her intensity,” asserted Bruvik of Mullen, who has committed to attend Tufts University and play for its Division III field hockey program. “That is a 60-minute player in every game and every practice.”

In Bruvik’s view, the passion displayed by the team collectively in its postseason run bodes well for the future.

“We will be back and we will be better for it with the kids having opportunities to play at this level and in these kind of tournaments,” said Bruvik.