June 16, 2021

Displaying Adaptability, Positive Attitude, Stuart Lacrosse Kept Competing to the End

X-FACTOR: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Emily Ix heads upfield in a game this spring. Sophomore attacker/midfielder and co-captain Ix emerged as a star this spring for Stuart, tallying a team-high 37 goals. The Tartans went 1-12 this spring. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Flexibility became the theme for the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team this spring.

Getting used to head coach Mark Maser, who was in his first full season guiding the program, and lacking depth with a roster of 16, the Stuart players learned to deal with things on the fly.

“The biggest area of progress was adaptability and the girls learning multiple positions,” said Maser, who guided the team to a 1-12 record.

“That was not only because I think it is the right thing but out of necessity.”

In Maser’s view, the record didn’t reflect how competitive the Tartans were throughout the season.

“We were in every game but it was a war of attrition,” said Maser.

“Other teams could substitute folks and we really couldn’t. We needed to sub from the bench rather than sub around the field. I had one dedicated midfield line where I would have loved to have had two to help on the transition.”

Unfazed by the losses, the Stuart players maintained a winning attitude.

“They came out every day ready to play,” said Maser. “They always had the attitude that we could win but not unrealistically. They knew that if we were going to win, we were going to have get every break.”

The squad’s group of seniors set a positive tone with their upbeat attitude.

“Our senior captains, Molly [Lagay] and Catherine [Martin], stepped up at every opportunity to rally the team,” said Maser, whose Class of 2021 also included Janiah Adams, Lia Bull-Krieg, Anna Dawson, and Allison Tarbotton.

“At timeouts and at halftime, they were redefining success. Meaning, ‘so yeah we are behind, but success today will be if so-and-so scores a goal, success for us today will be if we run for a fast break.’ If a first time player gets into the game have a couple touches on the ball, we tried to do that. We constantly adjusted.”

Sophomore attacker/midfielder Emily Ix led the team in scoring and emerged as a key team leader.

“Emily was the one who rallied the troops to get enough girls out there,” said Maser of Ix, who tallied a team-high 37 goals with Martin chipping in 22 to stand second in that category.

“All of the girls look to her. She was persuasive in getting some other kids to switch sports to come and play lacrosse.”

Stuart has some other good kids slated to return in sophomore Anna Landis, freshman Elise Price, freshman Isabel Milley, and sophomore Lily Harlin.

“Anna was a contributor as was Elise,” said Maser. “Isabel was our most improved player. Lily helped both on and off the field. Her personality is fantastic too, no matter what would happen that kid would laugh. She always had a positive attitude.”

With the 2020 season having been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having a relatively full campaign proved to be a fantastic experience for the Tartans.

“They seemed disappointed when it was over, they were thrilled to be able to play this year,” said Maser.

“They appreciated having 13 games, that is a nice thing to see with a team.”

Maser, for his part, sees nice things ahead for Stuart. “It is encouraging for next year,” said Maser.

“I have a team next year where the girls may not have played every position but I think now they understand them and the different flow of the game.”