Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 32
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
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HOMING INSTINCT: Nellie Morris, right, races up the field in action this past spring in her senior season for the Lawrenceville girls' lacrosse team. Morris, a Princeton native, was recently named as a high school All-American. Morris will be staying home for her college career as she will be playing for the Princeton University women's lacrosse program.

Local Product Morris Starred for Big Red, Feels at Home With PU Women's Lax

Bill Alden

She thought seriously about going to Stanford or Dartmouth but in the end Nellie Morris concluded there was no place like home.

For the Princeton resident and former Lawrenceville School lacrosse star, deciding to stay in town to play for Princeton University ultimately turned out to be a no-brainer.

"I did my visits to Stanford and Dartmouth and I was very torn." said Morris. "I did my visit to Princeton and I knew right away that it was the place for me. It was always in the back of my mind but it never seemed like a reality. It got real serious, real quick."

Now that she has made her decision, Morris is not looking back. "I'm so excited," asserted Morris, who started attending Tiger lax games when she was in elementary school and has been a regular participant in Princeton women's team's summer camp since junior high.

"I've watched players who came here to play and improved so much over their four years. The opportunity to get better and play for Chris Sailer is very exciting."

A key factor in Morris' choice was the chance to follow in the footsteps of former Lawrenceville star and teammate Katie Lewis-Lamonica.

"She's been great; when I was making my decision, we had coffee together," said Morris of Lewis-Lamonica, a rising senior who earned second-team All-American recognition this past spring.

"She told me about her experience at Princeton and how much she had enjoyed things on the field and outside lacrosse. I remember I was a little intimidated by her when she was at Lawrenceville. She would shoot 100 balls after every practice and one day I came over and asked her if I could join her. She was OK with it."

Morris, for her part, put in a lot of shots during her career at Lawrenceville, emerging as one of the most lethal scorers in local girls' lax circles. She capped her Lawrenceville career with a special honor as she was recently named as a high school All-American by LaxPower.

"The high school season was over and I was a little shocked to find out," said Morris, who was named to the squad along with former Princeton Day School star and Penn-bound Keely Langdon. "It has made me more excited to play everyday."

There was less excitement for Morris during her senior lax season because Lawrenceville had an up-and-down campaign, falling to Hun in the state Prep A quarterfinals.

"We lost Sara Flood and Maddie Linville so we definitely had a shift in expectations," said Morris, who also starred for the Lawrenceville field hockey team the last two falls, playing goalie as the Big Red won the state Prep title each season.

"We had some great young players and it took them a while to get into the flow; it was a transition year. Sometimes we would play really well and at other times, not so well."

The disappointments of this past spring, however, paled in comparison to the positives of Morris' four years at Lawrenceville. "It was the best experience," said Morris. "I got a great education and I met so many great people. We have students from all over; some of my best friends are from the Middle East and Europe. Lacrosse was great; I learned what it means to put the team first."

This summer, Morris has been learning a different side of lacrosse as she has coached two high school teams for the Tri-State lacrosse program.

"I loved it," said Morris. "It was so much work; it's exhausting running practices and setting up game plans. It was a whole new experience for me; it was good to see the game from that point of view. I realize how hard to is to be a coach. It is cool to yell out instructions and see a player act on that."

In a few weeks, Morris will be focused on catching Coach Sailer's eye. "I've been working on my physical strength and improving my speed," said Morris, who is planning to focus on Middle East studies in the classroom.

"I'm doing the workouts the Princeton staff gave me; it's a lot of running, sprints, and interval work. I'm in a speed and conditioning program at Gold's Gym. Going into the fall, I want to be in the best shape I can. I'm working on the accuracy of my shots and improving my moves and dodges. I have certain expectations of myself and I am going to work hard to achieve that."

If Morris can pick up where she left off at Lawrenceville, she should emerge as a hometown hero for the Tigers.

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