(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
FINDING A WAY: Stuart Country Day senior star Margaret Henry, right, finds an opening in preseason play. Henry and her teammates have found a lot of openings so far this fall as the Tartans are off to a sparkling 9-0-1 start. Stuart will look to keep on the winning track as it plays at Moorestown Friends on October 12, at Hill on October 14, and at Peddie on October 17.end
Displaying Offensive Flair, Resilience, Stuart Field Hockey Off to 9-0-1 Start
By Bill Alden
Missy Bruvik didn’t get upset when her Stuart Country Day field hockey team found itself getting outplayed last Thursday in the early stages of its game at the Hun School.
With Stuart surviving the Hun pressure to go into the half knotted at 0-0, the veteran head coach was confident that Stuart’s resilience would make the difference after intermission.
Sure enough, the Tartans found their rhythm and scored on a goal by Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany to escape with a hard-earned 1-0 win.
"We came out a little slow," said Bruvik in evaluating her team’s performance against the Raiders which saw Stuart eventually build a 14-5 edge in shots.
"They were getting to the ball much better in the first 15 minutes. Hun controlled the flow of the game. It took us a little while to get going. In the second half, we started creating shot opportunities.”
With Stuart at 9-0-1 after breezing past Ranney School 4-0 last Friday, Bruvik cited her team’s resourcefulness as its hallmark quality.
"We haven’t always played at our best," said Bruvik who got two goals from Gaudioso Radvany and one apiece from Kelly Bruvik and Gab Rich in the win on Friday.
"But whether we have our ‘A’ game or our ‘B’ game, we have managed to find a way to get it done. This team can answer back. We were down to Lawrenceville and Hopewell and other teams have gotten off to a fast start against us. We’ve put up enough numbers to win."
The Tartans have certainly been getting big numbers from its two star attackers junior Bruvik and freshman Gaudioso Radvany. Bruvik, the coach’s daughter, has 12 goals while the precocious Gaudioso Radvany has tallied 13.
"We have good connections from the backs to the mids to the kids up front,” said Bruvik. "Kelly, Jaclyn, and Megan Fitzpatrick have given us a 1-2-3 punch."
While the attack has put up some gaudy numbers, the catalyst of the Stuart offense may be slick-passing senior midfielder Alice Murnen.
"She is our key playmaker," added Bruvik of Murnen, who has five assists so far this season. "She sets everything up. The kids look to her for the big passes."
With Stuart playing at Moorestown Friends on October 12, at Hill on October 14, and at Peddie on October 17, there is room for improvement. "They still need to work harder and put together a full game,” asserted Bruvik. “We need tighter connections and to do better on the penalty corners."
After losing to Allentown in the Mercer County Tournament title game in each of the last two years and with the 2005 MCT set to start in late October, the Stuart players have motivation to work on daily improvement.
"The kids are willing to work," said Bruvik. "They aren’t satisfied. They all want to improve their individual skills."
Combining those skills with resourcefulness, Stuart should continue to work magic this fall.