Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 38
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
PASSING BY: Stuart Country Day senior star Caroline Passano, left, races up the field last Monday in Stuart’s 6-1 win at WW/P-N. Passano scored two goals in the victory with classmate Jackie Gaudioso-Radvany adding three. Stuart, which improved to 3-1 with the victory, plays at Lawrenceville on September 17 and at WW/P-S on September 18 before hosting Robbinsville on September 22 and Peddie on September 23.

With Passano, Fellow Seniors Coming Up Big Stuart Field Hockey Looks To Be a Powerhouse

Bill Alden

Caroline Passano and her fellow seniors on the Stuart Country Day field hockey team know that they have a tough act to follow.

Last season, a core of battle-hardened seniors led Stuart to one of the greatest seasons in program history as the Tartans went 20-1-3, winning their third straight Mercer County Tournament championship and tying Lawrenceville for the state Prep title.

“I think we all know that we lost a phenomenal group of seniors last year and that they raised the bar so high that we have to maintain it and move it higher,” said Passano.

“I guess we feel that we have to not let it fall just because we had a great senior class and let everybody rise to the occasion. I think we had seven girls leave and we have 10 seniors coming in. We know that we all need to step in and play field hockey the way they left it and the way they wanted us to continue it.”

Last week Stuart headed across Great Road to play arch-rival Princeton Day School and this year’s group of Tartan seniors gave notice that they may be even more dangerous that their predecessors.

With Passano notching two goals and two assists and classmate Jackie Gaudioso-Radvany chipping in two goals and two assists, Stuart rolled to a 6-0 rout of the Panthers.

Coming off a 7-0 opening day win over Academy of New Church, Passano was expecting the game with PDS to the latest in the line of nailbiters between the longtime rivals.

Instead, Stuart jumped out to 2-0 lead in the first nine minutes on goals by Passano and Gaudioso-Radvany.

Passano then assisted on a goal by Kristi Hollowell and scored her second goal of the game to give Stuart a 4-0 cushion 19 minutes into the contest.

“We all utilized the field really well; it was really exciting,” said Passano.

“We had nerves because it was PDS. We worked really well together. We had girls do stuff we had never seen in practice.”

Passano and Gaudioso-Radvany, though, did the same stuff they have been doing the last two seasons as they developed into one of the more dangerous one-two punches in the area.

“It’s really fun, sometimes I play midfield and Jackie plays forward,” said Passano, who tallied two goals last Monday in a 6-1 rout of WW/P-N with Gaudioso-Radvany adding three.

“It’s really nice having her there because I know if I pass to her, she is always there to get it and vice versa. There is a lot of chemistry between us just because we are able to use the field and hopefully play good field hockey.”

Stuart head coach Katie Grant liked the field hockey she saw from her team in the win over PDS.

“I thought it was a really nice game to watch, we were passing really nicely,” said Grant, a former Duke field hockey star who is in her second year guiding the Tartans.

“Caroline and Jackie are great scorers; that’s their job and they do it well. You have to give credit to those girls who worked the ball up the field. The whole thing with this team is that they are a team. Yes there are people who stand out, constantly putting the ball in the cage or whatever but there are also so many people who consistently do their jobs.”

Grant wasn’t expecting the PDS game to turn into a rout. “It definitely was a surprise; we were all looking forward to this game,” said Grant, whose team is now 3-1 after the win over WW/P-N.

“The girls were all nervous for it; I was nervous for it. They have a couple of really quality players. We were offense-minded; we wanted to get on the board quick. We didn’t know what the weather was going to do so we wanted to make sure that if something did come, we could beat that too.”

A key to beating PDS was the way the Tartans neutralized the swift Jenkins sisters, Sydney and Mariel.

“The biggest thing with them is speed, regardless of your skill level, speed is hard to contain,” said Grant.

“We just talked about being smart on defense. If we are attacking constantly, then it leaves 75 yards and for someone with speed, that’s enough room to break away. We wanted to just make sure that we had everyone back and we were aware of who we were marking. We wanted to be on our toes on defense.”

It appears that Stuart is going to have the firepower to keep its foes on their toes this fall.

“I think we do have a quality team,” asserted Grant, whose team plays at Lawrenceville on September 17 and at WW/P-S on September 18 before hosting Robbinsville on September 22 and Peddie on September 23.

“I really like the way we are playing with each other; the types of passing and movement off of one another. It’s great to see that because you know when you can score five goals in a half, that’s great offense. It’s just nice to know that we can put those kind of passes together.”

Passano, for her part, believes Stuart has things together. “I think there are really no limits,” asserted Passano.

“We know our main goal is to play great field hockey. We just need to get our minds set on the season; we have to push ourselves hard enough. We have great chemistry. In practice, we have so much fun but we work really hard. We are all motivated; no one wants to slack off. We all know how great we can be.”

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