April 10, 2019

Stuart Lacrosse Putting Pieces in Place As it Looks to Get on Winning Track

J-TRAIN: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Jaelyn Bennett brings the ball up the field in the team’s season opener against Pennington last week. Freshman attacker Bennett scored three goals in a losing cause as the Tartans fell 14-5. Stuart, now 0-3 after being defeated 16-4 by Princeton Day School last Monday, will look to get on the winning track as it hosts Hamilton on April 11 and Hightstown on April 15 before playing at Rutgers Prep on April 16.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

There were some opening day jitters for the Stuart Country Day lacrosse team as it hosted Pennington to start the 2019 season last week.

Having trouble getting possession of the ball, Stuart fell behind 11-1 by halftime.

“We scored first and then we were really challenged from that point,” said Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik.

But showing progress within the game, the Tartans outscored Pennington 4-3 in the second half to make it a 14-5 final.

In Bruvik’s view, the Tartans gained some important lessons from the loss.

“We know that have got to win the draw and how to not have those little turnovers and get the 50/50 balls on the ground balls,” said Bruvik.

“I think it is the little things about still taking care of the ball, decision-making. The transition was better; we just need to be more patient once we have the ball.”

With a number of versatile players at her disposal, Bruvik is working on mixing and matching things.

“We are still trying to figure out who is going to settle in on offense and in the midfield,” said Bruvik. “We got some kids who want to try different positions.”

Freshman Jaelyn Bennett looked sharp at the attack position in the opener, tallying three goals in her debut.

“Jaelyn can play pretty much anywhere on this field and she is going to contribute no matter where she is,” said Bruvik, who also got goals from Catherine Martin and Kaitlyn Magnani against Pennington.

“I love her on attack, that is her forte. She can find the back of that cage and she has got the speed to beat the defense.”

Bruvik is confident that her group of seniors – Grace Sheppard, Bre Williams, Bey-Shana Clark, Lauren Magnani, Meghan Liebowitz, and Emma Shaw – will help the Tartans get up to speed.

“We have six great seniors that get along on and off the field,” said Bruvik, who got three goals from Sheppard last Monday as Stuart lost 16-4 to Princeton Day School to move to 0-3.

“They love being part of the team. They are all going to contribute and they are also great at encouraging the younger kids. They are such good people and such good role models.”

Despite the outcome on opening day, Bruvik was encouraged by the intensity she saw from the Tartan players.

“I am happy with the energy, regardless of the score, the kids still had coming off the field,” said Bruvik, whose team will look to get on the winning track as it hosts Hamilton on April 11 and Hightstown on April 15 before playing at Rutgers Prep on April 16. “A lot of that comes from the seniors.”