August 31, 2022

After Producing Superb Campaign Last Fall, Stuart Field Hockey Fired Up for 2022 Season

SKILL SET: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Lily Harlan dribbles the ball up the field in game last fall. Senior star and Boston University commit Harlan, who tallied 15 goals and 17 assists in 2021, figures to trigger the Stuart offense again this season. The Tartans host Somerville on September 10 to start regular season play. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Stuart Country Day School field hockey coming off a superb 11-4-2 season last fall that saw it reach the state Prep B final, the squad’s veterans were chomping at the bit to get on the field to start preparing for the 2022 campaign.

“The returners were really excited to get preseason started, there is good energy,” said Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik. “They are kids that just love to play the game. I love when they start talking that they can’t wait for preseason in July.”

Last Friday, Stuart headed south to Bethesda, Md., for a highlight of the preseason as it scrimmaged Stone Ridge and Holton Arms.

“They are two really good programs; I think those two teams were actually in the independent school final in Maryland last year against each other,” said Bruvik, whose team hosts Somerville on September 10 to start regular season play. “It is a great one night away, it was great for bonding. We haven’t been able to scrimmage with around 19 players; we have been doing 7 on 7s and 8 on 8s.”

The Tartans are looking for a great season from senior Lily Harlan, who has committed to attend Boston University and play for its Division I field hockey program.

“Lily looks great, she put in the work over the summer to get herself ready for the season and for the future,” said Bruvik of Harlan who tallied 15 goals and 17 assists last season. “She has done that since she got here. It is going to be the same this year. We are going to look to her to finish the plays and get that assist. She will be a part of our corner plays on both offense and defense.”

Junior Isabel Milley (6 goals, 6 assists in 2021) figures to play a key part in the Stuart attack as well.

“Isabel is going to be playing forward and midfield for us this year,” said Bruvik. “We lost five seniors and we have got to fill some really important positions on the field. Isabel is extremely versatile so we can pretty much put her anywhere. She has great game sense.”

With junior Emily Ix
(13 goals, 2 assists) having made a big impact in 2021 as she played her first season of field hockey after previously playing tennis, she is poised for a great year.

“Emily had learned all of those little things, just teaching her the game, that is all taken care of,” said Bruvik. “She is now just able to play and execute her skills and speed. That is nice to see.”

Two veterans, senior Madisen Leggett (3 goals, 1 assist) and senior Peighton Dwellingham, bring skill and experience to the forward line.

“This is Madisen’s fourth year with us, her speed looks great,” added Bruvik, noting that freshmen Jada Hutchinson, Sydney Anderson, and Sami Feldman will also be on the forward line. “She is working her stick really well up the sidelines. I look for her to be a finisher too. Dwellingham is going to see a lot of time on the forward line.”

It will be mix and match in the midfield for the Tartans as junior Alex Mandzij (1 goal), junior Elise Price, and sophomore Nyla Flamer (2 goals, 2 assists) will be joined at times by Milley and Ix.

“It will will be Emily and Isabel looking to rotate through there,” said Bruvik. “Alex is playing terrific, she will be floating between the center mid and center back. Elise will be in the mix. Nyla has really improved her skills, she can play either on the line or the midfield.”

On defense, senior Mia Zebrauskas, sophomore Annarose Bourgoin St. Maurice, sophomore Maya Dev, and senior Abby Snyder will lead the back line.

“Mia is playing very well, she played very well in Maryland,” said Bruvik, whose defensive unit will also include sophomore Charlotte Gilani and freshman Najima Tahiry.

“She will be in our backfield. Annarose will be in the  midfield and on defense. Maya will be seeing some on defense but also in the midfield. Abby will be seeing time on defense.”

While the graduation of star goalie Audrey Blandford leaves a void, sophomore Emily Harlan is ready to step up into that spot.

“Emily did see some time last year, she trained with Audrey which was a great thing for the transition this year,” said Bruvik. “She played great down in Maryland. She is a great kid, really coachable and doing a nice job.”

In order for the Tartans to have another nice season, the squad needs to stick together as a unit.

“The kids with experience just have to continue to help the younger kids with the transition from middle school hockey and help our sophomores who have now moved up after one varsity season,” said Bruvik. “The seniors need to take on that role and I think they will. I always try to start from the backfield up so we have that chemistry from our backfield to our midfield.”