October 5, 2022

With Senior Star Harlan Coming Up Big, Stuart Field Hockey Defeats Peddie 3-0

CENTURY CLUB: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Lily Harlan dribbles upfield in a game earlier this fall. Last Friday, senior star and Boston University commit Harlan tallied two goals and an assist as Stuart defeated Peddie 3-0. Harlan, who recently passed the 100-point mark in her Stuart career, now has 13 goals and nine assists this season, both team-highs, for the 6-2 Tartans. In upcoming action, Stuart hosts Burlington City High on October 5 and the Pennington School on October 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a rough 9-2 loss to the Blair Academy last Wednesday, Lily Harlan and her teammates on the Stuart Country Day field hockey team believed that the setback could benefit them as they played at Peddie two days later.

“It wasn’t our best game, but I think those types of games are what a team needs to get better,” said Stuart senior star forward and co-captain Harlan. “In the past for the tournaments, like the Prep Bs and the MCT, playing those harder teams is what prepared us. Our team is very hardworking, very fast, and I really think we can hold our ground against any team after seeing the Blair game. There were many things we could have done differently; you need to lose to learn.”

Last Friday, Harlan applied some lessons against Peddie, weaving through the Falcon defense to score a goal with 9:23 left in the first quarter as the Tartans forged ahead 1-0.

“For me that is how it starts, I score early and that usually gets me going,” said Harlan. “It is so exciting. The team is so nice, they always celebrate. It is very motivating when you have such a good team and coaches because you are not just doing it for yourself.”

Harlan kept doing it, chipping in a goal and an assist in the second half as Stuart pulled away to a 3-0 win over Peddie.

“We just needed to care more, we needed to sprint to every ball because Peddie came in with greater energy,” said Harlan. “They were running all the time. They made it hard, they cared so much the whole time. We just needed to step it up — we were playing sloppy. Once we started making strong block tackles, looking upfield for our teammates and not just passing it nowhere, dodging opponents, making smart moves, that was really the difference. That is how we had so much possession.”

With Stuart improving to 6-2 in the wake of the win, Harlan believes the Tartans can make a strong stretch run.

“I think we can honestly play with any team in this area and we will hold our own,” asserted Harlan. “Even if we don’t have as much skill as everyone else, we are scrappy, we are fast, we are smart, and we are encouraging. Every single person on this team cares so much and that is the difference in the game. So many players could have different levels of skill, but what really matters in the end is the effort and the mentality.”

As a four-year starter and team co-captain, Harlan looks to set a set a positive example for her teammates.

“I try to be a leader because I am one of the captains,” said Harlan. “I always try to motivate everyone and keep everyone upbeat. I try to tell people positioning and where to be. I try to score.”

Over her career, Harlan has proven to be a prolific scorer for the Tartans, having tallied her 100th career point in a 4-2 win over Delaware Valley on September 24.

“It feels so amazing. You put in all of this hard work, and you get there,” said Harlan, who has committed to attend Boston University and play for its field hockey program. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without this program. Stuart is such a small school, so a lot of people get the opportunity.”

Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik saw the Peddie game as an opportunity for the Tartans to find a rhythm.

“It was getting back on the wining track, but really just getting back on the field and playing good hockey,” said Bruvik. “We are looking to make those right passes at the right time. That was going to be our focus today. I think it took us until the third quarter to do that. We were much better in the second half. We just kind of relaxed into it. Maybe that was coming off that game Wednesday to build our confidence back up. It was just relax, do what you do well, and hustling a little more.”

Bruvik credited Harlan with hustling all over the field. “Lily makes a huge difference,” said Bruvik. “She has that nose for the goal, but she is also always back on defense. She is the first back behind the ball, even when they are putting balls into the circle.”

The Tartan defense also made a difference as it held the fort in shutting out Peddie.

“I thought the defense played solid,” said Bruvik. “Elise [Price] picked up her game. We moved her in the second half because we didn’t think she was seeing the ball. We moved her from center mid to the outside. The ball never really got to her where she had a chance to control play earlier and she had a great second half.”

In Bruvik’s view, seeing her squad get back on track after the Blair game was heartening.

“I am happy that after loss we are able to come back and find a way to win and bounce back,” said Bruvik, whose team hosts Burlington City High on October 5 and the Pennington School on October 7. “We are still working on the timing of the passes, the connections. We changed the formation on them in this game too. That is helping us —figuring out against which team to do which formation. We need to keep doing what we are doing, being resilient, and we will keep figuring out the system for each game.”

Harlan, for her part, believes that the Tartans are heading in the right direction.

“We really need to work on finishing; we have a lot of opportunities, but we need to put more in,” said Harlan. “It is just finishing, putting them in, finding those smart passes, and making those good cuts. We are getting there. This game and Blair were a bit of an obstacle we needed. We needed a little push. I think that will get us going for the next game.”