May 3, 2023

Fueled by Sophomore Lee’s Dynamic Play, Stuart Lax Displaying Growth, Improvement

ALL IN: Stuart County Day School lacrosse player Allison Lee heads upfield in a 2022 game. Sophomore star midfielder Lee has sparked the Stuart attack this spring, tallying 61 goals through 11 games to rank in the top 10 in goals in New Jersey. The Tartans, who lost 16-13 to Pennington last Monday in moving to 2-9, host Steinert on May 6 and then start play in the Mercer County Tournament on May 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Allison Lee is piling up some impressive stats this spring for the Stuart County Day School lacrosse team.

Talented sophomore midfielder Lee tallied 51 goals through Stuart’s first nine games, the seventh most goals in the state.

But Lee will tell you that her prolific scoring is the product of a group effort rather than any individual brilliance on her part.

“I could not have done it without this team, they have always been supporting me and have been with me every step of the way,” said Lee, after scoring four goals in an 11-8 loss to Steinert last Wednesday evening under the lights at Hamilton Veterans Park.

“All of the seniors and upperclassmen creating this great sense of team, it is such a great team culture and it really reflects how Stuart girls are in general. Everyone on the team has their own goal and responsibility and mine just happens to be helping us score goals. I think it is my privilege.”

In the matchup against Steinert, the Stuart girls showed their character as they played on grass rather than field turf for the first time this season, had to play through with rain showers, and deal with a tough Steinert squad.

“It was really tough, we had to adjust to the conditions as well with the weather,” said Lee. “It was a very physical game, so we had to be mentally tough. We embraced the physicality and realized that the refs and the conditions weren’t going to change. It was the same for both teams. We realized that we had to focus and play our game.”

The Tartans drew within one goal of the Spartans twice in the second half but couldn’t get over the hump over the final minutes of the contest.

“We were definitely close there a lot of times,” said Lee. “It was definitely a team effort but we needed to finish that one more play. I think we were right there with them. Everyone played hard and I am really proud of them.”

Lee has formed a close bond with senior star Emily Ix. The players each hit the 100-goal career mark earlier this season.

“I am so happy for her, she works so hard,” said Lee of Ix. “She is such a great teammate. I am super proud of her.”

Over the last year, Lee has worked hard to hone her skills.

“I have been working out, getting stronger in the past year,” said Lee, who scored six goals in a 16-13 loss to Pennington School last Monday, giving her 61 for the season. “I play club for Philly Blast in Pennsylvania.”

Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik liked the strong effort she got from her players in the loss to Steinert.

“We did a lot of things well today under adverse conditions and against a very good team,” said Bruvik. “I am really proud of the improvement I am seeing from end line to end line and in the midfield with some better connections. Our kids battled right until the end, that is all I can ask for.”

Bruvik is getting all she could ask for from sophomore star Lee.

“She is dynamic,” said Bruvik of Lee. “She can do everything. You find her on big defensive plays and ground balls. She has been great in terms of helping everybody on the field continue to build, whether it is skills or knowledge of the game. She is the quarterback on the field.”

The one-two punch of Lee and Ix has powered Stuart this spring.

“They have a connection, we really rely on them to do a lot,” said Bruvik. “That was so exciting to see them get the 100 goals. I am so proud of both of them. Emily lost her freshman year when we didn’t have a
lacrosse season and for Allison to do it as a sophomore is fabulous.”

Stuart got contributions all over the field against Spartans.

“Everybody else has roles and they are ready for whatever is thrown their way,” said Bruvik. “I thought Sydney [Amato] had a great game. Our defense was better, Abby [Snyder] made saves. I have to make a huge shout-out to our midfield for how much they have to handle, game in and game out. It is Emily and Allison and Abby [Chirik] jumps in there along with Sydney. We were able to rotate.”

With Stuart, now 2-9, hosting Steinert in a rematch on May 6 and then starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on May 8, Bruvik is excited to see her squad make more progress over the final weeks of the season.

“They came out ready to play tonight; we took what we learned yesterday (in an 18-7 loss to Morristown-Beard in the Prep B state quarterfinals) and said let’s try this today,” said Bruvik. “It was what else can we do today to make this team better. I am just so happy these kids decided to play. This group has good chemistry. There is always something to learn, for me too. There is always something for everybody to learn.”

Lee, for her part, believes that the Tartans are putting those lessons to work.

“We are definitely way more experienced than the start of the season,” said Lee. “I think we just need to put all of the things we have learned together and we will be in good shape.”