Taylor on the Field

 

But recently, Taylor signed a letter-of-intent as one of six high school girls who will play for Notre Dame’s Division I women’s lacrosse team in 2011. A defender and midfielder for not only Hockaday’s varsity lacrosse team but also for Nitro Texas Lacrosse Club, Taylor is Notre Dame’s first ever women’s lacrosse recruit from Texas.

She started to think about playing college lacrosse last spring, when she realized how much she enjoyed the game’s fast-paced nature. Notre Dame seemed like a good fit.

“I have always wanted to go to Notre Dame—the t-shirts, sweats, and keychain on my backpack could attest to that,” says Taylor.

“A few things that really stuck out at Notre Dame were the intense academics and athletics, the spirit, and the fact that many people, including my dad, have attended the University in the past.”

Hockaday varsity lacrosse coach, Elia Kochan, is proud of and excited for Taylor. Kochan, who played lacrosse for Syracuse, knows the level of commitment that collegiate sports require.

“When [people] say college lacrosse is a job, they mean it. But the camaraderie and memories are worth it, Taylor’s work ethic and leadership are part of what is going to make her such a strong player in college.”

After missing her junior year lacrosse season due to a reconstructive ankle surgery from an injury Taylor suffered in eighth grade, she showed much perseverance during rehab that summer.

She recalls, “The most difficult part was regaining confidence,” she says. “I was initially scared to go out and run, but once I was able to get over this obstacle, I realized how much I had missed [lacrosse].”

By toughing out this experience, Taylor gained an increased respect from her teammates. Sophomore Ali, who played varsity lacrosse as a freshman last year, says, “Taylor is a great leader and does so by example. She shows a lot of determination.”

Looking forward to the upcoming season, Ali also adds, “I am really excited for this season, I think we can do really well this year even though we lost a lot of seniors.”

Unfortunately, Taylor broke her wrist while playing soccer two weeks ago. She missed the first two weeks of the season but will be able to play again starting Wednesday, Feb. 23.

“With her interest solely on lacrosse, it will be great to see what Taylor can do both as a leader of the team, and as a player,” Kochan says.

Taylor’s teammates know her not only as a leader but also as a source of entertainment during her signature “pregame shows,” when she helps the team relax by goofing around.

“Claudia and I last year before some of the SPC games would entertain the team,” Freeman says. “One time, while playing the song ‘Bulletproof,’ Claudia pretended to shoot me down while I shielded [the bullets] away from myself. Though it sounds relatively normal, standing on the field before game time, this was an odd scene.”

She hopes that she will make more fun memories playing with Notre Dame.

To all those who are interested in following a similar path to collegiate varsity athletics, Taylor recommends doing as many summer sports camps as possible. Coaches there can really help athletes get looked at by colleges, she says. Interested students should also keep in mind that schools are looking for overall athletes, not just sport-specific ones, and that staying in good shape year round is essential.

“I believe that playing sports, including lacrosse, have helped me develop as an individual. I have learned good time management skills and have learned to work well in groups,” Taylor says about her high school athletic experience. She savors all the fun times too.

“I have always loved the team. We always dance to songs in the weirdest ways possible, wear our hair in crazy styles and try and make practice as fun as possible,” she says. To Taylor, “all of those moments are the highlights of high school lax.”

—Molly