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Kayla Shea ’18 Looks Forward to College Career in Lacrosse

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Kayla Shea '17 throws a clear.

Kayla Shea '17 throws a clear.

Photo by Rich Siegmund

Photo by Rich Siegmund

Kayla Shea '17 throws a clear.

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Standing at 5’1” inside of a six foot goal, being the only one to save the ball if an opposing player gets past the defense, might sound like an intense situation, but for varsity girls’ lacrosse goalie Kayla Shea ‘18, it’s simply exhilarating. As the only goalie on the varsity team, Shea has no one to switch out with or fall back on. With her strength and passion she is able to fight past incoming balls and game threatening injuries to play her position.

Shea started lacrosse as a defense player in seventh grade and completely fell in love with the sport.

“My dad had a boss, and her daughter wanted to play lacrosse, so we were like ‘Hey lets try this,’” Shea said. “And so we tried to start our own little lacrosse team. I did not end up very well so we switched over to Town and County where I started, and it just kind of took off from there.”

While playing in middle school Shea was moved from playing defense to a midfielder in eighth grade, because her coaches realized she was fast, agile, and could shoot. It wasn’t until she was asked to be a replacement goalie for another team, she had realized she had found her calling.

“Town and Country has blue, purple, and red teams. I was on the red team for midfield, and then the purple team had a goalie, but that goalie got hurt and decided not to play anymore,” Shea said. “They needed someone down there to help out, so I [tried it] and from then on I just kind of fell in love with it and kept it.”

As a full time goalie, Shea decided to join the Westwood team as a freshman.

“I loved it enough to keep playing it, and just throughout the seasons and the years I’ve played here I’ve just grown more and more in love with it,” Shea said. “Freshman year I was automatically varsity, I mean there was a goalie in front of me, but I showed up at and I practiced like I wanted to play. [The] coaches saw the passion and the devotion in me so they threw me into varsity to see what I could do, and I stayed.”

Shea pushed herself both physically and mentally to be the best player she could be. But even the best face challenges, and starting from freshman year Shea encountered injury after injury leading up to her senior year that could threaten her skill and playing time.

After eighth grade Shea took a long break from running, which took a toll on her knees when she was a freshman. Then in her sophomore year she developed a concussion during a game against St. Andrews when their players began to target her head while taking their shots. After the sixth hit to the head her coach pulled her from the game and they lost. In the same year, Shea ran out of the cage after a ball, and in that short amount of time she tweaked her groin muscle, an injury that carried over into the next year.

“Then this year, there are four muscles in your quad and I pulled the inner one, against Cedar Park and it was terrible,” Shea said. “It was because I ran of the cage again, stupid things.”

Even with extremely painful injuries Shea counties to push herself to be the best. With her goal-oriented mindset she wouldn’t let these challenges keep her from playing her sport. She couldn’t let herself get down because she knew that wouldn’t help her any, she kept focused and kept working to stay in shape and to make sure her injuries were taken care of.

“With my injuries I’m kind of just going to work through it unless it gets to the point where I can’t do anything, I’ll tell my coaches like give me a second, but I’ve worked through a lot of my injuries,” Shea said. “They are minor injuries but they can become major, but I just kind of know the potential of my body so if it starts to yell at me more I’ll back off a little more.”

Shea explained that without another goalie to back her up, she had to fight to keep herself healthy enough to stay in the games and keep the whole team playing, which proved difficult not only physically but mentally as well.

“There were times I just wanted to quit, or just break down in tears and cry because I hurt so much, but I knew I had to be strong and keep the team going. I had to make sure everyone was going okay, and not hurt or anything, it was just really hard,” Shea said. “My passion kept me going, and I hate losing. So the thing is if I can give a lot out on the field, even though I’m hurt, then everyone else can. It’s more like passion, like I have to be better than anyone else.”

Even after all her injuries and challenges, Shea is committed to playing lacrosse in college. She is currently signed to Missouri Baptist on a scholarship, but has another offer as well, so at the moment she is undecided where she will end up. Either way, she will continue to face any problems head on and strive to be the best player she can be.

“I want to get as good as I can possibly get throughout the summer, and I’m probably going to start working with high school boys’ lacrosse,” Shea said. “I’m hoping in my freshman year of college after the season to get Rookie of the Year, and then go on from there.”

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