With the spring sports season just about wrapped up, we will be taking a closer look at Muhlenberg’s senior student-athletes.
We continue with women’s lacrosse. Seniors Kelsey Elmer, Maggie Hare, Sarah Hetrick, Angela Napoletano, Becky Ritter and Jessica Shegoski were honored during a ceremony before the season finale against Ursinus.
You rank in the top 20 in on the program’s career assists list; what’s your key to finding open teammates? My role is easy, I just need to make sure my feet are moving and that I get off a good pass. It’s my teammates that make the good cuts and get themselves open so I can get the ball in their sticks, especially this year. I feel that we’ve been able to really get a large majority of our goal off assists, which just adds to the greater feeling of team cohesion. It’s been really fun to be able to make those connections.
What’s the most memorable moment from your lacrosse career? I think my most memorable moment from my lacrosse career would have to be this year against F&M. We came out so unbelievably strong and everything was clicking so perfectly. We forced them to take a timeout, which was an awesome feeling knowing that they needed to regroup and figure out a new game plan to shut us down. This year, the team has had some of the best cohesion I’ve been a part of, and the first half of that game absolutely exemplified that. It makes it so much fun, too, when you’re just finding each other. It was a great feeling and showed that we can hang with the best.
What’s your most memorable off-the-field moment or accomplishment from your time at Muhlenberg? My most memorable off-the-field moments were probably my time spent in Spain. Although it wasn’t specifically at Muhlenberg, school gave me the opportunity to spend a semester there. I had an incredible time with priceless experiences. And I have to say that any time off-the-field with everyone on the team is never dull and always full of ridiculousness and fun, which make us that much closer!
What are your future plans? I am planning on earning some money this summer at home, and then I am looking to move to Denver toward the end of the summer or the beginning of fall. I’ve been looking into working in some different hospitals in Denver, either in clinical research or as a medical aid in a particular department. I’m also considering working at a spine and head trauma rehab center, which would allow me to really delve further into neuroscience. My final option is to just be a ski bum for a little while out there until I get my bearings. I wouldn’t mind that.
What kind of person is Sarah Hetrick? Sarah is someone who has been working hard for the past four years and is always trying to make herself and her teammates better. She has a lot of versatility in that she can utilize her height in defense while bringing her speed and stick skills to the attack. It has been fun being able to play with her the past four years and watch her develop into a really strong player and good teammate.
What’s something about you people might be surprised to learn? I came to Muhlenberg without any concrete idea of what I wanted to major or minor in, and I actually hated my first communications course and first Spanish course that I took here. Despite that, I ended up majoring in media and communication and minoring in Spanish.
What was it like visiting Spain? Visiting Spain this past summer was one of the most rewarding and exciting opportunities I’ve had as a student at Muhlenberg. I was equally excited and terrified going off and living in Spain with a group of people from different Lehigh Valley colleges that I’d never met before. I am so happy and lucky that I had the opportunity to go, because the experience really opened my eyes to how different life is in Spain compared to what I’m used to at Muhlenberg or back home in New Jersey. The cultural experience is what will stick with me the most. Once I got past the initial culture shock of life in Sevilla, I really enjoyed learning about the different traditions and customs of the people living there. I think one of the most important rewards I got from going to Spain was that I was really pushed far out of my comfort zone. It really gives you a new perspective on how you think about different cultures and how you see and understand yourself.
What’s your most memorable off-the-field moment or accomplishment from your time at Muhlenberg? In terms of off-the-field lacrosse activities, one memorable moment that stuck with me was when we all went to do volunteer work in Allentown. One of the groups that we worked with was the Sixth Street Shelter. We went there and did some gardening work and anything else we could do to help. We also learned about the shelter and its efforts to help get families back on their feet and eventually able to provide for themselves. The experience was great because my teammates and I had fun working together and working with some of the individuals at the shelter. I think it is important for our team to give back to the community, and it was a very rewarding experience.
What’s it been like getting to play four more years with your high school teammate Jessica Shegoski? I have actually been playing sports with Jess since we were in elementary school. That being said, playing eight years of lacrosse with her on top of that has been great! I’ve been really lucky to have such an amazing teammate and friend continue through high school and college with me. As an athlete and as an individual, Jess has known me and played with me longer than anyone else at Muhlenberg. Because of that, she has been a major source of encouragement for me on and off the field. I can’t imagine playing lacrosse without Jess. Jess has always been a good friend and has all of those qualities you’d want your teammate to have. She is relentless, encouraging, aggressive, a team player and has incredible sportsmanship (just to name a few). That being said, it’s hard to play any sport with her and not have those qualities rub off on you. Jess is a true role model, and I can’t imagine my lacrosse experience here at Muhlenberg without her.
As a midfielder, you’re asked to do a little bit of everything on the field; do you prefer playing offense or defense? It depends on the day! Coming from playing low attack in high school, I feared the idea of playing defense. But I have developed a love of it over the past few years. There’s nothing like causing a turnover and getting the ball back for your team. The only downside is all of the running!
Do you have any hidden talents outside of lacrosse? I don’t know if I would call it a talent, let alone hidden (anyone who knows me knows I love food!), but I’d like to think I’m a pretty good cook.
What’s the best part about playing lacrosse? The best part about playing lacrosse is that I belong to a team. I like to think of our team as my college family, and I can talk to them about anything, anytime. We are each other’s support system.
What’s the most memorable moment from your lacrosse career? My most memorable moment was our win over Dickinson freshman year. Going into the game, our freshmen class was well aware of the past results with Dickinson, so when that great win came it was as if we had all won the lottery. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves!
What’s your most memorable off-the-field moment or accomplishment from your time at Muhlenberg? My most memorable off-the-field accomplishment would have to be making the Dean’s List for the last three semesters … I finally learned time management!
What made you decide to major in business administration? I have always dreamed of owning my own restaurant, so majoring in business administration seemed like the right path to get there. While I don’t plan on owning a restaurant any time soon, my major has given me plenty of other opportunities.
What are your future plans? I am happy to say that I have a job lined up for after I graduate! I’ll be doing a combination of sales and operations for a food ingredient brokerage (yes, food!), and I’ll be traveling up and down the East Coast.
What kind of teammate is Kelsey Elmer? Kelsey is a fun and easy-going person. As captain, she loves our team and does a great job keeping us focused. On the field, Kelsey is a key attacker with a rapid-fire shot.
What’s your role as a team captain? This year it has been a lot about keeping the team positive — no matter whether we are losing by five or winning by two. The team’s mental attitude makes a big difference, so keeping everyone encouraged has been important.
How big of an accomplishment has it been reaching the 100-point mark in your career? I was really happy to have been able to reach that mark throughout my four years here. I wasn’t able to finish the season last year, so to be able to finish my final season with 100 points is something I won’t ever forget.
What’s the most memorable moment from your lacrosse career? I said this in the beginning of the season, but as of now it still stands as my most memorable moment — beating McDaniel by one in overtime freshman year. I don’t think I could ever forget it.
What’s your most memorable off-the-field moment or accomplishment from your time at Muhlenberg? There have been too many memorable off-the-field moments, but something I will never forget is going to Disney World for Spring Break with the team my sophomore year. Alex Franck, Alex Bellini, Kelsey Elmer and I were in a special pirate room far away from everyone else. But going into the parks and going on all of the rides with everyone was so much fun, and I wish we could do it again!
What are your future plans? I will be going to graduate school in the fall to receive my master’s degree in childhood education. And from there I plan on becoming a teacher at the elementary level.
What’s Becky Ritter like off the field? Off the field, Becky is just as feisty as she is on it! She’s a great friend, and she will use her competitive drive to do well wherever life takes her after we graduate.
How rewarding has it been becoming a full-time starter in your final season? It’s been extremely rewarding becoming a starter this year. I have worked really hard the past three seasons to improve my skills, and all of my hard work has gotten me to where I am today.
What’s your favorite part about playing lacrosse? There are two reasons why I love playing Muhlenberg lacrosse. One reason is that I am extremely competitive, and playing an intercollegiate sport has given me the opportunity to really be competitive. I think my favorite part about playing lacrosse here, though, is playing with everyone on this team. I get an opportunity to play with my best friends every day.
What’s the key to making a big defensive stop? The key to making a big defensive stop is having confidence and playing scrappy. You need to have confidence in yourself.
What’s the most memorable moment from your lacrosse career? My most memorable moment was beating McDaniel in overtime my sophomore year.
What’s your most memorable off-the-field moment or accomplishment from your time at Muhlenberg? I have a lot of favorite moments here at Muhlenberg, but I think one of my favorite memories was going to Disney World with the team my sophomore year.
What are your future plans? As of right now I don’t have any definite plans, but I am hoping to find something that I really love to do.
What kind of teammate is Angela Napoletano? Angela is a great teammate. She is so competitive and pushes everyone else to be competitive too. It’s clear that she loves the sport and the team. It’s been a privilege to play with her for an entire four years.
What’s your funniest Muhlenberg lacrosse memory? My funniest Muhlenberg memory is the opening ceremonies of the women’s lacrosse Olympics my sophomore and senior years. The entire team is split into different nations, and we all dress up in the style of our adopted homeland during the opening ceremonies.
Do you have any pregame superstitions or traditions? I make it a point to get to the locker room super early, and I always have to make sure that my hair has some sort of braid in it. This year, the perfect game day hair style has been two French braids into a ponytail braid topped off with the perfect red polka dot ribbon tied in a bow. I also always have my headphones in my ears with my iPod on and music blaring. One of the last songs that I must listen to before getting on the field is “I Can’t Dance” by Genesis.
What’s the most memorable moment from your lacrosse career? The most memorable moment was beating Dickinson my freshman year at Scotty Wood Stadium.
What’s your most memorable off-the-field moment or accomplishment from your time at Muhlenberg? My most memorable off-the-field accomplishment at Muhlenberg was being on the resident advisor staff for three years, and serving as the head resident liaison on campus this year.
What are your future plans? My future plans are not concrete past July of this summer. In June I will be playing on the Israeli Women’s National Lacrosse Team in the European Championships. Then I will be traveling to Israel with the team to coach camps and clinics in order to spread the sport of lacrosse and hopefully help other girls fall in love with the sport I am passionate about. I am also continuously searching for employment for next year (I had a job interview on April 18, wish me luck).
What’s your teammate since high school, Maggie Hare, like off the field? Maggie and I have known each other since elementary school. I cannot remember a sports season (either soccer or lacrosse) that I have not played with her. I have so many good memories with her both on and off the field, from long car rides to states like Maryland for soccer tournaments to rushing to Rita’s on the first day of spring after high school and college lacrosse practices. I am so glad I got to continue my college career with Maggie.