Two-sport athletes help women’s lacrosse team transition

by Connor Burton / Beacon Staff • March 27, 2014

Tayllar Righini plays soccer in the fall and lacrosse in the spring.
Beacon Archive
Tayllar Righini plays soccer in the fall and lacrosse in the spring.
Beacon Archive

Emerson’s women’s lacrosse team is in the midst of its first season of competition in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. As the team works to earn respect in its new conference, the squad will look to five dual sport athletes, who already have NEWMAC experience under their belt, to help propel their team into the playoffs. 

Sophomore midfielder Tayllar Righini, who scored a team-high six goals for Emerson’s women’s soccer team, is one of four players on the 17-player women’s lacrosse roster who also play soccer.

Righini, a communication sciences and disorders major, said having her teammates Maggie Sheetz, Naomi Kramer, and Casey Jablonski playing alongside her in both sports is a huge advantage.

“Dual-sport athletes are aware of commitments and know they have to stay in shape for both seasons,” Righini said. “I know all [my teammates] are working really hard, but soccer girls have already had in-game experience earlier in the year, so we’re more prepared.”

Third-year head coach Megan Moore said having multi-sport athletes on her team has proved invaluable, especially after accepting the head coaching job in 2011 and inheriting a depleted roster. 

“We had a big senior class, and because of coaching changes, it wasn’t a priority for them [to play] anymore,” Moore said. “We had only one senior stick around for the 2012 class. It was a challenge to get athletes. We were lucky to have athletes show interest.” 

Aside from having players to help fill the roster, Moore said the experience her two-sport athletes earned in the fall and winter was extremely helpful. 

“[It’s] nice to have them as a resource and to get their outlook,” said Moore. “One of our seniors [Jablonski] was senior captain for the soccer team and in our preseason meetings she was instrumental in sharing what the level of competition [in the NEWMAC] was like for soccer. She was also able to share the things she learned. After hearing what she had to say, we know we can still compete.”  

After the women’s soccer season ended, Righini said she had a week off before she jumped into lacrosse offseason workouts. 

“[There is] very little time for rest, but it’s a lot easier to be a student athlete than a student,” said Righini, who currently leads the team with nine assists. “When you know you have prior commitments, you plan ahead and get stuff done.” 

Macy Day, a junior defender, started attending offseason lacrosse workouts during the final few weeks of her basketball season. Although both schedules overlapped and she had no time to rest, Day said she did have to deal with some adjustments, but was more than ready to compete with the lacrosse team this season. 

“Basketball is a long season, and I always find myself being stronger, and when I get to lacrosse, I play faster,” said Day, captain and forward for Emerson’s basketball team. “It’s funny to see how your body will change and react. [You go from] short sprints to full field sprints. Going from sneakers to cleats is weird and going from a soft court to turf is a shocker in the first week.”

Although playing two sports can be physically and mentally taxing, Moore said she isn’t worried about her multi-sport athletes’ health. 

“It’s just part of the [Division 3] experience, and I tend to kind of sell that to recruits,” Moore said. “If [someone] is passionate about two sports, they have that opportunity here.”