Victoria Kanaris, a junior captain and goalie on the women’s lacrosse team, holds a unique honor at Emerson: She’s the only player on any team at the college, men’s or women’s, to be named to the first team all-conference in two different conferences.
She’s also the only Lion to be named to a first team all-conference in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference after Emerson’s move from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in 2013. This honor is awarded to the best player in each position in the conference at the end of the season.
Even though Kanaris has found athletic success at Emerson, she said she didn’t expect to continue playing lacrosse in college after her high school career.
“I was touring schools and realized I was capable of playing at that level,” said Kanaris, a visual and media arts major.
Kanaris said the coach told her that the team had just one goalie, who ended up going to Emerson’s LA program, meaning in her first year, Kanaris was the only keeper.
“I got a starting position, which is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Kanaris said.
Last season, Kanaris’ 51.3 save percentage led the NEWMAC and was good for 16th in the nation in Division III. This year, she once again leads the conference in the same category at 57.6 percent. Despite these achievements, Kanaris said she isn’t fully content with her performance.
“I always want to work on constantly getting faster, improving my technique, and always reaching for perfection,” Kanaris said. “I am more focused on the little things.”
One of those little things over the past few years has been adjusting to collegiate-level play.
“Division III tries to mimic Division I in finesse-based shots,” Kanaris said. “High school is a lot about score, score, score, and college requires a more thorough understanding of the sport and being a unit with the defense as a goalie.”
Kanaris’ backup this season is freshman Kristina Modica, who said the captain has been a great role model so far.
“I work a lot with Victoria, and she knows so much,” said Modica, a communication sciences and disorders major. “I take a lot away from the time I spend with her. She is incredibly selfless, and that’s all you can ask for from a leader.”
Head coach Kathryn Egizi said she sees Kanaris as a key component on the field in multiple ways.
“Her ability is pretty impressive. She really owns our defense and is a leader on the field with her voice and presence,” Egizi said. “She makes the saves she needs to and also makes the saves that have you questioning how she did it.”
Though the team didn’t make the playoffs last year, Kanaris said the team, currently 3-1, is striving for a different outcome this year.
“We have very high hopes to reach the championship game,” Kanaris said. “On any given day there are no sure wins or losses.”
Egizi said she has high expectations for Kanaris this season, particularly because of her work with goalie coach Matt Velasquez.
“I hope that she is able to keep that save percentage spot in the conference,” Egizi said. “I am hoping she makes first team all-conference again, like she did last year. We want to do well and also see Victoria do well.”