Seton-LaSalle grad an 'impact' player at Washington & Jefferson

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Megan Kelly ended the 2013 lacrosse season — and her collegiate career — as one of the top players in the Washington & Jefferson College women's lacrosse program.

The Seton-LaSalle graduate ranked third on the squad in goals (22), points (24) and shots (50). However, perhaps even more impactful than her on-field performance was the psychological role she played in forming the team chemistry.

“She had a great presence in the locker room, and an ability to keep things light in the locker room,” Tracy Couyne, W&J's head coach, said. “She's so hilarious. She's funny. She's so spur of the moment.”

Coyne recounted a story from a game this season, when W&J scored a series of goals in a game and, in the middle of the field, Kelly began shouting quotes from one of the AT&T commercials featuring the serious businessman and circle of quirky little kids.

“She started saying, ‘We want more, we want more,'” said the coach. “It was hysterical, and we all knew what she meant.

“It helped to keep everyone at ease. She's such a pleasure to work with. She just has a really great attitude, and is a total team player.”

Kelly, a South Park native, said she embraced that role.

“My role on our team was a lot of moral support. I'm the team goofball,” she said. “Some people on the team say that I was a ray of sunshine when they'd come to lacrosse. More than putting up points on the board, I could brighten people's day.

“When someone is having a bad day, I'm always trying to look on the bright side.”

That light-hearted attitude did not mean she took lacrosse lightly. Far from it, according to Coyne.

“She has intensity and a high standard for herself,” she said.

While the team went 4-10 overall this season, Kelly played a key role in those four wins and in keeping the team close in other games.

“She's really great around the crease,” Coyne said. “She has natural instincts around the crease, and is very good and setting her teammates up, settling things down ... she has a great shot. She has natural attacking instincts, and she didn't force it when it wasn't there.”

Coyne was in her first season at W&J last year, after coaching stops at Notre Dame, Roanoke College and Dennison University. She wishes she would have had more time to work with Kelly.

“If I had the chance to work with her a little longer, she would have been an even more significant contributor,” Coyne said.

Now that the season has ended, W&J and Kelly have parted ways. While Kelly will miss playing for the Lady Presidents, she believes the program is headed in the right direction under Coyne.

“I definitely think there are good things ahead for W&J lacrosse,” she said. “They have a great coach, and there will be some great players coming in.”

Coyne attributed the sluggish record in 2013 to a limited number of players on the team, a problem she plans to address.

“I think the seniors, including Megan, have laid a great foundation for the future here,” she said. “I think W&J women's lacrosse is a hidden gem.”

As for Kelly, she graduated from W&J with a degree in psychology, and is applying to graduate schools' physician assistant programs.

She may play in recreational lacrosse leagues in the future, but her focus now is on her career. Coyne is confident she'll be successful there, too.

“She's a very caring person,” Coyne said. “She makes an impression on people, and I think that will translate to her patients and the families of her patients.

“I think she will be successful in whatever she does.”

Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.

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