Trio of Latrobe lacrosse standouts to play together at St. Vincent
The Latrobe girls lacrosse team saw its share of success in the spring. Now three of those players will be taking their talents to the next level, playing together right down the road.
Naomi Schwaiger, Julianne Rosa and Courtney Kloos will attend St. Vincent in the fall to continue their lacrosse careers.
“I wanted a small school and their medical program is really good,” Schwaiger said. “The fact that I got to play lacrosse is a bonus.”
Latrobe coach Kaytie Russo said distance likely was a factor in all the decisions, and it certainly was not a collaborative effort.
“I think they all had their own reasons (for choosing St. Vincent),” she said.
“I love the fact that I'm close to home,” Rosa said. “I also know the environment very well, I've done three lacrosse camps (at St. Vincent), and of course academics were important to me, too.”
Schwaiger, Rosa and Kloos were major contributors to a Latrobe girls lacrosse program that captured section championships the past three seasons and made a playoff run to the WPIAL Division II semifinals this year.
The girls will go from one great lacrosse tradition to another. The SVC Bearcats captured the inaugural Ohio River Lacrosse Conference Championship in April.
Schwaiger thinks preparation and instruction at a solid program such as Latrobe will make the transition easy.
“Coach Kaytie did a great job preparing us,” she said. “I think she helped me mentally not only on the field, but off it too, so I think I will be ready.”
Kloos is excited about the prospect of attending St. Vincent to play fall lacrosse. Though she had planned on simply filling a fall semester before transferring to play at Pitt in the spring, she has yet to formally decide.
That didn't stop Bearcats coach Jim Walters from asking Kloos to join the fall lacrosse team.
“At this point it's really hard to say,” Kloos said. “Coach Jim contacted me to play fall ball and said ‘just see how you like it,' and he can be pretty convincing. I'm just going to wait and see, but my heart is definitely set on lacrosse no matter where I go.”
Kloos also thinks having familiar faces around will make it easier on and off the field.
“Naomi is one of my best friends and a fellow captain,” she said. “Having her around is going to help a lot.”
Rosa agreed, saying: “Knowing they are playing at St. Vincent made me feel a little better, because I get along with them easily.”
It should certainly ease some of the jitters that go along with making the jump from high school to college athletics.
“I'm nervous to play with a new team, experience new rules and obey a new coach,” Rosa said. “I know Coach Walters very well, so it won't be as hard.”
“I think it's a really cool story,” Kloos said. “At the beginning, none of us were really sure where we wanted to go, but we all ended up (at St. Vincent).”
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.