Bridget Valentine has achieved her dream of playing lacrosse at the top Division I level with her recent commitment to play at University of Massachusetts Amherst starting in the fall of 2023. After leading her high school’s varsity team to a Nassau County championship, she looks to capitalize on her last two spring seasons before furthering her academic and athletic career at the collegiate level.
Valentine started playing lacrosse in kindergarten and has loved the game ever since. When she reached the middle school level and realized how high a level she could play at in the future, she knew she wanted to play Division I lacrosse. Fortunately, her club team allows her to play with a lot of her Massapequa teammates. She has been playing with these girls since she started her competitive lacrosse journey. “We’re all really close and play really well together,” she said.
As a midfielder, she pays attention to the other midfielders she watches and plays with and uses them as motivation and inspiration. In preparation for the upcoming spring season, Valentine attends CrossFit training three times a week, with practice on Wednesday and training sessions on Monday. She also keeps in shape by running throughout the week.
Massapequa girl’s lacrosse beat Syosset this past June in the Nassau County Championship game. Coach Kollar and her team have their eyes set on a repeat victory this year and hopefully a run at the States championship. Ultimately, their goal is to keep moving forward as a team.
Valentine plays for Long Island Jesters, and this will be her fourth year with the club. “We’re all so close, the coaches are so nice, they’re the best. They make you feel comfortable, and they also really push you.” Her club team allowed her the opportunity for numerous college coaches to watch her play at tournaments and eventually get recruited.
Prior to September 1st, she had kept an open mind about all different types of Division I schools that could be the right fit for her. By September 16th, she had committed to UMass, which is considerably early in her opinion. She described her recruiting process as very fast, but “once I stepped on the UMass campus, I felt like this is where I want to be.” She noted how welcoming the coaching staff and team at UMass were and how comfortable she felt there. She was able to attend one of their practices and felt as though she could see herself out there with the team. She is looking to study education at this time.
Valentine’s biggest role model is her mom, who is responsible for taking her to every practice, training, game, and tournament. UMass is close to home which means her parents will be able to come to her home games, something that was very important to her.
The biggest lesson she has learned from her lacrosse career is to “have fun. It’s not all about winning. The most important thing is how you learn to love something.” Valentine is most looking forward to making new friendships at UMass, getting to experience lacrosse at the top level, getting her name out there and hopefully winning a lot of games.