As the Class of 2023 embarks on the next chapter in their lacrosse careers at the collegiate level, the reality is that it often takes time as a freshman before getting your number called consistently seeing the field. While many won’t immediately see the field in year one, there are definitely candidates that may not have to wait their turn and could step on the field right away and make an impact for their program whether that be because of a large graduating class, players transferring, or possibly because of injuries or a new coaching staff. Regardless of how may it happen, Long Island definitely has players from the 2023 class that are talented enough to crack their college lineup right away. Here are some of the recent graduates on the women’s side that the LILJ believes could be making headlines in their freshman campaign!
Ava Arceri (Stanford)- Anyone willing to take their talents west to an up-and-coming program that’s still scratching and clawing to earn national prominence, needs an elevated level of self belief that they are capable of doing something special. Bursting onto the scene back as a junior for Smithtown East, Arceri still has her best days of lacrosse ahead of her and is primed to make an impact for this rising Stanford program.
Kylee Colbert (Boston College)- Committing to a national powerhouse like Boston College, it may not always come easy seeing the field in year one, but Colbert’s game is transcendent and after putting together a high school career at North Shore that’s never been seen, she’s ready to begin her legacy for the Eagles.
Mikaela Mooney (Albany)- Last spring was a breakout senior year for the lefty attacker Mooney en route to a state championship in Bayport, and the best has yet to come. An unselfish player that plays the game the right way, Mooney’s offensive prowess will surely elevate a Great Dane team aiming to remain top 20 in the country.
Emily Murtha (Dominican)- Murtha is among the lock down defenders coming off the island in this ’23 class out of William Floyd. Murtha’s presence will add to a Charger’s defense that was already one of the best in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference last season, only allowing a shade under seven goals per game.
Alexandra Schneider (UVA)- The Cavaliers welcome one of the premiere defensive talents in the nation. Schneider brings extreme versatility as an elite cover both on-ball and off-ball and was instrumental in Manhasset’s run to a state title in 2022. UVA is now under new leadership this year as they continue to ascend on a national level, and Schneider as part of this incoming freshman class could contribute to their continued rise up the ladder.
Bridget Valentine (UMass)- A true two-way midfielder, Valentine makes game changing plays on both ends of the field and is fresh off making history in Massapequa her senior year. Whether it’s scoring, facilitating, hunting down ground balls, or just out right grittiness on defense, Valentine will now be making those game altering plays for UMass.
Madison Alaimo (UVA)- The electrifying Alaimo put up video game like numbers throughout her high school career for the Wantagh Warriors. Now as she heads off to UVA to play for a team that looks to continue to climb the ladder nationally, her prolific offensive ability to go one on one and find the back of the net is sure to make this Cavaliers’ offense tough to stop once again after a season in which they averaged just under 15 goals per game.
Caitlin Barrett (Duke)- As Duke heads into the new season looking for a bounce back year, they are getting a player in Barrett who’s skill set on the draw circle is only part of what made her such a coveted recruit. She can also command games from the midfield as an offensive force, and is someone that just knows what it takes to win, doing so for Manhasset where she brought home a state championship in 2022.
Katie Claire (Yale)- Known as the Maserati here on the island, Katie Claire has supreme speed and explosiveness with the ball in her stick and now brings that element of her game to a Yale team that came up just short of winning the Ivy League Tournament Championship last season and looking to bring it back to New Haven.
Gabby Constant (Bryant)- After ending last season with a 7-7 record, Constant joins a number incoming freshman midfielders looking to take Bryant to another level. Constant was one of Comsewogue’s most reliable scorers and primary draw specialists and can provide a jolt for the Bulldogs in 2024.
Alyssa Deacy (University of Florida)- When it comes to athleticism there weren’t too many from the island in the class of 2023 like Deacy. Playing for the Gators takes a certain type of skill and toughness that’s been exemplified in her high school career at Comsewogue and will only continue to get better and better as she suites up for one of the top 10 teams in the country.
Lacey Downey (Boston College)- A natural quarterback of an offense is what Downey has been for West Babylon as she now heads to the No. 2 ranked team in the country. To say the Eagles midfield unit is elite is an understatement, but seeing how Downey’s game has evolved and transformed over the years shows the level of special you have to be to possibly make an impact right off the bat.
Mia Fernandes (Marist)- Fernandes is a true workhorse on the defensive side of the ball and is going to only improve that Red Fox defense as they look to rebound this upcoming season in the MAAC. She joins a defense filled with experienced upperclassmen returning.
Alexa Kuhn (UMass Lowell)- Kuhn was the backbone of some extremely talented Rocky Point teams the last two seasons and could be in play to see time in the net for a UMass Lowell team looking for a bounce back season in 2024.
GraceAnn Leonard (UNC)- Another one of the top pure athletes to come off the island, Leonard can change the course of games with her ability to push out in transition and score goals, dominate on the draw circle, and make crucial plays defensively. After making a few deep playoff runs for SWR her junior and senior year, Leonard will now have the opportunity to do the same wearing that Carolina Blue.
Brooke Meltcher (Wofford)- Wofford gets a player in Meltcher that does all of the little things that are necessary to win big games whether that’s clear the ball at a high success rate, get in the passing lanes to create turnovers, or come up with checks to disrupt 8 meter shots.
Payton Tini (Rutgers)- After appearing in the Big 10 semifinals, the freshman Tini could surely increase Rutgers chances of enhancing their conference record and once again being a contender in the Big 10. She heads to Rutgers with plenty of offensive firepower as a dual threat midfielder that’s very tough for defenses to cover with her elite scoring and feeding ability.