Haley Connaughton had most everything anyone could ask for in a women’s college lacrosse recruit.
The Westwood (Mass.) native was immensely skilled. She was a hard worker. She was competitive. She was an All-American from a two-time state champion Westwood High School program. She was willing to adapt, and still eager to improve, as she entered the Division 1 fray at the University of Massachusetts.
There was one area of her game, however, where UMass coach Angela McMahon could see Connaughton was failing to reach her full potential.
“The biggest area of growth for a lot of players from high school to college is the need for that physical strength,” McMahon said. “It’s about withstanding player contact on the field. Women’s lacrosse may not be considered a physical sport, but you have to hold your ground. As a freshman, Haley was on the ground a lot. Now she is able to assert herself with confidence.”