The Limestone Saints women’s lacrosse season ended as it has many times before — Conference Carolinas tournament champions for the 12th time.
But the road there was unlike any before. In fact, it was hardly rivaled by any in the history of women’s college lacrosse. Senior midfielder Courtney Lafler led the charge in a season where she became only the second DII women’s lacrosse player to score 100 goals. She's the 15th to do it in the history of all three divisions.
Lafler was always a goal scorer. She tallied more than 40 in each of the past two seasons. But her remarkable 2019 nearly doubled her career total after she entered the season with 113 goals. NCAA.com talked to the prolific goal scorer to get the low down on her contribution to the Saints season.
“My mentality was a little different,” Lafler said. “Just knowing that this was going to be my last year and I wasn’t going to be playing much lacrosse after that. You got to make every game count.”
So where did this come from?
Lafler Earns Third Player of the Week Honor https://t.co/QFbz2fYaHV— Limestone Saints (@LimestoneSaints) April 15, 2019
Maybe it started on the mats. Lafler was a three-sport star in high school. Lacrosse was one of them, as was soccer. The third? Lafler was a wrestler. And a good one at that, reaching the 100-win plateau in her career.
“My dad was a really good wrestler throughout high school and college,” Lafler said. “That’s how I got into it. The mentality I had for wrestling carries over to any sport, you have to be mentally strong. When the going gets tough, you have to keep fighting through it.”
How good was Lafler at her other two sports? They both brought her to Limestone as she appeared on the women’s soccer and lacrosse rosters her freshman year. While she only logged three appearances on the pitch, she impressed in her lacrosse debut, scoring 20 goals in 19 games. The soccer career ended after her freshman campaign, but 193 goals later, Lafler is leaving Limestone as its women's lacrosse all-time leading scorer.
“I honestly had no idea until after the games,” Lafler said. “Records don’t mean a lot. I just go out there score some goals and have fun with my teammates and that’s what it led to.”
Though Lafler may have played her last game, it may not be her final time on the sidelines with the Saints. The decorated senior is heading back to Limestone in the fall to get her masters and plans on pursuing a graduate assistant role. Right in time too, as Limestone is starting a women’s wrestling team next season.
Does Lafler miss it?
“I do,” Lafler said. “I miss the workouts and the team environment."
Lafler’s place in Limestone’s history is secure, her 213 career goals second to none. Her place in DII women’s lacrosse lore will be as the owner of one of the single greatest seasons played in the history of the sport.
“I’ll remember most all the times with my teammates,” Lafler said. “The selection show last year is one that I’ll always remember. The year before we were so close and we didn’t make it. I remember how upset we were, having to say goodbye to the seniors and it being a really emotional moment. And then last year hearing our name called, we felt so rewarded in that moment. We deserved to make a statement. The excitement was the most incredible experience ever.”
🚨BREAKING: Saturday's East Coast Conference Men's and Women's Lacrosse Championships will be featured in the #NCAAD2 Showcase. Watch both games live on the DII Facebook and Twitter pages and through the ECC Network.#MakeItYours pic.twitter.com/qyUSy2odZa— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) May 2, 2019
We decided to have some fun by stepping off the field to find out more about Lafler. Here's 5 questions with her:
Favorite sports movie: I have two, and I can’t differentiate the two. Varsity Blues and Crooked Arrows.
Pregame rituals: This season I have a few. I would always have two braids in my hair. If I had any less it would just feel weird. And I always needed a pack of Gatorade Chews for every single game. If I didn’t, I made sure someone found a pack of Chews for me to snack on.
Music she listens to pre-game: We would always have music in the locker room, but pregame, once my hair was braided and I had my snack, that was my time. I relaxed and went over the game plan.
Favorite athlete: Michelle Tumolo. I grew up an hour away from Syracuse. We would always go and watch her games. It was so much fun to watch her and how good she was with her stick, and how much her teammates look up to her.