Trainor Maintains Perspective After Covid-19 Halts Vermont LacrosseJun 18, 2020 10:14AM ● By Chuck Tashjian
Lily Trainor rewrote the record book in girls’ lacrosse at Holliston High, and the way she began her collegiate career as a freshman on the University of Vermont’s varsity was no surprise. She scored three goals and registered one assist in the Catamount’s opener against Merrimack.
For the next seven non-league games, the 5-foot-2 attacker alternated as a starter and a reserve while coach Sarah Dalton-Graddock strived to build team chemistry and find the best roles for a squad that was in rebuilding mode. After eight games, Vermont had a 5-3 record and was preparing to start its America East Conference matches.
But, just around the corner, there was some news — sad news for a team that was stating to find its groove. The Catamounts were in their third practice after completing a productive southern trip to Georgia where they played Mercer and Kennesaw State. At that practice, the players learned that America East Conference officials canceled the circuit’s entire schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.
For Trainor, who was recruited by Vermont and given partial academic and athletic scholarships, her emotions ranged from disappointment to acceptance.
Lily Trainor, a freshman at the University of Vermont, whose lacrosse season got off to a great start in college before Covid-19 ended the season. She is Holliston High's all-time leading scorer.
“The news was sad and disappointing,’’ she said. “And, it was bittersweet, especially after coming off a great victory over highly-regarded Kennesaw State. Our team was winning and we were motivated. But, we have to realize that the number one priority for our country is to get the virus under control. If there were no restrictions, it could be 10 times worse. Social distancing is necessary. Even though sports are a part of my life, health comes first and, in reality, this is a piece of life’s puzzle.’’
What also was difficult for Trainor was hearing some of her teammates’ thoughts and feeling their emotions. “I realized that our time with senior teammates was over, and my heart was heavy for them,’’ Trainor said. “Their final season ended abruptly.’’
The NCAA, however, informed all spring sport athletes at Vermont that they could still play an additional season if they were still enrolled, either as an undergraduate or in a master’s program. “That’s the right thing to do for all spring athletes,’’ Trainor said.
Whether Trainor plays an additional season remains to be seen, but she certainly was impressive in Vermont’s opener.
Trainor scored twice in the first half against Merrimack and got her third goal in the final half, wrapping up a 19-11 victory. “The three goals came from 7-10 feet out,’’ she recalled. “I was able to penetrate and maneuver towards the goal. The three-goal effort was a confidence-builder for me. Winning the opener motivated the team going forward. I was initially surprised with the three goals but in the back of my mind, I felt I could do it.’’
Trainor has played lacrosse for 13 years — four varsity seasons at Holliston and nine seasons at the club level. During her Holliston career, she scored 204 goals and had 108 assists. Because she topped the 300-point mark, a banner will eventually be displayed in the Panthers’ gymnasium. Because of the Covid-19 situation, a time has not been set for a ceremony.
“To be honored with a banner is very humbling,’’ she said. “It was a great achievement and a testament to lots of commitment and hard work. It brings a smile, but it also symbolizes the contributions of my teammates. A lot of girls made the achievement possible. A banner shows how much our program respects teamwork.’’
Trainor’s strengths as a high school player included a high lacrosse IQ, quickness, strong field awareness and solid technique. Those assets led to her becoming a three-time Tri Valley League all-star and a two-time Eastern Mass. Coaches all-star. She also was an all-star choice of The Boston Globe and Metrowest Daily News.
Those strengths have enabled the business administration major to smoothly transition to college lacrosse. “At the college level, the pace of the game is faster, the talent and the competition are stronger and the game is more mentally challenging,’’ Trainor emphasized.
While at Holliston, Trainor, who was a captain, played a key role in helping the Panthers snap a 10-year playoff drought. As a junior, she and her teammates posted a 10-8 record and advanced to the second round of the tourney. Last year, after posting an 11-9 record, the Panthers also got to the second round of the playoffs.
Trainor firmly believes that valuable life lessons can be learned from athletics. “I sharpened my work ethic, learned about time management, became mentally tough and understood how to deal with adversity,’’ she noted.
Citing her college coach (Dalton-Graddock) as “encouraging and eager to help her players improve,’’ Trainor is acutely aware that sharpening her skills this summer will be a key to excelling. “I’ll be doing strength and conditioning drills that will help with agility and speed, and I’ll also spend time on weight training,’’ she said. “I’ll also help coaching my former club team (Laxachusetts).
Trainor hopes the Covid-19 virus that cut her freshman year of lacrosse short is conquered quickly. She’s also focused on improving as an attacker. “I can get better by working hard, staying consistent and keeping my morale up,’’ she said.