Senior Season is a Dream Come True for Priest
Alicia Priest (Camillus, N.Y.) of the Cazenovia College women's lacrosse team has had a season that most student-athletes could only dream of. The senior captain has scored 86 goals on the year, eclipsing the school record of 78 set last season by Priest's former teammate Christy Foster '12. Her total points (92) are also a new school record beating out another former teammate, Nicole Kimmel '11, who set the previous benchmark at 91 points. With her offensive explosion, Priest is not only the top scorer for the Wildcats, but she is currently ranked first in the nation in goals per game. Her prowess on the turf has been recognized as Priest has been named NEAC Women's Lacrosse Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week four times and earned recognition as the ECAC DIII Mid-Atlantic Women's Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week on two occasions.
Breaking records and scoring goals, however, was not Priest's main objective heading into her senior year as she states, "This year has been magical for me. I was honored when coach (Lauren Pacelli) asked me to be captain this fall and all I could think about over the winter was what could I do to lead this team as well as it was lead in the years before me ".
In regards to setting a new standard for excellence in the women's lacrosse program Priest says, "I never believed in a million years that I could ever come close to breaking a school record. It is all still a dream to me right now and the only thing on my mind is what I can do to help my team make the playoffs". This mentality of putting the team first is why her leadership is just as important to the Wildcats success as they make a push towards the NEAC Championship Tournament. Head Coach Lauren Pacelli says, "(Alicia) has a desire to win that is evident every minute of the game. It is so rewarding to have watched her grow into her own this year and expose the talent that I was confident she always possessed. More than that, I appreciate her ability to motivate her teammates and make things fun for everybody in our program including myself".
The overall student-athlete experience is what makes this culminating season a dream come true for Priest. "Cazenovia College is a second home to me. Since the day I walked onto campus a scared and nervous freshman, Coach Pacelli, the entire staff and my teammates have been great. In order to be a successful student athlete not only must a person be willing to spend a lot of time practicing, but that person must also be prepared for all of the obstacles that can come along the way such as stress, injuries, and even lack of sleep", says Priest who goes on to say, "Coach Pacelli and Coach T (Melissa Trichilo) have always been there for me and for that I thank them both unconditionally. If I had more time here at Cazenovia, I would not do anything differently. Although, I am going to miss the school and playing sports, I will take from the past four years only positive things and I will never look back and wish I did anything differently while I was here. I regret nothing and am so thankful for the experience that I've had".
The historic year has not come to an end yet for Priest as the Wildcats have two more games left in the regular season and then a probable run in the NEAC Championship Tournament. Rest assured, Priest will add to her legendary records, but it will be her humble leadership, tireless work ethic, and commitment to excellence that will lead the Wildcats to success. Those qualities, which she exhibited throughout her celebrated career, will also be her mark on the women's lacrosse program at Cazenovia College.