BRATTLEBORO -- A lacrosse superstar from southern Vermont is about to embark on a journey to the Big South.
Maddie Rollins, a senior at BUHS from Dummerston, is heading to Longwood University in Farmville, Va., to play Division 1 women’s lacrosse for the Lancers, and study kinesiology.
Rollins visited the university in March and said she liked what she saw.
"It’s really nice down there," said Rollins before a team practice in Brattleboro on Thursday. "I like the campus a lot. I think I’ll fit in well."
The school recently qualified for Big South Conference status.
In November of last year, the Colonel captain was discovered in Naples, Fla., at the Presidents Cup, a recruiting showcase for colleges and universities.
"It was a step in the right direction," said Rollins before a Colonel team practice, Thursday. "I was hoping to get recruited. I was just trying to get noticed, by someone."
That someone who took notice was Lancer coach Elaine Jones, a two-time NCAA Div. 1 All-American student-athlete who attended the University of Virginia, and led the Cavaliers to four straight national postseason appearances, including a National Championship in 1991.
While at the Cup, Rollins got to see her future team play the UNH Wildcats, a team her Colonel coach Maud Lonergan is familar with, but that’s another story entirely.
"I started under coach my freshman year," said Rollins. "She taught me everything. At first I was going to play hockey, because that’s what I’ve always done."
It wasn’t necessarily a change of heart for Rollins, but a conclusion she arrived at by doing her own research into the sport, which over the years, has steadily gained in popularity worldwide. Of course, coach Lonergan can be persuasive, and once she introduced Rollins to the world of lacrosse, plans suddenly changed for the college-bound senior.
This summer, Rollins plans on playing on a club team under Lonergan, practicing once a week and attending tournaments on the weekends. Other players from BUHS may also play this year, but currently Rollins is the only one commited to the program.
It is that type of commitment that is reflected in her high school career stats.
So far, in her final season with the Colonels, and after 14 games, "Maddog" Rollins has racked up 57 goals and 13 assists for 70 points. In her career total to date, she has 117 goals and 44 assists for 161 points. Rollins hit the 100 goal-mark on her third goal against MAU on May 14.
Last season, and currently, she leads the team in all major statistical categories: goals, assists, points, draw controls, interceptions, and caused turnovers.
"Rollins is a very confident young woman, and extremely hard working student- athlete," said Lonergan. "She has been deeply committed to her teams and has dedicated hundreds of hours during her high school years to develop her abilities."
In the past two years, Rollins has spent time in individual sessions, solo workouts, before and after practices, and club team commitment during the off-season to improve her skills in lacrosse, noted Lonergan.
"Rollins is a fierce competitor who leads by example on and off the field," said Lonergan. "She has been a solid leader and standout athlete for the Colonels, and I’m sure she will have continued success in her transition to lacrosse at the Division 1 level with her new team at Longwood next year."
Coach Jones also had nothing but good things to say about what she has seen of her new player’s skills, athleticism, and character.
"Congratulations! I’m so excited that you’ve decided to join us," Jones wrote back to Rollins in an email, after her acceptance letter. "You’re definitely going to learn a lot, I guarantee it Š Once again, congratulations on your decision to become a Longwood Lancer and help us win the Big South Championship Š I look forward to coaching you next year!"
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.