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The Pilgrim girls’ lacrosse team finished its second season in existence this spring, and it’s already developed one of the premier scorers in all of Division II.
Sophomore Haley McCusker, who didn’t play lacrosse prior to joining the Pats during their inaugural season in 2011, scored 62 goals this year, which was the fourth most in D-II.
In just her second year playing, McCusker helped the Pats to a 7-7 season, and at this point, it looks like the sky is the limit for both Pilgrim and its best offensive weapon.
“When she has her mind that she’s going to score a goal, it’s very, very difficult to stop her at any level, whether she’s playing against Division I, Division II, whoever,” Pilgrim head coach Tom Flanders said.
McCusker’s offensive output is made more impressive because she missed the early portion of the season with a sprained ankle.
She sat out for two weeks, then came back but still didn’t feel 100 percent until the final week of the season.
Her play, though, didn’t show it.
“Once I got back in the game everyone just started to click and started to work tougether as a team,” McCusker said. “We just made it happen. The wins came, and it brought us to where we were at the end of the season.”
That said, McCusker’s development shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given the time she puts in. She plays on a travel team during the off-season and played indoor during the winter.
The extra time spent playing lacrosse helped her learn to shoot and attack from both sides, while also just fine-tuning her overall game.
McCusker also embraces the moment, and Flanders is impressed by how poised she is in big moments, despite her young age.
“She’ll have a great goal and I’m like, ‘Man that was an unbelievable shot,’” Flanders said. “She’ll look at me and say, ‘Did you have any doubt that that was going to happen?’”
Now, the likely step is more success for both McCusker and her team as they both continue to grow.
“I think we’re going to do really well next year,” McCusker said. “We’re going to have a great season.”