The 2013 women’s lacrosse season marks a decade-long tenure for head coach Carly Ritchlin, boasting a 102-46 record.
The Penfield, N.Y. native did not play lacrosse in her early childhood.
“I was a soccer player growing up,” Ritchlin said. “In ninth grade, they started lacrosse in my high school. The boys in the neighborhood always played so I said ‘I’ll play. Why not?’”
Her playing days were cut short in high school, however, as she tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the 10th grade that forced her to make a decision to play either soccer or lacrosse.
“I picked lacrosse just because there was more opportunity,” Ritchlin said. “Soccer was very competitive where I am from and lacrosse was just starting. But I felt ‘Wow, I can really dominate this sport.’”
Choosing lacrosse over soccer was the best decision Ritchlin ever made, she said.
Ritchlin then enjoyed an illustrious career at SUNY Cortland. She was a four-year player, two-year starter and captain of the team. She assisted the Red Dragons in claiming three SUNYAC titles with a four-year record of 53-16. Some individual accolades include being a two-time All-SUNYAC selection as well as holding the school record for most assists in a season with 33.
Regardless of personal honors, Ritchlin said that her college coach taught her many things besides lacrosse.
“My coach always used to tell us to play with class, be sportsmanlike, don’t be dirty, don’t be nasty and don’t be those things that better teams think they are,” she said.
On Saturday March 30, Ritchlin returned to her alma mater to coach the Knights against the Red Dragons. This time around, Ritchlin arrived on campus as a coach and also as an alumna. Ritchlin said that she used to feel weird about coaching against her former team.
“My first couple years here [at Geneseo], it was really weird because I thought, ‘Wait, that’s my team,’ but now that I am so far removed it’s more about wanting to beat them more,” she said.
After 10 complete seasons, Richlin has found her niche in Geneseo.
“I thought that Geneseo had a lot of the things I was looking for,” Ritchlin said. “The competitiveness of the school is going to bring high caliber [students] and I knew that you would find people that understand what it takes to not only be successful in the classroom but be successful on the field.”