Senior Sarah Averson had just scored eight points — a personal best — in the women’s lacrosse team’s 15-7 win over Rutgers last Saturday.
Yet, when interviewed about her outstanding individual accomplishment, Averson responded, “My main goal is for the team to be successful.”
And so it has been for Averson, who for the past three seasons has been one of the key elements in the Red’s attack. After an outstanding freshman season in which she was voted the MVP of the ECAC tournament, Averson has gone on to become a major team contributor.
“Averson has contributed since way back in her freshman year,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “[She has] really matured in her leadership on the field and her ability to read situations and help the rest of the team.”
In her sophomore year, “Aves,” as her teammates call her, scored 22 goals despite playing in only 14 games. Scoring in 12 of those games, she tallied six multiple-point efforts. She was also voted the team’s top offensive player by her teammates after that performance.
Last season, Averson picked up her scoring and had a career year with 43 points, 35 ground balls, and 28 draw controls. She was a first-team All-Ivy and All-Region selection.
Averson tallied at least one point in 16 of the 18 games she played, and played a huge role in the success of a Cornell team that reached the national semifinals for the first time in its history.
“I’d like to be as successful [this season], if not more successful than I was,” said Averson.
Despite her established modesty about her personal accomplishments, Averson has consistently been one of the best individual players in the nation.
As a testament to her abilities, Averson was allowed to practice with the U.S. Lacrosse Developmental Team this summer. It was the first time Cornell had sent a representative to the U.S. National Team.
“The fact that she made the U.S. Developmental Team after her junior year is just outstanding and is tremendous for Cornell lacrosse,” Graap said. “She can bring [things she has learned from her time there] back to the team. It’s been great just picking her brain.”
“Just playing with such great people has given me the opportunity to learn,” Averson added. “I’m glad I chose to try out.”
So far this season, Averson has collected 11 points in the season’s first two games. Cornell is 2-0, and has outscored its opponents 28-12.
Averson has accounted for eight of those goals. Last week, she was announced as one of 21 players nominated for the Tewaaraton Trophy, which is given to the national collegiate lacrosse player of the year. Yet Averson has loftier goals on her mind.
“I’d like to go through this season undefeated,” said Averson confidently. “That’s a high expectation, [but] I expect and would like for us to go all the way.”
Her confidence in herself and her teammates is unmatched and her play is outstanding. Yet that is not all there is to Sarah Averson.
“Averson is just a really, really fun player to have at practice,” said Graap. “And she always says thank you. Ever since she’s been a freshman here, she always says ‘thanks, coach’ after practice. Averson is so aware of everything, and she’s able to be selfless and think of others. It’s worth noting that she’s not your average person.”
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini