It’s not a given that a team is lucky enough to have one talented goalie, so it’s even more of an asset that the women’s lacrosse team has two strong goal keepers to defend the net. Senior Mary Montague and sophomore Renee Hughes have both been working hard in goal this season and sharing the spotlight. While this may not seem like an ideal situation for many goalies, Montague and Hughes willingly work together to bear the load.
“Whoever’s play is most consistent will get the start and the other is ready to go into the game if needed. I think this helps us to go out there with complete unselfishness. When we sub in or out, we’re aware that it’s in the hopes that the other player is going to step up and play great,” Montaguem said.
Surprisingly, the team is able to adapt to either goalie despite their many differences. For starters, Montague is an experienced senior while Hughes is a sophomore who transferred to Cornell from Quinnipiac for this school year. As far as playing styles, Montague is known for her quickness and her ability to anticipate the play while Hughes has a more settled yet aggressive approach. However, those aren’t their most obvious differences.
“The most blatant difference is our height,” Montague said.
The senior stands a mere 5’1” tall and is six inches shorter than her teammate. Surprisingly, the height discrepancy makes no difference in their skill and ability. However, opponents that face both of these girls in one game are probably a little thrown off by the change in net presence.
“Mary and Renee are very even in terms of abilities in the net. We try to assess hard work and consistency to determine who starts in each contest,” said assistant coach Laurie Tortorelli.
Despite all these differences, the girls share an incredible passion for the sport. Due to a nasty series of concussions in high school, Montague was not able to play for most of the last 3 years and served as team manager to remain part of the team.
As soon as she was cleared to play, Montague stepped in to fill the spot of a back-up goalie that quit last January and helped the team win the Ivy League Championships last season.
“My fellow classmates and I had said we were out to get a ring before we graduated and lo and behold, we got it last season for the Ivy League Championships. Needless to say, I never take a day on this team for granted because it’s all been like a second chance for me,” Montague said.
Hughes has certainly proven her determination and dedication to the team, despite the fact that this is her first season. Last fall, she broke a piece of her shin bone and had to undergo surgery in order to remove it. Despite the injury, she began playing again in January, with intent on making a contribution to her new team.
“The toughest part has just been getting back into the swing of things and fighting the injury,” Hughes said. “But I love the excitement and intensity of the game. I am ready to play when my team needs me.”
While there is definitely a degree of healthy competition, off the field, the girls help each other when one is struggling. While Montague tends to take on more of a leadership role due to seniority, Hughes does not hesitate to offer her support.
“With our team first mentality, we always have each other’s backs,” Hughes said.
Though the team has struggled to hit its stride this season, having these two impressive goalies on its side can be nothing but an advantage.
“The goalies stick together and try to set a tempo for the rest of team,” Montague said.