Life after lacrosse: Cozzolino stays involved

Matt GadSports Writer

In her fourth and final season with the Owls, senior attacker Samantha Cozzolino is balancing team success and progressing towards life after lacrosse.

While the team is off to a somewhat shaky start, dropping seven games in row, Cozzolino says the team’s chemistry and optimism helps to power through the early struggles.

“Honestly, we’re just all really, really close. I’ve been on teams all my life and this is the closest team I’ve ever been on,” said Cozzolino. “We really kind of just pump each other up and we really work hard in practice. We’re getting there. We’re building.”

In the first game of the season, a week and a half after having an emergency surgery, Cozzolino scored her 100th career goal as an Owl.

“It was [a good feeling]. I actually recently got my gallbladder out. It was an emergency, last minute thing, so I was really nervous that I wasn’t going to play for the first few weeks,” said Cozzolino. “I ended up making it, and my first goal was my 100th goal, so that was pretty cool for our first home game. It was really exciting for me.”

Long before achieving her landmark accolade in her first game of this season, Samantha Cozzolino was a Hamden High School student who first picked up a lacrosse stick during her freshman year due to a friend’s suggestion.

“My best friend played [lacrosse] and she just was like, ‘Do you want to try it?’ and I was like, ‘Sure,’” said Cozzolino. “It was just a freshman team in high school and then I ended up getting moved up to JV at the end of it. I had one coach who really pushed me…she really made me want to play lacrosse.”

Senior goal keeper Alexandra Takacs, who has played alongside Cozzolino for the past four years, said that Cozzolino has made sure the team is close and plays together throughout the entire season.

“She really emphasizes that team aspect and doing things as a team. We have no individuals who outshine anyone else. Everything is a team thing,” said Takacs. “Even though she is one of our lead scorers, and has been since her freshman year, you wouldn’t be able to tell from how you see her out on the field.”

New head coach Kevin Siedlecki said that while he has only seen her play this season, he sees her as a mature leader who helps motivate and inspire the team.

“She’s just a kid who understands the big picture,” said Siedlecki. “We’re a team who hasn’t been a very successful team. If the whole team was as talented as Sam, we’d be much more competitive. She doesn’t hold that against anybody. She’s very supportive, she wants everyone to be successful.”

While Cozzolino- who just reached 120 career goals in a 18-5 win against Post University plans to graduate this spring with an undergraduate Communication Disorders degree, she said that she plans on furthering her education as well as her role in lacrosse.

“I’m going to go to grad school, probably Loyola in Maryland, and become a speech pathologist,” said Cozzolino. “I do plan on either helping out lacrosse some way. Saint Rose is starting up a program next year in New York, and I also applied there. So, if I get in, I’d want to be a volunteer coach or an assistant coach. I’m going to stay involved.”

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